Melbourne is one of the world’s most popular cities for sport and no holiday in Melbourne is complete without taking in at least one day of sports action. But with so many exceptional sports to choose from during Melbourne holidays, which should you pick when you visit this Australian city?
In no particular, here are five of some of the finest sports to experience while staying in Melbourne:
Cricket is virtually a way of life in Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) can stake a claim to be one of the most famous and largest stadiums in the sport – it even hosted the first ever Test.
Able to host over 100,000 people, the MCG is a loud and passionate arena, (often referred to as just ‘The G’), the stadium was the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games and 50 years on hosts more sporting events than cricket matches. Both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 Commonwealth Games took place at the MCG, which also hosted the competition’s main athletics events.
The Big Bash is extremely popular in Melbourne too, with the Twenty20 league, one of the best in the world and drawing premier cricketers.
Aussie rules football – commonly known as AFL – is one of the most popular sports in Melbourne with MCG hosting the Grand Final every year as well as matches throughout the winter.
Docklands Stadium (Melbourne’s main AFL facility) plays host to four different teams: St Kilda, North Melbourne, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs. Indeed, nine of the top Australian Football League sides are based in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Around 40,000 people normally attend a typical AFL game and there are normally numerous matches taking place in Melbourne every week, giving people staying in Melbourne hotels an abundance of opportunities to experience this thrilling sport in the flesh.
The centrepiece of the sport is the annual AFL Grand Final, which is held at the MCG and is currently the most attended club championship event in the world.
Melbourne is the host city for the Australian Open tennis championship, which is one of the four major tournaments on the sport’s annual calendar. Some of the world’s most finest players are normally in attendance for the showpiece event, which takes place at Melbourne Park during the last two weeks of January each year.
Aussie players are supported passionately by the crowd at Melbourne and the tournament is one of the most popular in the world, with only the US Open attended by more people. As the Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam events of the year, it offers players their first chance of major silverware, with recent winners including Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Li Na and Stan Wawrinka.
The Australian Grand Prix is one of the most important races of the Formula One season and is usually seen as a bellwether occasion, determining which drivers are going to perform well in the competition. Held at Albert Park in Melbourne, the race is popular due to its fast straights and plentiful overtaking opportunities, which suit exciting drivers such as British champion Lewis Hamilton, who won the race in 2015.
Over 300,000 people attend the race weekend every year, with around 100,000 of them at Albert Park for race day itself. As Melbourne may well continue to host the Australian Grand Prix until at least 2020, there will be lots of chances for you to attend this memorable event.
Melbourne is a rugby-crazy city and there are some top level clubs in both rugby union and league playing in the area.
Melbourne Rebels and Melbourne Rising are the two main union clubs in the city, with Melbourne Storm representing rugby league. Storm and the Rebels both play their home matches at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, known commercially as AAMI Park, which can hold more than 30,000 fans.
The 2017 Rugby League World Cup is set to be held in Australia and AAMI Park could well be one of the venues for the tournament, with Melbourne likely to be a hub for supporters.