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Why do the Aussies love sport so much? Is it because of their superior weather, which lends itself to kicking or batting a ball about outside? Is it their world-class sports facilities? Is it their natural athleticism? Perhaps it’s all of these things; perhaps it’s none of them. One thing’s for sure: what Australia may lack in ancient history, it more than makes up for in edge-of-the-seat sports events.
If you’re planning an Australian holiday, why not time your visit to coincide with one of the country’s greatest sports events? From cricket to horse racing and rugby to Australian rules football, there’s no shortage of spectator-friendly events to choose from. Soak up the sun as you watch the world’s top athletes going head to head. But before that, here's my guide to the best sporting events down under.
Australian sporting holidays
Australian Open, Melbourne
Prized for its parks, gardens and shops, Melbourne is at its best in January. That’s when the Australian Open comes to town, bringing with it the thrill of Grand Slam tennis. Crowds oohing and ahhing; sneakers squeaking on the hard surface; athletes mopping their brows as the sun mercilessly beats down. Soak up the tennis (and the sunshine) through the day, then in the evening join in the festivities that are part and parcel of the Australian Open. Melbourne sure knows how to throw a party.
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Australian Open of Surfing, Sydney
In February, the Australian Open of Surfing comes to New South Wales, bringing with it a slew of adrenaline junkies and world-class surfers – which is pretty much the same thing. 125,000 spectators help turn this event into a non-stop spectacle of sports, music, fashion and art. Held at Sydney’s Manly Beach, the event attracts pro and junior surfers as well as skateboarders and some great rock bands.
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Formula One Grand Prix, Melbourne
In March, Melbourne’s petrolheads turn out en masse to welcome the F1 GP. For four days, engines rev, tyres smoke and flags wave as the world’s best drivers show off their skills. During lulls in the racing, the on-track action is complemented by dazzling aerial displays courtesy of the Royal Australian Air Force. The F1 circuit at Albert Park is flanked by exhibition zones and demonstrations that add to the unique motor racing experience.
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Perth International Golf Championship
For those who prefer their sporting action a little more sedate, Perth is the place to be in October. What the city’s International Golf Championship may lack in high speed thrills it more than makes up for in excitement as some of the world’s top golfers jostle for Australia’s biggest prize pot. Held at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, the Championship tests Australasia and Europe’s pro golfers to the limit thanks to its fiendishly tricky layout.
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Gold Coast 600, Queensland
For three days in October, Surfers Paradise reverberates to the sound of highly tuned engines. Watch as the V8 racing cars rattle around the track at ridiculously fast speeds. 18 drivers compete in this gruelling endurance event, held on the scenic beachside racing track. When night falls, the party starts at the adjacent Broadwater Parklands, with live performances by some of Australia’s best-loved musicians.
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Gold Coast © thomasrdotorg
Written by Kai Sedgwick
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