Gold Coast Airport

Gold Coast Airport is the gateway to some of Australia’s premier tourist and leisure destinations, welcoming in excess of 6.5 million passengers per year – a number that is set to exceed 10 million by the end of the decade.

To meet these demands in capacity and deliver an enhanced passenger experience, a new wayfinding and passenger experience strategy was developed as part of the Southern Terminal Expansion (STE) project. Valued at $260 million AUD and comprising 30,000m2, the project presents the most significant upgrade in the airport’s history. The redevelopment features an expanded three-storey terminal incorporating new shops, cafes, upgraded passenger facilities, lounge areas, border control facilities, 4 glass aerobridges, and 6 new gates.


In collaboration with HASSELL, Maynard were engaged to develop a new wayfinding and signage system for the extensive Southern Terminal Expansion (STE) project. Located between the Gold Coast hinterland and the coastline, the airport sits in a ‘transition zone’ between the mountains and the ocean. A key feature of the architectural development is an expansive departure lounge and an open, light-filled terminal that captures views to the surrounding landscape.

The signage system sought to complement the architectural features and contribute to a distinct sense of place through carefully defined datums and mounting heights that enhance the open views to the hinterland; utilising materials and colours designed to celebrate all that is great about the Gold Coast region.

The new wayfinding system is designed to reflect the ‘laid-back’ and relaxed nature that characterises the region, while supporting the projected increases in demand and capacity. The sense of local character is celebrated through the use of native hardwood timber, commonly grown in the surrounding coastal regions. The material is applied as an accent throughout the wayfinding product design, imparting a sense of warmth and character while enhancing connection to place.

Acknowledging the airport’s status as a primary gateway to the region and a key link to Asia, the wayfinding employs a fully tri-lingual information system that seamlessly incorporates English alongside Simplified Chinese, and Japanese. The importance of clear and intuitive communication to an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse audience is complemented by a suite of bespoke pictograms, which support the identification of all primary destinations and airport facilities.

Passenger Experience

A key operational challenge was presented in the use of swing gates, designed to maximise flexibility for International and Domestic operations across the terminal. The wayfinding system supports this function through the use of ‘switchable’ signs, which can adapt to display different messages in a variety of operational modes.

The terminal expansion officially opened in September 2022, and is now welcoming visitors from all over the globe. The delivery of an enhanced passenger experience for Gold Coast Airport marks an important milestone in the ongoing growth of the region following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lead-up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.