Melbourne Cup celebrations at Valla Beach, Urunga and North Beach | photos

THE RACE did briefly stop the nation, but it was a welcome pause for local party-goers who gathered much earlier in clubs and pubs for the Melbourne Cup.

A massive crowd, including visitors from as far afield as the Gold Coast descended on Club Urunga, while the party list was smaller though nonetheless just as enthusiastic at the Valla Beach Tavern and at the North Beach Recreation and Bowling Club at Mylestom.

Most came dressed for the big day, and many sported hats.

One of the most striking groups were some nurses who all started out together as carers 49 years ago. This is their annual get-together and the theme this year was “sleepwear with fascinators”.

As for the actual race itself, it was an Irish trifecta: with Rekindling heading home over Johannes Vermeer and Max Dynamite.

Enjoy the gallery.