After hearing that the 2018 Commonwealth Games would be hosted in Australia long before we had moved here, we had often talked about trying to buy tickets nearer the time. However, being so busy with our life in Sydney, we managed to completely forget until just a few weeks before the opening ceremony, when the hype around the Games began to build in the Australian media.
Never ones to miss out on such a big event, we decided to book a very last minute trip to the Gold Coast, which had won the privilege of hosting the games. Unfortunately, there was a limited choice of event tickets remaining, however we did manage to purchase some of the few remaining for the Squash Doubles semi-finals. With both of us enjoying the occasional game of squash, we were keen to see the experts in action, and more importantly how you get four people on such a small court!
After finishing work on the Friday night, we went straight to the airport, and took the short 90 minute flight north to the Gold Coast, ready for an early start on the Saturday morning.
The squash courts were actually located a short train journey out of the city at the Village Roadshow film studios, which are one of just three film studios in Australia. The studios are in the suburb of Oxenford, which is also home to several large theme parks.
We arrived early enough to grab a drink and check out the competitions previous results, and semi-final lineup. First up for the Men’s competition was an all English affair, while there was also English representatives in one of the Women’s game.
We made our way into the arena, and took our seats ready for the beginning of the days action. The converted sound stage made for a great arena, with the court contained within a glass box not dissimilar to the TV show The Cube, ensuring the view from any of the temporary seats was excellent.
While all of the semi-finals were great to watch, the stand out match was definitely the epic 86 minute all-English contest, which was won by Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller who were unlucky to only take home a silver medal from the following days final.
After a great morning of watching some very competitive squash, we made our way to Surfers Paradise, the slightly trashy centre of the Gold Coast which is extremely popular especially with younger holidaymakers, with its mix of shopping, restaurants and nightlife, not to mention its beautiful beach.
Deciding to avoid the crowds, we spent a relaxing few hours on the beach before making our way to the SkyPoint Observation Deck just in time for sunset. The observation deck is located on the 77th floor of the Q1 Building, which is one of the worlds tallest residential buildings.
At 230m above sea level, we were far above most of the high-rise hotels that dominate the Gold Coast skyline, and the panoramic views both along the coast and inland towards Mount Tamberine were stunning. After wandering around the deck several times, we made our way to the bar and carefully picked our table before watching the sun setting behind the mountains.
We followed this with some great food from the very popular Bettie’s Burgers, before making our way to Broadbeach where we finished the day watching some more of the Games on the big screen, in the purpose built fan zone.
We were staying in a great beachside apartment in the beautiful suburb of Miami, and on Sunday morning we decided to take full advantage, setting our alarms for 5.30am and making the 30 second journey (literally!) across to the beach just in time for sunrise.
We were soon joined by some early-morning surfers, and with the ocean being a little warmer this far north, we felt brave enough to follow them into the water for a quick swim.
Our apartment also happened to be on the marathon course, which was scheduled for later on the Sunday morning. While we were able to stay long enough to watch the leaders of wheelchair races whizzing past, unfortunately we had to leave for the airport just before the main Men’s and Women’s races made it as far as Miami.
Missing the marathon was the only slight disappointment of what was an excellent weekend. It was great to be able to experience some of the Commonwealth Games, and we couldn’t think of a more suitable host city than the Gold Coast, with its great weather and long stretches of beautiful beaches. Birmingham 2022 certainly has a lot to live up to!