Sunburned! A first-timer’s guide to the Australian Open at Melbourne Park

MELD sports reporter Yi Lei Goh checked out the Australian Open at Melbourne Park for the first time and offers some tips to make your first time attending the tournament less painful than hers.

Photo: Yi Lei Goh

I caught last year’s Australian Open on television, from the comforts of home, and thought it would be awesome to witness all that human emotion, drama, and tension, which played out on the tennis court, live.

After checking out Day 1 of this year’s Australian Open at Melbourne Park, I concluded the experience was indeed awesome, except for the hordes of people at the tournament venue I had to contend with, the deceptively sweltering temperatures, and overpriced junk food.

Here are some tips to make your first Australian Open experience at Melbourne Park more enjoyable than mine.

1. Come up with a viewing schedule and bring it along

There will be plenty of tennis matches happening simultaneously, so planning ahead, deciding which matches to catch, and knowing when and where they will be played, will ensure you get the most out of your first Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Plus, you won’t have to spend money on a programme guide for the day.

2. Take a free tram to the tournament venue

Free express trams to Melbourne Park depart regularly from the tram stop along Flinders St, opposite Flinders Street Station.

3. Guard yourself against the sun’s rays

Every year, skin cancer cases make up 80 per cent of new cancer cases in Australia, and almost all of those cases are the result of harmful exposure to the sun. At the tournament venue, you will be harmfully exposed to the harsh Australian sun, regardless of your skin type, so slap on the sunscreen, and dress and accessorise appropriately. Wear dark colours or thick material, as clothes with those properties contain higher sun protection factor (SPF) than ones with light colours or made from thin materials. Don’t forget your sunglasses and a hat.

4. Bring food and drink

Unless you are willing to fork out an obscene amount of money for noms (at least AU$10 for a small box of junk food) and drink (AU$4 for a regular bottle of water) at Melbourne Park, bring your own snacks and drinking water.

5. Stay hydrated

Don’t be deceived by the weather forecast, predicting cool temperatures. The tournament venue will really, literally, heat up, and if you don’t take enough fluids, you’ll be more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke, which could be a life-threatening condition. Heat stroke occurs when a person becomes dehydrated and body temperatures rise above 40.5C.

And last but not least…

6. Hold on to your ticket

Your ticket, a ground pass for the day, allows you multiple entries into Melbourne Park. You may leave if the tennis matches happening at the time do not appeal to you, and come back later to catch the ones that do. All you need to do is have your ticket scanned each time you go through the tournament venue gates.

Have you had a chance to watch the Australian Open live? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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