Hit Australia in January for a (Second) Summer of Sport

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With the FIFA World Cup underway and two major sporting events – the Tour de France and Wimbledon – set to kick off soon in the UK, Brits are in for an exciting sporting summer. However, if you just can’t get enough sunshine and sport, why not take a trip Down Under in January 2015 and take in their Australian equivalents? January sees two of the biggest events on the southern hemisphere’s sporting calendar – the Tour Down Under in Adelaide and South Australia, and the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Even if sport’s not your cup of tea, don’t forget the three-week Sydney Festival takes place in January too. Here, we’ll take a look at all these events in a bit more detail – and if you find yourself tempted to book a trip, this handy Cost of Living tool can help you compare the costs of transport, nights out and shopping in Australia to those of your home city.

 Tour Down Under, January 17th – 25th

As the first event of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Pro Tour – which also includes the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia – the Tour Down Under is a huge date on the calendar for professional cyclists and fans alike. Stages normally take place around the foothills of Adelaide, the scenic Barossa Valley wine region and the coastal Fleirieu Peninsula, before returning to the city streets for the final race.

Hundreds of thousands of people turn out to watch the cyclists pass by, but there’s much more going on besides the race: the celebrations usually include a Bike Expo in Adelaide, musical events, street parties and, of course, the chance to sample Adelaide’s unique food and wine. If you’ve never been, it’s a wonderful time to get to know Adelaide!

 Australian Open,  January 19th – February 1st

Held at Melbourne Park, the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific is second only to the US Open in attendance figures: the Rod Laver Arena, where much of the action takes place, has a capacity of 15,000. All three main courts have retractable roofs as of June this year, leading organisers to bill the venue as officially “weatherproofed” –particularly important for Australia, where extreme heat is just as capable of stopping play as heavy rain.

Tickets are due to go on sale in October, and if you’re planning a visit there’s also the Festival of Sails to enjoy between January 22nd and the 26th – one of the biggest and oldest regattas in Australia, and always a huge celebration.

 Sydney Festival, January 8th – 26th

A three-week festival of music, theatre, dance, comedy and any other kind of performing art you can imagine, there’s nothing quite like the Sydney Festival. With more than 300 different events to choose from, there’s sure to be something to suit all tastes: from classical music to political street theatre, it’s all here. The festival also traditionally features a large programme of free performances, so you needn’t worry about all those tickets breaking the bank.

Events take place at around 30 venues around the city, including the Sydney Theatre, City Recital Hall and, of course, the Sydney Opera House. Look out for the colourful Spiegeltents that pop up in Hyde Park and Parramatta offering cabaret and circus performances. Much like Edinburgh, festival season is one of the best times to see Sydney at its most expressive and artistic: don’t miss it!

This post was made possible by our partner host BudgetDirect.