Written by Jeni Bone
For devotees of the yachting lifestyle, there can be nothing closer to Nirvana than the smorgasbord of pleasures on offer at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, which this year runs from 23 to 26 May. Each year, pilgrims follow the winter sun to the Gold Coast of Queensland to immerse themselves in the vibrance and variety of the boating lifestyle.
Now in its 31st year, SCIBS 2019 is expected to attract more than 45,000 visitors, captivated by the allure of the luxury yachting lifestyle and all it entails. This year, all venues are at capacity and the list of world premieres and local launches is compelling enough to ensure that even seasoned boat show visitors will be tantalised.
There will be more than 300 exhibitors on land and water, with dozens of debuts from Australian and international boat brands, high-tech gear and gadgets, plenty of water toys, tenders, accessories and apparel, plus a heady blend of prestige automotive marques, helicopters from Hawker Pacific, a Cirrus Aircraft SF50 Vision Jet, and lashings of luxury lifestyle goods.
SCIBS is proud to welcome Bentley Brisbane & Bentley Gold Coast as major sponsors. Indeed, 2019 not only marks Bentley’s seventh consecutive year as major sponsor, it also marks an incredible milestone for Bentley Motors – its centenary of creating iconic grand tourers. The continued partnership with SCIBS also presents the perfect opportunity to welcome the new Bentley Gold Coast dealership who will display the extraordinary Bentley range, celebrate Bentley’s century milestone, and showcase the latest Bentley model – the all-new Continental GT Convertible. This pinnacle of open-top luxury grand touring will be on show at The Bentley SCIBS Suite, located on the boardwalk overlooking the Marina.
For autophiles, Supercar Street is back again this year showcasing other marques such as Maserati and Lamborghini, Land Rover, Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
Catering to all visitor segments, SCIBS will be entertaining, intriguing and enhancing networking with a full programme of on-stage demonstrations, a fishing tournament, the hospitality of the International Business Lounge – supported by the Queensland Government and AIMEX – and the VIP InterContinental Hayman Island Lounge.
Hayman Island will relaunch in July, and its first foray to the public will be a preview of its ‘private island resort experiences’ and 166 rooms, suites and villas that – the promotions promise – are “artfully intertwined with spectacular pools, panoramic seascapes and tropical gardens”. The InterContinental Hayman Island Lounge will be themed in full island regalia, offering a tranquil space to socialise, seal the deal over French Champagne, or just sit and ponder the pulchritude of incredible watercraft in the marina below. Day tickets are priced at AU$199 per person, and include parking, show entry, buffet morsels and refreshments.
Then there is the profusion of restaurants, bars, boutiques and specialty stores in the Marine Village, surrounded by lush landscaping and residential estates, all imbued with an atmosphere that makes this boat show so special.
In fact, boat show veterans at IFBSO Miami and METS declared Sanctuary Cove to be “the best boat show venue in the world”.
To whet your appetite and wet your whistle, the Marine Village is brimming with dining options that range from a succulent sushi snack or hearty boaties’ breakfast to gourmet fare at Jonez on Food, Artichoke, Black Angus, Georges, Ioesco and Dragon Cove.
At the centre of this one-of-a-kind, waterfront masterplanned community, the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is the ideal choice for accommodation during SCIBS, or indeed any time of year. The stately architecture of the Main House reflects the grandeur of a bygone era, with five-star amenities such as a brilliant beach and lagoon pool, myriad dining venues, and function rooms for every occasion.
The Resort’s signature, multi-awarded fine dining destination The Fireplace is ensconced in an intimate, cavern-like space where chefs work wonders with wood-fire cuisine in an open kitchen.
The Verandah Restaurant & Bar boasts balmy vistas across tropical gardens, spectacular fountain displays and the terrace pool below. Its specialties are share plates, midday martinis, pre-dinner drinks or whiskey nightcaps by the grand fireplace. The Verandah is home to over 50 whiskies, representing Scotland, Ireland, America, Japan and Australia, as well as a mouth-watering range of local craft beers and wines sourced from all over the region.
If you’re planning to stay off-site at any of the hotels or luxury Airbnb properties in the region, there are quicker ways to arrive at SCIBS than an Uber, although that is also catered for at the venue.
Helicopter transfers can be arranged between Sanctuary Cove and Marina Mirage from Gold Coast Helitours (AU$100 one way and AU$180 return). For those traveling by car, on-site parking is available to pre-purchase online, and if you’re planning to bring your boat you can moor in the Coomera River and book a ride to the Marina with Volunteer Marine Rescue for a gold coin donation.
If golf is your passion, whether aficionado or amateur, Sanctuary Cove is home to two acclaimed golf courses – The Palms and The Pines – both of which are frequented by the resident kangaroos and native birds.
The Pines is a private 18-hole championship golf course and Australia’s only Arnold Palmer signature course with an AGU rating of 76. Reserved exclusively for members and their guests, and those staying at the nearby InterContinental Sanctuary Cove, The Pines presents a world-class golfing experience. The Palms, meanwhile, is a championship course ranked in Australian Golf Digest’s Top 50 golf courses. Nestled within century-old Cabbage Palms, The Palms is designed to challenge players of all abilities.
On the doorstep of Sanctuary Cove, all the glamour of the ‘Glitter Strip’ – as the Gold Coast was dubbed in its youth – awaits visitors who wish to ‘stay and play’ a little longer.
For families and the young at heart, the famous Theme Parks are just a 10-minute drive away and the Gold Coast boasts more than 35 golf courses, ranging from par-3 courses to numerous internationally designed courses which rank among the best in the country.
The Gold Coast has lost none of its charm as the laid-back epicentre of the life aquatic.
Think boating, diving, jetskiing, surfing and sunning on its 53 kilometres of ocean beaches, plus various canals, lakes, dams and hidden hinterland rock pools and waterfalls just 45 minutes’ drive from the shoreline in the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park.
But the Gold Coast is much more than a magnet for sun-craving southerners. To sate the palate of discerning travellers and locals alike, there’s a sophisticated mélange of unique five-star experiences.
The restaurant landscape is teeming with choice, and the various ‘villages’ – such as a revived Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Chevron Island, and Isle of Capri, with Burleigh, Palm Beach and Coolangatta to the south – have their own charm and identity.
The Star Casino & Hotel benefited from a multi-million dollar overhaul in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and now entices with an offering way beyond gaming and touring tribute bands, although they remain perennial attractions. From food court to five-star, The Star has it all on tap.
Kiyomi is the award-winning Japanese restaurant that delivers “a modern, yet authentic taste of Tokyo”, while Nineteen at The Star is the world-class venue positioned 19 floors up, with a sublime rooftop restaurant and views over the Pacific Ocean. Most notably, Nineteen is the new home of the Logies.
Shopaholics, meanwhile, can satisfy their urges at Pacific Fair adjacent to The Star at Broadbeach. This mega-mall could absorb many days of exploration, and features food markets, restaurants and bars, a Cineplex and iPlay centre, plus the real attraction: 120 specialty stores, among them globally iconic brands such as Prada, Chanel, Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co, Hardy Brothers and many, many more.
Away from retail indulgence, the beating heart of the Gold Coast’s cultural and creative scene is HOTA, as the Home of the Arts is known, feeding the spirit and soul. Before you scoff, check out these for high-brow events: Terror Australis on stage, Let There Be Rock exhibition in the Gallery, National Geographic Symphony for our World on the outdoor stage, Celtic dancers, various 2019 Bleach* The Gold Coast Festival events and, recently, the avant-garde and surprisingly chill A Concert for Dogs by Laurie Anderson.
In all, there are countless reasons to chart a course for the Gold Coast this year and enjoy what is shaping up to be a bumper edition of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.