The design for the Queen’s baton, which will travel around the world prior to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, has been revealed along with the route it will take.
A distinctive loop design will be the focal point of the Queen’s Baton Relay, a Games tradition that celebrates "the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come".
Both announcements come with organsiers celebrating 500 days to go before the Games get underway in Australia.
Made using macadamia wood and recycled plastic sourced from Gold Coast waterways, the baton’s design has been inspired by the region’s "vibrant spirit and indigenous heritage" and with sustainability in mind.
The Queen’s baton will also carry a personal message to the athletes of the Commonwealth from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Relay will begin on March 13, 2017, when The Queen will place her message to the Commonwealth inside the baton.
It will then begin a 388 day and 230,000 kilometre journey from Buckingham Palace in London to the Opening Ceremony of the Games, where the message will be removed from the baton and read aloud by Her Majesty or a representative.
The Baton Relay has been the traditional curtain-raiser to every Commonwealth Games since the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, but the 2018 edition will be the longest and the "most accessible" in Commonwealth history.
For the first time, it will be present at the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) in Nassau in The Bahamas between July 19 and 23 next year, which is hoped will "engage and inspire today’s youth".
Sixty per cent of Commonwealth citizens are less than 30-years-old.
From London, the baton will travel through Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania, spending between two and four days in each Commonwealth nation and territory.
This will give a third of the world’s population the opportunity to share the experience, with the full route available here.
Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA) in each nation and territory are responsible for selecting baton bearers that "inspire their community to be great".
"As you can see, the Queen’s Baton Relay is a complex logistical project," said Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie.
"But it is one that will take our great Games to the world, building excitement and enthusiasm for the world-class athletes who will compete here in just 500 days time.
"We have a great team working through the planning to ensure all areas of this extraordinary journey are, like the Games, delivered on time and on budget.
"The Baton will return to the Gold Coast in April 2018, having been touched, admired, photographed, filmed and loved by so many people from all over the Commonwealth."
The Games are set to welcome athletes from 70 nations for the 11-day event, which will open on April 4 and conclude with the Closing Ceremony on April 15.
"A message from the Monarch has been read at every Games since 1930 as the Queen’s Baton Relay extends an invitation to the athletes and communities of the Commonwealth to celebrate together," added Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin.
"It reinforces our shared love of sport and recognises the power of sport to transcend barriers and bring us together.
"Above all, however, it is a message from Her Majesty of hope, ambition and peace for the citizens and athletes of the Commonwealth.
"It is a truly exciting moment to share the international route of the 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay, so that communities and citizens across the Commonwealth can join the build up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games."