The MCG, aka the G, is home to Victoria's sporting heart and its passion for Australian Rules Football aka Aussie Rules. The ground holds more than 80,000 people and is a fantastic place to come and watch cricket or aussie rules. The occassional game of rugby is played here but as the ground is so big the payers get a bit lost in the distance.
I've been to the MCG several times with my first experience in 1977 to the then Gillette Cup cricket final between Victoria & Western Australia. A hugely memorable experience for several reasons. More recently I have attended an Aussie vs NZ cricket one day game at full capacity - just a superb atmosphere.
The MCG has the famous seating area of Bay 13 where the guys that like a few drinks tend to congregate. If the game is a tiny bit boring, these guys will keep you entertained with their chants and general behaviour.
Flemington raceway is home to Melbourne's famous Melbourne Cup run on the first Tuesday in November each year. The raceway is quite big and is serviced by train which you can take from Spenser St station - there is normally a Flemington Raceway train on racing days.
The raceway has quite a few events held over the season and is a nice train ride if nothing else. You can make it more exciting if you have a bit of a flutter and put a dollar each way on your favourite horse.
Throughout the year there are four grand slams for tennis: Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and the Australian Open.
Every January Melbourne becomes even more alive than usual when the Open starts up - attracting the best tennis players in the world.
This year Roger Federer won his third Australian Open title (without dropping a set) against Fernando Gonzalez (who was on fire all the way up to the final). Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the womens final.
I haven't actually been to the Rod Laver Arena - where the main matches are held - during the tennis, but I have been there for other things, and it is a great arena to go to.
I would recommend getting tickets as early as you can - not that there are any bad seats - not really, just that some matches can sell out quite quickly (the arena has a seating capacity of 14,820).
But if you do miss out on tickets, they have the games showing on big screens outside the arena, and at Federation Square (and a few pubs too I would imagine).
Make sure to get into the spirit of things and get dressed in your countries colours. At the open you will always find: Swedish vikings, americans in their flags and top hats, flags of many other nations, and of course - the green and gold! Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!
Also - in the second photo is 'Champions Lane' - outside the Rod Laver Arena (headed towards the city) is photos of every man and woman to win the Australian Open since 1988.
Equipment: Well - the Open is on when it is hottest in Australia, so make sure you have a hat, sunnies and sunscreen.
Any sports fan has to go to the MCG if you come to Melbourne. Despite being called the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) this ground has hosted many great sporting events! Yes, cricket being one of them, AFL (Australian Football League) - where the Grand Final is played every year, rugby, soccer/football (where in May '06 Australia defeated Greece!), International Rules (hybrid sport of AFL and Gaelic football).
In 1956 Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games and the MCG was one of the sporting venues. This year it was used for the Commonwealth Games. It was also used as a venue for soccer/football for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In fact the first game of soccer was played before the official opening of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, so before the first match at the MCG, there was a smaller 'unofficial' opening ceremony with singers and a stadium full of dancers (which I am proud to say that I was one of!).
The MCG has recently had its seating capacity increased and at this years Grand Final (West Coast Eagles defeating the Sydney Swans by 1 point!) there were 97,431 people in attendance - can you imagine what sitting in a crowd like that would be like? Amazing! (The seating is on four different levels)
To check out the MCG tours are run on all 'non-events' days (ie, when there aren't any matches on) between 10am-3pm. For more information check out the website below.
This is a great part of Melbounre's/Australia's history and I think anyone interested in sport should go here, either for a tour or preferably for a match.
Equipment: In winter: coat, scarf of your teams colours (if watching AFL).
In summer: hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water.
When in Melbourne, definitely try to catch an Aussie Rules football match. As an American, I really didn't understand much of the game, but I was having so much fun watching and trying to figure it out that it didn't matter. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is a great place to catch a match. (And don't forget to try a meat pie while you're there!)
One night my friend Micky had to attend a job dinner with her boyfriend so she asked to her colleague to "babysitter " me . I was very happy when she told me her program for the first part of the evening : she offered me to attend an Australian Football match: Collingwood(the area where my friend was living in) versus Carlton (the area, historically inhabitated motly by italian immigrants and also where they work)!!! In Italy our way of being a fan of a team is hugely different!!! In Australia no one shout at anyone, you can see fans of both the team sitting one next the other and when the match finish all go out singing their anthem!!! All was so different!!!
I had the pleasure of catching a live Aussie rules football match. I was at the MCG stadium, which has a capacity of over 100,000 people! It is primarily for matches of cricket, but 4 AFL teams play here as well. This venue was the centerpiece for the 1956 olympics. The hometown Melbourne Demons defeated the crosstown rival Geelong Cats 87-81. It was awesome!! You gotta have a meat pie and sauce at a "footy" game sometime. It's the Aussie equivalent of having a hot dog at an American baseball game.
Melbourne has a lot of top quality sporting events which include AFL, international cricket, Australian Open Tennis and Grand Prix Motorsport.
Equipment: Just bring yaself to watch these great events and maybe some binoculars and a camera.
If you are feeling athletic when visit Melbourne, one of the best places to get a little exercise is on the banks of the Yarra River. Winding all the way from the Docklands past the middle of the CBD and out into the suburbs, the Yarra is a long windy path.
There are some great views of the city to make sure you remember your camera when you are talking the walk, run, or bicycle.
This is also a great place to have a barbecue and watch the rest of the hard working Australian workout fanatics.
If you are there in November, go to the Melbourne Cup!! This is the biggest horse race on the Australian racing calendar and it is known as 'the race that stops a nation' becuase no matter where you are at 3.20pm (the time varies year to year) on the first Tuesday in November, you will be watching or listening to the Cup. 2001 was my first year, and I have been back every year since - experiencing it from a punter on the lawn with plastic chairs to the Carbine Marquee. In 2001 my mum and I were among 110,000 keen racegoers, a new record crowd. Please see my travelouge for lots of photos.
Equipment: Binoculars, hat (if you are a girl it is a MUST to have a groovy hat or facinator) suncream, umbrella, depending on the day.
ace hi provides very good bush and beach rides. the toure gides are very nice and helpfull and the most important thing: the horses are very good. not that typical tourist horses, no there are in a good condition and you can see that they enjoy what they are doing.
the beach ride takes about 3, the bush ride about 2 houres.
as this is avery big ranch you can stay there over the night as well.
and for kids they have a special bonus: the wildlife park.
In january of each year the australian open tennis tournament is held in melbourne. It is a very popular event and finals tickets can be quite rare. It is a fantastic way to spend a day if you are around that time.
Equipment: sun screen
If you come to melbourne in winter go to a game of australian rules football at the MCG. You won't need to know the rules, just ask the person standing next to you what is going on and they will be happy to inform you, probably in a colorful way.
Equipment: Everyone knows the MCG. Make sure in winter you bring plenty of warm clothes and bring in some food. Inside it is really expensive.
We went to the first day of the Davis Cup Semifinal on the 19 September 2003. It was quite a chilli day outside of Rod Laver Arena, but inside was a different story, the atmosphere was electric. I would love to come back here for the Australian Open one day.
Equipment: Some binoculars would be handy.
Almost year round, you can enjoy St. Kilda Beach is a great place to take a walk or ride a bike. This beach sees over 70,000 visitors a year, but even in the wintertime there are plenty of people hiking, biking, and rollerblading!
They have separated the bike trails from the walking trails, so you do not even have to keep one eye peeled!
After that, you can head onto the pier and enjoy a walk for some spectacular views of the city!
Equipment: Walking shoes, bike, or blades!