Sport is a fixture of Aussie summers. Whether you’re a weekend competitor, armchair supporter or backyard barbecue pro, it’s all about community and friendly rivalry. Surfing, tennis and cricket top the charts in December and January. Check out what’s happening so you can get into the summer sport spirit.
Summer heat drives everyone to the beach. When the surf’s up and the sun’s out, it’s time to grab a board and hit the water. Now, you can get the surf experience in the middle of the city. URBNSURF will introduce Australia’s first ever surf parks to Sydney and Melbourne, with the Melbourne park opening this summer and the Sydney one starting construction in 2020. Thanks to ripper wave-generating technology, beginners and pros alike can catch the perfect one. Keep your eyes peeled as URBNSURF parks pop up around the country.
And for the real thing? We’re famous for our waves here in Australia. Crescent Head in northern NSW is awesome for beginners and professional longboard surfers. Noosa Heads, Lennox Head, Surfer’s Paradise and The Pass at Byron Bay are popular spots to explore. In fact, with loads of local surf schools, Byron Bay is a great place to start out. Exmouth in Western Australia also has good waves and a great Surf Centre for beginners. On the other hand, the huge swell of Prevelly Bay is better left to the pros.
For the die-hard grommets, there are lots of professional titles and junior championships on at this time of year. Watch the Woolworths Surfer Groms comps around the country, and the Surf Dive N Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles which will be on at Margaret River, Western Australia, from November 30th to December 7th.
Need something to do to fill in time on a Sunday afternoon? A hit of tennis is an ace activity for summer break. Get outside, find your nearest tennis court and hire it out for an hour or two. Balls and racquets are often included.
Take it up a notch with the real deal. Australian Open (one of tennis’ “big 4”) is on from 20th January to 2nd February 2020 at Melbourne Park, Melbourne. There is a special Kids Tennis Day just beforehand, on 18th January, in the Australian Open precinct. Kids tickets are $5 and adults $10. Watch the big shots train at the Rod Laver Arena, sing along to concerts on the live stage, try your luck with kid-sized balls and racquets at Hot Shots and join in water activities and entertainment at the AO Ballpark at Birrarung Marr.
Keep your eye out for other tennis events in January, including ATP Cup (3rd to 12th January), Brisbane International (6th to 12th January), Hobart International (11th to 18th January) and Adelaide International (12th to 18th January).
Last but definitely not least, cricket is one of the biggest summer sports played by Australians. Boxing Day Test Match has become something of an institution – many living rooms will be glued to the screen the day after Christmas. For any cricket newbies, test cricket is a game of four innings that usually lasts several days. In one-day matches, each team has 50 ‘overs’ to score the most runs. In Twenty20 matches, which typically last around 3 hours, each team has 20 overs. Twenty20 is perfect for families. Short and sweet, it is affectionately known as Big Bash because of the high scores and big hits. Watch the Sydney 6ers, Brisbane Heat, Melbourne Renegades and other teams battle it out from now until the end of January 2020.
Fancy yourselves a bit of a Steve Smith or Don Bradman? Pull up the wheelie bin wicket for some backyard cricket, bring a bat and ball to the beach for a friendly round of ‘French cricket.’ The rules are that you can’t move your legs, which are the wickets, and all bowlers must bowl underarm.
Surfing, tennis and cricket might be popular choices, but we know loads of other sports come out to play (and be played!) in summer. Basketballers will be following their teams of choice and sailing fans will surely be watching the launch of the Sydney to Hobart race on Boxing Day. Motor racing fans will be gearing up for the Australia Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne in March 2020. Let us know on our Facebook page what sports your family throws itself behind in summer.
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