In a couple of weeks time, another major international sporting event will be hosted right here in Melbourne and we’ll be attending as another first to tick off the list! I’m pretty excited about this one as it was James’ birthday present but mainly because I’m sensing this event will be on another level compared with the others we’ve seen, an entirely different atmosphere and style of play. I’m expecting big things and can’t wait to not just hear but feel the roar of those engines at our first Formula 1 Grand Prix experience.
The anticipation for race day has reminded me of all the spectacular sporting events on offer in Melbourne, Victoria and how lucky we’ve been to catch so much of the annual calendar. Home to 29 stadiums that host over 10,000 people it’s easy to see how Melbourne has earned it’s reputation for being the national sporting capitol, so if you’re looking to get in on the action then here are some of the best sporting events the city has to offer.
Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
What better way to launch into spring than some fun with the gee gees! The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is a series of horse racing meets which all build up to the ‘race that stops the nation’ on Cup Day when the whole of Victoria is given the day off work to place their bets and it’s something you don’t want to miss. The series starts late September and builds up to Cup Day on the first Tuesday in November with the most famous horse race in the world. It’s a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the culture of the city where you can dress up, sip champagne and cheer your chosen horse over the finish line in the Australian sunshine. Read my guide to surviving a day at the Melbourne Cup Carnival here.
Boxing Day Test Cricket
The first ever Test match took place at none other than the Melbourne Cricket Ground back in 1877 between England and Australia so if you’re a cricket fan, or even if you’re not, the Boxing Day cricket is the perfect way to experience one of Melbourne’s oldest sporting events on a (hopefully) sunny day in summer. There are plenty of spectators who really get into the spirit of things with many turning up to the MCG in fancy dress wanting to cheer a few fours and sixes on while knocking back some beers.
T20 Big Bash League
If the thought of sitting through a full day of Test cricket is sending you sleepy then there is an alternative. Twenty20 was made for the sole purpose of making things that little bit more interesting when it comes to cricket so for sports fans who prefer a faster paced game that doesn’t last for hours you should really check out the Big Bash league. With midweek games from 7:30pm as well as weekend fixtures, it’s a great way to spend a few hours with mates and it won’t cost you the earth (well depending on how many drinks you get through). Become a member of your favourite club and you can attend any two home games in the season for just $40!
AFL Grand Final
OK so this one’s another that is SO big that there’s a bank holiday for all of Victoria dedicated to it (even though the game is played on a Saturday!!). Melburnians passion for Aussie Rules is something I imagine to be on the same level as College Football in America…the game, team and players are known, loved and looked upon as celebrities but anyone outside of the country is clueless to their existence! Which is why it’s all so captivating! You might not know the rules, but if you’re a true sports fan and love the atmosphere of a big Grand Final affair then this one will get you pumped and buying a club jersey before you know it.
I never made the journey down to London during Wimbledon and certainly never indulged in court side tickets but in January since we were so close to the action of a major tennis tournament I knew we’d be making our spectator debut here in Melbourne. At first I thought the price tag was out of reach and in reality it was – if we wanted to see any big names at the Rod Laver Arena or watch anything past the early rounds – but the Australian Open is quite accessible and I was pleased to learn there were Ground Pass tickets available providing entry to the outside courts for as little as $39 with cheaper rates when attending after 5pm.
I loved spending the evening at the Tennis in Melbourne and not a single drop of rain stopped play! Another spectator first for me but definitely not my last! Check out the prices for 2016 here.
Australian Grand Prix
The final sporting event on the list. The Australian Grand Prix is an internationally respected event which started as the 100 Mile Road Race on Phillip Island in 1928 and now forms part of the annual Formula One World Championship. The motorsport event is held at Albert Park over a four day period with beautiful lake surrounds and public roads that offer a fast, smooth and relatively easy drive. It’s a favourite among F1 teams and drivers alike and a great way to open the Championship. Unlike the above listed events, this one can carry a more expensive admission fee, with Grandstand tickets costing up to $350 and hospitality well into the $1000s. Luckily, there’s good old general admission starting from $99 and luckily for James, I fancied treating him for his birthday getting us two tickets to the all important 58 lap race on the final day.
This is another sporting event that had I not been residing in Melbourne would probably never have considered taking the opportunity to attend and I can’t wait to experience it! Fancy getting tickets? Snap them up here before they’re all gone.
So there you have it, my version of Melbourne’s best sporting events. Of course there are many more, this place really does have a wealth of sporting action so no matter what time of year you find yourself in this forever giving city there’ll be something right around the corner so show your support and get stuck in!