Australia: Victoria's busy sporting calendar

The Grand Prix is just one of the annual highlights that make Melbourne Australasia's greatest sporting destination.

Aussie Rules

Not understanding the sprawling, madcap game that dominates and defines Victorian sporting parlance is no impediment to enjoying a match. In fact, it probably helps.

This is fast entertainment and, with booming punts the order of the day, play moves from one side of a massive field to the other in the time it takes you to reach for your pie.

Every sports fan - regardless of your code - should check out a game of AFL when in Melbourne. Victorians are unabashed about the brilliance of their footy code; when explaining the game to a newbie, they sound like expectant zealots - they're dead certain that we'll all be converted into avid followers if we just sit down and watch a couple of games. Humour them; it's fun.

The Melbourne Cup

Now we definitely understand this. In fact, New Zealand has a pretty good record of producing winning horses for "the race that stops a nation" (pictured above). The big event - which takes place on the first Tuesday of November - is the centrepiece of a week-long spring racing carnival featuring fashion, parties and a lot of racing. Like the Grand Prix, it's the buzz around the sporting event that elevate the show.

The Boxing Day test

For cricket tragics, a trip to the MCG is a must and the Boxing Day Test is the biggest show hosted on the hallowed turf. Feats of cricketing derring-do achieved in this cavernous chamber are imbued with extra significance.

The Australian Open

The closest tennis Open to New Zealand is also the first of the year. Players and fans approach it fresh and fired-up. The tennis precinct has had a refit. As it's late summer, the Melbourne weather is at its balmy best - but pack some sunscreen.

The Melbourne Storm

The standout team of the NRL in recent years were busted for a salary-cap rort and - with the accountants cutting out the big pay cheques - they're still brilliant. Best of all: the Warriors beat them a lot, making this a happy town to visit for Kiwi league fans.

Melbourne Sports Tours takes visitors to all the city's major events. They even host AFL beginners tours.

Getting There
Fly there with Air New Zealand Book now

Find out more at

- NZ Herald

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