The biggest event on the horse racing calendar in Australia is the Melbourne Cup, which is held annually on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse. It is a public holiday in Melbourne however the main race is televised around the country. 10 races occur on Melbourne Cup Day beginning at 10:45am. The Melbourne Cup is held at 3pm and the last race is run just after 5pm.
Attend the Melbourne Cup in person
If you plan on going to the races at Flemington, it is advisable to take public transport, as the roads can be busy during the day. Gates open at 8:30am and it is best to get in early as the track busies quickly. If you are so inclined, you could try your luck with the Melbourne Cup futures and see if you have the foresight to pick a winner in the race that stops a nation. There is plenty to do at Flemington on the day including the ‘Myer Fashions on the Field’ competition, which adds to the glamour of the event. There is an hour-long interval before the main race introducing the jockeys to the public and when the Australian National Anthem is sung. There is plenty of food and drink served at different venues at the track including the Vue De Monde which was awarded restaurant of the year in 2007.
If you are unable to get to the races for whatever reason, there are plenty of other ways to watch the race. One of the most popular things to do on Melbourne Cup Day is to host a barbeque event at home. Invite friends and family around for a good time, prepare some tasty food and let the drinks flow. Channel 10 in Australia broadcasts the race as well as the main coverage of the entire day, including interviews with jockeys and owners as well as celebrities that are in attendance.
Melbourne Cup Day without the race
If you are not interested in horse racing per se but have the day off, there are a lot of things to do around Melbourne. You can take a stroll down at the beach or along the Yarra River in the city’s CBD. There are drive-in cinemas all around Melbourne which is a great way to enjoy a new film on the big screen in an old-timey fashion. There are a multitude of restaurants, pubs and bars in the city of Melbourne and there is a wide variety of different themed venues, most of which will be televising the races. You have an inordinate amount of options to choose from if you decide to go out for a meal or a drink. The Melbourne Zoo is also a popular venue, especially for families and is actually not far from Flemington Racecourse. Make sure you book your tickets to the zoo in advance to avoid lengthy queues.
Whether you plan to enjoy the Melbourne Cup itself or to take yourself out for a different experience on Melbourne Cup Day, the list of experiences that can be had during springtime in Melbourne is seemingly endless. The spring weather in Melbourne brings out the finest in the city and when it is alive with spring racing fever, you will feel the excitement in the air whether you choose to attend the big race or not.