Melburnians are known for their love of sports and renowned for the richness in stadiums dotted across the city. Hence it’s unsurprising that millions of sports fans flock to Melbourne to experience live sporting occasions in the purpose-built, accessible and atmospheric venues like the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Melbourne Park. Just as impressive is the fact that Melbourne’s world-class stadiums are situated within walking distance to the city’s Central Business District, meaning spectators can easily enjoy the best of Melbourne and the best of sport in one day.
The Rip Curl Pro is the premier competition on the pro surfing circuit thanks to the giant swells produced by the Southern Ocean along Bells Beach around April. Sit yourself down in the natural amphitheatre created by the dunes, with a backdrop of the hanging red cliffs against the turquoise blue waters of the ocean, whilst you watch the very best professional surfers from around the world cruise through enormous barrels.
In March the drivers will be ready to ride circles around you in the iconic Albert Park during the Australian Grand Prix. This week-long celebration will bring you close to the cars and famous drivers, both on and off the track, during motor shows, air displays and the unforgettable race itself.
The Australian Open in January is the annual start of the Grand Slam tennis season. Watch mega stars like Roger Federer and Andy Murray smash serves on Rod Laver and Margaret Court arenas. The two-week tournament takes over the city; hosting parties on Federation Square along with the daily matches. If you’re lucky you may also bump into the tennis stars indulging in the same restaurants as the fans.
During the triennial yacht race, the Volvo Ocean Race, sailors attempt to navigate around the globe at impressive speeds. Melbourne is one of the eleven host cities in which the hyper-modern boats will stop during the competition with racers arriving around Christmas for a much-needed break from navigating around the world. For fans onshore and in Melbourne, events will surround the arrival of the boats including the presentation of the Roaring Forties Trophy to the crew with the shortest elapsed time between Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. They set sail again in January to circle the world, steered by strong winds and challenged by bigger waves.
Visitors are often surprised that most of Melbourne’s stadiums are within walking distance of the city’s centre, and even more so when they find out that, although the events attract record crowds, tickets are easy to get hold of. In some cases, you can even walk up to the event venue just hours before the start and manage to get your hands on a pair of tickets. Try doing that at Old Trafford or Wimbledon!
Melbourne hosted the first Summer Olympics in the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania. In many ways, these were the Games that took the Olympics to the world and heralded Australia as a real sporting force. There are still traces of the former Olympic city, like Olympic Park which was home to athletes, or the Olympic swimming pool along the riverbank of the Yarra. Melbourne shows us “that venues can actually have a more sustainable future.”
Not only is the Melbourne Cup home to the greatest thoroughbreds from across the globe, its weeklong festival is a display of some of the most over-the-top racecourse fashion. Where fun meets an electrifying atmosphere; this is one of November’s highlights and puts Australia in the international sporting spotlight as 100,000 spectators emerge to see and be seen as they soak in the race that stops a nation.