Spring Carnival in Melbourne

By Viator, September 2016

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The Melbourne Cup really is a race that stops the nation with an estimated 20 million Australians watching the horse race on the first Tuesday in November each year. Running since 1861, the race is almost as old as the city itself and is a chance for locals to take the day off, have a flutter (place a bet), dress up for the races or relax with friends at a good old Aussie BBQ.

One of the world’s richest turf races, the Melbourne Cup is part of the Spring Racing Carnival (Sept - Nov), which peaks with several days of revelry, fashion and thoroughbred racing in the first week in November. It is one of the most exciting times to be in Melbourne – spring is in the air and the locals are in the mood to party.

Unlike many other world cities, you don't need to be wealthy to visit the races in Melbourne – everyone is encouraged to frock up and join in the fun. Even if you have no interest in horse racing this is one iconic event that shouldn’t be missed. So pull out your best clothes or go shopping for a new frock or suit and get yourself to Flemington for at least one day of racing. The incredible atmosphere, fabulous fashions, views of the city skyline and convivial locals can quite easily distract you from the racing altogether!

You could squish on a train with the locals or brave the traffic to get to the races, but instead you might wish to consider making a day of it and traveling to the racecourse in style.

It’s possible to book a fully catered Spring Racing Carnival Cruise on any of the major racing days (Derby Day, Oaks Day or Melbourne Cup Day), that includes a pickup and drop off at Flemington Racecourse. To be honest, if most locals knew about this form of luxury transport, they’d be traveling to the races this way too.

Should you tire of the races, there are dozens of other ways to entertain yourself in Melbourne during this time. Check out our recommendations on things to do around Melbourne for city experiences like the lane-ways and arcades tour, great Melbourne museums and other attractions. Melbourne is no more than an hour or two away from some really worthwhile day trips too: the vineyards of the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula, the wildlife and Black Spur forest in Healesville and the Dandenongs and the magnificent coast and beaches of Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road.

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