A day at the Australian Open can be a fun way to spend a summer’s day in Melbourne. The champions, the action and the energy all combine for a memorable tennis experience. Though, arriving courtside unprepared can mean the difference between having a grand slam of a day and dropping out in the first round. Here are some tips to ensure you have a Number 1 day out at the ‘Aus Open’.
Beat the scorching heat
Despite its rainy reputation, Melbourne can also get very hot on match day. Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius are not uncommon so make sure you keep abreast of the day’s weather conditions before you venture out and dress accordingly. Light, breathable clothes and comfy shoes are perfect for hot days, while packing light-weight layers and compact umbrella or poncho will ensure you’re prepared for any downward changes in weather. Remember to apply a good quality sunscreen regularly throughout the day, and take advantage of a hat and sunglasses. Try to stick to ster regularly and limit alcohol consumption where possible.
Pack a picnic
Like any sporting event, purchasing food and drinks at the event can be quite an expensive exercise. So, why not spend your money on creating an incredible picnic and plenty of snacks to get you through your day? Prepare or buy some of your favourite foods that can be easily transportable and eaten. Think about baguettes loaded with your favourite fillings, grain-based salads packed with energising carbohydrates, a selection of juicy berries or mixed nuts, olives, gourmet chips or crisps. Pack your foods into stackable, sealable containers then into a cooler. Add ice blocks to keep your foods fresh and cold, and pace your eating throughout the day so you don’t gobble everything up before lunchtime.
For extra coolness, freeze bottles of water or cartons of juice. The liquid eventually thaws during the day and you always have a cool drink on hand once it melts. Avoid foods that are susceptible to food-poisoning and spoiling in the heat such as sushi, cold meats and dairy products. Cold-water fountains are found all around the court areas, so top up your sealable bottles throughout the day without forking out more money. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of entry before you arrive so you’re aware of any restrictions on what you can and can’t bring into the arenas.
Consider taking public transport, walking or bike-riding
Melbourne is packed with visitors during Australian Open time and the easiest way to get around the city and to Melbourne Park is via public transport, walking or bike-riding. Melbourne’s public transport runs on the Myki system which means you need to purchase a Myki card then load it with credit so you can “touch on” and “touch off” at each destination. A Myki card costs AUD$6.00 and can be purchased and registered at manned train stations. Then, it’s a matter of adding money to the card to fund your trips. You can also use your Myki card on trams and buses. Not only will you have one of three ways to journey to Melbourne Park, you can also venture to other tourist spots in Melbourne such as The Dandenongs, Chapel Street (Melbourne’s premier shopping district), various eating destinations like Brunswick Street and Lygon Street, or the beachside playground of St Kilda.
As of this year, you’re able to take a tram within Melbourne’s central business district for free, so you’ll have more money in your pocket to spend at popular destinations like Queen Victoria Market. If the weather is mild and you don’t want to take a train or tram, then consider walking along the Yarra River from Southbank to Melbourne Park; a trip that will take a good 20 minutes. Melbourne also plays host to the Melbourne Bike Share program, where visitors can purchase a casual subscription from as little as AUD$2.90 a day then hire a bike from one of the 51 bike stations around the city. Just make sure to hire a helmet too, as it’s illegal to ride without one in Melbourne.
Soak in the added atmosphere
The excitement and action isn’t just reserved for the big names. If you have a day pass, head to Melbourne Park early to witness a legends’ match when legends of the game take to the court in a more casual, and fun way. There are laughs and fun to be experienced at a legends’ match, not to mention seeing many familiar faces from Grand Slams past. Stay a little later after the day’s play and soak in some local music as Australian bands play into the early evening hours.
In between matches, head to the outdoor practice courts where you might just see one of your favourite players warming up before his or her match. If you want to get access behind the scenes, then consider a guided tour of Melbourne Park and its arenas. Tours run a few times a day, including weekends, and prices are AUD$15.00 for adults. Tours take visitors through player change rooms, press conference areas, the Davis Cup Room and infamous ‘Walk of Champions’. A must for any tennis buff.