10 Tips for attending the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the race that stops a nation


There’s nothing like the week of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. One of Australia’s signature events, this week long party full of racing, fashion and food attracts visitors from around the world. Thinking about visiting Melbourne in November for this unforgettable event? Here are our top tips for getting the most from your experience:


Stay in the Central Business District of Melbourne
Photo: Robert Blackburn

While the racecourse is just outside of the city, you’ll want to make the Central Business District of Melbourne your home base. The CBD is where you’ll find the city’s famous laneways, coffee shops, landmarks, museums and more!  Plus there’s easy access from the CBD to the track.


Take a train from Flinders Street Station

On race days, trains run directly to the racecourse from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station. With dressed-up racegoers filling each car, the train trip is all part of the experience! It’s also the quickest and most inexpensive way to get to the track from the city.  


Spend at least the whole week in Melbourne
Photo: Josie Withers

While the races during the Melbourne Cup Carnival run every two days for a week, there’s plenty to explore within the city between trips to the racecourse. Whether you want to venture through Queen Victoria Market, spend a day at the idyllic St. Kilda Beach or delight in a few meals at world-renowned restaurants, Melbourne has more than enough to fill your time before, during and after the Carnival.  


Book your hotels in advance

The Melbourne Cup race, run on the first Tuesday of November, regularly draws over 100,000 spectators with many coming from out of the city and the country.  Book your hotels in the Melbourne CBD and put yourself right in the middle of the party before it’s too late!


Dress to impress

People at the Melbourne Cup watch for two things: horses and fashion. When you’re packing for race day, stash in an outfit that is sure to dazzle. Don’t just experience the Melbourne Cup, participate in it by wearing clothing that fits right in with the race day crowd. For a full review of what you should wear when, see this helpful guide.


Looking at getting a fascinator made? Make sure to book ahead with a milliner

You’ll surely want to go all out in your attire so look to get a fascinator made ahead of time for the special day.  Select your favourite design online and then pick it up when you arrive in Melbourne!


Ladies: Pack flats

Trust us on this one. Some of the best places to watch the races and take in the experience are on the grass portions around the track. You don’t want to be in heels all day for that!


Don’t be afraid to wager on the longshot

The Melbourne Cup has seen several longshot horses shock the nation by winning. Take for example the 2015 winner,  Prince of Penzance who began the race at 100/1 odds. Spend a few AUD on a longshot horse and you just may get part of your holiday paid for if it wins!


Get your race day tickets in advance

Secure your attendance at the event by booking your tickets in advance. Once again, 100,000 spectators are expected to be in attendance on the day of the Melbourne Cup. Make sure you’re one of them by buying your tickets online as soon as possible.  


When it’s all over, spend your next few weeks exploring Melbourne and Victoria


Just spending all of your time in Melbourne, would be the equivalent of a horse stopping short after the first turn of a race. The city is just the beginning of an exceptional visitor experience. Carve out a few weeks after the Carnival to explore Victoria. Parading penguins, lush vineyards, roaming wildlife, deserted beaches and world-famous road trips await. Our website will help you plan!



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