The Australian summer has a calendar jam packed with sport, including all kinds of events from car racing to yachting to tennis and cycling. With so much variety there is a sporting event to suit everyone, so why not get the family cheering along to an Australian sporting event this year. Whilst some events require tickets, others you can watch for free by positioning yourself on a section of road, harbour side or a spot in Federation Square and still be part of the action.
Sydney to Hobart Race – December
The Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been an icon on the sports calendar in Australia since kicking off 68 years ago. Starting from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, the yachts cross the finish line off Hobart’s Battery Point, in the exciting build up to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Every year people flock to Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day to watch the start of the race, with the yachts creating a spectacular sight as they leave the harbour bound for the Bass Straight. If you’re in Sydney for Christmas, you can find good vantage points near one of the many harbour beaches such as Watsons Bay, South Head or from the northern side, Manly and Cremorne Point. The grand race has attracted yachts from all over the world since its inaugural race in 1945.
Tour Down Under – Adelaide
The Tour Down Under cycle race features some of the world’s best cyclists racing the course across Adelaide and South Australia, taking in the picturesque scenery of the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley wine country and Fleurieu Peninsula (well known for whale sightings, penguins and olives). The race sets off in January from 19-26th with various ticketed events. To catch some free cycling action, head into the city of Adelaide and grab a spot by the road, as cyclists speed through the streets of the city for a grand finale on the last day of the Tour.
Australian Open – Melbourne
The best tennis players in the world come together and compete in the Australian Open every January in Melbourne. This event is one of four Grand Slam events held around the world each year and is the first contest of the season. It’s a festive event and even though tickets can be hard to get, you can still get in on the action by watching the matches at Federation Square, games are broadcast live for free on a giant screen.
Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne
The Australian Grand Prix is the first race of the Formula 1 season. Taking place just after summer in March, this is a must for all racing car enthusiasts. The cars race around Albert Park in Melbourne for four days, with vehicles reaching up to 300km an hour. General admission tickets start from $39.
Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation, and has been a significant sporting event on the Australian calendar since its inception in 1861. Taking place on the first Tuesday in November, The Melbourne Cup attracts over 100,000 visitors each year to Flemington Racecourse and is celebrated around the country. The full Carnival starts in September running through to November and features many big racing days such as Derby Day, Oakes Day (known as Ladies Day) and Stakes Day, the unofficial family day. While this is a ticketed event, you can purchase a general admission ticket allowing you entrance to the main area.
Real Insurance XCM Series
Finally, if you’re keen to get amongst it yourself and don’t mind getting a little dirty on your way to a weekend’s worth of adventure, there is always Australia’s premier mountain bike series. The Real Insurance XCM Series kicks off as part of a season that begins in Adelaide as a prologue to the Santos Tour Down Under, giving mountain bikers the opportunity to race their bikes amongst Australia’s biggest cycling crowd and only World Tour event. The roadshow then visits a host of Australia’s premier mountain bike venues, established and new throughout the summer.
The season now includes the full range of World Championship formats: Cross Country Eliminator, Cross Country Olympic, Downhill and Marathon. Dust off your old Repco from the garage or bring your carbon fibre rocket, it is Australian mountain biking at its best: televised races, Olympic prestige, prize money, incredible locations and adventure all culminating with the UCI MTB World Cup in Cairns where the series winner of the Real Insurance XCM Series will be crowned.
With so much sporting action taking place this summer in Australia, there is something for everyone to get involved in and be a spectator for. If sport is not your thing and you would rather pack up the family for a summer holiday, then check out our Nine great locations for camping and caravanning in Australia with family.