This is the article I submitted for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival ‘Suburban Blurb’ guide:
A Sporting Break
Melbourne is Australia’s sporting capital, and one of the great sporting cities of the world. No stay in Melbourne would be complete without a visit to one of our fantastic venues to experience first hand what all of the fuss is about.
Australian Football League
Australian Rules football is Australia’s most popular spectator sport, and is virtually a religion in Melbourne. The AFL is the premier national competition, with teams based in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. The competition runs from late March to late September each year. Several matches are played each week at Melbourne’s main venues – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Telstra Stadium. Both venues are within walking distance of the CBD and offer a unique viewing experience.
Refurbishment of the MCG was completed in 2006 for the Commonwealth Games. The stadium holds in excess of 90,000 people, and has been the scene of countless memorable moments over the years. Telstra Dome is Melbourne’s newest stadium and boasts a spectacular retractable roof, which may or may not be open for AFL matches, depending upon the weather. Apart from AFL the venue has hosted Rugby and Cricket internationals as well as a variety of concerts and other entertainment events.
Quite a few matches are scheduled during the 2007 Melbourne Writers’ Festival (refer fixture attached):
Tickets can generally be purchased from the gate. General Admission starts from under $20 and reserved seats from around $35. Check out www.afl.com.au for more information on tickets, matches and venues.
Melbournians love nothing better than a punt on the races. Melbourne is home to four metropolitan racecourses, including Flemington, home of the world-famous Melbourne Cup, and Moonee Valley, home of the Cox Plate. The annual Victorian Spring Racing Carnival runs from October to early December, however racing is conducted several times a week throughout the year. Metropolitan race dates for the duration of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival are as follows:
Saturday, 25 August, 2007 – Moonee Valley
Wednesday, 29 August, 2007 – Moonee Valley
Saturday, 1 September, 2007 – Caulfield
Moonee Valley racecourse is 6km north of the CBD and easily accessible via public transport or taxi.
Take No. 49 or 59 tram from Elizabeth Street and alight at Moonee Ponds junction; or
Take Broadmeadows line train from Flinders Street or any of the city loop stations, and alight at Moonee Ponds.
The course has a unique amphitheatre atmosphere and offers a variety of raceday dining options to suit all budgets. General admission is approximately $10. For further information contact MVRC Customer Service on 1300 79 79 59, or check out their website www.mvrc.net.au.
Caulfield racecourse is 8km southeast from the CBD, and is easily accessible via public transport.
Take No. 3 tram from Swanston Street and alight Stop No. 52; or
Take Frankston or Dandenong line train from Flinders Street or any of the city loop stations, and alight at Caulfield Station.
For further information contact Melbourne Racing Club on (03) 9257 7100 or visit their website www.melbourneracingclub.net.au .