Giddyup! Five ways to celebrate Melbourne Cup, Canberra-style…

Amanda Whitley

It’s the race that stops the nation…but even if you’re not into the horses, you can still enjoy the day. After all, anything that involves fashion, champagne and food has my backing! Here are five ways to celebrate Melbourne Cup Day, Canberra-style…


Image Credit: David MOORE Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1927 – 2003 Horse race crowd – Sydney 1963 Photographed for Life Books photographs, gelatin silver photograph Technique: gelatin silver photograph Primary Insc: c601 33.4 h x 49.4 w cm Gift of David Moore 1983. Accession No: NGA 83.3509 © David Moore Estate

At the track

The ACTTAB Melbourne Cup Race Day is one of the biggest social events of the year for racing fans, socialites and fashionistas alike. If you’re keen to watch the running of the Melbourne Cup on the big screen from Flemington whilst surrounded by the atmosphere and excitement of local racing, then Thoroughbred Park is the place to be.

The Canberra Outlet Centre on the Field will be run on the day with great prizes and is the perfect opportunity for you to ‘release your inner show pony’! Find more information on race and event times and grab your tickets online through Ticketek or buy them at the gate on the day.

Art meets sport

It’s the perfect combination of culture and sport – celebrate the day in style at the National Gallery of Australia. There’ll be canapés and champagne on arrival in the Australian Garden, a three-course lunch in the Gandel Hall, plus fabulous giveaways from Aesop, Hotel Hotel, Chandon, local jeweller Ingrid Lockley and more! $115 for members, $130 for non-members.

Oh, and there’ll be prizes for best hat and most stylish male to be judged by yours truly! Have some fun with sweepstakes and watch the race unfold on two big screens!

The realm of racing

Celebrate with an inaugural event that promises to be “the most exclusive marquee available in Canberra for Melbourne Cup” at Hotel Realm.

You have two choices: you can luxuriate in the National Ballroom with a four course lunch, access to mudd The Spa pop-up Pamper Lounge, Mumm Champagne, Fashions on the Field and the chance to win a trip to Stakes Day in Melbourne ($135pp); or chill out in the Konoba and Ostani lounge, bar & restaurant with canapés, carnival food and desserts ($85 per guest, cocktail package inclusive of beverages).

For more information, or bookings call 02 6163 1802 or visit the website.

A touch of class

This year you are spoilt for choice on Melbourne Cup Day at Hyatt Hotel Canberra with three celebrations in one venue.

From noon to 4pm in The Garden, you’ll find a buffet with live cooking stations, fresh seafood selection, barbecue, salads and dessert buffet. Sip on Moët Champagne, a selection of wines and ales and enjoy the live coverage of the Cup ($230pp including food and drinks).

Perhaps you’d prefer to go the traditional route and spend the afternoon in the Federation Ballroom, with all the excitement of race day shown on the large screen. There’ll be a Calcutta, fashion prizes and a three course lunch ($165 pp, including food and drinks).

The Tea Lounge is offering a spring-themed afternoon tea buffet including a glass of sparkling ($65 pp) and TV screens to watch the running the The Cup, from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

A touch of Italy

Yes, it’s all about Melbourne, but why not take your tastebuds to Italy instead? And on a budget!

Enjoy a special $45 menu including a glass of sparkling on arrival at Bicicletta at New Acton. Expect dishes such as Caprese salad, Pollo al forno (Pan tossed chicken breast supreme with garlic and rosemary, tuscan style, roasted rosemary potatoes and garlic sauce) and more.

The Bicicletta sweepstakes also sound pretty good: 1st place – night at the Peppers Gallery Hotel; second place, $100 voucher for Bicicletta and third place, a bottle of Moët. Call 6262 8683 to make a booking.

What are you doing on Melbourne Cup day? What should we know about?


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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