Melbourne is renowned as the sports capital of the Australia and with good reason. Melbourne boasts some of the world’s premier stadiums and events and the locals are passionate about sport like few other cities. The city is famous for hosting the 1956 Olympics and 2006 Commonwealth Games and the tradition of hosting big events continues today.
In January, the focus is on Melbourne for the Australian Open Tennis championships, where players of the ilk of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams battle it out for Grand Slam glory at Melbourne Park.
The Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix in March traditionally attracts thousands of interstate and international visitors to watch the fastest men on two wheels hurtle around the stunning Albert Park course.
In winter, attention turns to Australian Rules Football, which is an essential part of life in Melbourne. Teams like Geelong, Collingwood and Carlton play in front of nearly 100,000 spectators and the passion that is generated is unlike almost any other sport in the world. Suffice to say, a visit to an Aussie Rules match is highly recommended if you want to get a true feel for life in Melbourne.
So too, is a visit to the races for the Spring Racing Carnival, which takes place at Flemington Racecourse and other courses across Victoria. The Carnival’s pinnacle event is the iconic Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November. The race attracts some of the world’s premier staying racehorses for a 3,200 metre test of endurance and receives significant international coverage.
Another highlight of the sporting calendar is the Boxing Day test cricket match, held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The event is unmissable, even for those with just a passing knowledge of the game.