Sports fans should head to Victoria

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Anyone who loves combining their shared passions of sport and travel should consider Victoria as a hot destination to add to their bucket list. This is a state that simply loves sport, and happens to host three of the most notable sports events on the Aussie agenda each year.



Aussie Rules
Coming up soon, on October 1, the nation will stop for what is one of the biggest sporting fixtures in Australia - the AFL Grand Final. And in Victoria, the day preceding the Grand Final has actually been made a public holiday, so the whole state stops to rest and get ready for the big game. As well as being a day off work, Grand Final Friday, also known as Grand Final Eve, is when The Parade takes place - with thousands of fans decked out in full uniform heading from The Old Treasury Building, past the Central Business District and ending up at the stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground.


The Australian Football League began life in 1897 as the Victorian Football League (VFL) since all the teams were based in Victoria. However, in 1990, the league’s name was changed to the AFL to recognise its expansion to include four other states during the 1980s. Today the AFL has18 teams, with at least one in every state except for Tasmania - although there are moves to create a Tassie AFL team soon. The Grand Final is the culmination of the season that is divided into three stages; pre-season, regular season and the play-offs. Only the best eight teams take part in the play-offs which run for four rounds, and if you fancy having a flutter on this year’s Grand Final, Hawthorn and Adelaide are the current favourites.

Horses away!
Just a month later and the focus turns to horse racing and the Melbourne Cup - known affectionately as ‘the race that stops a nation’. Melbourne Cup day is on November 1, and in Victoria, it’s another state holiday. While work’s called to a halt altogether in Melbourne and other Victorian cities for Melbourne Cup Day, most offices around Australia either finish the day early or have an office party with the race shown live. Around 100,000 people go to watch the race in person at Flemington Racecourse, and an estimated 650 million watch the big race live on TV.


Last year’s winner was a horse named Prince of Penzance, and history was made as it was the first time a female jockey, Michelle Payne, won the Melbourne Cup. If you’re thinking of going to the race this year, you can already back your favourite at many betting sites. The current favourites include Order of St George, Winx and Big Orange.

Anyone for tennis?



Sport takes a step back in December in Victoria, but just after the New Year, tennis takes centre stage with the Australian Open, which is held at Melbourne Park. From 16 to 29 January 2017, thousands will flock to see the world’s top tennis players battle through the rounds. The Aussie Open is the first Grand Slam event every year, and is followed by the French, Wimbledon and the US Open in June, July and September. The world tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, has dominated the Aussie Open in recent years, with a first win in 2008 and he’s won five times in the last six years. Djokovic is already favourite to win the Open again in 2017, with Britain’s Andy Murray just behind him as second favourite.

Victoria definitely has its fair share of prestigious sporting events throughout the year, and it’s no wonder that the state counts so many sports lovers among its tourist visitors.

Janet Goodman
Janet Goodman is a freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience of lifestyle and travel writing. When she’s not traveling she loves nothing more than settling in at home with a good book or enjoying a game of tennis.

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