Tennis- Davis Cup !!
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.
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Collingwood vs. Carlton
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!!!
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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.
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Public Golf Course Close to the City
18 hole public golf course close to the city, only 4km, but is situated in bushland as the course winds its way along the river, you even get a look at the fruit bats sleeping in the trees. . Can be a bit slow at times due to its popularity but it's one of the best public courses in Melbourne so dont forget to book. Course is kept in good condition, check out following website for futher reviews.
Equipment: You can hire all gear here including motorised carts if you dont feel like walking the distance.
Green Fees: Weekend $25, midweek $24, $18 nine holes and twilight, $17 concession midweek, $11 juniors.
Hire: Clubs $25, $15 half set, Buggies $4.50, Carts $35, $20 nine holes
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MCG - Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG for short, is one of the most famous sporting venues in the world. It has been around since 1853, and is currently being upgraded. When it is finally complete, the capacity will be over 100,000 (presently 73,000).
The MCG has held cricket, international soccer, Aussie Rules Football (AFL), Rubgy League, Rugby Union, baseball, concerts, and even Pope John Paul II's mass in 1986.
It currently hosts cricket and AFL events. The AFL season is from late March to late August, with the finals being held into late September.
Tours are available each Wednesday at 11 AM. It is AU$10 for adults and $6 for children/students. It lasts just over an hour and commences from the Great Southern Stand.
Check the website for more history and details and for a schedule of events.
Australian Football - Melbourne's Game
Australian Football, or "footy", was invented in 1853. It is a fast-paced, physical, and exciting sport and easily the most popular sport in Melbourne and all of Victoria. It may be confusing to first-timers, looking like "kill the man with the ball", but it is easy to catch on to the rules and understand the game and the passion felt by its fans. And to answer your question, no, the players do not wear pads.
The Victorian Football League (VFL) was formed in 1896 with 8 teams. By 1925, there were 12 teams, all located in Victoria, which remained unchanged until the 1980's, when the league began expanding and some of the original teams moved out of Victoria. The league is now called the Australian Football League (AFL), although it is still considered a Victorian game. There are now 16 teams that form the AFL, 10 of which call Victoria home.
With AFL venues MCG, Telstra Dome, and Optus Oval, you will easily find a match on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in Melbourne between late March and late August. The championship rounds are played in September, with the Grand Final being held at the MCG in late September.
A chance to see this unique game should not be missed if you are in Melbourne during the season. It is easy to get a ticket at the gate of the MCG or Telstra. If I had one chance to watch an AFL match while in Melbourne, I would choose the MCG.
Telstra Dome, once known as Colonial Stadium, is the home of Australian Football from late March to late August, and has also held cricket, Rugby League, Rugby Union, soccer, concerts, and exhibitions. The retractable dome will be open or closed depending on the weather.
You can get a tour of the stadium on Monday - Friday at 11 AM, 1 PM, and on non-event days you can also go at 3 PM. Tours cost AU$13 for adults, $10 for students/concession, and $5 for children.
Check the website for more information and a schedule of events.
Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix
The Australian F1 Grand Prix is held at Melbourne's Albert Park at the beginning of every March. The city is completely packed at this time, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the world. This could either be bad or good, depending on who you talk to. It seems like every hotel room is booked for the week of the race, and prices are jacked up at many places.
The best drivers in the world compete in the first race of the F1 season, and the track at Albert Park is one of the most beautiful on the circuit. If you will be in Melbourne in during race time, I would highly recommend you attend the race or one of the practice/qualifying events. The atmosphere of a Grand Prix is amazing.
General admission prices are AU$65 for race day and cheaper for qualification days. If you want to go to only one day of the race, general admission is the cheapest way.
Grandstand tickets start at over $350, but include all event days.
If you can get a seat in a grandstand, it would be better (but a bit more expensive) than general admission where you are not guaranteed a decent view of the track.
On race day, get there early, especially if you have general admission, because the good spots will be taken quickly. I would say get there no later than 8 AM to guarantee a good spot. If you have grandstand tickets, you do not have to be in a hurry to get there unless you want to watch the support races. Either way, be prepared for a long and exhausting day.
Equipment: Bring or buy earplugs when you get there - trust me on this. If you are buying general admission, bring a blanket because you will be sitting in the grass. I would recommend everyone brings some food and drinks with them.
If you are not familiar with the F1 drivers or teams, buy a program to identify who is who on the track.
First Tuesday in November
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.
Grand Slam Tennis
If you happen to be in Melbourne in January, you should go to the Australian Open Tennis. The prices are very reasonable and the weather is usually pretty good, so enjoy a couple of days early in the week to see a lot of good players.
Boxing Day Test
Another Melbourne institution, the Boxing Day test is a leisurely day, watching the flannelled fools and resting up after the eating and drinking and socialising that is Xmas Day.
many folk go along every year, the cricket itself often secondary to catching up on old mates and ejoying the traditional passtimes of teasing the security goonsquads, tossing beachballs around at dull spots and baiting the poms when they have come to lose yet again
Equipment: Bring along an esky full of sandwiches made from yesterday's leftover Xmas turkey, the remainders of auntie Maude's wonderful christmas sponge, a thermos flask of tea in case it is cold.
Sadly, you have to shell out vast sums of money for warm beer in plastic cups if you'd like some alcoholic beverages - not allowed to BYO.
Beach ball tossers should be aware that they should come with a large supply. Security personnel are a bit on the dim side, and have the sence of humour of your old high school maths teacher, but eventually they WILL succeed in arresting the offending item, and it's definitely capital punishment for said beach ball - administered with a sharp implement!
That one day in September....
AFL Grand Final - Australian Football League GF betweeen Essendon Bombers and Brisbane Lions. This was in 2001 and my beloved Bombers were beaten! Not a good day to be at the footy I tell you. But we stayed to the end, give us that.
Equipment: Bring your binoculars, beer, meat pie and hat and suncream. Also your fave team's jumper or scarf, and yell your lungs out!
MCG - The Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is a major venue for most sporting and entertainment events that are held in Melbourne. Melburnians are fanatical with their Aussie Rules Footy. Outdoor concerts are also held there from time to time. While I was dragged along to the odd footy match (but in the comfort of a private box), no one had to drag me to one of the concerts there.
The MCG is also home to the Australian Gallery of Sport which records Australian sporting history and the Olympic Museum, with memorabilia dating back to the first Olympics in 1896.
Yarra Park, Jolimont.
Take any tram travelling east along Flinders St from the city; nearest stations Jolimont or Richmond; it's a five-minute drive from the city.
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.
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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.
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