In Tennis, there’s something called the Grand Slam, that’s the four major Tennis tournaments during the year. It starts with the Australian Open in Melbourne, Victoria Australia, then the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France; Wimbledon in the U.K. and finally the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, Queens NY. In my quest to do my own Grand Slam, I started by attending the Australian Open in Melbourne.
This was my second time to the Australian Open so I was quite familiar with Melbourne. Lots seemed to have changed though; its still a great city with lots to do and see.
My flight landed on time and it took me about 30 minutes to clear the Immigration and Customs formalities even though I did not enter my middle name in my online visa application (20 USD). An official thankfully updated the record before I left the airport.
Outside the terminal, I asked by the hotels area for some local pricing. The best she found was 185 AUD so I decided to try on my own in the city. I had already checked out some hostels and also places on airbnb.com and the Hostels was 42 AUD while airbnb.com was 41 AUD.
The lady at the counter wanted to get me in the city for 15 AUD, so I asked if there was another way and she told me about the SkyBus which actually worked out better as it was 16 AUD one way and 26 AUD return; so I purchased the return as its good for a month.
They leave every 10 minutes and the route is well traveled. Within 20 minutes I was at the Southern Cross Station in the heart of the city. I looked up the Hostel using the free WiFi from Hungry Jacks located just outside the station; Burger King for the Americans :-). I felt obliged to buy some fries so I did.
In about 30 minutes of leisurely walking I arrived at the Nomad Hostel found a room for two nights at about 50 AUD per night. I got settled in and then headed out to the Rod Laver Arena at the Open.
It was rather late now about 4p and people were already leaving the stadium. I did meet two people who were quite cool so I snapped a photo with them.
I pressed on and joined a short queue for tickets. I was told they were 25-32 AUD for ground passes which is all I wanted. There was a guy selling two 66 AUD tickets for a total of 100 AUD for a match in the Rod Laver Arena that night, but I had no interest. As I waited, a guy came by and said he had two free ground passes, and did I want them; Why Yes I responded and gave one to a girl who was in a party of four next to me.
I scanned in and voila I was at the Australian Tennis Open 2012; what luck!
It was electric, there are people everywhere, booths and players. I was able to see Kim Clijsters, Tomic and Andy Roddick practice which were all epic :-).
I just spent the rest of the time popping into matches in the various courts and left at about 7:05p as I was totally exhausted. Here’s what I saw in pictures. Have you ever been to any Tennis matches? Ever done the Grand Slam in Tennis? Please leave a comment below.