April 2018 saw sports fans, especially armchair enthusiasts, treated to the Commonwealth Games in Australia, not to mention the London Marathon. To mark the occasion, we’ve picked three Commonwealth destinations famous for their thriving sports culture and top-notch facilities – where active types might be tempted to call home…
Melbourne in the south-eastern state of Victoria is the undisputed sports capital of Australia – some say of the globe, thanks to the combination of its world-class venues and facilities, which cover a vast range of sports, its proud sporting heritage and its citizens’ passion for an active, outdoorsy lifestyle.
Former host of the Olympic Games (1956) and Commonwealth Games (2006), the city is the regular venue for the Australian Formula 1 race and the Australian Tennis Open, which takes place in the famous Rod Laver Tennis Centre. Other highlights include the impressive Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the largest stadium in not only Australia but also the Southern Hemisphere. Today the MCG is also used for Aussie Rules Finals and important athletics events.
In case that’s not enough, the annual Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival includes one of the world’s most famous horse races, the Melbourne Cup. While the Royal Melbourne Golf Club is regarded as one of the best – and most challenging – courses internationally. And we haven’t touched on the beach, surfing and water-based activities on offer in Melbourne!
Cape Town, South Africa
In the space of just 15 years, Cape Town was a host city for no less than three major World Cups, namely Rugby (1995), Cricket (2003) and Football (2010), cementing its reputation as an international sporting destination.
Two of the city’s key sporting venues are the Cape Town Stadium, built for the Football World Cup in a prime location close to the city centre and picturesque Victoria & Alfred Waterfront district, and the iconic Newlands Stadium, the oldest rugby stadium in South Africa and – reportedly – the second-oldest rugby stadium in the world! Nearby is the equally celebrated Newlands Cricket Ground, deemed one of the world’s prettiest thanks to its location beneath the scenic landmarks of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak.
Cape Town’s balmy Mediterranean climate makes it a popular venue for triathlons, marathons and just about all types of outdoor and beachy activities. Meanwhile, it’s location at the Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, has made it one of the globes most prominent sailing hubs and today it not only hosts races but remains an important stop-over.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Justifiably crowned ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown on New Zealand’s south island dishes up extreme sports of the less conventional kind that are generally not for the faint-hearted. The city’s stunning location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the dramatic Southern Alps, allows its circa three million annual visitors to choose from more than 200 activities.
While rafting, kayaking, bungy jumping or jumping out of aeroplanes are what appeal to many of the visiting thrill-seekers, Queenstown is equally famous for its world-class skiing and snowboarding. Being the in the Southern Hemisphere means winter sports are done between June to October. There are four ski areas offering differing types of terrain all within a short drive from the city centre, the closest being just 20 minutes. These are Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone.
The city also has world-class facilities or ideal terrain for less adrenalin-inducing sports, including golf and cycling. There are no less than seven golf courses within a 45-minute drive of the city, including championship level ones at Millbrook Resort and The Hills.
Being on Lake Wakatipu means Queenstown also has a popular sailing club and its marina is currently the focus of exciting new development, including new waterfont homes. And of course, being New Zealand means Queenstown has a strong and active club for the national sport, namely Wakatipu Rugby Club. Watching a match could be the ideal way to spend some down-time after exhausting yourself on the mountainside, on the water or in the sky!
Written by Overseas Guides Company.
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