Gaming the Gold Coast

It may have passed you by, but here’s the heads-up: the Commonwealth Games are coming to Australia and will be held in style on Queensland’s glamorous Gold Coast in 2018. For those of you looking to be there to see some of the world’s best athletes compete, it’s important to start planning now.

While the games aren’t actually here until April 4-15, 2018 expressions of interest opened for first round allocations of games tickets on April 24, 2017. Allocation of some tickets such as the opening ceremony, swimming finals and some athletics events will be by ballot.

Tickets to some events will be as cheap as $10 for children and $20 for adults. And 80 per cent of tickets will be $80 or less with all tickets including public transport to and from the venues.

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The Commonwealth Games are a perfect opportunity to check out the spectacular beaches of the Gold Coast

In order to make it fair for everyone, tickets for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will initially be available via a Ticket Request phase that commenced at midday on April 24 and runs for four weeks.

So you have until 11.59pm (AEST) on Monday 22 May 2017 to go into the first round of allocations of tickets. Any tickets left over will go on general sale in July 2017.

If there are more requests for a session than there are tickets available, a computer will randomly select orders. Visit here for ticket details.

Several games events will be free to watch. These include the men’s and women’s marathon, the road race walk, the road cycling events and sections of the triathlon.

Big Event
More than 6600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories will come to Australia to share in the excitement of GC2018. It will be the largest event to be staged in Australia this decade and the first time the games have taken place in a regional centre. It will be broadcast to a worldwide television audience of more than 1.5 billion.

Four new venues are being built and 12 existing venues will be upgraded for GC2018. Venues already opened and being used include Southport Aquatic Centre, Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, Broadbeach Bowls Club, Anna Meares Velodrome at Chandler, and the Rifle Range at Belmont.

Other venues to be used include Carrara Stadium, GC Convention Centre and Oxenford Studios (its sound stage, the biggest in the southern hemisphere, will be converted into arenas for boxing, squash and table tennis).

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The new aquatic centre for GC2018 is situated in a prime beachside position

Sports
Beach Volleyball will make its Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast.

The full list of participating sports are: athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling (mountain bike, road race, time trial, track), diving, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), hockey, lawn bowls, marathon, netball, powerlifting, race walk, rugby sevens, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.

The Opening Ceremony tickets cost from $100 to $495 ($50 for children 16 and under) and the Closing Ceremony $70 to $350 ($35 for children).

Want to stay longer?
If you fancy an extrended trip, there are also some new attractions and tours coming to the Gold Coast.

Holoverse is a family fun facility at Southport that is a world-first. It has 40 individual rooms that offer amazing hologram experiences, including soaring over the Gold Coast and between the Surfers Paradise skyscrapers.

Users don special glasses, a waistband and wand as they trek through African jungle, spear apples, dive under the water, fly over mountains and smash down a rock wall with a pickaxe in a 20-minute surround experience that defies the senses.

KDV Sports is a $20 million complex in one of the Gold Coast’s newest sporting facilities. Although it has nothing to do with the Commonwealth Games, it is just across the road from the main stadium at Carrara.

Built by a Russian multi-millionaire who made his money importing chocolate, KDV Sports provides top-class golf and tennis facilities for high-performance athletes and the public.

There is a 12-hole golf course, 40 driving range bays over two levels, computer swing analysis, an 18-hole mini golf course, 20 tennis courts (including eight clay courts), 3 Padel courts (a fun cross between squash and tennis), an 85-seat restaurant and two function rooms. A 72-room student campus and two playing fields are set to be completed in Stage Two in late 2017.

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The Burleigh Headland is the site of the 'Heart of the Gold Coast' tour, offering an authentic experience of Indigenous culture

Heart of the Gold Coast Tour combines several experiences. The Jellurgal Cultural Centre, Kayak the Gold Coast and David Fleay Wildlife Park have partnered to introduce a ‘Heart of the Gold Coast’ half-day tour transporting visitors from the subtropical Burleigh Headland all the way back to Queensland’s Dreamtime.

Starting at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Information Centre, a local Indigenous guide leads guests up the Dreaming Mountain to discover the origin of Ochre and the importance of local flora, before stopping for a jaw-dropping view of Palm Beach to Coolangatta.

Next, kayak along the Tallebudgera Creek wetlands and arrive on the banks of wildlife’s front door for encounters with koalas, kangaroos, platypus and nocturnal creatures at the David Fleay Wildlife Park.

Running on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the half-day tour is priced at $119 for adults and $99 for kids.

Lego Store at Dreamworld life-size Stormtroopers and a seven-foot Hulk guard the flagship store, while 20 ‘brick specialist’ employees assist in customising your own LEGO set.

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Three time Paralympic gold medallist and GC2018 ambassador Kurt Fearnley revealed the design for the Queen's Baton

The range equates to two Olympic swimming pools full of LEGO, and is home to a two by three metre LEGO mosaic, stations for kids to make their own minifigures, and the world-famous LEGO ‘Pick a Brick’ wall. This is the first official LEGO Store in Australia and the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The baton relay
On March 13, 2017 the Queen put her Games message inside the Baton and the first runner in the relay headed out of Buckingham Palace. It will visit 70 Commonwealth countries before arriving in Australia on Christmas Eve 2017.

The intricately carved and innovative baton features a number of inspirations from across Queensland and has the names of all Commonwealth member nations engraved along the spine.

Wait, there’s more
There will be a wide range of arts and cultural events to be held in conjunction with GC2018, including concerts and live music. Each of the surf clubs is aligning itself with a specific participating country.

Surfboards are the motif and there’s also a strong Indigenous theme. Indeed, in a first for Australian events, GC2018 will deliver a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which will contribute towards creating meaningful outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through reconciliation-focused activities.

Which event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games excites you the most?

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