Ask any Australian what a great traditional day out is and many of them will answer with,
“A day at the races.”
After all, we would have to be the only country in the world that has a horse race that stops the nation.
The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November every year. And at 3:20pm, when the horses bolt out of the gates, every worker and school child in the nation stops to watch. Melbourne even has a public holiday for it.
Spring is the season for racing in Australia with many special carnivals and racing events held every Saturday at courses around the country. It is a great place to go with your friends for just a day out or to celebrate happy occasions like birthdays or hens and bucks nights.
For those who have no idea what that is, it is the big party you have before you commit yourself to wearing that ball and chain with one person for the rest of your life.
Going to the races has always been one of my favourite days and I certainly miss it when I am not in Oz. I have only done it outside the country once, and that was at the Grand National in England. It was mad fun, but still not as great as the traditional Aussie day out at the races.
I was stoked to be going to the races again this weekend for Craig’s sister’s hen’s day.
It was Ladies Day, which meant that all the women would be going down in their gaggling groups dressed up to the nines. You could bet that the course would not just be filled with women; ladies day is extremely popular with the men.
And if you saw how glamorous the women looked in their short tight dresses and stylish fascinators you would understand.
The men don’t scrub up to bad in their suits either. Yes, we women don’t mind a perve either, we are just better at doing it without anyone else noticing.
Our hen’s party hired a mini bus and at 10am the first drink of the day was cracked on the bus. I, instead, found myself cracking a different kind of drink for my darling Savannah, who for obvious feeding issues needed to come along with me.
This meant that I would be experiencing a day at the races in a sober fashion, which is not how I used to do it at all.
I was worried that it might not be as fun a day out for me, and while I craved several glasses of wine throughout the day, I still managed to enjoy myself.
We set ourselves up on some tables out side, spread out our snack food of chips, dips, cheeses, biccies, cakes and slices that were bought from home, and proceeded to enjoy the glorious spring weather that decided to arrive just for the day.
The first race kicked off without a win, and every half hour after that the races followed in a similar fashion.
I think I was the only one from our group who did not pick a winner the whole day. Of course, I have no idea what I am doing and just picked based on the name I like. Looks like they weren’t quite liking me back.
If you go to the races in Australia, make sure you bring plenty of money to cover you for your bets and slightly expensive drinks. Hopefully you’ll win a bit back and have a free day out at least.
I was surprised that before race 6, the main event, they played the Australian anthem. I don’t remember that happening before, but by race 6 I could have well been through several drinks and quite blurred. Playing the anthem is a bit like the seventh inning stretch, it heightens the Aussie flavour to the day.
In between Savannah’s feed I was able to have one white wine spritzer, which had me melting with its refreshing taste of days of youth and freedom.
I wouldn’t trade my girls for the world, but sometimes I really miss that freedom of just being able to do what you want when you want. I could have happily stumbled out of there like I used to in years gone by.
Instead, I walked out of their with my good friend Jules laughing at how those around us were sliding into debauchery. A man and woman rubbed up against each other ready to rent a room, men’s ties started to loosen as they began dancing like chickens to the bands playing on the grass. The ladies shoes came off as they hobbled/swayed out on blistered feet, slurring their words and laughing hysterically.
Jules and I started reminiscing at how we managed to once turn two bucks into a night out at our local club with a pokie win, and our own crazy hens days that lasted till the rising of the sun.
Those really were fun filled days. I’m in good need of one, and am planning a trip back to the races with my girlfriends in a couple of months time.
I hope that when you come to Australia you take the time to experince a day at the races.
Have you had a day at the races in Australia? or anywhere else in the world? Share your experiences below
Today’s post was partly made possible thanks to Accor Hotels, who provide hotels in Sheffield, Leeds, London and Across the UK.