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Spring Into Melbourne

Spring Into Melbourne

Each September from Balnarring to Ararat, Victorians en masse descend on race tracks across the state to picnic, sip a coldie, place a bet and if they're lucky, catch a glimpse of a horse or two circling a track.

It's Spring Carnival time and across Victoria 114 horse race meetings provide a great excuse to party down under.

It's a celebration marking the end of the cold winter months. It's a time to don your glad rags, to smell the turf and take in the crisp spring air. It's a time to breakfast with champagne, enjoy the company of good friends and if you enjoy good horse racing, well, that's just a bonus... Many of the world's finest racehorses make the journey to Australia to share in the $40 million of prize-money that's up for grabs.

The Spring Carnival culminates in the Melbourne Cup, the biggest horse race on the Australian calendar held on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne's northern suburbs. Tens of thousands of spectators ensure a carnival atmosphere whatever the weather.

Since 1861 when a horse called Archer walked 850 kilometres from Nowra to Flemington to compete in and win the very first Melbourne Cup, the race has captured the imagination of all Australians.

Held over 3,200 metres for three-year-olds and over, it is the richest "two-mile" handicap race in the world, and one of the richest turf races full stop.

It's known locally as the race that stops a nation and it does. In sports mad Victoria, it's even a public holiday.

So why not plan your Australian holiday for September. As well as the Spring Carnival, Melbourne in September plays host to the Australian rules football finals series and the Royal Melbourne Show. Go on, odds on you'll have a good time.