A glamorous guide to the 2018 Magic Millions Carnival

You probably know the Gold Coast for its stunning beaches, chilled-out surf lifestyle and luscious hinterland. What you may not know is that for 12 days in January, the Gold Coast transforms into a world of glitz and glam as it plays host to the most prestigious horse racing carnival in Queensland.

The list of previous carnival attendees reads like a Who’s Who of Australian and international celebrities, royalty and stars. So, you can only imagine the fashion quality and diversity of suits, dresses and fascinators on parade.

If you’re ready to steal the show and turn heads at the next Magic Millions Carnival, we’ve pulled together a guide that even Zara Tindall would love.

Where to stay

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast | Magic Millions

If you really want to make a statement, stay at the Palazzo Versace. This five-star hotel is on the shoreline of Main Beach, and it’s quite the sight for first-time visitors. Like an oasis, the exterior grabs your attention, but the detail is on the inside. With unique Italian architecture, marble flooring and Versace bespoke furnishings, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Milan.

Crowne Plaza

Crowne Plaza Gold Coast

Photo via Crowne Plaza Facebook

Be the envy of others at the carnival with two words ‘Crowne Plaza’. And, to make jaws hit the floor, add the word ‘Penthouse’ to the end of that. With ocean views, this multi-level suite is decked out with custom-made furniture and glass chandeliers. If the Penthouse is a little OTT, there are other amazing self-contained apartments and rooms to choose from.

Psst! For more hotel ideas, check out this Gold Coast accommodation guide.

Where to get that summer glow

Q1 Day Spa

Q1 Day Spa Gold Coast

Photo by Q1 via Instagram

Revitalise your skin at the Q1 Day Spa. Opt for a simple facial or go all out and experience their tailored Mala Mayi of the Never Never Spa Journey. Be massaged and cleansed, wrapped in warm Mapi mud, and then relax and enjoy rain therapy under the Vichy shower.

Ripple Gold Coast Massage Day Spa and Beauty

If you’re splurging on a five-star hotel, you won’t want to leave it. So, instead of going to a day spa, bring the day spa to you. Ripple Gold Coast Massage Day Spa and Beauty are mobile and their beauty services are all about luxury. From organic green clay face masks and peppermint foot soaks to hot stone massages and mani-pedis, you’ll be pampered from head to toe.

And, if you really want to unwind and de-stress, check into one of these Gold Coast wellness retreats.

Where to get your frock on

Soho Girl, Sanctuary Cove

Looking for a carnival outfit that’s young and chic? Head to Soho Girl in Sanctuary Cove where you can try on their exuberant summer collection by Australian designers. While you’re browsing, keep an eye out for the boutique designs by Gold Coast based designer Isabelle Quinn.

Another Love, The Brickworks

Another Love Gold Coast

Photo by Another Love via Instagram

With dresses and outfits by the big names like Alexander Wang, Victoria Beckham and Camilla, Another Love has a variety of trending statement pieces that you’ll fall in love with. And, if you’re registered for the carnival’s Fashions on the Field competition, Another Love can help you find your best race day look.

Need more options, check out this list of rising Gold Coast fashion designers.

Other things to do while you’re here

Catch a live performance

The Arts Centre Gold Coast

Located in Surfers Paradise, The Arts Centre is the beating cultural heart of the Gold Coast and it celebrates both visual and performing arts. With two onsite cinemas, you can even enjoy a blockbuster, arthouse or foreign film with a sneaky glass of wine. While you’re there, take a walk through the regional gallery to discover local and internationally acclaimed artwork.

Delicious Dining

Cardamom Pod Gold Coast | Magic Millions

Photo by @heidiho89

With an array of breweries, cafes, fine dining and street food, the Gold Coast has become the place where you can dust the sand off your feet and enjoy an alfresco dining experience. Try the Collective in Palm Beach if you’re indecisive. With five working kitchens, your taste buds can travel the world while you’re sitting on their rooftop terrace enjoying a glass of Pinot. If you want to taste art, head to the Cardamom Pod in Southport and try the colourful (and delicious) unicorn rice paper rolls, complete with a rainbow salad and a side of almond and lemongrass sauce.

Psst! Here’s 100 more things to do on the Gold Coast.

What to look forward to at the Magic Millions Carnival

The Polo

Bring your chairs or a picnic rug and enjoy all the polo action in Doug Jennings Park on the 7th of January. Tickets to the Polo start from $35pp and if you’re bringing your kids, there are family-friendly activities throughout the match.

The Barrier Draw

Magic Millions Carnival Gold Coast January 2015

Photo by Trackside Photography via Magic Millions Facebook

A highlight of the carnival is watching majestic horses gallop along the shoreline of Surfers Paradise. The Barrier Draw kicks off at 6am on the 9th of January, so get in early and enjoy delicious breakfast as you watch the sunrise over the Gold Coast. And then at 8am, the horses and their champion jockeys will steal the show, followed by the random selection of their barrier for the official raceday.

2018 Magic Millions Race Day

When the big day arrives, it’ll be your time to shine at the Fashions on the Field competition. Flaunt your frock as you mingle with horse racing’s elite, punters and celebrities. This $10 million raceday will include; the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic, the $2 million Gold Coast 3YO Guineas and the Magic Millions Racing Women’s $500,000.

Are you going to the 2018 Magic Millions Carnival?