Rugby calls lads to Gold Coast
I'D PACKED for just about every occasion for my Gold Coast getaway for the city's inaugural Rugby Sevens tournament.
Every occasion, except for the rugby itself.
There is no such thing as standard dress at a Rugby Sevens, my mates and I soon discovered.
Our "bro-cation" began at the new Gold Coast festival, held the weekend of November 25 and 26.
Turns out, though, it's more like Australia's biggest costume party.
Hordes of superheroes, pirates, stormtroopers and the likes descended on Robina's Skilled Park, in their bright, colourful and creative costumes.
Entire families dressed in theme and groups of mates tried to outdo each other with more ridiculous attire.
With everything going on around, the match-ups in the centre of the park were almost an afterthought.
This was the Gold Coast's first try at hosting the World Series Sevens Tournament, after beating Perth, five-year hosts Adelaide, and New South Wales to stage the titles.
The inaugural Gold Coast tournament brought in a raft of international flavour - with power- house teams from Fiji, Hong Kong and New Zealand dominating the field.
My exposure to the world of Sevens was fast and brilliant. A total of 45 games were held over the two days, with plenty of entertainment between matches to keep the party going.
I almost enjoyed the crowd and their costumes more than the games.
Sevens is a popular variation of rugby union, in which teams are made up of seven players (instead of the usual 15), with shorter matches.
The defenders are spaced out and things seem to move faster. It may be short but some high-scoring games eventuate.
The tournament final, New Zealand v Fiji, was a perfect example.
Fiji won 26-12, in what seemed like the blink of an eye. It was exciting, a full-on day but one day of Sevens action proved to be enough for me.
And with a couple more days to spend on the Gold Coast, there was plenty for my mates and me to do.
Our accommodation at Jupiters Hotel and Casino in Broadbeach had us in the thick of things. Our three-day stay was the perfect bloke's weekend away. Broadbeach had a diverse offering for breakfast, lunch and dinner: from the high-end Moo Moo Wine Bar and Grill to Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club, both a short stroll away.
Besides the rugby, some other group bonding activities included a tour of Burleigh Brewery - including a drink with the brewmaster at the end.
For a bit of fun, we turned to Zorbing, thanks to OzBall in Pimpama.
Imagine: a giant, three-metre inflated ball. Now picture jumping inside and rolling down a steep hill.
I couldn't stomach the harness experience, so I opted for the hydro zorb ride.
Just up the Pacific Motorway, we enjoyed some hotlaps in a V8 at the Holden Driving Centre.
The experience came complete with jumpsuit, helmet and the breakneck speeds of up to 165km/h - and that was only fourth gear.
Rugby Sevens action will return next November.
GOLD COAST RUGBY SEVENS
PRICES: Tickets started at $39 for a one day adult pass, to $158 for a two-day family pass. Fans with pre-purchased tickets were entitled to free public transport to and from Skilled Park.
ACCOMMODATION: Conrad Jupiters Hotel and Casino, Broadbeach, Guys Night Out from $239 per room, per night, twin-share. The pack includes accommodation for two in a superior room, buffet breakfast for two in Food Fantasy and a bucket of ice-cold Coronas on arrival.
Our 'bro-cation' began at the new Gold Coast festival ... our three-day stay was the perfect bloke's weekend away.