There is little doubt that Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia. Not only is the city home to some of Australia’s biggest sporting events, but it is also the home of some of the world’s iconic sporting venues and this makes it a great destination to visit for sports fans from around the world.
No matter what time of the year you are in Melbourne, there will usually be some live sport going on at one of the major sporting venues located in the city. From AFL or cricket at the MCG to F1 racing at Albert Park, to tennis at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne is not only the home of Australia’s biggest sporting events but some of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Whilst you can attend a sporting event at pretty much any time of the year, there are some events you should try and plan your trip to Melbourne around. Here are six of the biggest sporting events in Melbourne and when they take place.
Australian Open Tennis – 17-30 January 2022
The Australian Open is the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year and is always hotly anticipated. It is such a great start to the Melbourne sporting calendar and typically attracts visitors from around the world, keen to make the most of the Australian summer. The Rod Laver Arena is an impressive venue, that is part of the National Tennis Centre complex. The arena can seat 14,820 people and the atmosphere is electric throughout the tournament but especially when we get to the semi-finals and final.
Novak Djokovic will be aiming to claim a record tenth title in 2022 and a fourth title in a row when he starts his defence in January. He is currently the odds-on favourite with Betway to claim the title again at 2.25. Japan’s Naomi Osaka is the defending women’s champion after claiming her fourth Grand Slam title last time out. She is currently the favourite with Betway to lift the title again this year at 5.50.
Formula One Australian Grand Prix – 7-10 April 2022
Typically, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix used to be the first racing event of the calendar year, however, it has now been pushed back to April and will be the third race in a busy 2022 calendar that features 23 races. The Australian F1 GP is an iconic sporting event and one of the best racing tracks on the circuit. If you have never had the opportunity to attend a Grand Prix, then this is the perfect excuse. It’s not just about the action on the track either with plenty of things to see and do away from the action.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – 10-20 April 2022
Whilst this is not technically in Melbourne, it’s close enough. A trip to Melbourne is not complete without venturing onto the Great Ocean Road and Bells Beach is one of the most famous surfing beaches, not only in Australia but throughout the world. After its cancellation in 2021, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event is sure to be a hot ticket in 2022 and the chance to see some of the world’s best surfers competing on some of the most consistent breaks in the world is one not to be missed. The 2022 event will be held over the Easter weekend which is traditional and as well as being an awesome surfing event, it also doubles as a music festival making it a great place to spend an Easter long weekend with the family.
AFL Grand Finals – 24 Septemer 2022
Melbourne is the home of AFL and the Grand Finals are the pinnacle for AFL fans around the country. If you have never seen an AFL game before, this is a great way to dive straight in at the deep end as you watch the culmination of a long season come to a close with the two best teams battling out to be crowned AFL Grand Final Champions. Whilst the Grand Final itself takes place on 24 September, there is a whole week of games and events in the lead up to the Grand Final so it’s definitely worth planning a trip to Melbourne for that week as the whole city is absolutely buzzing.
Melbourne Cup – 1 November 2022
The Melbourne Cup is one of the world’s biggest horse racing events and another jewel in Melbourne’s sporting crown. The race is held over a distance of 3,200 metres at the Flemington Racecourse with total prize money of $7.75m. The race is held on the first Tuesday in November every year and the race literally stops the nation as offices hold parties and everyone gets involved in cheering on their sweepstake pick. The 2021 Melbourne Cup was won by Verry Ellegant – an 18.00 outsider, taking the win from outright favourite Incentivise.
Boxing Day Test – 26-30 December 2022
The Melbourne sporting calendar ends with the iconic Boxing Day Test, held at the even more iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). In 2021, “the G” as it is affectionately known, will play host to England as Australia once again do battle for the Ashes, however, in 2022, the MCG will welcome South Africa for the traditional Boxing Day Test. Up to 100,000 fans will pack into the stadium to watch the cricket and enjoy the party-like atmosphere. If you have never been to a cricket game before because you thought it was a little bit dull, you should take a trip to the stadium on one of the five days, but try for Boxing Day if you can, and you might just change your mind.
Even if you are not in town for some of these iconic sporting events, you can still get to a regular-season game of AFL or cricket, or maybe go and watch some rugby league during the season. You can also take a tour of these iconic sporting events.
Of course, Melbourne is about so much more than sport and you will never struggle for things to do in this amazing city. One of our favourite tours is a trip to Phillip Island to visit the penguins or a day trip to sample some of the wines of the Yarra Valley.