Arguably one of the most important horse racing carnivals in the world, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a four-day event at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. It’s held every year at the end of October or start of November, usually attracting around 300,000 punters.
There are dozens of races to watch, but the big four are the Victoria Derby ('Derby Day'), the VRC Oaks ('Oaks Day'), the Mackinnon Stakes ('Stakes Day') and the jewel in Australia's horse racing crown, the Melbourne Cup, also known as the 'Race That Stops The Nation'. Literally, in Victoria's case: Melbourne Cup Day is a state public holiday. Here's everything you need to know about getting to, and around, the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The home of the Carnival is the historic Flemington Racecourse, a 10-minute drive northwest of the city centre on the Maribynong river. It's been the home of Victorian horse racing since 1848 and has a capacity for around 120,000 people, but there's usually 80,000 to 90,000 attendees on any given day of the Carnival.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival runs over four days, although they're not held consecutively. The Melbourne Cup ('The Cup') takes place on the first Tuesday of November. Derby Day is the Saturday beforehand, while Oaks Day is the following Thursday. The Carnival ends with Stakes Day, which falls on the Saturday after the Oaks. You can check the VRC website for all the current dates.