There’s horses for courses and golf courses too in the Gold Coast’s colourful calendar of events that pumps like a beating heart throughout the year in this destination. Expect festivals which celebrate the surf, sand and life saving culture, rock and roll, a touch of nostalgia and outdoor sports galore.
January: Jeep Magic Millions Carnival
The Who’s Who of the Gold Coast glitterati and Australia’s racing industry flock to the Magic Millions each year for both the champion horses and the chance to be seen. Every January, the yearling sale attracts international and national buyers in the market for a champion race horse.
February: RACV Ladies Masters
One of the most prestigious events on the women’s golf circuit, the RACV Ladies Masters is co-sanctioned by the Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour. More than 140 female players from more than 20 countries are attracted to this world-class course.
March: Bleach Festival
Fifty events over 17 days in dozens of locations sums up Bleach Festival which is designed to celebrate the beach and beyond. From street parties and picnics to live music, pop-up art and outdoor film programs, this is Gold Coast art and culture at its best.
March: Quicksilver Pro and Roxy Pro
All the big names in men and women’s surfing migrate to the southern Gold Coast at this event which boasts a $500,000 prize purse. Taking advantage of Snapper Rock’s custom-built sandbar and right-hand barrels, the likes of Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore can be found here.
March / April: Byron Bay Bluesfest
One of the most coveted tickets on the calendar, the Byron Bay Bluesfest is considered Australia’s premier blues and roots festival. Expect 200 performances on seven stages, five licensed bars and more than 100 food and market stalls at this event which attracts more than 100,000 people.
June: Cooly Rocks On
Lovers of nostalgia live for Australia’s largest festival celebrating the 50s and 60s and staged at Coolangatta. More than 1000 hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles line the southern Gold Coast streets during this festival which is all about rock ‘n roll, rockabilly, and swing.
July: Gold Coast Airport Marathon
Considered one of the hottest races on the Australian marathon calendar, this fast and flat course is renowned for its beautiful scenery along beaches and the Broadwater. More than 27,000 participants compete in a variety of events including the Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon and ASICS Half Marathon.
July: Viva Surfers Paradise
Ten days of free concerts and Elvis impersonators galore form the trademarks of this event which pays homage to the world’s music legends. All the greats make an appearance including Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison and the best Elvis is sent to Memphis Tennessee.
October: Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold
Thirty years ago former Australian Ironman Grant Kenny starred in a movie called Coolangatta Gold. Since then, this real-life race has become one of the nation’s most prestigious sporting events combining swimming, running, paddle boarding and surf skiing in a 33.6km short course and 41.8km long course race.
December: Australian PGA Championship
Male golfing champions such as Greg Chalmers, Adam Scott, Robert Allenby and Peter Senior have all graced the RACV Royal Pines Golf Course which hosts this event attracting a whopping $1.75 million prize pool. Golfing greats love this course for its tight fairways and undulating greens.