Australia’s Cricket Season

November 13, 2013 by

Australia & the Pacific, Festivals & Events, Places to Go, Things to Do

As the weather heats up in the Southern Hemisphere, not all Australians will be hitting the beach – summer also marks the start of the cricket season and the highly anticipated games will be drawing sports fans from all around the world. As one of Australia’s most popular sports, cricket fever sweeps the nation as the series gets underway and whether you manage to score tickets for a test match or join the crowds down the pub to catch the game on TV, you’re sure to get swept up in the action.

This summer, the legendary Ashes test series is held on Australian soil, with England and Australia battling it out over a series of five test matches to take home the coveted Ashes trophy (an urn containing the charred remains of a wicket), currently held by the English team.

A quintessential Australian experience

Catch a Cricket match

Catch a Cricket match.

Attending a cricket test match is a quintessential Australian experience and if you manage to snag tickets for one of the games, you’ll be in good company, with locals coming out in droves to support their favorite teams and England’s ‘Barmy Army’ super fans sure to be putting in an appearance. The five big games are scheduled between November and January, and with each test match held in a different city, there’s the opportunity to take in some of Australia’s many sights on route. With ample time between games, you could even plan your trip to include detours to top attractions like Ayer’s Rock, the Great Barrier Reef or Fraser Island.

The schedule

The Gabba. Photo credit: Talisen via Flickr.

The Gabba. Photo credit: Talisen via Flickr.

The opening game calls play at Brisbane’s famous stadium, ‘The Gabba’, which has been hosting cricket matches since 1896, and runs from November 21st-25th. Fans in the Queensland capital will be donning their cricket whites for the big event, but don’t forget to check out the sights while you’re in town, too. Get the ultimate city view with a Story Bridge Climb; come face to face with the fluffy (adorable Koalas) and ferocious (menacing crocodiles) at Australia Zoo; learn to surf at the idyllic Gold Coast beaches; or let your hair down at Queensland’s much-loved theme parks like Dreamworld or Sea World.

Adelaide Oval. Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr.

Adelaide Oval. Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr.

Next up, the South Australian capital of Adelaide takes the spotlight, with the 2nd test match held at the picturesque Adelaide Oval from December 5th– 9th.   Escape the cricket world post-match with a leisurely wine tasting tour of the Barossa Valley; enjoy a cruise along the Murray River; or take a side trip to Tasmania or Kangaroo Island. Save some energy for the Perth test match the next week though, when the enormous WACA Ground becomes the home of international cricket from December 13th-17th. There’s time to spare before the next match, so explore the wilderness of Western Australia with a tour of the Pinnacles Desert or Swan Valley, both easy day trips from Perth, before flying into Melbourne to enjoy the city’s lively Christmas Festival and spend Christmas Day topping up your tan on the beach.

Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo Credit: Alan Isherwood via Flickr.

Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photo Credit: Alan Isherwood via Flickr.

The hotly awaited Boxing Day test match is a festive affair and is traditionally the most attended match of the series, with all eyes turning to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia’s biggest cricket stadium, from December 26th -30th. Pour yourself a beer, tuck into a traditional Aussie barbecue and get ready to shout for your team as the good-natured England-Australia rivalry hits its climax, then unwind with scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road, a tour of Melbourne’s celebrated art galleries or a spot of shopping on Bourke Street.

The atmosphere will be even more intense for the final test of the series, held in the Sydney Cricket Ground, as Australian fans wait to see whether their team can win back the prized Ashes. Play doesn’t start until January 3rd, so you can choose between seeing in the New Year with Melbourne’s waterfront fireworks and riotous all-night parties, or watching the dramatic lightshow illuminate Sydney Harbour, with fireworks raining down over city landmarks like the Opera house, Sydney Harbour bridge and the Sydney Tower Eye.

-Zoe Smith

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