Five Big Yearly Events in Melbourne

Like all Australians, residents of Melbourne look forward to any excuse to take the day off and stage an event. It doesn’t matter what the event is, Melbourne will stage it. These are some of the best of them. If one of them looks like a “can’t miss” event for you, odds are thousands of others will be thinking the same thing, so book your Melbourne accommodation early to be sure you have a place to stay.

Melbourne Cup

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We might as well start with Melbourne’s biggest event and one that brings all of Australia to a standstill on the first Tuesday of each November: the Melbourne Cup. Whether you are a horse racing fan or not, the pageantry and excitement of this horse race is something you won’t want to miss, even if you are not amongst the 100,000 fortunate “few” who pack into Flemington Racecourse to watch the event live. Find an old hotel pub near your Melbourne accommodation and watch all the action – on screen and off.

Australian Formula One Grand Prix

Back in 1861, the first year the Melbourne Cup was held, racehorses were the fastest “vehicles” around. Today, Formula One race cars claim that distinction and speed loving Melbournians, as much as they cling to the traditions of the past, also embrace the fastest and the best at the annual Australian Formula One Grand Prix. This event started in 1926 on Phillip Island and is the longest running annual motor racing event in Australia.

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In 1985 it was moved to Adelaide in South Australia when it became part of the international championships, but in 1996 it was moved again, to Melbourne’s Albert Park. The second round of the International Grand Prix circuit, in 2012 it will be held March 15-18. This is one event you will want to plan ahead for and get your tickets and Melbourne accommodation well in advance.

Australian Open Tennis Tournament

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The Australian Open, along with the US Open, the French Open and Wimbledon is part of the Grand Slam tennis tournament. It has been an annual event since 1905, but wasn’t moved to Melbourne until 1988, where it is held on the hard courts at Melbourne Park. Held at the height of the summer, in January, the only damper on the tournament comes on those rare days when extreme heat forces a temporary halt to play. As the only Grand Slam tournament held in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian Open attracts an enormous international following.

Bells Beach Surfing Classic

Surfing has never been a mainstream sport anywhere in the world except in sports mad Australia. The Bells Beach Surfing Classic is an example of just how much Australians love water sports in general and surfing in particular.

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The first Bells Beach Pro was held in 1973. Put together on a shoestring budget, the professional surfers who attended had to pay their own way to the event. In spite of that, the event was an enormous success and has been held over the Easter school holidays every year since. That year the contest was won by legendary Australian surfer Michael Peterson. Sponsored by then fledgling surfwear company, Rip Curl, the event helped the company grow into one of the largest surfwear companies in the world.

Melbourne Fringe Festival

Sydney and Adelaide will argue to the contrary, but most objective Australians and everyone in Melbourne agrees that Melbourne is the home of the arts in Australia. The world’s first feature film was made in Melbourne, the 19th century Heidelberg School of art, often called the Australian impressionist school, was based in and around Melbourne and a disproportionate number of Australian writers, poets, actors and other artists come from Melbourne.

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The Melbourne Fringe serves the Melbourne art community and the Fringe Festival has grown from a small regional festival in 1985 to an arts extravaganza today. Held in 132 venues throughout Victoria throughout a 3 week period in September and October, it is not strictly speaking limited to Melbourne, but if you’re in Melbourne at that time of year, it’s something you won’t want to miss. In 2010, attendance at the various events reached nearly half a million and nearly 4000 artists of all persuasions mesmerized audiences in 321 separate shows. If you love the arts, especially arts on the fringe, then book your Melbourne accommodation for late September and go to the Fringe Festival. You’ll love it.

About the author
Rob Schneider writes for ‘Book It Now’ about popular holiday destinations around Australia. If planning a visit to Melbourne for one of the thousands of events held every year you will find a wide range of Melbourne accommodation on ‘Book it Now’.