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Australia travel facts

Australia map
Area (sq km): 7,686,850
Population: 20,434,176
Nationality: Australian
Local Name: Australia
Language: English
Time Zone: +8 - +10 GMT
Currency: 1 dollar =
100 cents
Rate: www.xe.com
Capital: Canberra
Dialling Code: +61
Electricity: 230V/50Hz
Internet Code: .au
Religion: Catholic,
Anglican,
Other Christian
Climate: Arid,
Temperate,
Tropical
Government: Federal Parliamentary Democracy
Inoculations: None
Driving: Left
Int'l License: Not required
Banking: M-F 9.30-17.00
Major Airports: Adelaide(ADL),
Brisbane(BNE),
Canberra(CBR),
Darwin(DRW),
Melbourne(MEL),
Perth(PER),
Sydney(SYD)

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is one of the most spectacular horse-racing events on the planet, where some of the finest thoroughbred racing horses from every corner of the world, compete for the coveted Cup.

Melbourne Cup
Melbourne Cup

Out of 300 or more entries, only 24 horses will start this famous 2,300-metre handicap race, where great amounts of money are involved. Last year the total prize money involved was more than $5 million AUD. It is said that even those Australians who never gamble, place their bets on the Melbourne Cup Day. The Melbourne Cup event is held on the first Tuesday of November at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. That day has been declared a public holiday in Victoria, Australia.

Origins of the Melbourne Cup

The origins of the Melbourne Cup date back to November 7, 1861, when 17 horses competed and the winner took 710 gold sovereigns and a gold watch. Archer was the winning stallion that first year.

From then on, the race started to get more competitive, acquiring a great reputation and attracting more spectators. Nowadays more than 100,000 spectators enjoy the race, which has been awarded a National Heritage status. The trophy is a hand-beaten gold cup.

Horses that won more than one Melbourne Cup became legendary and much loved by the public, like Archer and Makybe Diva. Bart Cummings is the trainer who got most winners - 12 to date - and Bobby Lewis and Harry White are listed as the two jockeys with most wins.

Going to the Melbourne Cup

Going to the Melbourne Cup is fascinating, not only for the excitement of the race and the enormous amounts of money at stake, but for the fashion. Here the ladies take the opportunity to parade in their most elegant and sometimes extravagant dresses and hats, competing with each other for the camera’s attention. Men are also elegantly attired, although in a more conventional manner. A great show indeed!

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