Cue the lights and fire up the national anthem, with less than 30 days until Queensland plays host to the biggest event to be staged in Australia in a decade, there's a few things you need to know about the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (April 4 – 15, 2018). The good news is that tickets and accommodation are still available. So, ditch the overseas plans, drop the kids' inheritance and get yourself ringside for the friendliest sporting event at Australia's favourite surfside playground. Before you go, check out these 10 things to make your Games go further.
- There's a free arts and culture extravaganza as impressive as the Games themselves. Imagine going on a holiday and getting 12 days of diverse entertainment featuring more than 1440 artists from 50 countries for FREE. Yessiree, musical giants including Yothu Yindi, The Cat Empire and Amy Shark will perform alongside musical seesaws, an urban circus, a silent disco and non-stop performances. Festival 2018 will piece together 35 world, and 15 Australian premieres over four cities (Gold Coast, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns). For the full program see: gc2018.com/festival2018
- Tickets are still available. Getting a ticket now to the men's 1500m freestyle final may be as hard as getting the sixth winning number in Powerball, but there are still heaps of tickets available at some of the most extraordinary events such as the para powerlifting, hockey, shooting and wrestling. And some are as cheap as $20. Check it out here.
- FREE travel Download the GC2018 App and go to the journey planner or find it all here. Just plug in the event and your starting point, and genius folks behind the app will take your planning pain away. Remember to show your Games ticket and all public transport on Translink's South East Queensland network to and from GC2018 venues is FREE.
- Save on parking and ride the new G-link. The best way to holiday around the coast over the Games is the new 20-kilometre G-link light rail connecting Helensvale Station seamlessly to (Brisbane and) Broadbeach. So, leave the car behind, load up the Go Card and explore the Gold Coast's fantastic tourist attractions. Prices per ride start from $3.25 and Go Cards can be purchased at more than 500 outlets including 7Eleven stores and Queensland Rail. See here.
- Watch it for free: You can bask in the vibe for free, including along the marathon run on the iconic Esplanade at Surfers Paradise; the road race walkers going heel-toe along the pretty beachfront at Currumbin and road cyclists racing the clock in the time trial through the lush green Gold Coast Hinterland. All you do is line up and see it whizz by. Check out the routes for these here.
- See the city in action …. from the sky: Have a holiday with high hopes and track along the spectacular coastline by helicopter to get a bird's eye view as to how the Gold Coast has shaped up thanks to billions of dollars of investment ahead of the Games. Spot the sporting venues and the crowds while you are at it. Prices start from $69 per person with Sea World Helicopters.
- Rock up to a roadside location and eyeball the world's greatest sporting champs: Support Glynis Nunn-Cearns, Trevor Hendy, Brooke Hanson, Sally Pearson and dozens of other sporting greats as they carry the prestigious Queen's Baton Relay towards the April 4 Opening Ceremony. In the final countdown, the stars just get bigger and bigger. For a street-by-street route, click here.
- Take a caffeine hit with the best man on two wheels: Robbie McEwen won three Tour de France green jerseys and represented Australia at three Olympic Games. You won't see him in competitive action, but you can meet him churning out winning coffees at his own Miami café, Piccolo Espresso. For four bucks, rub shoulders with one of the Gold Coast's champion any time.
- Chew with a games view: Some of the best seats could be just a restaurant reservation away. Events including the men's, women's and para marathons, the road cycling and the road race walk will go past some of the Coast's coolest cafes and restaurants and within shouting distance of numerous beachside bars and sun-drenched watering holes. Here's a few to choose from for the Marathon (Sunday, April 15, 6.10am – noon)
- Charis Seafood W: http://www.charisseafood.com.au/ Eat where the locals get their seafood. As the Games athletes are sweating it out right in front of you, you can chill out with your own feast of some of the best seafood on the Gold Coast.
- Three 60 bar and restaurant, Grand Hotel W: thegrandhotel.com.au With uninterrupted views across the Broadwater, patrons can choose from the large breakfast menu as the marathon runners go past twice on their way to and from the northern turnaround of the 42km course at Runaway Bay
- Seaduction Restaurant + Bar W: http://www.seaduction.com.au/ This six-star dining experience, where local seasonal produce is showcased in innovative dishes, will be one of the hottest tickets in town to watch athletes first heading south and then in the final kilometres to the finish line.
- Burleigh Heads Hotel W: https://www.burleighheadshotel.com.au/ View the southern turnaround of the men's, women's and para marathons (the action takes place right in front of their footpath tables).
- Roll like a champion for less than the price of a pizza: Broadbeach Bowls Club will be the home for the Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls competition. Clearly this iconic club will be off limits for a Sunday arvo sesh, but there's plenty of places to get your whites on the green for some barefoot bowls.
So that folks, is how you can make the best of your GC2018 holiday action. Happy watching!
For more information on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™:
Tickets are still available. For more information or to purchase tickets head to http://gc2018.com
For images of Queensland and GC2018-related activities, go to:
For more information on holidays in Queensland and on the Gold Coast, and Games time accommodation options, go to: