The Commonwealth games is the major Australian sporting event of this decade – and it’s on right now. Lucky for you, there are still heaps of opportunities to get among the action. The opening ceremony is tonight, and the games will continue up until April 15, during this time, the whole of the Gold Coast will be firing on all cylinders – which makes it the perfect opportunity for a trip away with the mates. Think about it: You have outdoor activities, sports on every corner, an awesome food and beverage scene, and all this right up against some of the best beaches Australia has to offer.
The Commonwealth Games is Australia’s time to stand out from the crowd and flex that sporting nation muscle. As the host nation we will be looking to impress the home crowd in the usual fields, like swimming and cycling, as well as some of the newer sports in the schedule like beach volleyball and Rugby 7s.
Eleven of the 15 core teams in this year’s World Rugby seven’s series are Commonwealth nations. So you can expect to see fireworks at practically any of the games. And there are available tickets for some of the best matches. The Games' organisers are ensuring as many people as possible can be part of the action by setting low ticket prices for the events and free transport to and from stadiums on games’ days. The teams to watch will be Rio gold medallists Fiji, current World Series front-runners, South Africa and of course your home team – who are yet to have found their way to the top of any tournament since they started playing in 1993. Maybe this year will be the one?
Many of our famous Olympic gold medallists in the pool first broke their teeth at the Commonwealth Games. Thorpey smashed the competition in Kuala Lumpur, winning four golds at the young age of 15. Grant Hackett found similar success in the 1500m the same year. Stephanie Rice, Jodie Henry and Mack Horton, all similar stories – they racked up medals at the Commonwealth Games and went on to net Gold in the subsequent Olympics. There are still tickets available to swimming events, go and cheer on your local team.
Image: The Gold Coast in all its glory.
The Gold Coast is synonymous with sun and sand. No Games experience would be complete without checking out the beach volleyball, which will feature for the first time in 2018. The addition of the sport is said to have cost organisers $20M. The major costs include facilities for live broadcasting, transport to Coolangatta, security, staffing, the actual stadium itself which will seat approximately 5000 and also the sand – which has to adhere to strict standards. To ensure the Gold Coast sand is up to scratch samples were sent to an International Federation for Volleyball-approved laboratory in Toronto, Canada. Organisers were confident that the Gold Coast has some of the cleanest sand in the world, but it went through a range of tests for size and granularity. Five time national champion and managing director of Beach Volleyball Gold Coast, Brett Richardson believes that beach volleyball has the potential to be Australia’s national sport. “It’s everything about our lifestyle – sun, surf, sand – wrapped up in one sport,” says the the local champ. Just like the swimming you can still nab tickets to action.
It’s not only about the Games, though. The Gold Coast is fast expanding its offerings of luxury food and alcohol offerings. You can still get lost in the carnival-like atmosphere of Cavill Avenue in Surfer’s Paradise, it’s definitely a fun night out. Otherwise there are more “refined” ways to enjoy yourself, if that’s what you’re into. There’re hip café’s like the Hideaway Kitchen and Bar down on Broadbeach, great breweries with locally brewed drops and great bars that aren’t part of the main scene in Surfers, but are absolutely worth checking out. The best idea is to buy some tickets to some of the main sporting events with a couple of mates and stick around for the atmosphere, which will be unbeatable – just like our athletes.
For ticketing information and more, visit: tickets.gc2018.com
This article was made in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, for more info visit teq.queensland.com