Things To Do In Melbourne On Cup Day

Melbourne, Australia is a city renowned for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and a penchant for sports. However, if one event truly captivates the entire city, it’s Melbourne Cup Day.

This iconic horse racing event, often referred to as “the race that stops a nation,” is a celebration of elegance, excitement, and camaraderie. While the main event is the race itself, there are a plethora of activities to enjoy in Melbourne on this special day.

Let’s dive into a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of Melbourne Cup Day.

The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s most prestigious and internationally renowned horse racing events. It takes place annually on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria.

Here’s an overview of what happens during the Melbourne Cup:

Race Day Festivities:

  • The day is a public holiday in Victoria, and it’s often referred to as “the race that stops a nation.” Many people in Australia take time off work or participate in Cup Day activities.

Flemington Racecourse:

  • The event is held at Flemington Racecourse, a historic and iconic venue located just a few kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre.

The Race:

  • The highlight of the day is, of course, the Melbourne Cup race itself. It is a 3200-meter (about two miles) race for thoroughbred horses aged three years and older. It is known as a staying race, which means it requires horses with exceptional endurance.
  • The race starts at 3:00 p.m. (local time) and lasts for approximately three minutes.

The Trophy:

  • The winner of the Melbourne Cup receives a gold trophy, along with a sizable cash prize. The trophy is valued at over a million dollars and is one of the most sought-after prizes in international horse racing.

Fashion and Elegance:

  • The Melbourne Cup is known not only for the thrilling racing but also for the fashion. Attendees, both men and women, dress in their finest attire, with an emphasis on elegant and extravagant hats, making it a major event in the fashion calendar.


  • Betting on the Melbourne Cup is a significant aspect of the event. Millions of dollars are wagered on the race, making it one of the most bet-upon horse races in the world.

The Birdcage:

  • The Birdcage is an exclusive area within Flemington Racecourse where VIPs, celebrities, and sponsors gather. Access to this area is by invitation only and it’s known for its opulent decorations and luxurious facilities.

Cultural Significance:

  • The Melbourne Cup holds immense cultural significance in Australia. It’s often seen as a day to celebrate Australian culture, fashion, and of course, horse racing.

Global Attention:

  • The Melbourne Cup attracts attention from around the world. It’s not only a major event in Australia but also in international racing circles. Horses and jockeys from various countries compete, and the race is broadcast in over 160 countries.

Social and Charity Events:

  • In addition to the race itself, the day is often associated with various social and charity events. These can range from extravagant parties to fundraising initiatives.

After-Parties and Celebrations:

  • Once the race is over, the festivities continue with numerous after-parties held in Melbourne’s bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Legacy and Tradition:

  • The Melbourne Cup has a rich history dating back to 1861. It has become deeply ingrained in Australian culture and is an event that captures the imagination and hearts of people across the nation.

The Melbourne Cup is a thrilling horse racing event that combines sport, fashion, and entertainment, attracting people from all walks of life for a day of celebration, excitement, and camaraderie.

It’s a day that holds a special place in the hearts of Australians and racing enthusiasts worldwide.

Things To Do In Melbourne On Cup Day

Here are some of the things to do in melbourne on cup day:

1. Attend the Melbourne Cup Race

The heart of Melbourne Cup Day is, of course, the race. Flemington Racecourse, the hallowed ground of this event, exudes an air of glamour and excitement on the first Tuesday in November every year.

Witnessing the horses thunder down the track is an experience like no other.

2. Dress to Impress

Melbourne Cup Day is an occasion for the city’s residents and visitors to flaunt their sartorial splendour. It’s a day for elegant dresses, dapper suits, and extravagant hats.

Join in the fun by donning your finest attire, and enter a ‘Fashions on the Field’ competition for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.

3. Explore the Flemington Gardens

Adjacent to the racecourse, the Flemington Gardens offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the race day crowds. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, have a leisurely picnic, and enjoy the tranquillity of the oasis.

4. Experience Culinary Delights

Melbourne is renowned for its diverse and vibrant culinary scene, and Melbourne Cup Day is no exception. From gourmet dining experiences to food stalls offering an array of international cuisines, there’s something to satiate every palate.

5. Sip on Champagne

Raise a glass of bubbly to celebrate this special day. Champagne flows freely at Melbourne Cup events, and many venues offer special packages that include a glass of the finest sparkling wine.

6. Visit The Birdcage

The Birdcage is an exclusive area within Flemington Racecourse, where celebrities, socialites, and VIPs gather. While access is by invitation only, it’s an exciting area to people-watch and soak in the glamorous atmosphere.

7. Enjoy Live Music and Entertainment

Numerous stages and entertainment zones around the racecourse offer live music, performances, and other forms of entertainment. Dance to live bands, enjoy DJs or be captivated by various acts throughout the day.

8. Bet on the Horses

For many, Melbourne Cup Day is synonymous with a little flutter on the horses. Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a novice, the electric atmosphere and the thrill of the race make betting an integral part of the experience.

9. Take a Break at the Picnic Lawn

The Picnic Lawn provides a relaxed alternative to the more formal areas of the racecourse. Lay out a picnic blanket, bring your food and beverages, and enjoy a more casual day at the races.

10. Explore Melbourne’s Laneways

If the hustle and bustle of the racecourse becomes overwhelming, take a break and wander through Melbourne’s iconic laneways. These charming backstreets are filled with street art, boutique shops, and quaint cafes, offering a different perspective of the city.

11. Attend After-Parties and Events

Once the races are over, the festivities continue at various after-parties and events around the city. From rooftop bars to exclusive clubs, Melbourne comes alive after the sun sets.

12. Relax at the Melbourne Parks

If you’re seeking a more tranquil experience, head to one of Melbourne’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s the Royal Botanic Gardens, Albert Park, or Yarra Bend Park, these green spaces offer a peaceful retreat from the excitement of the race day.


In conclusion, Melbourne Cup Day is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned racegoer or a first-timer, the day offers something for everyone.

From the adrenaline-pumping race itself to the stylish fashion, delectable food, and vibrant entertainment, Melbourne Cup Day is a celebration of all that makes Melbourne a truly special city.

So, gather your friends and family, don your finest attire, and head out for a day of unforgettable memories in the heart of Australia’s cultural capital.

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