Whether you’re planning on doing the full Big Lap, or just part of it, you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of Australia’s most beautiful natural sights as well as some of Australia’s biggest and most interesting sporting events.
Here are five different meets, races and competitions in 5 different Australian cities and towns that you’ll definitely want to consider seeing on your travels.
All of these competitions occur once a year so if you want to add any to your plans, make sure to consider which direction you’re going to do your big lap and what time of the year you’re going to travel.
Where? Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria.
When? 3:00 pm on the First Tuesday of November every year.
The race that stops the nation is Australia’s biggest horse racing event and attracts massive local, and international attention. 24 horses and their jockeys, trainers and owners all vie to lift the coveted Melbourne Cup trophy in what has become one of the world’s biggest thoroughbred races.
Any Aussie will know it, but the Melbourne Cup is more than just a race. The whole state of Victoria goes into a racing frenzy and it’s even a public holiday.
Getting a ticket to the Melbourne Cup Carnival is not easy, or cheap, but there are other ways to enjoy the race. Being in and around the CBD during the race is an unforgettable experience in and of itself.
Many Aussies also like to place a wager on the race and then to watch the event with friends and family, in a bar or on TV. If you’re not sure where to bet on the Melbourne Cup you’ll find some of the top betting sites here.
Tour Down Under
Where? Throughout Adelaide, South Australia.
When? Summer, often in January every year.
The Tour Down Under or ‘TDU’ is an annual road cycling event held in and around the city of Adelaide every summer as part of the city’s Festival of Cycling.
The event traditionally opens the UCI World Tour - the world’s most prestigious professional men’s road cycling tour.
As such, you’ll get the chance to witness some of the world’s top athletes battle it out in teams of six as part of the 11-day festival.
The Tour Down Under has attracted upwards of 700,000 people and is the highest-ranked professional road race in the Southern Hemisphere. In the past, spectators have seen the likes of Lance Armstrong and Richie Porte in action.
Top spots to watch the race include Hahndorf, Forrest Range and Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills.
Margaret River Pro
Where? Surfers Point, Margaret River, Western Australia.
When? Late Autumn, every year (often in May)
The Margaret River Pro is part of the World Surf League’s World Championship Tour and again, brings the world’s top-ranked male and female surfers down under.
The Western Australian surf can be wild and unpredictable which makes the event all the more exciting for those safe on dry land.
The meet is more than just a surfing competition and includes festivities, live music and children’s activities - most of which are hosted in the town of Margaret River.
The region is known for its rolling hills, top wineries and seafood so as well as seeing the world’s best surfers in action you’ll get to experience the best of WA on your stop.
Beer Can Regatta
Where? Mindil Beach, Darwin, Northern Territory.
When? Late winter or early spring every year (August - September)
Australia has, and brings in, some of the World’s biggest athletes but not all “sporting events” you’ll want to catch are about physical prowess.
The annual Darwin Beer Can Regatta is the biggest of its kind in the world and has been known to bring upwards of 20,000 spectators - which is a lot for Australia’s far north.
Darwin has one of the highest rates of beer consumption in the world and locals and Aussies from around the country, have taken to recycling these cans by building them into watercrafts.
The regatta’s festivities don’t stop at the water’s edge with concerts, sandcastle competitions and even a thong throwing contest all part of the day’s fun.
Gold Coast Marathon
Where? Southport Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast, Queensland.
When? First Sunday of July every year.
Whether you’re beginning your Big Lap, halfway through, or about to finish, you may not want to run one but watching the GC Marathon is definitely worth considering.
The Gold Coast marathon, ‘Australia’s premier road race’, brings in more than 27,000 participants of all ages, sizes and abilities and is known to be one of the world’s flattest and fastest courses - making it a top choice for runners aiming to achieve their personal best times.
The event takes place in the middle of the year when the weather on the Gold Coast is still excellent and can be watched from a number of different locations around the city including in and along the city’s idyllic surf beaches.
It’s also one of only two Aussie marathons to hold an IAAF Gold Label meaning it attracts the world’s fastest and fittest runners.