You would probably know we were off to Australia on vacation during the week starting Sep 28. As a reminder, Saru had won a trip sponsored by Tourism Victoria for this entry. Starting with this post, I am going to cover the numerous spots we covered and some were well worth the visit.
We stayed 3.5 days in Melbourne, 1 in Gold Coast and 2.5 in Sydney during our week-long outing. We flew Virgin Atlantic between these cities, which I should say I enjoyed.
After landing in Melbourne on Sep 28 early in the morning, we headed to our hotel ibis Styles in the CBD (central business district), kept our luggage with the reception and soon ventured out for our first spot – Melbourne Cricket Ground. You see, I am crazy about Cricket, so we kept this as the first attraction to visit 🙂
Before I write about the attraction itself, I should mention the free Tram (numbered 35) one can take in Melbourne. Most of the attractions are easily approachable using this free service that runs during the day. There is also a Free Tram Zone, where one can take other trams also that run there…however, they will not be free once you are out of the free zone.
Once at the MCG, I was amazed with the enormity of it. We bought the tickets for the MCG tour and also for the National Sports Museum they have. The tour takes you through the entire stadium, with commentary on history, membership, library, media areas, rooms for executives, practice areas, and much more. It lasts a little over an hour to complete the tour…though i will give you a quick virtual tour here 🙂
Do you know they don’t just play Cricket at the MCG? They have also had Football, Rugby, Soccer and even Olympic Games there and many of them are still actively played there.
Our tour began from the ground. “Do you know the cricket pitch is not permanent on the ground?” – you won’t see it in the pictures below. It is prepared separately, brought to the ground a day before the match and laid there – there is a special machine which does all this.
There are two ways of entering the field for a player and the player decides for himself which route he would take. One is through the crowd and one is an under-path which leads directly to the field.
After the field tour, our guide told us about the seating capacity and how different stands are marked. With over a hundred thousand seating capacity, there are 22,000 seats reserved for the members of the MCG. And, if you ever think of getting one for yourself, you won’t get it in this lifetime – the waiting list is that long.
Later, we toured the Media Room, both TV and Newspaper, Practice areas, Library and saw the members’ Dinning Area as well.
We also saw the Strategy Room, where the teams evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their opposition. You can not sneak into any of these places as there are close to 350 cameras in the MCG.
Once done with the tour of the ground, do not miss the 3D interaction with Shane Warne in their National Sports Museum.
Using the latest in Simulated Hologram Technology, Warne interacts with us as he moves around the space talking about his career – he opens the locker doors, plays with the bat, ball, and does much more…it looks and feels as if he is actually talking face-to-face with us.
There is much more to discover at the Museum, and one can spend an entire day at the MCG alone.
MCG is a must visit attraction, for it is the 10th largest stadium in the world, largest in Australia and largest cricket ground by capacity!