As host to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), Australia’s Gold Coast, in the sunshine state of Queensland, is in full throttle with preparations to welcome more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories to its sunny shores.
GC2018 takes place from April 4 to 15 with 23 sports including athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, diving, gymnastics, swimming and triathlon among others.
The official tagline of the Games “Share the Dream” invites all — whether athlete, sports enthusiast or local Goldie resident — to show support for the 12-day sporting event on social media channels using the hashtag #SHARETHEDREAM.
Catch the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games live
Stand a chance to win a 4D3N trip for two worth $4,500 to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games to catch the diving finals and the Closing Ceremony. Flights and accommodation are included.
In 50 words or less, tell us why you deserve to win this trip.
The contest is open from now till March 4. Winners will be selected at random on March 6
Click here to submit your entry.
Terms and conditions apply.
As the countdown towards the biggest sporting event in Australia this decade continues, there is no better time to visit and experience the best of its great outdoors — with 56km of inviting coastline or the rich biodiversity of its hinterlands to explore in perfect weather.
Whether you are a GC2018 athlete, an active traveller always on the move or the intrepid explorer keen on checking things off your bucket list, the Gold Coast offers activities from running and surfing to cycling and hiking.
Run like the wind
The flat and picturesque roads of the Gold Coast are a dream for runners.
Which is why the newly announced marathon course for GC2018 takes place along the coast, passing by landmarks such as Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach to Burleigh Heads and back.
This route mirrors much of the annual Gold Coast Marathon, one of the most popular in the international running community for having one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world, allowing many to hit their personal best.
Its 40th edition takes place on June 30 and July 1 and is set to attract 25,000 participants from over 50 countries. Last year, there were nearly 400 registrations from Singapore.
Runners enjoy the low humidity and mild temperatures of a Queensland winter as well as its fantastic beach-view route.
Besides the marathon, there are many scenic routes to run on the Gold Coast too.
Professional triathlete Adam Gordon recommends the Southport Seaway Trail, an easy, scenic 5km along the coastline up to The Spit, north of Main Beach and a popular spot for picnics and boating.
Millionaire’s Row or Hedges Avenue, a famous stretch with fancy beachfront houses, and down in Nobby Beach in Burleigh, which boasts many boutique bars and restaurants, also make for picturesque jogging routes.
Catch some waves
If you are eager to catch some waves, autumn and winter make for the best surfing conditions.
A 16km stretch of Gold Coast’s beaches was officially declared the eighth World Surfing Reserve in 2016.
Surf in the big leagues at southernmost suburb of Coolangatha. The 2km sand bank at Snapper Rocks are a draw for top surfers, while Kirra is a hot favourite among the international community. Duranbah with its strong rips is best left for the fearless.
Beginners can learn the ropes at Currumbin Alley, touted as the most learner-friendly location, at the Currumbin Alley Surf School established since 1993; or Greenmount Beach, great for its long, mellow waves and its easy access from Marine Parade.
Take to the water
Apart from surfing, the Gold Coast’s beaches are perfect for swimming too.
Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads are the most well known, but there are also other spots off the tourist trail.
Gold Coast resident and culture enthusiast Samantha Morris recommends Margaret Avenue, a patrolled beach off Broadbeach’s cafés, that is surrounded by forest and cycling paths.
Beaches are not the only place you can swim at.
Creeks and rivers are natural alternatives too, such as the swimming enclosure at Broadwater Parklands, Evandale lagoon near Surfers Paradise, and Tallebudgera Creek in Burleigh National Park, where you may even see some dolphins, stingrays and other marine animals.
Go for a ride
Avid cyclists will be eager to take on the flat paths along the beachfront or hilly trails the Gold Coast hinterland offers.
It is easy and safe to cycle between neighbourhoods as there are over 1,000km of bicycle paths linking major areas.
The Oceanway Ride cycling event, which takes place in September, offers routes for beginners and experienced cyclists with a 55km journey from Surfers Paradise to Point Danger and a 102km journey to the summit Gran Fondo.
One of the best beachfront rides is the Darren Smith Memorial Route, named after the Olympic cyclist, a 48km route from Point Danger to Paradise Point.
For scenery of a greener nature, you can go for a 60km ride within the hinterland in Currumbin Valley, the go-to for former Australian pro cyclist Robbie McEwen and winner of over 200 professional races.
He likes it for its gradual, winding climb with landmarks such as the cooling Currumbin Valley Rock Pool and the Springbrook National Park entrance at the end, where you can then head to the creek within.
For cyclists who like a challenge, the 20km Springbrook climb takes you up to an altitude of 1,000m. Cycle through shaded rainforest to the top for that rewarding view of the coast, aptly named the Best of All Lookout.
There is also the 43km Mount Tamborine Loop that takes you past the famous Albert River Wines vineyard, as well as the 60.6km loop of Hinze Dam passing by waterfalls and Numinbah State Forest.
Headrush of fun
Other than sports, there are other leisure activities that can get your heart-pumping and adrenaline racing.
While the pro athletes are off competing to win championships for their countries, take the chance to set your personal goals and push your limits by going skydiving.
Gold Coast skydive is the only operator in the city and offers tandem skydiving.
You will take off from Gold Coast Airport on a 20-minute flight and see the beautiful coastline unfolding below. Once the plane reaches 12,000ft (3,700m) high, take the plunge and free-fall for about 45 seconds, reaching speeds of up to 200kmh before the instructor deploys the parachute. Enjoy the spectacular bird's eye view of the surroundings as you glide down to Kirra Beach.
If jumping out of an airplane and hurtling through the air is not for you, reach new highs at SkyPoint Climb, the Gold Coast’s highest external building climb at 270m, and take in the expansive views of the coast, city and lush hinterland.
You can even climb in the evening to catch the sunset or at night. A bistro and bar await at the top.
A different kind of adrenaline rush is in store at Warner Bros. Movie World. The newest addition to the theme park is the DC Rivals HyperCoaster — known for being the most extreme in the Southern Hemisphere — travels up to a speed of 115km/h and reaches a maximum height of 61.6m with a 85-degree drop.
If you haven’t had your fill of thrills, there are seven other extreme rides in the park as well or you can take it easy at the family-friendly and kids rides.
Visit Tourism and Events Queensland for more information.