Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Victoria © AFL Media
The best ways to experience the MCG
Visit the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, better known as the MCG, one of the biggest sports stadiums in the world.
By Bonnie Jackson
With a capacity of 100,000 people, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is the largest stadium in Australia, and the world's largest cricket stadium. Located about 1km (0.6mi) from Melbourne’s city centre, you’ll be going from bustling laneway to roaring grandstand in no time!
In winter the ground hosts Australian football (also known as Aussie rules, or AFL) matches, while in summer it's the stage for cricket. Here are a few more ways to enjoy the ‘G’ (as locals like to call it).
Catch a game of Aussie rules
AFL is a fast-paced contact sport whose origins can be traced back to matches played in 1858 based on early forms of rugby and Gaelic football. It's uniquely Australian. Thousands of passionate fans turn up every weekend to cheer on their teams. Buy a ticket and enjoy the spectacle.
How to experience it: Before you arrive, look at what teams are playing and purchase their merchandise to really immerse yourself into the grandstand culture.
Watch a cricket Test match in summer
Cricket is hugely popular during the Australian summer. The MCG is the home of the Melbourne Cricket Club and there are few events in the Australian sporting calendar that evoke as much passion as the Boxing Day Test match, between Australia and a visiting team such as England, South Africa or India. Test matches run for five days.
How to experience it: Pack a hat, sunnies, a shirt with sleeves and wear sunscreen, as it can get quite hot in the sunshine all day.
Take a tour of the stadium
A behind-the-scenes tour of the MCG reveals more than 150 years of Australian sporting history. Explore the stadium's inner sanctum and walk on the hallowed turf. You'll get to see the MCC (Melbourne Cricket Club) Library, player change rooms and take a walk on the arena.
How to experience it: While there are three tour times per day, they usually sell out, so make sure you book in advance.
Watch Australian Open tennis
A stone's throw from the MCG is Melbourne Park, made up of the Rod Laver and Hisense arenas. The Rod Laver Arena is home to the annual Australian Open tennis Grand Slam tournament. Hisense Arena is a multi-purpose venue that hosts basketball, netball and cycling.
How to experience it: There are premium experiences on offer at the Australian Open, so treat yourself to an upgrade for some of the best seats in the house.
Visit AAMI Park
Cheer on one and all at rectangular AAMI Park, where you can join in the excitement of National Rugby League, rugby union and A-League football (soccer). Cheer on the home teams: Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart.
How to experience it: Get two National Rugby League games for the price of one by arriving early to the game. The men’s supporting grade or women’s round may be on during this time!
See the Parade of Champions
The Yarra Park precinct surrounding the sporting stadiums is a green expanse perfect for a stroll along the Yarra River. Follow a trail of statues of Australian sporting heroes on the Tattersall's Parade of Champions, which celebrates elite sportsmen and women who have competed at the MCG.
How to experience it: The statues are on display all year round, so if you aren’t going to a game and simply fancy a stroll along the river this is one is for you!
Wander around Birrarung Marr
Birrarung Marr is a major park near the MCG, named by the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people who originally lived in the area. It features many sculptures and artworks celebrating Victoria’s Aboriginal culture.
How to experience it: Have a picnic by the Yarra River and listen out for the Federation Bells, which ring three times a day.