Runaway Bay, a Gold Coast suburb consisting mainly of canal estates, is seven km north of Southport. Its most southerly part, Anglers Paradise, was an outer area of Labrador, overlooking the mouth of the Biggera Creek. Between Anglers Paradise and Hollywell the landscape was tidal wetland which was acquired in 1967 for development as canal estates.
The first earthworks (1972) led to the canals east of Lae Drive, including Runaway Bay Avenue and several streets with Papua New Guinean names. (Burns Philp Finance had 50% ownership of the venture.) Subsequent estates were to the south and north. These areas, all east of Bayview Street, have houses with the highest waterfront appeal. Some houses have replaced earlier ones barely twenty years old.
Highrise apartments were built in the vicinity of Anglers Paradise and generally north along Bayview Street. They benefit from nearby marinas and there is a choice of shopping in Runaway Bay Shopping Village or Harbour Town in adjoining Biggera Waters. To the west the extensive Runaway Lagoons were begun in the 1990s, after being drawn on plans dating from ten years before. Its residential canals offer exclusively waterfront homes. Immediately north of the Shopping Village there is a large recreation area which includes a community centre and a sports complex with training facilities for elite athletes. The most popular pastime, however, is boating in the canals on the Broadwater.
About three-quarters of dwellings are detached houses and town houses, the rest being mainly units. The median age of residents is 50 years (2006), compared with 37 for Australia. About 43% of families had children (Australia 61%), and 50% of families were couples living without children.
Runaway Bay's census populations have been: