GOLDEN YEAR

For those with an ap­petite for fun, the Gold Coast says, ‘bring it on’

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION GOLD COAST - HOLLY BYRNES

You’ve come a long way, baby. It’s been six years since “Goldie” won its bid to host the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games and in that time the city has cer­tainly changed. As con­struc­tion crews built venues and vil­lages there were also cre­ative forces at work as de­sign­ers and ar­ti­sans shaped new spa­ces for din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment.

And while the tourism strip along Cav­ill Av­enue still de­liv­ers a kitsch post­card, those with an ap­petite for some­thing modern, quirky or luxe have plenty to choose from.

Along its 57km stretch of coast­line from The Spit to Coolan­gatta, the Gold Coast is all grown up.

AND WE’RE RAC­ING

If 2018 is the un­of­fi­cial in­ter­na­tional year of the Gold Coast, the party starts with the Magic Mil­lions Car­ni­val (Jan­uary 7-13).

This equine event has evolved from a year­ling sale and race day, mostly at­tended by in­dus­try in­sid­ers, to a week-long car­ni­val which at­tracts celebri­ties and high-fly­ers of en­ter­tain­ment, sport and busi­ness as well as some of the world’s rich­est horse breed­ers, buy­ers and train­ers.

The 2018 car­ni­val launches with the Pa­cific Fair Magic Mil­lions Polo at The Spit on Jan­uary 7. Bring a pic­nic rug and a packed lunch for gen­eral ad­mis­sion tick­ets (adults $35 and chil­dren un­der 15 free). For cock­tails, cater­ing and comfy fur­ni­ture, choose one of three pavil­ions (tick­ets $100$350 a per­son). Go all out in the VIP Mar­quee ($3750 for a ta­ble of 10) and you can join the buf­fet queue with celebs, rac­ing roy­alty and real roy­als. Magic Mil­lions am­bas­sadors in­clude Bri­tish eques­trian Zara Phillips (the Queen’s grand­daugh­ter) and her hus­band, World Cup rugby union champ Mike Tin­dall.

On the polo field, Aus­tralia’s famed Archibald broth­ers –Rob, Ed and Jack – will square off against Ar­gentina’s cham­pion, Na­cho Figueras. He is a star in US polo cir­cles but to most peo­ple is known as the face of Ralph Lauren fra­grances.

There’s more car­ni­val buzz on Jan­uary 9 with a morn­ing ex­hi­bi­tion race and bar­rier draw on the Surfers Par­adise fore­shore, where start­ing spots are drawn for the $2 mil­lion Magic Mil­lions 2YO Clas­sic and the $2 mil­lion Gold Coast Magic Mil­lions Guineas on Race­day, Jan­uary 13. The nine-race event plus Fash­ions on the Field now at­tracts more than 20,000 peo­ple to the Gold Coast Turf Club (gen­eral ad­mis­sion tick­ets $40).

QT HO­TEL 7 STAGHORN AVE, SURFERS PAR­ADISE

Step into the lobby of this retro­fab­u­lous ho­tel and its ap­peal to an in­cred­i­bly di­verse mar­ket of peo­ple is

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