The smorgasbord of world-class sporting spectacles is the biggest attraction on the Gold Coast between 4-15 April, including 18 different sports and the biggest para-sport program the Comm Games has ever seen. Big-ticket items — like Sally Pearson’s dash for 100m hurdles gold or the netball gold medal game — go for a premium but there’s a stack of affordable events for spectators who just want to get into the spirit of things, with tickets starting at just $20 for adults and $10 for kids. Who knows, you might just discover your new favourite Jamaican gymnast or Bangladeshi boxer.
Want to catch a glimpse of the sporting action without having to open your wallet? Catch the triathlon, marathon, road cycling or race walking for free. A carnival atmosphere will grip the streets when these distance events showcase the Gold Coast’s coastal splendour, particularly the triathlon, which is one of the prestige events on the very first day of competition on Thursday 5 April. Head to Southport Broadwater Parklands for the triathlon and marathon, and the Currumbin Beachfront for the road cycling and race walks.
You can run alongside the actual marathon runners as they’re charging towards the Carrara Stadium finish line on a 5km section of the competition track — and don’t worry, you can jog it at a slower pace than the pros are going. On the final day of the Comm Games, Sunday 15 April, 6600 runners will run a loop of the marathon route starting and finishing at the Southport Broadwater Parklands, which is the start line of the real race.
The action isn’t totally confined to the sporting arena, with a 12-day cultural event entertaining visitors during the Comm Games, too. Festival 2018 is an arts and culture program that brings together theatre productions, renowned musicians, dance and physical performances, world-class visual arts and Indigenous cultural celebrations to public places, parks and beaches around the Goldie. The best bit? It’s free! Stay tuned to the Gold Coast 2018 website for the full program as it’s released.
Queen’s Baton Relay
The Queen’s Baton — the Comm Games version of the Olympic Torch — set off from Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day, 13 March 2017, and will roll in to Carrara Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on April 4. Its route from London to the host city will be the longest ever — travelling 230,000km through Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania — and you can see the Baton en route to its final destination on the Gold Coast.
Those distance events will showcase the Gold Coast at its sparkling best, spanning the golden stretch of coastline from Southport in the north to Coolangatta in the south. And April isn’t too late to enjoy iconic beaches like Currumbin, Kirri, Palm, Surfers, Main and Broadbeach for yourself. Make sure you add Coolangatta to your itinerary — the Gold Coast’s best surf break is also hosting the beach volleyball, which makes its debut at this year’s Comm Games.
The Goldie’s big tourist drawcards don’t disappear just because some of the world’s best athletes come to town. Dreamworld is the biggest amusement park of all of them, home to 40 attractions including five adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters, while aquatic wonderland Sea World, film-themed Warner Bros. Movie World, and Australia’s premier water park Wet ’n’ Wild are all great places to visit, too.
Beaches aren’t the only breathtaking natural feature of the region, and amusement parks aren’t the only parks waiting to thrill visitors. The Gold Coast boasts more than 100,000 hectares of World Heritage-listed rainforest to explore — the rich diversity of flora and fauna and impossibly Instagrammable Natural Bridge cave and waterfall in Springbrook National Park is a must-see, and don’t miss Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a hub of native Aussie animals secluded in the lush Gold Coast hinterland.