Melbourne’s Spring Carnival is the event on the city’s social calendar. Stretching for three glorious weeks from the Caulfield Cup on October 21 to Stakes Day on November 11, it’s a festival of top tier thoroughbred racing, incredible fashions, bold entertainment and a whole lot of champagne.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the race days on the calendar, the biggest and best of the bunch take place at Flemington Racecourse from the first Saturday in November. This, of course, is Derby Day, an event known almost as well for its black and white dress code as it is for the on-track action. Two of the day’s races are particularly important as the winners of both the Longines Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes gain entry into the big one: The Melbourne Cup.
Taking place the following Tuesday, this really is the race that stops a nation and there’s no better place to enjoy it than in the flesh alongside 100,000 fellow racegoers. Because the event is so popular, it’s worth considering buying something more than general admission so the lines for drinks, food and the bathrooms won’t be quite as long.
If you’re not quite ready to end the celebrations with Melbourne Cup, the two remaining events of the carnival – Oaks Day and Stakes Day – are just as fun and offer their own traditions. Oaks Day is traditionally ladies’ day and is a favourite with the fashionistas, while Stakes Day is also known as family day and has a host of kid-friendly activities to keep the little ones entertained.
If you’re looking to save some money on your chosen race day, you’ll be pleased to know BYO picnics are encouraged. Just remember to leave the alcohol and sharp knives at home and try and get there early to snag a great spot to set up your rug.
Remember dress code is important at the races, particularly if you’ll be spending any time in members’ areas or event marquees. It’s almost impossible to overdress so have some fun with it and, whatever you do, embrace the chance to wear a fantastic hat. Ladies, consider the comfort and longevity of your shoes: while towering stilettos may look amazing on your feet at 10am, they’ll look distinctly less impressive clutched in your hands come late afternoon.
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Where to stay
Make the race day commute easy by booking a room at Adina Apartment Hotel Northbankor Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne. Both are around 6km away from Flemington Racecourse, making it a quick drive or easy trip on public transport. The two and three bedroom apartments on offer make them perfect choices for group stays and the spacious floor plans and thoughtful amenities allow you to start your race day right, cooking up a champagne breakfast in your fully-equipped kitchen and getting ready in your roomy, well-lit bathrooms. Book now to secure great rates.