How many sports-crazy countries can you think of, off the top of your head? (football-crazy countries don’t count). There are two standouts for me.
- United States
I plan on making a big sports road trip in both over the next few years.
This post (you read the title right?) will focus on Australia.
Planning a sports-based road trip isn’t easy. Venues and exact dates are never fixed from year to year (dates usually don’t change too much).
In order for you to be able to put some of this road trip into action, I’ve broken the trip down into three sections:
- 5 Events/Matches
- 5 Activities
- 5 Stadium Tours/Museums
Length Of Road Trip: I thought long and hard about the ideal length of the road trip. A never ending road trip would be a utopia that isn’t quite workable (yet, given the cost of road tripping in Aussie). So I settled on two months.
Dates of the Road Trip: One of the biggest days of the year for me is the NRL Grand Final (go the Bulldogs!) which is usually on the first Sunday of October and the AFL grand final is usually the same weekend, perhaps one week earlier.
For practicality in planning the rest of the activities & events, official dates are:
October 1st – November 30th.
Best car for the road trip? I’m a car noob, but Dad always had a Ford so that’s my non-pro recommendation In Australian, you’ll find a good deals for second-hand cars on Gumtree.
The Must-See Sports Events
The NRL Grand Final
This is my ultimate must-see event. I’ve been to three NRL Grand Finals, two featuring my favourite team, the Bulldogs (we lost both). Wholly, the experience was awesome everytime.
The best part of the NRL Grand Final is that the venue and date are announced a year out, making it easy to plan to be around for.
The AFL Grand Final
Ugh, the ‘other’ Aussie sport. But I secretly like it even though I still don’t understand all the rules by any stretch of the imagination.
Like the NRL Grand Final, the AFL Grand Final venue and date are confirmed well in advance.
The final is always held at Melbournes MCG, often on the Saturday, meaning there could be a long drive from Melbourne to Sydney to start the road trip if they’re on the same weekend.
Seeing both of these events one after the other would be such a great way to start with a spot of freedom camping somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne required before the Aussie travel budget gets way out of control.
The Australian Open (Golf)
I’ve been a lifelong fan of golf, both as a player and spectator (and now a volunteer). The Australian Open is usually in NSW and Queensland ( November or early-December).
Leisurely strolls around the course in the early summer watching world-class golf? Sounds good to me.
New Zealand Breakers Match (Basketball)
In the first line of the article about myself supporting the Doggies mentioned earlier is:
“I support two Teams. New Zealand and anyone playing Australia.”
The Breakers are the most successful New Zealand franchise to play in an Australian domestic competition ever.
The last eight years, there have been two teams that have taken home the title, the Perth Wild Cats, and the Breakers.
As these grudge matches won’t be on the east coast, the best match to see would be the Breakers play the Sydney Kings.
Wellington Pheonix Match (football)
I have seen Wellington take on the Melbourne Victory before at one of my favourite stadiums, AAMI, and remember having an absolute blast and would be awesome to see again.
Of course, this would be totally dependent schedule.
Related Post: Football Fan Etiquette Overseas
Must-Do Road Trip Activities
The weather isn’t exactly warm day in Victoria and NSW (during October & November). So most of the activities on the road trip will be happening up in Queensland.
Hang Gliding – In The Gold Coast
I’ll squeeze in a visit to see my sister who lives on the Gold Coast and then go hang gliding from a viewpoint I’ve already visited several times known as The Hang Glider Launch. For some reason I’ve always strayed away from hang gliding thus far (2018) in my life…but the view from here is so epic.
Scuba-Diving At The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction (well if it does, here you go).
I feel like it has been a long time since the chat first started about the reef becoming nothing as a result of climate change and the like.
Fortunately, thousands of tourists can come to see the Great Barrier beauty every day. With my swimming confidence boosted, I’ll go into this nervous as fuck, but excited to get more experience underwater.
Sky-Diving – Spontaneous
Sky diving has always felt like one of those activities that need to be spontaneous to me. You drive past a location and boom, you decide to do it there and then.
The expense is high, but this road trip will be expensive so why not add a plane jump to the list?
Hiking To The Highest Peak In Australia
You might be in one of two buckets here in your thought process.
- Australia is so big, how is Mount Kosciuszko the highest peak at only 2,228 metres?
- Australia is a hot country, they actually have snow?
I have to admit I was in the latter. Only learning after moving to Melbourne post-University that Aussie got snow in the winter.
Mount Kozzy is certainly not massive, my friend, Pete, was casually having a laugh by climbing up there out of season (see video).
While climbing some peaks in other continents take days, weeks when you’re talking Everest, Mount Kozzy can be done in a day. Perfect for this trip.
I can’t believe I haven’t surfed again since Siargao. Turns out, unless you’re travelling to a region for surfing, it’s not that easy to find warm waters for surfing. I totally thought Europe would be all warm. Nope, Spanish waters be cold!
When living in Bundaberg for a few months, I passed up the opportunity to go surfing in 1770 one weekend. So that’s the number one destination for surfing on this trip. Or at the start of the trip, I could make a day trip from Melbourne down past Geelong and go surfing at Point Lonsdale.
The Stadiums & Museums To Visit On The Aussie Road Trip
Australia has some of the most impressive stadiums in the world in the MCG, and for me growing up, all have held some memorable events. Why? Because of the Australia vs New Zealand rivalry, particularly in rugby and cricket.
Watching AFL and cricket at the MCG while I was living in Melbourne is definitely some of my best memories (even saw Ed Sheeran there). The atmosphere is bananas with the circular field, and the crowd always rises to the occasion when the stands are more or less full of 100k people.
I’ve actually already taken the MCG tour but would do this again in a heartbeat.
For more visit the MCG website.
National Sports Museum
I’m not a museum guy which you’ll know if you’re a regular reader. Yet with my new strategy of staying in any museum for 45-minutes max and having a genuine interest in the museum before (read: it’s a sports museum), I’m all in.
For more visit the Suncorp Stadium website.
I was on a tight budget when I last visited Brisbane, where my sister was living at the time. Even just walking past the stadium gave me a buzz, with the XXXX Brewery alongside. I’ve watched so many epic league matches played in this stadium, getting a tour would be awesome. Oh, the stories they could tell.
For more visit the Suncorp Stadium website.
ANZ Stadium Tour
I’ve never actually spent much time in Sydney. Though I’ve been several times, they were always quick league and/or poker trips. ANZ Stadium is where the NRL Grand Final is each year, as well as plenty of sports events. Like Sun Corp, the tour will be full of stories and memories. And the gantry section looks cool!
For more visit the ANZ Stadium website.
Philip Island Race Track
I never knew you could take a tour of a race track until I was in Barcelona and saw you could take a tour of that track. At Philip Island you get to see the control tower, CCTV system, pit lane, pit roof and of course, to where the podium is.
Do we get champagne?
This would be pretty cool as I watched plenty of superbikes growing up.
Bonus event! I couldn’t 2017 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix into my top five events to see on this road trip. If I could time the circuit tour with the Moto GP event which is held in late-October/early-November, that would be a nice bonus.
For more visit the Philip Island Circuit website.
Woah. I’ve just described the dream list of things to do on an east coast Australian Road trip.
If you did one thing every day, that’s 15 hectics days at least. Add in additional events, hikes, and surfs and you’ve one busy trip. Don’t forget there’s all the driving time too.
A couple other big events that I’d love to base a road trip around Australia as, would be the Boxing Day test (cricket) and the Australian Open (tennis).Oh, Australia, you aren’t so bad after all.
Which bucket list Australian sports event would you plan your trip around?
IF YOU ARE FEELING INSPIRED, PIN AWAY 🙂