Melbourne is the home of footy. The game was devised here, was first played here in a paddock (on what is today part of the MCG) and, despite it branching out to be played, spectated on and barracked on in all corners of Australia, Melbourne still rules the footy.
The 'footy' is aussie speak for football, which is played under the rules of the Australian Football League.
However, this football is like no other on earth. It is uniquely Australian and uses some of the skill sets from Gaelic football (but not use of their round ball), some of the tackling skills of the two rugby codes and the use of the oval Rugby ball but none of the hassles of 'offside', 'own goal', or 'handball' which taint the rules of soccer.
It is a 'winter' game played by both sexes and is very much a sport where the entire family can attend and barrack for their favourite team (or player). It is a game with history going back to the early 1850s and with its rules and first clubs pre-dating even the setup of other major football codes. Some of the rules even relate to age-old aboriginal sports which featured jumping to catch a ball made of possum fur, today reflected in the rules related to 'overhead marking'
Our great game results in a Grand Final (after 22 matches between 16 national teams) traditionally held on the last Saturday in September.
The rules? Too many and complex to list here so I suggest a visit to the AFL website or, if in Melbourne between March and September, go to the footy! It's a Melbourne institution!
The Windsor (Melbourne's elegant 1883 magnificent gothic hotel) has a public bar - The Cricketers Bar. The bar is full of cricketing memorabilia including photos of Australian and English teams from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Don Bradman fans will not be disappointed either. The bar is just across the road from the victorian houses of parliament, so watch for you favourite political or sports people. The cricket, of course, is televised on 2 large screen TVs.
103 Spring St
The best place to meet before and after a test match or one-day international. An institution with the die hard fans of any sport played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG or "the G").
Punt Road, Richmond, next to the Richmond train station and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Just opened in time for this year's cricket season (and series of Test matches) the new museum (needed as the old one disappeared when the stand was torn down) contains an amazing amount of cricket paraphernalia and artifacts ... tours of the museum depart regularly each (week) day, definitely worth a visit.
Gate 3 (tours leave from here)
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Melbourne VIC 3002
Phone 03 9653 1100
Cricket fan? Barmy Army member?
THE Ashes test match to attend is the one traditionally starting on Boxing Day at the 'G'. The MCG is the Australian home of Test cricket and the Boxing Day Test match has been there for more than 50 years.
However, this is more than just a cricket match, it's a sporting and cultural event Melbourne is proud to showcase to the world. There is something for everyone if cricket isn't your thing such as: Family Day, KidsZone, Merv's Walk to the G, Ladies Day...so go to the G on Boxing Day.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Melbourne VIC 3002
Phone 9653 1100
(get off either at Richmond or Flinders St railway station)
Get a feel for the place before you go to watch the game. They run all days apart from match days, only costs about 10 dollars and you get to have a good look round.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Catch the 75 tram from Flinders Street in the city.
Going to Gippsland? Like a round of Golf at a new course in picturesque Metung?
I reckon Kings Cove on the hill overlooking Metung is the way to go.
The views are worth the cost of a round, clubs bags and buggies for hire. And if you don't play golf, go to the restaurant for dinner - recently voted one of the best country restaurants
Kings Cove golf course is at Metung on the Gippsland lakes, 3 hours from Melbourne
Learning to surf at Torquay (at the start of The Great Ocean Road) with local surfing instructors was a highlight. Also shopping at the surf brand outlets and checking out Bells Beach.
City Sights Tour which is actually informative and fun. Includes Flemington Racecourse, MCG Tour, lunch at Telstra Dome and heaps of options - the Foster's Brewery tour AND TASTINGS! is awesome.
Melbourne has superb gardens spread throughout and one of the best - the Botanical Gardens - has 'The Tan'.
The Tan is a wide flat track around the outside of the Botanical gardens, and it’s home to joggers, runners, walkers and pusher pushers. Watch out for the footballers though as they try and complete a lap in record time.
Best of all: it’s free (bring your own running shoes).
The Tan runs around the circumference of the Botanic Gardens and the Domain. Run there, take a tram or walk from Flinders Street station; www.accessibility.com.au/melbourne/garden/tan.htm
Just north of the city is Calder Park, with its motor racing complex for drag racing, circuit racing and with a speed bowl (NASCAR style) tracks. Off-street drag racing happens weekly for those with street cars. The other tracks at the complex are used by a variety of types of motor racing. You can arrange a ride in a racing car around these circuits or even drive a V8 race car yourself (as I have) around the track circuit. Recommended for petrolheads.
Calder Freeway (Sunbury Melways map ref: Map 3 A4);
tel: 61 3 9217 8800;
Home of Australia's premier horse race, the Melbourne Cup (on the first Tuesday of every November). The Melbourne Cup Carnival also has Derby Day and Oaks Day. Horse racing at its best
Epsom Rd, Flemington. The course has its own railway station;
A must for sports fans, particularly those who want to gloat about the recent Ashes victory to the MCG tour guide, who is an MCG member.
The tour provides an impressive insight into the history and facilities of the stadium, as well as getting the chance to have a walk on the ground itself. You will find yourself imagining the place full with 100,000 people for the traditional Boxing Day Test.
Melbourne is endowed with probably more first class golf courses, private and public, than any other city in the world. Home to the best course in Australia, Royal Melbourne, within a ½ hour's drive from there are other fantastic courses... Kingston Heath (rated Australia's #2) Metropolitan, The Commonwealth, Yarra Yarra, Keysborough, Huntingdale, Woodlands, the Capital (very exclusive) and Victoria (rich with history).
Alongside these private courses (which are open to guests) are public courses. Sandringham (using part of the old Royal Melbourne course), Brighton, Cheltenham, Dingley, Albert Park (home of the Australian F1 GP) and Elsternwick. All with 15km of each other.
Moving further afield onto the peninsula we get courses like The Dunes, Rosebud Country Club, Cape Schank and the National. Plus lots more courses spread around Melbourne (over 50). Add a large number of driving ranges to practice on, and golfers have a huge choice right here in Melbourne.
Contact the Victorian Golf Association
Melbournians are sports mad and every major sports event is in Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup is Australia's premier horse racing event (it so important, we have a public holiday for it). The Australian F1 Grand Prix is held at Albert Park, 1km from the centre of Melbourne.
The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Moto GP) is held at Phillip Island. The Australian Tennis Open is one of the legs of the prestigious 'Grand Slam' of Tennis. The Australian Surf Championships are at Bells Beach.
The Australian Open is golf at its best. The Australian Gliding Championship is held at the Benalla Gliding Centre (2hrs north of Melbourne). The Australian Rules Grand Final takes place at the MCG, the home of Australia's own game. The Boxing Day Test, the traditional start to a Test series against Australia's old foe, England, is held at the MCG and The Melbourne Marathon is Australia's longest running road marathon.
And coming shortly, The Commonwealth Games!
Torquay...surf capital of Australia with RipCurl and other surf companies headquartered there. Just along the Great Ocean Rd is the cozy quiet 'burb of JanJuc and just up the road a bit further is Bells Beach. Bells is the name of a place known to all surfers. Home of Autralian surfing and holiday mecca.
Torquay, about an hours drive SW of Melbourne, at the start of the Great Ocean road and capital of the Surf Coast.
The Australian Open tennis tournament, during the last 2 weeks on January is a must. Tickets are reasonably easy to get hold off if you try the day they come out (Early October), and they are cheap, $70ish for a seat in the Rod Laver Arena.
To truly understand what makes a Melbournian tick you should make sure you include a trip to an AFL game during your stay. ‘Aussie rules,’ as it is known, is a Victorian obsession and the smallness of the players shorts have to seen to be believed.
Encompassed in an art deco building (built in the 1930s after a storm destroyed the original), the baths at Middle Brighton are home to get-fit enthusiasts and 'icebergers' alike. They feature a very large caged area for swimming with a sandy beach and have been used in many learn to swim arrangements. The baths also feature a modern fitness centre with gym and sauna.
251 The Esplanade (the beach road), Middle Brighton Beach;
tel: 9539 7000;
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