There are many that will tell you Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world and we can tell you it really does feel like it sometimes! You name it we seem to have a sporting event for it and they are normally huge. We here in Victoria like to do sports in a huge way and if you love sport we are the state for you. So if you are ever visiting at around this time you should try and catch some of the action if you can, even if you are just watching it on the TV, going to one of the parades or you are lucky enough to get a spot right near the action. Here are a few of the major sporting events in Melbourne that we think you should get a look at one day if you are visiting this great state of Victoria that we call home!
AFL Grand Final – Australian Rules Football
Australian Rules Football (AFL) is a nationwide football competition. Originating in Victoria (VFL) its expansion to the other states in the 80’s caused it to be renamed the AFL (Australian Football League) There are 18 teams in the AFL and the season runs from March through to September. There are 23 games in the home and away fixture with the finals series eliminating teams until two are left which is when the AFL Grand Final is played and it is traditionally held at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)
This is one I love to watch even if my team is not in it. I love the fact that 100,000 people are packed into the MCG the home of footy to watch two teams go at it for the AFL Grand Final. My favourite part every year is the singing of the National Anthem when the two teams run out onto the field and the crowd roars, and the halftime entertainment. Last year I got shivers listening to Vance Joy belt out a song in the middle of the ‘G’ with everyone there and at home loving the atmosphere.
When is it held: The AFL Grand Final is traditionally held on the last Saturday in September with a parade of the two teams in the final held in the Melbourne CBD on the day before (Friday)
If you can’t make it to the day: You can catch the AFL Grand Final at the local pub. Normally there are so many places that hold an AFL Grand Final day that you will be hard to miss it. It is on Free to air television and I know so many people who host a lunch and then watch the game with their friends. If you are invited go, even if your team is not in it, it is a great atmosphere to be involved in.
Phillip Island Grand Prix – Motorbike
The Phillip Island Moto GP is a motorcycling event and it is a part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. Grand Prix motorcycle racing refers to the premier class of motorcycle racing which is held on road circuits. The Australian section of the race was held in a few different places in Australia before a permanent home was built for it on Phillip Island in 1997.
When is it held: During the 2017 Moto Gp season it was round 16 held in late October.
If you can’t make it to the day: There are so many places that you can watch it. I am us=nsuree of there are as many parties or bbq’s as it is not technically the end of the season it is just a part of the season. It is televised on TV and would be on at the local pub or sports bar.
An Added Tip: There is the Barry Sheenan Memorial Ride that goes from Bairnsdale all the way to Phillip Island on the Thursday before the race. You can hear the rumble of the bikes involved well before they hit your town. It is police escorted and it is great to stand on the side of the road and watch all the bikes cruise through town.
Melbourne Cup – Horse Racing
The Race that stops a Nation is how I remember the Melbourne Cup being described as I grew up and I really do think it does. I remember listening to it on the school bus on the way home and we would all have a bet on who would win. Times have changed a little now but I still think it is a great race to watch. The Melbourne Cup is a Thoroughbred Horse race over 3,200 meters for 3-year-olds and over. It is part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival held by Racing Victoria and is one of the richest races in the world.
When is it held: The Melbourne Cup is traditionally held on the first Tuesday in November and is a public holiday in the State of Victoria. There are races held before the Cup with it typically starting at around 3 pm after the National Anthem and the introduction of the jockeys.
If you can’t make it to the day: You can just about go anywhere for this one. People everywhere will be having a bbq or a chicken lunch and there are plenty of places that use the day as a fundraiser for their groups. It is a lot of fun to go in the sweeps to see if you pick the winning horse but my top tip is to pick the one with the nicest colours!
F1 Grand Prix – Formula 1 Racing
Now, this is not a sport I am familiar with at all but I know plenty of friends that sit up very late at night to watch it! The Grand Prix was first held at Albert Park in 1996 and is traditionally the opening race of the season. It had been previously held in Adelaide for the years prior to that. It’s move to Albert Park was a big issue as people who lived in the area were not happy about the area being closed down for a week during the year for the race and they were worried about the impact it would have on the area.
When is it held: Traditionally held as the opening round of F1 season in March/April.
If you can’t make it to the day: There are plenty of pubs that will have the race on the TV and I am sure you will be able to find it on your TV at home.
Australian Open – Tennis
The Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam events of the year and is typically held in the last two weeks of January. It is a knock out draw for men, women, juniors, mixed and wheelchair events until there are two left playing for the championship. It is held a Melbourne Park with the main tennis events or big-name players normally playing in Rod Laver Arena. It is also a challenge for the players due to the Melbourne weather during that time. Temperatures can be as high as 40 degrees but there is the possibility of rain…they have to be prepared for all seasons!
When is it held: It is typically held during the last two weeks of January.
If you can’t make it to the day: As it is held over two weeks you should be able to get in to see a game but tickets do sell fast. It is very popular with people all over the state and interstate visitors come too. The Finals are normally held with women’s first then men which can go late into the night. I think it is channel 7 that has the rights to the TV airing of the tennis which is free to air so you will be able to see it at home.
Boxing Day Test Match – Cricket
The Boxing Day test Match starts on the 26th of December (commonly known as Boxing Day in Australia) and is played at the MCG. Australia plays against another team that is touring the country during the summer season. A test match in cricket can go for up to 5 days but has been known to finish earlier.
When is it held: Boxing Day! It will start in the morning and continue until both sides have batted and bowled.
If you can’t make it to the day: I find the test matches quite slow especially as I am not a big fan of cricket. If you can’t make it to the day you will find it everywhere on the TV.
Added Tip: If you have not watched cricket before or you struggle to watch a test match 20/20 cricket might be for you. It is a shortened version of the game and a really fast-paced version. Big hitters are recruited by the teams to get as many runs as they can in 20 overs (6 balls an over) It is a lot of fun for the family as there is entertainment as well to keep everyone happy. We went to a game and really liked it.
Rip Curl Pro – Surfing
The Rip Curl Pro is a surfing contest held at Bells Beach every year and it is located about 100km out of Melbourne. This surfing contest is for both men and women to compete in with the winner taking the Bell Trophy. It is a part of the World Surf League tour. To learn more about surfing at Bells and in Australia call into the Australian Surfing Museum in Torquay.
When is it held: It is held around the Easter holidays every year.
If you can’t make it to the day: I am totally unsure where you would be able to see this one but I am sure a local pub or Sports bar would be able to put it on the TV for you.
So that is it for our sporting events in Melbourne post. While we are not a huge sporting family we do love to watch the big games or tournaments on the television especially the AFL Grand Final! Melbourne Cup is only a little while away now so we are getting our Cup hats ready!
Getting to Sporting Events in Melbourne:
Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia. Melbourne International Airport is 23 kilometres from the city centre. Melbourne is serviced by many international airlines and budget carriers Jetstar, Tiger. Scoot and AirAsia just to name a few. You can check the prices of international flights to Australia with Momondo. Domestic flights can be booked with Expedia
There is no direct public transport link with Melbourne Airport. You can catch the Skybus or you can book an airport transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions. You can book a rental car and have it waiting for you at Melbourne Airport.
Getting around to Sporting Events in Melbourne:
myki is Melbourne’s ticketing system to travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. International and interstate visitors coming to Victoria can buy a myki Explorer pack. The myki pack combines a ready to use myki card, visitor information and special offers for travellers. It’s a great option for visitors who choose to explore Melbourne and regional Victoria by public transport!. You need to touch your myki card on and off when you use the public transport system.
Where to stay in Melbourne:
Melbourne has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels to apartments and hotels rooms.
Hostels in Melbourne can start from as little as $21 a night for a shared dorm room. Check out Trip Advisor for the top 10 ranked hostels in Melbourne. You can book your stay directly from the page.
You can search Airbnb for there Melbourne accommodation offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE
Hotels in Melbourne generally start from around $100 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. Google states that 3-star averaging $113, 5-star averaging $314 for a night stay. You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, Hotels.com, Hotels Combined and Trivago
(All coloured text in the Getting to Melbourne, Getting around Melbourne and Where to stay in Melbourne links to the pages mentioned for your information and booking convenience. We at Wyld Family Travel will make a small commission from any bookings you make. This money goes into maintaining our website)
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