One of the perks of living in Melbourne, Australia is the access to such amazing sporting events. A couple of years ago we had the thrill of seeing the Williams sisters play doubles, followed by a match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open. In today's guest post, Melinda Samson shares some helpful tips for those headed to Melbourne for the 2013 Australian Open.
The 2013 Australian Open runs from 14 to 27 January. Held at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, there’s a lot to love about this tournament; the high quality matches, the players, the venue, the access to tickets, the players’ outfits, the colour, the atmosphere, the fan experience and more.
If you’re visiting the Australian Open and Melbourne for the first time, check out the tips below.
1. Make the most of free services provided for tourists
When you first arrive, visit the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square. The team will help you with whatever information you need, including free brochures, guides and maps, information about “What’s On”, assistance with tour bookings and public transport information.
Also do a circuit on the Free City Circle Tram to get orientated and learn about attractions that you’ll want to visit later. This tram runs in both directions along Flinders Street and you’ll recognise it by its distinctive maroon colour.
While you’re navigating your way around the city, it’s good to know that in Melbourne streets can change name without ever turning a corner. For example Swanston Street changes name to St Kilda Road where it intersects with Flinders Street. This tip might save you from thinking that you’ve inadvertently turned a corner when you haven’t!
2. Stay in the Melbourne CBD, Southbank or at Crown
If you stay in these areas you can easily get to Flinders Street to catch a tram to Melbourne Park. Trams running between the city and the Australian Open are free if you have a valid tennis ticket.
Night matches can finish after most public transport has stopped running but trams to the city continue to run after the last match is completed. This is another good reason to stay in the city area. You’ll be able to get back to your accommodation easily, and you’ll have the option of walking to avoid crowded trams or queuing for taxis.
3. Be prepared for hot weather
The Australian sun is really strong and you can get sunburnt easily. Depending what tickets you have, you might be outside in the sun for long periods of time so be prepared.
• Reapply sunscreen regularly.
• Wear a hat.
• Have a long sleeved top available.
• Bring a water bottle that you can refill at the water stations around the
4. Get the Australian Open app
To keep up with scores and highlights from around the grounds, which can otherwise be hard to do while you’re in your seat watching a match, download the Australian Open App for iPhone, iPad or Android. For those on Twitter, follow @AustralianOpen for updates.
If you’re using the AO app and Twitter or other social media during a long day at the tennis your battery will probably run low. Bring your phone charger so that you’ll be able to re-charge at one of the power points available inside Rod Laver and Hisense Arenas.
5. If WiFi access is important, ask about it when you’re booking your accommodation
Free WiFi is becoming available in more locations in Melbourne but it is not as prevalent as in the UK or USA. A lot of hotels in Australia charge around $10 to $20 per day for this service.
Cafes and bars often offer free WiFi but they might not advertise the fact. The best way to find out is to ask the staff.
Starbucks and most McDonald’s offer free WiFi and there is a free WiFi zone at Federation Square.
Bio: In 2012, Melinda Samson achieved one of her life goals by attending all four tennis grand slam events in the same year. These tips are an extract from her new e-Book, the Australian Open e-Companion, which cover the tips, info and website links that will make your AO and Melbourne experience even better. For more grand slam tennis tips and articles, visit www.grandslamgal.com or follow Mel on Twitter @grandslamgal