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Sydney International Boat Show 2018

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by Gill Lockhart (subscribe)
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Sail your imagination away at Sydney International Boat Show
Sydney's International Boat Show is the southern hemisphere's premier boat show and is an event not to be missed.

Sydney International Boat Show, Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay Marina, Boat Show, Family Day Out, Fishing Show, Kayaks, Sailboats, Yachts
Image from Sydney International Boat Show Facebook Page

Darling Harbour will be coming alive with a boat show to make any boatie, in fact, anybody go weak at the knees. The impressive display features many motor, sail and houseboats moored on display and ready for you to jump onboard.

Located at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour and adjacent Cockle Bay Marina, the event is from Thursday 2nd August to Monday 6th August 2018. The hall exhibits and the marina are open from 10am to 7pm over each of the 5 days so there is absolutely no excuse to miss it!

Tickets are an affordable $22 for adults, $13 for children (6-17 years, under 6 are free) and family tickets (2 adults and 3 children) for $49. They also have senior tickets for $20 and pensioner tickets for $16, with a valid concession card. Tickets can be bought online, at the International Convention Centre or the ticket booth located next to Cockle Bay Marina on the day.

2 day ($30) and 3 day ($40) passes are available online that are applicable for adults, but suggest asking on the day for multiple day passes for other tickets.

Having been last year, I know the wow factor you'll feel when you first catch sight of the boat display on the water.

It's impressive to see, with the perfect backdrop of Darling Harbour. Organising the show takes an incredible amount of work as seen in this special 50th Anniversary Show recording of setting the show up last year. But it's worth it!

Sydney's International Convention Centre is a world-class venue. With its striking contemporary design, the boat show takes over all of its seven exhibition halls, as well as the open air Event Deck. Over 60,000 visitors are expected this year, but there is plenty of room for everyone.

Sydney International Boat Show, Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay Marina, Open air rooftop event, Boat Show, Family Day Out, Fishing Show, Kayaks, Sailboats, Yachts
Image from Sydney International Boat Show Facebook Page

This year will be the second year that the Australia International Dive Expo also joins Sydney International Boat Show after much success in 2017. There will be a range of exhibitors with the latest gear and information whether you dive for sport, research, business, conservation or just pleasure.

The onsite trial pool is ideal to test out new equipment and a great opportunity for beginners to learn about what is needed for a great experience.

Sydney International Boat Show, Sydney Dive Expo, Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay Marina, Open air rooftop event, Boat Show, Family Day Out, Fishing Show, Kayaks, Sailboats, Yachts
Image from Australia International Dive Expo website

Cockle Bay Marina will draw your attention to the world-class luxury motor yachts such as Sunseeker Australia, Riviera Australia, Ray White Marine, Australian Superyachts and Fleming Yachts Australia on display, to name just a few. And just wait until you see them lit up at night - the view from the footbridge is spectacular.

You'll be spoilt for choice as you walk around the pontoons. Just be aware of the guy bobbing in and out of the water demonstrating sea scooters!

Some companies do require reservations to be made if you want to board the vessel for inspection, so please check with them before going if there is a particular model you are interested in.

If a few cool million dollars is out of the question, Boating Syndication Australia, Luxury Boat Syndicates and Boating Partnerships will be showcasing their latest vessels to make boating more affordable and convenient through their sharing schemes.

If there weren't enough boats outside, inside there are the hundreds that would actually fit under the roof, most with access to jump onboard and see for yourself.

Inside the International Convention Centre will be thousands of gadgets and gizmos, the latest technologies and the best ideas and tips to enjoy getting out on the water.

The show is a perfect place to get the latest information about recreational boating at the Boating Safety Zone. Fishing Masterclasses will also be held during the 5 days with everything from how to prepare to landing that personal best fish!

Sydney International Boat Show, Fishing Master Classes, Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay Marina, Open air rooftop event, Boat Show, Family Day Out, Fishing Show, Kayaks, Sailboats, Yachts
Image from Sydney International Boat Show Facebook Page

The Boating Development stage will host a range of different presentations during the event from owning your own dream yacht, to tourism and safety.

The Spirit of Australia 2 will be making an appearance inside with Ken Warby and the team who hold the record-breaking Outright Unlimited World Water Speed Record!

If motors aren't quite your thing, Hobie will have their usual massive displays of kayaks, sailboats, catamarans, pedalboards (these look like so much fun!), SUPs and surfboards. Head to the upper level of the exhibition centre where you'll find giant pools to try products out. Free bumper boat rides, outdoor food, bar and Bondi Beach Radio tunes playing will have you relaxed and chilled out with the family in no time!

There is a range of food and drink available throughout the show that suits every budget. If that doesn't take your fancy, check out for one of the many bars and restaurants around the marina. There are also plenty of accommodation options available on their website.

Darling Harbour is easily accessible by public transport, including ferry, light rail, train and water taxi. Parking is available at the International Convention Centre (just be aware of the costs) or more information can be found on the International Boat Shows transport page.

However you plan to get there and spend your day, you'll be sure to have a great day out for all the family. With so much to see and do, don't be surprised if you want to go back the following day!

Enjoy, and I'm not at all jealous that I can't go this year!
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Why? Dreams begin at boat shows!
When: Thursday 2nd August to Monday 6th August 2018
Where: Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay Marina
Cost: Varies. From $13 per ticket
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