Each January, the Australian Open draws tennis fanatics and spectators from all over the world. Head to Melbourne to grab a seat courtside for this exciting Grand Slam tournament.
By Katrina Lobley & Ashlea Wheeler
The Australian Open is one of the biggest events in tennis. There are only four Grand Slam events in the world and the two-week Australian Open is the first each year, kicking off the annual tennis calendar before players follow the circuit to the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
How to get there
Spectators can walk to Melbourne Park in about 10 minutes from Melbourne's city centre. Alternatively, take tram route 70 to the closest stops to Melbourne Park (hop off at stop 7B for the Rod Laver Arena or 7C for the Hisense Arena). Or take a train to Melbourne Park's nearest stations (Richmond or Jolimont).
Catch a match
The world's best tennis players flock to Melbourne each January to compete in the Australian Open. The action takes place at Melbourne Park, a cluster of stadiums and outdoor courts right next to Melbourne's city centre. To see the tennis superstars and your favourite players, mid-range tickets offer entry to the 7500-seat Margaret Court Arena, or you can spend more to watch matches at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena, considered the tournament's "centre court".
Get access to fan zones and entertainment with a Ground Pass
One of the most underrated and affordable tickets is a Ground Pass (available from October) which gives you access to the outdoor courts, as well as in the 10,000-seat Hisense Arena. Between matches, you can easily fill your day (and night) exploring the fan zones, shops, dining, bars, live music and attractions like Grand Slam Oval.
Party in the park
The Australian Open is staging the country's longest music festival, with 15 days of global music acts on the AO Live Stage. Featuring a great line-up of Australian and international bands (which have previously included Aussie faves such as Jungle Giants, Client Liaison and Daryl Braithwaite), the party takes place at Birrarung Marr, the popular grassy riverside park just outside the tennis stadiums. Once the tennis begins, the park becomes a popular spot for the public to watch the action on the free big screens.
Dine in style
Foodies can indulge in some of Melbourne’s best culinary delights, with options ranging from tasty street food at pop up stalls around the AO Live Stage and Grand Slam Oval, to world-class dining at five-star restaurants onsite and nearby.
Bring the kids
The event will have a special area for the little ones. The AO Ballpark is an onsite mini theme park for kids and families with a wide range of exciting activities. The NERF and LEGO zones are always a favourite, and Disney brands make an appearance with Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney princess attractions. A 60 metre (197 foot) zipline allows children of all ages to have an exciting ride through the centre of the park, and a stage with live entertainment has shows running all day.