The city of Melbourne, Australia, is home to some of the biggest international and domestic sporting events ever staged. As well as being the home of the Australian Football League, Melbourne is home to national sports teams such as NRL’s Melbourne Storm, A-League Soccer’s Melbourne Victory FC, Netball champions Melbourne Vixens and NBL’s Melbourne Tigers. Each year the city hosts the AFL Grand Final, Australian Open Tennis, Spring Racing Carnival and the Australian F1 Grand Prix.
Although the official AFL Headquarters is at Telstra Dome, the AFL Grand Final is held in September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (affectionately known to us locals as ‘The G’). The MCG is also referred to as the ‘Spiritual Home of Australian Sport’ with the original wooden Members stand built in 1854. Over the years, the MCG has hosted the 1956 Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games, football, cricket, tennis, rugby and has been used as a rock concert venue for Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2 and Elton John. Even Pope John Paul II has held a service there.
The Australian Open is one of the four tennis Grand Slam events and is held in January each year at Melbourne Park. The arena is located in Melbourne’s Sports Precinct surrounded by Olympic Park and Yarra Park. It is just minutes from the city centre, a short 10 minute walk across Federation Square and down along the Yarra River. Another multi-purpose venue, Melbourne Park also hosts rock concerts, monster trucks, ice skating shows and sporting events.
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park hosts a round of the Formula 1 championships in March each year. The street circuit curves around Albert Park Lake and as the roads are all public, you can test-drive the track in your own vehicle (mind the speed limits though, Fangio!). It takes about 3 months to erect all the barriers, grandstands and fencing each year for the event.
The Spring Racing Carnival is a series of Group One races held by local Melbourne metropolitan clubs Caulfield, Moonee Valley, Flemington and Sandown. The most well known event is the Victoria Racing Club’s Spring Racing Carnival where you can attend the Victoria Derby, VRC Oaks or Stakes family day. But the race that stops the nation is the Melbourne Cup, held on the first Tuesday in November.
Stay at the Quest Flemington around $200 per night, or if you are staying with friends try a 3 bedroom apartment around $320 a night.
If you are sports mad, come to Melbourne any time of the year. There is always something on!