"And so the grand-stands make a brilliant and wonderful spectacle, a delirium of colour, a vision of beauty. The champagne flows, everybody is vivacious, excited, happy... Day after day the races go on, and the fun and the excitement are kept at white heat; and when each day is done, the people dance all night so as to be fresh for the race in the morning."
The above description of the Melbourne Cup Carnival was written by Mark Twain after he attended Flemington in 1895. Who are we to dare add to his eloquent account of The Cup? All we'll say is that in the last 127 years, the carnival has not taken a backward step. In fact, it's only become bigger and better!
Penfolds Victoria Derby Day | 29 Oct
The first big race of the Melbourne Cup Carnival brings a special energy to the track as trainers, jockeys, punters and socialites gather behind the famous gates of Flemington to officially launch the biggest week in Australian racing.
Off the track, prestige, glamour and style take centre-stage for 'The Fashion Stakes' on Derby Day - where the traditional black and white theme is incorporated flawlessly into the crowd of classy racegoers.
This is the big one. One of the most anticipated days on Australia's sporting calendar. A public holiday worthy celebration for over 130 years. This is the race that stops the nation™.
Few events capture and hold national attention like The Melbourne Cup, and to be on the ground and feel the thundering rumble of hooves down the Flemington straight is a genuine bucket-list experience for any sporting fan-
Kennedy Oaks Day, also known as Ladies Day, is all about fascinators, fashion, food and friends; as the ladies (and gentlemen!) bring some extra colour and flair to the track!
The Myer Fashions on the Field winners are announced on Oaks Day, with the on-track highlight being the $1 million Group 1 Kennedy Oaks, which will see the best three-year-old staying fillies battle for victory in the ultimate test of their staying credentials.
The final day of the Carnival includes three big Group 1 races, highlighted by the $3 million TAB Champions Stakes, the spring grand final for Australia’s best middle-distance horses.
Off the track, revellers work hard to soak up the last of the Melbourne Cup Carnival festivities before the outfits are shipped to the dry cleaners for next year. Stakes Day is nicknamed 'Family Day' because of the relaxed atmosphere and plethora of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
Flemington Racecourse is not just the biggest horse racing arena in Australia, its grandstand capacity is one of the biggest in the world! And in a country that relishes the fun, fashion and festivities of thoroughbred racing as much as any other, there is very few sporting experiences or atmospheres on the planet that can rival a big day of racing at Flemington.
Food, coffee and culture
Speaking of world class... Melbourne's hospitality scene is held in the highest regard by foodies and adventurers from every corner of the globe. With a vibe somewhere between the cobbled laneways of a European metropolis and the trendy industrial conversions of NYC - there's incredible food, coffee and art to be found around every corner of this vibrant culture capital.
While the coffee is famous, what some people may not know is that just an hour from the CBD is one of the country's most prolific and most picturesque cool-climate wine making regions, the Yarra Valley. And from Melbourne's position at the peak of Port Phillip Bay, it a short and spectacular drive along the coast in either direction for a charming coastal day trip.
Uniquely Melbourne experiences
You can expect more than just a day at the races when you book a Melbourne Cup Carnival package with Sportsnet®.
Melbourne foodie tours
Wind your way through colourful laneways and arcades in search of the best cup of Melbourne's famous coffee. Along the way a knowledgeable guide will teach you a bit about the history of the city and point out the key landmarks, while sampling some of Melbourne's finest sweet and savoury treats.
Yarra Valley winery tour
Award winning wineries, postcard-perfect views and world-class dining experiences are never far away when you're in Melbourne. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day and spend some time sipping your way through the Yarra Valley learning about one of Australia's most famous wine regions.
Arriving in style
Sportsnet's make sure our Melbourne Cup Carnival goers arrive in appropriate style! Avoid the traffic with a scenic 5 minute one-way helicopter transfer from the Melbourne CBD to Flemington Racecourse. Or cruise to and from Flemington Racecourse along the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers on a cocktail river cruise to get the party started.
Cruising to the Carnival
Coming from interstate? Our previous packages have included 6 to 8 night cruises from Brisbane and Sydney aboard P&O's ships with a crew of fellow racing fans! Cruisers can enjoy all of the amenities you'd expect on a pacific cruise, plus themed entertainment with racing personalities onboard and a P&O Fashion at Sea spectacular.