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11 (almost) free things to do during the Commonwealth Games

How to make the most of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games without breaking the bank

Heading to Australia for the action and excitement of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018)? While it may be the Australia’s biggest sporting spectacular of the decade, you’ll also be able to enjoy the huge range of free activities that will light up the Gold Coast throughout the Games.

From free world-class festivals, events, installations to public screenings of sporting events, there will be surprises and delights for all ages to ensure that the spirit and magic of the Games goes beyond the stadium. Here are the top free things to do.

Queen's Baton Relay

Queen’s Baton Relay, Gold Coast, Queensland

Be a part of the Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity and catch the iconic Queen’s Baton Relay in the Gold Coast from 1 to 4 April 2018 while it passes Surfer’s Paradise, Griffith University, Main Beach on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games marks 60 years of this tradition, so join everyone and cheer on the baton bearers as they run with this historic baton.

Free spectator events

Explore the breath-taking Gold Coast and watch four high-profile GC2018 gold medal events for free. The Road Cycling, Cycling Time Trial, the Marathon and Race Walk will be held at various areas that show the beauty of the Gold Coast such as the Currumbin Beachfront and Southport Broadwater Parklands. 

Bleach* Festival – Gold Coast

Bleach* Festival 2018, Gold Coast, Queensland

The Gold Coast’s annual Bleach* Festival will join forces with Festival 2018 to present its most thought-provoking program to date, and showcase the region’s incredible arts and cultural scene. Bleach* Festival will run from 29 March to 15 April and will extend festival programming across the coast, from Coomera to Coolangatta.

Festival 2018

Festival 2018 will be held across 12 days in April alongside GC2018. It will feature a mix of highly acclaimed theatrical productions, world-class musicians, breathtaking dance and physical theatre pieces, striking visual art and traditional Indigenous arts. The dynamic program will see 100 installations pop up across 20 locations across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville. 


NightQuarter, Street Performers, Gold Coast

Food, music and culture merge at the Gold Coast’s iconic NightQuarter a market space with over 60 street-food style outlets and a unique live music venue in the northern suburb of Helensvale. Open from midday to 9pm during GC2018, the food program will be complemented by a cultural program of local and international musicians from around the Commonwealth. Access with a small $3 entry fee for adults and kids 12 and under have free entry.

LiveSites and celebration zones

With the whole city set to come alive at Games time, the Gold Coast will host four free LiveSite hubs showcasing art, design, music, performance, community fun and sporting entertainment. The celebration zones will be a great place to chill between ticketed events. You can also watch some of the live sports that will be broadcast on the big screens alongside cultural performances and activities. 

Watch a sunrise and sunset from a Gold Coast lookout

Currumbin Surfers Sunrise, Gold Coast, Queensland

Grab a coffee or smoothie and drink in an awe-inspiring beach sunrise at Nobby’s Beach, Surfers Paradise or The Southport Spit. Take an Insta-worthy sunrise or sunset shot of the Gold Coast skyline from Broadbeach, Currumbin Rocks or Tumgun Lookout, Burleigh Headlands. For the more adventurous, live the surfer’s dream and watch a sunrise or sunset from the water.

Follow the Games' mascot – Borobi Fan Trail – Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is known for its beautiful coastal and national park walks. Follow in Borobi’s footsteps for epic views of the Gold Coast. Walk or cycle past famous sporting venues and explore the GC2018 Marathon route and celebration zones at Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Pick up a Borobi Fan Trail Map when you arrive to start exploring. 

Window shop the markets

Surfers Paradise Night Markets, Gold Coast, Queensland

Shopping outdoors is a breeze, especially in a city that boasts 300 days of sunshine each year. Soak up the colour and discover local fashion, food and music at one of the many Gold Coast markets. For local made threads or handmade crafts visit the Burleigh Common or Village Markets. Find yourself a bargain at the Carra Markets boasting over 500 stalls, or soak up coastal vibes at Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets. To see what the locals eat visit Burleigh or Miami Farmers Markets or explore the local’s favourite, the Miami Marketta, Gold Coast’s street food market.

Reconnect mind, body and soul in stunning waterways

With over 57 kilometres of ocean-kissed coastline and beaches patrolled year-round, the Gold Coast is a water lover’s paradise. Live oceanside for the week and let coastal vibes and daily dips soothe your soul. If salt water isn’t your thing, take a dip in the Currumbin Rockpools, one of the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets. The rockpools are only a 40-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and the perfect spot for a freshwater swim and picnic on a grassy riverbank. Close by, Cougal Cascades in the Currumbin Valley offer free access, a natural waterslide and crystal-clear waters. Springbrook National Park is a bucket-list destination for waterfall chasing. Marvel at the natural spectacle of Twin Falls or keep fit with a four-kilometre round circuit rainforest hike to Purling Brook Falls. 

Gold Coast City Gallery

There is always something new and interesting to see at the Gold Coast City Gallery, which is moving to its new home at the Cultural Precinct before GC2018. Enjoy free entry to the region’s culture and creativity hub and meander through a collection of more than 4,000 significant contemporary and traditional art works.

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