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Anthony Grace
Melbourne Sports Tours

Melbourne is a city that's mad for sports, and that's never more evident than during a major international sporting event, when, according to Anthony Grace from Melbourne Sports Tours, the city rolls out the welcome mat for visitors and the build-up is electrifying.

January's Australian Open Tennis Championships and the Formula1 Grand Prix in March are Melbourne's biggest international sporting events, with the Spring Racing Carnival garnering more attention each year. Special sporting events, like the Lions Tour, find passionate sell-out crowds in Melbourne, and then there are the regular local sporting events that are part and parcel of life in Melbourne.

The sporting spirit is experienced far beyond the stadiums when international events come to town, with multi-day cultural festivals often accompanying the main event. Public spaces play host to live music, performing arts and giant screens, and bars and restaurants buzz with play-by-play accounts, good-natured rivalry and general excitement.

Melbourne has a long history and culture of embracing a diverse range of sporting events. Anthony is proud of the city's passionate, informed and broadminded sports fans. 'Who else has a public holiday for a three-and-a-half minute horse race?'

Anthony's sporting feast

Anthony Grace reveals five sporting highlights in a sports-mad city:

National Sports Museum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

National Sports Museum

'The National Sports Museum is the greatest celebration of Australian sporting history. Ideally located at the MCG, it's ideal for all visitors, particularly families.'

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2014 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

FORMULA 1(TM) Australian Grand Prix

'When the F1 is in town, there is an excited buzz around Melbourne, matched by the squeals of the cars that can be clearly heard from the heart of the city.'

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Melbourne Cup, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Melbourne Cup

'Two things matter at the Melbourne Cup: You have a good time, and you think you know who will win!'

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Rod Laver Arena

Australian Open - The Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific

'Colourful, diverse, global and accessible are all words that spring to mind about the Australian Open tennis grand slam.'

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Boxing Day Test

Boxing Day Test

'The cricket at the MCG must go on your bucket list. The crowd is loud, good-humoured and parochial, but well-informed. Where else will you watch cricket with 95,000 friends?'

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The local sports

Aussie Rules football is unquestionably Melbourne's number one local sport, but cricket, football, rugby league and rugby union are also popular.

Anthony reckons the best way to experience the city's sporting culture is to get to a game, especially if it's Aussie Rules football. The irreverence and passion of the fans, plus the sheer size of the crowds, are unforgettable. In summer, tennis, cricket, or even surfing lessons will provide lasting sporting memories.

For a UK visitor discovering Melbourne's sports and events, Anthony points you in the direction of the small tour operators, 'the real locals'. He stresses that pre-purchasing tickets to sporting events will save headaches on the day.

He also suggests you sign up for one of Melbourne Sports Tour's behind-the-scenes Sports Lovers Tours. 'It's like having a friend take you round not only the major sporting venues, but the city itself,' he says.

Sports Tours

Join Anthony and his sports-mad team on a tour of Melbourne sporting sights:

NSM at the MCG

Sports Lovers Morning Tour

Melbourne Sports Tours

Spend a morning venturing behind the scenes of Australia's most well-known sporting venues and finish off with a pub lunch with stadium views.

Rod Laver Arena during The Australian Open

Melbourne Sports Lovers Full Day Tour

Melbourne Sports Tours

Go behind the scenes of Melbourne from a sporting perspective, and take a full day to soak up the atmosphere of Melbourne's biggest sporting stages.

Australian Rules Football Ryder Mark

AFL Aussie Rules Football with a Local Host

Melbourne Sports Tours

Walk to the MCG with thousands of footy fans and witness the unique game of Aussie Rules with a local host to explain the rules, bumps and bruises.

Sports venues

Anthony Grace