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How To Plan for a Stress-Free Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Couple standing near window with champagne at Crowne Plaza Melbourne
How To Plan for a Stress-Free Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
The weather warms up, and so does the fun and fashion at Flemington!

Which races to attend

If you are a spring racing die-hard fan, you may be planning on attending them all! Or perhaps you can choose one or two that appeal to you the most. Check out the calendar at Caulfield, and the calendar for Flemington.

Consider which races you will attend before deciding on your outfit. For example, the Kennedys Ladies Oaks Day will need quite a different outfit, floral and feminine, compared to attending the Derby

Day, where the colours are predominantly black and white.

A little side note: A fun thing to do before the Melbourne Cup -  watch the Melbourne Cup Parade!

The day before the race, tens of thousands of people head to the city centre for a parade of thoroughbreds, jockeys, trainers and celebrity guests. A slow procession of cars carry the star jockeys and trainers set to feature in Tuesday's big race. There are interviews with high-profile jockeys, trainers and celebrities, and free entertainment with live bands. If you’re really lucky, you’ll also see a few of the mighty horses that have become part of Melbourne Cup folklore.

Dressed up children at Melbourne Cup Parade


Getting your tickets

It is a good idea to get your tickets online to save waiting in the queue. You can queue up for tickets at Caulfield for their Spring Racing Carnival. For Flemington, tickets must be purchased online prior to the day (or at Flinders Street, Southern Cross or North Melbourne station).

A side note: You do not need a special ticket to enter the Fashions on the Field. Any entry ticket to the racecourse gets you in, then you make your way to The Park to enter the Fashions.

Being a student or pensioner concession holder can get you a nice little discount on tickets - so be sure to bring those along with you.


What to wear: Trends for 2019

Derby Day

This day is all about black and white; leave the colours at home today. No matter which of the two colours you choose, a dress with a unique silhouette, textured fabric or standout garment details is a wise choice. Bell sleeves, light feathers and metal fastenings are all on trend this season. As for headwear, leave the fussy fascinators at home and opt for a sleek, brimmed hat instead.

Derby day fashion at Melbourne Cup Festival


Melbourne Cup

This is the perfect day to inject some colour into your outfit and accessories. Keep your silhouette defined but choose a dress with unique design details. Ruffles, flounces, statement sleeves and laser-cut details are all winners. Your hemline shouldn’t fall too far above your knee and avoid strapless styles and anything with glitter or sequins. When it comes to your headdress for Cup Day, it pays to be brave and get creative. Choose a unique fascinator that’s more artwork than hairpiece.


Crown Oaks Ladies Day

Express your personal style today. Whether you have a favourite colour, silhouette, style or theme (vintage looks are perfect for Oaks Day!), this day is yours to showcase your style within the parameters of the race day setting. While Melbourne Cup Day is ideal for bright, bold colours, Oaks Day is better suited to soft pastels and muted hues. While florals are a traditional look for Oaks Day, block colours are a great way to stand out. If you do choose a floral dress, keep your look modern with simple, uncluttered designs. As for fabric, choose something soft and form-flattering that sits gently against the body. Finally, finish off your look with a crown instead of a fascinator. It will have a fresher feel and make your look more modern and on-trend.


Ladies Fashion Oaks Day Melbourne


Emirates Stakes Day

Known as “the family day”, this is where we see the widest variety of looks and styles. Unstructured dresses, sophisticated separates and lighthearted prints are all perfect go-to options for Stakes Day. Forget about intensely structured and tailored designs and choose softer silhouettes that flow outwards. Complete your relaxed look with your choice of heels, wedges, or even chic flats, and an appropriate headpiece. We recommend a charming straw hat or small-scale headpiece that won’t overwhelm your look. A simple headband or decorative slide will even do the trick for Stakes Day.


Members Area

Dress code is quite strict in these areas. You’ll be asked to leave the area if you don’t abide by their dress regulations. Keep skirts a decent length and don’t show the midriff. Singlets and spaghetti straps are frowned upon and suits and ties are mandatory for the men. This is where the best fashion can be spotted, and everyone is dressed to impress. Ladies, wear your best millinery and men do look good in hats as well.


Where to shop

Myers is the sponsor of the Fashions on the Field, and for good reason! They have everything you need to look your best on race day, for both guys and girls. You can find them at Melbourne Central, as well as hundreds of other fashion labels in the one place.

Chapel Street is great for a wander, you will find both international and local brand here.

Ladies - getting your hair/makeup done the morning of can be a great idea, especially if you have a group of girls and guys all staying in a hotel and going together. A mobile makeup artist/ hairdresser will come to you! This is essential to book early.


A dress, shoes and jewellery on a bed

Where to stay

This is essential - book ahead! For those that come to stay for the entire four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival, which is normally spread out over a week, you need to book your hotel well in advance, especially if there is a group attending. 

You want something that is located perfectly for public transport, as well as centrally located for everything in the CBD, and can accommodate large groups if need be. We think we know just the place!

Man and woman holding wine glasses by the window

Getting there

Best advice is to take the train from Southern Cross or Flinders Street Station. The train services depart every few minutes on big race days. Traffic around the race track will be terrible, so it is best to avoid a taxi or an Uber, which you can wait hours for!

Hot tip: The City Loop Tram (which departs right outside our front doors) will take you straight to Southern Cross Station in about 3 minutes!


Women at Flemington racecourse

Food and drinks.

There are plenty of food and drinks options on race day, from food trucks to restaurants to pop up bars. Book ahead if you want to dine in a restaurant. There is also the fun option of packing yourself a picnic if you are in the public area. Strictly no BYO alcohol applies, gate security will check if you are carrying large bags, picnic packs etc. 


Getting home.

The last tip for a fun day - leave early to avoid the crushing crowds and waiting for transport, whether it be an Uber or a train.

And remember - have fun!  





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