The Australian Open: A Practical Guide for a Great Day Out.

Anyone for tennis? One of the things I love about being in Melbourne is the accessibility to great events such as theatre shows, concerts, the Formula 1, and the Australian Open.  And if you also love the footy and the cricket, there are plentiful opportunities to see some great games and world-class players, right on our doorstep. 

Australian Open
Melbourne Sports Precinct, crowds wandering through the park with the city of Melbourne in the background.

I’m probably not a true Melburnian as I’m not a big sports fan, but I do love a bit of tennis.  I have to be reminded how the scoring system works every year and I don’t know my deuce from my juice, but I do get the general idea.  

So this year we decided, fairly last minute, to spend a day at the tennis.  Getting into Melbourne Park is, I believe, so much easier than getting into Wimbledon, where you have to enter a ballot and you’ve probably got a better chance of winning the lottery.  Here I simply went online 3 days before, bought a ground pass for $29 each, and we were on our way as quickly as you can say Novak Djokovic.

Transport access to the very impressive Melbourne sports precinct is easy via a short (5 minute) train or tram journey from Flinders Street Station, or you can park within the precinct with pre-bookable car park options.  

Australian Open
A large outdoor sign, outlining the letters AO, filled up with Dunlop tennis balls.

We took the Sandringham line out of Flinders which took less than 5 minutes and drops you off at Richmond Station, right next to one of the entrances to the grounds, where we were greeted by lots of very friendly and helpful staff, all sporting their official AO gear – this year sponsored by Ralph Lauren – and very nice it was too.

After the usual check-in with the QR code and bag checks etc, we were free to wander, but first, in true Aussie style, we were invited to slop on the suncream as great vats of the stuff were strategically placed around, available for us to use for free.  Not only that, stewards were handing out mini tubes of factor 50 just in case you found yourself stuck in the fierce sunshine, court-side, and needed a top-up.  Such a great idea and next time I go, I do not need to load myself up like a pack-horse carrying a day’s supply of Bondi Sands.

It was a scorcher of a day and we were relieved to see that there were misting machines and water stations all around the grounds, where you can easily fill up your water bottle.  Of course, cold beers and all sorts of other alcoholic beverages were available to purchase from the many food and drink trucks.  Prices were fairly reasonable, considering you can often spend a fortune at these events.  We did see some people with picnics, but I guess it depends on how much you want to carry around with you. 

Australian Open
A view of the Melbourne Sports Precinct showing Rod Laver Arena and the MCG.

It’s a great day out and there were people of all ages there, including lots of families with small children.  There are lots of activities, entertainment, and play areas for the children, so even if the little ones are not interested in tennis, there are plenty of fun things for them to do, and a ground pass for kids is great value, at only $5.

Our ground passes had some limitations on which matches we could see – Ground pass ticket holders can access all areas of the AO precinct, including John Cain Arena, Court 1, Court 3, 1573 Arena, and other outdoor courts, with the exception of ticketed arena venues such as Rod Laver and Margaret Court, or separately ticketed events or experiences.  

But it was great to be able to wander around, soaking in the atmosphere (and the heat).  There were plenty of places to sit and just take it all in, either whilst enjoying a glass of fizz and listening to live music at one of the bars, or lounging on a deckchair on one of the many grassy areas.  There were lots of big screens with various matches showing and we watched a great couple of games (junior doubles) on some of the outer courts.  A great chance to see rising stars of the future.

Australian Open
A view of one of the outdoor tennis courts with part of the Melbourne City Skyline in the background.

We later discovered that on the day after our visit, they were offering ground pass holders access to the Rod Laver Arena where the Men’s Quarter Final was taking place – so it’s always worth asking if there’s any chance of entry.

It’s going to be a great finals weekend and I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the AO if you find yourself in Melbourne during January.  Find out everything you need to know about the Australian Open here.

The Melbourne Mum

Thinking of emigrating to Australia? Already moved to Melbourne? Find out what it's really like to make the big move Down Under.

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1 Response

  1. Andy Davies says:

    Wish we had been with you x

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