The annual running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday in November is one of Australia’s most famous and iconic sporting events. The race attracts tourist from all across the country and from overseas as well. Whether you live in Australia or are traveling from overseas, make your trip a memorable one for all the right reasons by following these top tips.
Don’t wait until you arrive in Melbourne to find a hotel
The weeks leading up to and following the Melbourne Cup are some of the city’s busiest. It will be next to impossible to find accommodation you want and can afford if you simply arrive days before the great race, hoping to get lucky.
Travelers usually book Melbourne Cup accommodation months in advance. So if you’re planning to experience all the excitement live at the track, then plan well ahead of time. Start searching for accommodation at least several months beforehand.
You can’t buy tickets at the track on race day
Depending on the type of ticket you want, you’ll really want to purchase your trackside tickets in advance. Flemington Racecourse doesn’t sell tickets at the gate on the day of the race. You’ll need to buy your tickets through outlets such as Ticketek.
You don’t necessarily need to do this in person when you arrive in Melbourne. You can buy your tickets online.
You’ll definitely want to get in early to secure your seats, especially if you want to be in one of the member’s areas.
General admission tickets are cheaper but you’ll still have to buy them in advance, as well. Otherwise you’ll miss out on seeing the Melbourne Cup 2019 horses go round live at the track.
Pack for all seasons
Even though the Melbourne Cup takes place in late spring, Melbourne is a southern Australian city. The weather can change dramatically throughout the day and night, at any time of the year.
The city is famous for experiencing four seasons in one day. That’s not a myth; it’s the truth.
When you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, whether you’re Australian or an overseas visitor, pack both summer and winter clothing. Chances are you’re going to need it at some point during your stay.
Even in the middle of summer it can be blistering hot one minute and then, if the wind swings around to the south, frigid Antarctic air can blow in and drop temperatures by tens of degrees Celsius in no time.
It’s the same with sunshine and rain. Always carry an umbrella with you, because you just never know when the heavens are going to open.
And on the subject of clothing, if you attend the Melbourne Cup in general admission you can pretty much wear what you like. However, in any of the member’s areas men are expected to wear a jacket and tie. Women will usually wear some form of gown or cocktail dress; even something quite bizarre is acceptable.
Tipping in Australia is not a custom. It does happen, particularly in the hospitality sector, but it’s not mandatory.
Most Aussies don’t expect tips. A tip is like a bonus, and you certainly won’t be looked down upon if you don’t offer one.
If you want to offer a tip to anyone for their service, around 10% of the bill is totally okay. It’s not expected, but still is always appreciated.
The airport is not near the city
As is typical for an international airport, the Melbourne airport, known locally as Tullamarine Airport, is some 22 kilometers outside the city centre. This is something you need to factor into your travel plans.
Traffic at peak hour in Melbourne can be horrendous, and you definitely want to keep that in mind when heading back to the airport for your flight home.