As one of the most naturally striking beaches and prominent holiday destinations in Australia, the Gold Coast has the reputation of a party city with a notorious mix of huge waves by day and long, boozy karaoke sessions by night.
While the city is generally considered a one-stop-shop for every 18 year old sucking down their own weight in UDLs during Schoolies week, and is known fondly to buck’s party and hen’s night revellers staggering from seedy strippos to greasy kebab shops en masse, it’s perhaps lesser known trait is that it’s also a veritable hubbub of sporting excellence, with many of our greatest Olympian athletes calling the city home, and with obvious reason.
Though many only visit once, the Gold Coast has a new feather in it’s cap, one which should compel every Australian to make the trip next year, as it hosts the largest sporting event in Australia since the Sydney Olympics back in 2000.
The Commonwealth games, like all great sporting affairs, happens once every four years, and is host to a raft of events, battled out by countries still residing within the sovereignty of Mother Britain, or by voluntary membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth comprises some 2.3 billion people from 52 nations including the UK, Canada, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and, of course, our own wide brown land. That’s a huge amount of people from a broad set of countries, some of which are famed for individual sports in their own right and will certainly be a force with which to be reckoned come April 4, 2018. Some of these nations are already known for producing great Olympians, and the Commonwealth Games will be a sea of familiar faces for all sporting fans.
With one-year-to-go celebrations kicking off today, the city is abuzz with life and excitement. Borobi, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mascot, is seen everywhere – plastered across windows and car bumpers and in plush-toy form, in the hands of keen visitors.
Ticket sales begin today also, with prices starting as low as $20 for adults and $10 for kids – a clever tactic by organisers to keep these games inclusive and accessible to everybody who wants to take part.
The venues are almost finished construction too, with the homes of all 23 different sporting categories tactfully spread out through the city’s busy centre and out to the suburbs, with a few events taking place in neighbouring Brisbane and also Townsville and Cairns further up north, making this a truly immersive tourism event for Queensland, putting the sunshine state on the international map in an indelible format.
Whether you’re a fan of athletics, cycling, boxing or shooting, the games are set out to entertain as well as determine champions, with something for everybody, all the while offering a bevy of tourist events for travellers to enjoy in between bouts, matches, races or heats.
A short stroll away from Caville Ave (if you can tear yourself away from the feast of wonders that is) and you’ll find yourself with a to-do list that’ll keep you and your’s entertained for a very long time. One suggestion is the indoor skydiving on offer at iFly – much more fun and exciting than you might be inclined to initially assume – or for the petrolheads, the V8 Supercar Experience at the Norwell circuit is about as much fun as you can have behind the wheel of a high-powered vehicle without landing yourself in front of a magistrate.
While the drawcard of the next year is certainly going to be the games themselves, the rest of the infamous GC which we’ve all come to love in our own special way feels a lot more adult than it once did, with more places to eat great food and sip craft beer. There’s still XXXX and Bundy wherever you roam, but also a huge number of, dare I say, more sophisticated options for you to choose from if you’re so inclined, paving the way for a new reputation – a new Gold Coast if you will.
With only one year to go, now’s the time to plan your next holiday and make sure you’re not left without tickets when the Queen’s Baton enters the stadium in 365 days.