Sport in Melbourne is a passion and past time for many people. Luckily for sports fans in Melbourne, the city plays host to many national and international sporting events throughout the year.
Melburnians are passionate sports fans. From Australian rules football to tennis and Formula 1 – the city comes to life when there is a sporting competition happening. For anyone visiting Melbourne, you’ve got the chance to see the passion and excitement first hand at many different events.
Here’s a round up of the main sport in Melbourne that brings the city to life.
Sport in Melbourne
Australian Rules Football ( AFL)
Australian Rules Football – locally known as ‘Aussie rules’ – is the most popular sport in the city, with millions of fans. The AFL season kicks off in March each year and ends with the Grand Final in September. There are a number of Melbourne teams and other teams throughout the state of Victoria and other states around Australia. In total, the league has 18 teams.
In recent years a national women’s league (WAFL) was created with eight teams and a season that runs prior to the men’s. Games are held in different venues across the country. The best place to watch AFL in Melbourne is at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, known as the MCG. It is the home of football in Melbourne and is also the sport’s grand final venue.
In summertime when the AFL season ends, it is time for cricket to take over the football ovals. From local clubs playing weekend games, to the state leagues playing with stadiums full of fans. There is also a national team which occasionally plays at the MCG in Melbourne. In particular the Boxing Day Test match after Christmas is a sold out event each year. Fans fill the MCG to watch Australia play an opposing national cricket team. The four-day event has been held annually since 1980 and it draws more than 250,000 attendees each year.
Melburnians are big tennis fans and each year the world’s top players are welcomed to the city. The Australian Open is an annual tennis event held every January at Melbourne Park. The Australian Open is one of the most highly attended sporting events in Melbourne with more than 700,000 people in attendance each year. There are many different ticket options for the event which is held over two weeks. You can book seats in the arenas to watch the best players go head to head. Or you can buy a Ground Pass that gives you access to the outdoor courts and other outdoor entertainment.
Australian Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has been held in Melbourne since 1996. In the past the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park has been the first race of the Formula 1 World Championships. It is generally held in March, with the exception of a few Covid-affected years. Fans can get tickets to the event to take in all the action trackside. The event happens over a weekend so there are multiple days of qualifying and racing to enjoy.
Melburnians relish in the chance to dress up and attend the Spring Racing Carnival each year. This series of horse racing events held during October and November includes the most prestigious thoroughbred horse race in the country. The Melbourne Cup is an institution when it comes to sports in Melbourne. Each year spectators gather at the Flemington Racecourse to watch the best thoroughbreds race for the top prize in Australian horse racing. Around the country millions more people stop what they are doing to watch the race.
Sport in Melbourne’s outer regions
It’s not just the city which plays host to some of the world’s top athletes. Areas nearby Melbourne host major sporting events as well.
Moto GP – Phillip Island
For racing fans that live and breathe MotoGP, the event at Phillip Island is an annual pilgrimage. Just 2 hours drive form Melbourne, Phillip Island is famous for its colony of Little Penguins. But each year in October the island comes to life with racing fans and the world’s best riders. MotoGP riders take to the purpose-built racing track to race at speeds up to 300km/h. Over three days Phillip Island’s racetrack becomes the centre of action, drama and excitement.
Want to visit Phillip Island? Join us on our day tour from Melbourne! Here’s what you can expect on our day tour:
- A visit to the famous Brighton Beach boxes
- A guided tour at the award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
- Meet and feed a wide range of Australian animals including koalas, wombats, dingoes, and many more
- Pass by the MotoGP Racetrack on Phillip Island
- Visit Point Grant to view the Nobbies and Seal Rock
- Stroll the coastal boardwalks to enjoy amazing panoramic views
- See the penguins waddle up the Phillip Island Penguin Parade at sunset
Rip Curl Pro surfing event – Great Ocean Road
Each year the world’s top surfers visit Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road for the Rip Curl Pro surfing event. Bells Beach is famous for its big waves and consistent sets. In adddition, the beach is like an amphitheatre so spectators can watch from the surrounding cliffs as the competitors duel it out in the ocean below.
The Rip Curl Pro is one of the events on the professional world surf tour for both men and women. The competitors hit the waves around Easter (March/April) each year, and compete for the ‘bell’ trophy. Previous winners include Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore.
Want to visit Great Ocean Road? Join us on our day tour from Melbourne! Here’s what you can expect on our day tour:
- Enjoy morning tea on the picturesque beaches of Victoria’s Surf Coast
- Scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road
- See the Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell National Park
- Visit the Loch Ard Gorge, the site of the Loch Ard shipwreck
- See koalas in their natural habitat in the eucalyptus forests of the Kennett River township
- Visit the charming coastal township of Apollo Bay
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au