Best Sporting Events to Attend in Australia

By Claire Borders , last updated December 7, 2011

Australia is famous for its unique wildlife, beautiful beaches and untamed outback, but what you may not know is that it is also home to many exciting sporting events. Australia's sporting history is rich, dating back to the country's early days in the 1800s. Throughout the centuries, Australia has become a sports powerhouse on the national and global scales. The country is home to several professional sports leagues, and has twice hosted the Summer Olympic Games. If you're planning to visit Australia, consider attending some of these riveting sporting events down under.

Australian Tennis Open

This two-week Tennis competition, held every January in Melbourne, Victoria, is the first major international tennis event of the year, and is one of the four biggest tennis competitions in the world. Hundreds of thousands of fans flock to Melbourne every year to witness tennis' biggest stars play for the championship. The Australian Open consistently boasts the highest attendance of any sporting event in the country. If you find yourself down under in January, you certainly can't afford to miss this riveting competition.

Australian Football League

Australian rules football is a way of life throughout Australia, and the AFL is the center of it. The AFL consists of 16 teams in some of Australia's biggest cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The season runs in the winter months between March and September as the teams compete for a spot in the eight-team Grand Final in Melbourne. The Grand Final attracts nearly 100,000 of the biggest AFL fans in the country. If you're looking for a uniquely Australian sports experience, an AFL game is definitely for you. Just be ready to let loose, as you'll be among some of the world's most passionate sports fans.

Cricket

While Australian rules football dominates the sporting world in the winter, summers are all about cricket. Between playing at outdoor barbecues and in the country's biggest stadiums, Aussies just can't get enough of cricket when warm weather hits. Between November and February, Australia's cricket team battles some of the best cricket squads in the world in major cities like Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart and Melbourne. Australian cricket fans, known as "Fanatics," show their true passion as they travel across the country to watch the team compete. The die-hard attitude of Fanatics inspires intense rivalries with opposing fanbases like the British "Barmy Army." While the pristine beaches are staples of Australian summer, no experience is complete without a trip to a cricket match.

Australian Grand Prix

Motorsports enthusiasts can't miss the Australian Grand Prix, the nation's premier autoracing event. Held in Melbourne's Albert Park over four days in March, this internationally acclaimed race features some of the world's best drivers competing at speeds over 300 kilometers per hour. This four-day event attracts over 300,000 racing aficionados, making it more than just a car race; it's a carnival. Underscored by concurrent events like the Sidetracked music festival, the festive atmosphere of this four-day celebration makes Melbourne the place to be in March.

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