As Melbourne eases its way out of another winter and the weather begins to warm up, the esteemed Melbourne Cup Carnival – part of the larger Spring Racing Carnival – draws the attention of sports lovers around the country. The action on the track is always enthralling and is the city’s primary attraction during this time of the year, but there is also plenty more to see in and around Australia’s cultural capital. Below are some of the highlights, both on and off the track.
Head to Flemington for a day of racing
Unsurprisingly, it’s attending the races that tops this list. Be it Melbourne Cup Day itself, or one – or more! – of Derby Day, VRC Oaks Day and Stakes Day, if you’re in Melbourne during this famous week of racing it’s almost a rite of passage to head to Australia’s most known racetrack. The on-track action, of course, is the most compelling reason to visit Flemington, but even if you don’t know your Phar Laps from your Makybe Divas, there’s still plenty of reason to go. The fashion which is so prevalent through the Spring Racing Carnival is one example, while there is also plenty of great food, drinks and general frivolity to be enjoyed.
Enjoy the Melbourne Cup Parade
Sticking to the racing theme for a little longer, the Melbourne Cup Parade is a must for anyone heading to Melbourne to enjoy the racing season. It takes place on the Monday prior to the big race, and sees some of the past and present stars of the show – both equine and otherwise – parade through the city centre in much the same vein as the AFL Grand Final Parade a couple of months earlier. Tens of thousands of people flock into the CBD to watch on, and with a few live bands also joining in on the fun, there’s plenty of entertainment to keep you going.
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Check out the National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest art museum, and is regularly home to some world famous exhibits which it would be remiss not to visit during a trip to Melbourne. The likes of Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol have been displayed here in the past, and while what’s on offer during the Melbourne Cup Carnival will vary from year to year, it’s almost always worth a visit. Aside from the constantly changing exhibitions, there is also a permanent collection of works which can be visited free of charge all year round and which is also well and truly worth visiting.
Head down the Great Ocean Road
Even if you’re only there for a holiday, it’s always nice to get away from the rat race for a day or two, and the world-renowned Great Ocean Road is the ideal place to do just that. Beginning just a little over an hour to the south-east of Melbourne, this famous arterial follows Victoria’s dramatic west coast, winding through the cliffs which frame the beaches and offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Technically beginning just after Anglesea, there are a host of great towns and landmarks to visit along the way, and any trip to Victoria would be incomplete without a trip down this picturesque part of the world.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival dominates the early parts of November in Victoria, and for good reason – it’s an iconic event which is, on its own, worth a trip to the city for. There are also plenty of other great places to check out while you’re there, however, and the above tips should offer some guidance as to how to spend your time in Melbourne during this action-packed time of the year.