In our line of work, we attend more than enough camping and outdoor shows to have seen just about every exhibition building and showground the country has to offer — yet we’ve never experienced anything quite like OutdoorX.
One sunny weekend in September, a contingent of staff headed to the Gold Coast and made our way to the show. Bypassing the typical outer-suburban sprawl that so often surrounds events of this kind, we rolled into the manicured marina village of Sanctuary Cove.
Right away we could tell that the events crew here weren’t messing about with the first-ever edition of their new outdoor lifestyle show. Of course, by now, putting on a spectacular show is second nature to Sanctuary Cove. While the location may be new to the world of campers and caravans, in nautical circles the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is one of Australia’s premier events, drawing crowds in the tens of thousands to check out everything from car-topper tinnies to 120-foot luxury yachts.
Through the gate and we were right in our element; the Gold Coast four-wheel drive club were coaxing their nimble beasts around a purpose-built track to our right, and to our left a row of caravans led to a gargantuan 8x8 two-storey SLRV expedition vehicle.
Pushing on, we passed vendors like MAXTRAX and Hema Maps, rows of Trayon Campers, Trakmaster caravans, Ultimate, Emu, Bushwakka, Ram, Isuzu, Swagman Motorhomes — the list goes on — before coming to an enviable display of Patriot Campers. Turning towards the marina we were enveloped by rows of trailer boats and marine craft from big names like BRIG, Makocraft, Quintrex and Hurricane.
It’s hard to recall ever having seen a more comprehensive display of top quality local and international outdoor lifestyle brands in one place; a curated selection of brands displaying quality products.
But what really set OutdoorX apart from your stock-standard RV show wasn’t so much the displays and exhibitors themselves, but everything in between. The village atmosphere of Sanctuary Cove was highlighted by an eclectic array of entertainers and family-friendly activities that revealed themselves at every turn.
Anaconda hosted a fishing comp, as well as a stage where Paul Burt cooked and conversed with industry heavyweights; BMW Motorrad supplied a stunt rider who wowed onlookers throughout the weekend, while scores of kids upped the festival feel with painted faces and balloon animals in tow.
Nothing, however, seemed to capture the attention of show-goers quite like the jetpack shows, that saw water-powered jetpack riders flipping and flying 40-feet above a giant inflatable pool.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
When legs became weary and bellies started to grumble, Sanctuary Cove’s restaurants and cafes beckoned, with a range of offerings from fine dining to a quick and cheerful sushi train.
Before we knew it, we’d exhausted a whole day exploring the area, as exhibitors began shutting up shop. Some visitors settled into the surrounding bars and eateries as a new energy washed over the location, while others drifted out of the gates to plan their first trip on newly secured boats and RVs.
As for us, we were left wondering how the day had passed in such a leisurely fashion. From what we gathered, the feeling was unanimous and OutdoorX organisers have already confirmed that they’ll be back for a second year of their fresh new show in 2020 — locked in for the dates of September 11 to 13, 2020.
It’ll be even more exciting in light of Sanctuary Cove’s announcement of a huge marina upgrade to be completed in early-2020 that will doubtless make for an even more enjoyable show. After this year’s success, we can only imagine there will be a few big surprises to look forward to.