Introduction to the Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is held at the Albert Park Circuit, close to the city centre of Melbourne. It has hosted the opening round for nearly every race season since its introduction. It is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar with drivers going full throttle over 60% of the time. Arguably, however, it does not provide many over-taking opportunities.
Similar to the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, it is the only Formula 1 race held in its continent.
- First Grand Prix: 1996
- Number of Laps: 58
- Circuit Length: 5.303km
- Corners: 16
- Fastest Lap: 1:24.125 by Michael Schumacher in 2004.
- Language: English
- Currency: Australian Dollar
- Time: GMT+10
What are the best grandstands to watch F1 Australian Grand Prix?
To catch the best views of the on-track action at the Australian Grand Prix, we recommend the following areas:
Brabham – this grandstand sits on the outside of turn 2, perfectly located for that all important first lap action on the first chicane before the drivers step on the power through the long curve towards turn 3.
Fangio – located just outside the main straight, this grandstand is perfect for observing the race preparations, pit lane action and the post-race celebrations. One thing to keep in mind is that you will have the security fencing in your view.
Prost/Schumacher – stay on the inner side of either of the two grandstands to catch the cars coming into the last turn and down the main straight.
In addition to the grandstands, the general admission tickets include a range of great viewing spots. We recommend heading to the area before turn 11 beside the Waite grandstand.
The Aussies are known to put on a great show and the Australian Grand Prix is usually packed with on-track action. In between Formula 1 practice and qualifying runs, the V8s, Supercars and Classics will keep you entertained.
There will be lots of food and drink vendors around the track. Alcohol is freely available to purchase however note that you cannot bring your own alcohol onto the circuit grounds.
|Top Tip: For those with a grandstand ticket, head over to Pete’s Bar (Peter Brock, Australia’s racing legend), located on the inner side of the track, near Brabham grandstand. This place is where the party’s at and there are screens inside so you can keep up with the racing. The piano pole usually gets some dancers later on in the day too.|
How to get to F1 Australian Grand Prix?
Getting to and around Melbourne
Most fans travelling for the F1 Australian Grand Prix will land at the Melbourne Airport (MEL) which is located around 20km away from the city centre. Flights from the Pacific, Europe, Asia and the Americas land at International Terminal 2. All domestic flights arrive at Terminals 1, 3 and 4.
There are several ways to get to Melbourne city centre from the airport:
The SkyBus serves Melbourne CBD 24/7 with services every 10 minute. One way trip comes at a flat rate of just under 20 Australian Dollars and takes around 20 minutes. It also provides direct services to St.Kilda, Southbank, Docklands, Frankston and the western suburbs of Melbourne.
There are 2 pickup and drop-off locations at the MEL. One located just outside terminal 1 and another outside Terminal 4. Ticket can be purchased at the ticket booths in any of the 4 terminals. You may also purchase a ticket online in advance and show it to the driver on your smartphone.
Taxis from the airport are plentiful. You can grab one from the taxi ranks located outside Terminal 1 or between Terminals 2 and 3. A trip to the CBD will set you back around 50 Australian Dollars and takes around 30 minutes.
Uber is widely used in Melbourne and is generally around 10 Australian Dollars cheaper than a taxi. There are 2 pickup locations at the MEL. You will get directions through the app once you request a ride and you can follow ‘Uber’ signs from any of the 4 terminals.
Renting a car
There are numerous car rental companies to choose from if you would like to travel more independently during your stay. The roads from the airport are well signed and easy to navigate. There is an automatic toll on the motorway to the city centre. Tell your car rental company that you intend to use the tolled motorways and they should be able to arrange for the payment of these for you.
Getting to the Albert Park circuit
The easiest way to get to the circuit is to take the public tram which is free on race weekend for F1 Australia ticket holders. The tram system in Melbourne is very well connected and there are several stops outside of the circuit.
- Light Rail GP Express runs from Spencer Street to Gates 1 and 2.
- Clarendon Street GP Express runs from Spencer Street to Gate 3.
- The easiest way to get to Gates 5, 8, 9 and 10 is by using St.Kilda trams. All of these depart from Flinders Station. You can use trams 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 or 72.
You can order a taxi to drop you off at the circuit on race weekend. Your hotel should be able to arrange one for you. You will also be able to grab one back to your hotel from one of the taxi ranks. These are located outside Gates 1, 2, 8 and 10.
Using Uber is also possible. Designated UberZones are dotted around Gates 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10. You will incur an extra 5 Australian Dollars event pickup fee due to congestion and wait times that will go straight to your driver.
If you’re in a hurry to see the cars as soon as you land, you can actually catch the SkyBus straight from the MEL Airport! It serves several stops around the St.Kilda area close to the Albert Park circuit.
Due to congestion and traffic diversions we do not recommend to drive to the circuit yourself. There is no designated public parking available.
Where to stay for the F1 Australian Grand Prix?
Since the Australian Grand Prix is located near the city centre of Melbourne, there is a multitude of accommodation options available. For those wishing to stay closer to the track, we recommend:
- St.Kilda – located on the south side of the track, a popular seaside town with tourists. An entertainment area of the city, it has plenty of bars, restaurants and nightlife on offer. A long established icon of the area is the grinning gateway of Luna Park. A popular suburb for backpackers, here, you will find a range of accommodation options from hostels to luxury hotels.
- Southbank – located north of the circuit, a more relaxed, yet still a popular area of Melbourne. There are several highly rated riverfront restaurants and the area is also close to the Botanic Gardens.
- South Yarra – located just west of the track, an area home to some of Melbourne’s most sought after addresses. It is one of the most affluent areas of inner city Melbourne with shopping, high fashion and fine dining being the main features of the area.
As mentioned above, the public tram system is well developed in Melbourne and is also free on the race weekend. Therefore, you could easily stay in the CBD or further out of the city centre if you would like to save on accommodation costs.
What else is there to do in Melbourne?
Over 10 million tourists visit Melbourne every year for its many laneways, dining options and cultural diversity. Voted as the world’s most liveable city and it has plenty of attractions if you’re looking to extend your stay.
- Street art tour – Melbourne is known as one of the street art capitals of the world. There are areas designated for street art by the city council which is of exceptional quality and there are several day tours available. Walk around the CBD or Fitzroy area for some of the best the city has to offer.
- National Gallery of Victoria – see some of the world class art at this gallery, located only 45 minutes away from the Albert Park circuit. It is the oldest and the most popular art gallery in Australia. ‘The Wheeping Woman’ by Picasso was famously stolen from here in 1986 but found undamaged two weeks later and returned to the gallery.
- Royal Botanic Gardens – located right beside the National Gallery, is a perfect place to get away from the hustle of the Grand Prix and stroll through the greenery in peace.
- St.Kilda – a beach area south to the circuit is perfect to lie down and relax in the sun. As mentioned above, it hosts a range of bars and restaurants and is a great place for those looking for some nightlife.
Got some tips or a comment on this F1 Australian Grand Prix Travel Guide? Leave a comment or write to us through our contact page!
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