What have you ticked off our bucket list of awesome sporting destinations?
1. Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Built on the site of the Old Wembley Stadium (which first opened in 1923 and was the centre of England’s football universe, hosting the 1966 World Cup Final), this marvel of engineering and construction was opened in 2007 and is the site of the world’s most famous sporting showdowns and rock extravaganzas. With a capacity of some 90,000, it’s home to the English national football team, venue for the annual FA Cup Final and, in 2015, was also where the Rugby World Cup was held. In its near-decade of operation, Wembley Stadium has also seen near-capacity crowds for concerts by Madonna, U2 and Eminem. Even when it’s not being used, the partially retractable roof, some 134m above the pitch, is a sight to behold. A 75-minute tour taking you behind the scenes will set you back about $A40.
2. Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, USA
If you’re a gent who doesn’t believe golf is a good walk ruined, then Augusta National Gold Club is pretty much your mecca. Every year since 1934, Augusta has been home to the Masters Tournament, the only one of the four major championships that’s played on the same course annually. Want to join Augusta National Golf Club? Yeah, good luck with that. Membership is super-exclusive, limited to about 300 people, most of who are billionaires or former government bigwigs, and presently the roster includes the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Condaleeza Rice. There aren’t even any casual tours. D’oh! But you can check out the course and action of the 2017 Masters as part of a package, from about $US3950 for three days/nights.
3. The MCG, Melbourne, Australia
A little closer to home, Melbourne Cricket Ground is Australia’s most famous sporting venue and the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere. First opened in 1853 and developed to have a capacity of 100,024, it’s where much of our sporting history has been made – from being the site of the First Cricket Test Match in 1877 and the 1956 Olympics through to being the venue for the First One Day International in 1971 and for every VFL/AFL Grand Final since 1902. Tours cost $31.50 and take you onto the arena, through the famous MCC Long Room, player change rooms, into the Ponsford Stand and to see portraits of greats like Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar.
4. Fenway Park, Boston, USA
If you fancy yourself a baseball purist then you’ve got to see Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox. Built in 1912, it’s the oldest of the Major League Baseball parks and billed variously as a “living museum”, “The Cathedral”, and “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”. In the past 100 years, redevelopments and extensions have given this 38,000-seater a curious architecture and geography, with different areas given nicknames like “Green Monster” and “Williamsburg”. One-hour tours are $US18 and will give you the lowdown on the history. But the best way to see it? Take yourself out to a ballgame.
A bit of a gnarly dude? Then your bucket list has to include this piece of tubular paradise on the south-west coast of Tahiti. When surfers get all glassy eyed, this is the place they’re remembering or dreaming about. Known for its reef break and heavy waves that often reach three metres and sometimes hit a monstrous seven metres, Teahupo’o is the location of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti competition. It’s not for amateurs, though, with its waves ranked among the world’s 10 deadliest — the name Teahupo’o roughly translates as “to sever the head” or “place of skulls”. That said, Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari offers all sorts of surf and non-surf water adventure packages, for beginners through to pros.