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How to spend Melbourne Cup Day

Josie Gouvoussis

Fascinators may go flying, braids will fall from meticulous up-dos (be free, flyaway hairs) and you will probably sport makeup smudges.

But there’s nothing quite like taking time on Tuesday 7 November to kick back and enjoy a (somewhat) well-deserved break from a normal workday.

No one deserves second best on race day, especially not avid lovers of spring racing (and the horses too, obviously) so make sure you take time to choose your venue – some are already on their last tickets!

Hotel Realm (Barton)

Enjoy Piper Heidsieck champagne upon arrival at midday, delicious roaming canapes, live cooking and charcuterie stations. Oh, and four-hour long bar service at Hotel Realm.

You’ll catch all the action from Flemington on six big screen TVs so you won’t miss a thing and, to keep the festivities going, you can party late into the evening with access to the after party at Ostani Bar & Lounge from 4pm.

Entertainment: Live entertainment, Best Dressed fashion events where the winners will be granted prizes and a kicking after-party.

Cost: Ostani Bar & Lounge $99 + booking fee- 3-hour food and beverage package. Buvette VIP Experience $165+ booking fee- 4-hour food and beverage package + access to the after party.

Ideal for: Anyone keen for an all-inclusive celebration and who wants to book an award winning 5-star hotel room after the races.

Tickets: via Eventbrite.

Pialligo Estate (Majura)

Spend the day in style at Pialligo with canapes, champagne upon arrival, a two-course grazing menu and a three-hour beverage package served in their gorgeous Glasshouse and sunny grounds.

Entertainment: Be in your fashion element on the Westfield Woden Catwalk and Fashions on the Field whilst listening to a DJ’s set from 3.30 pm. 

Cost: Tickets are $150 per person.

Ideal for: Good for those wanting a relaxed and classy lunch with the option of upgrading to an exclusive VIP Pavilion and an official after-party. Fantastic for foodies wanting to try out the delicious, renowned menu Pialligo Estate is known for.

Tickets: via Eventbrite.

Agostinis (Kingston)

Indulge in a four-course Italian fiesta at Agostini’s at East Hotel in Kingston this Cup day including a three-hour beverage package. Kick off the afternoon at noon with canapes, spritzes, bubble and beers in one of Canberra’s most gorgeous new restaurants.

Cost: $120 per person for a four-course meal with a three-hour beverage package.

Perfect for: Those with a love of delicious Italian food and chic decor. If you’re not keen to move after the event finishes, why not book a room upstairs at the uber swanky East Hotel?

Tickets: via [email protected] or on 6178 0048.

Highball Express (City)

With a fun tropical feel and big, breezy balcony, Highball Express has the perfect backdrop to celebrate the race that stops the nation! Enjoy a glass of Moët on arrival before taking advantage of the roving punch station, delicious street food canapés and, of course, their amazing entertainment!

Entertainment: There’ll be sweepstakes for those looking to have a punt, as well as best dressed competitions so make sure you frock up for your chance to win. You’ll have exclusive use of the venue until 3:30 pm when they open up to the general public. After the dust settles and the race is run, stick around and continue the party with their incredible live entertainment and samba dancers who will get you up and moving.

Cost: Tickets are only $75 per passenger and include:

• Glass of Moët on arrival
• Two-hour food and beverage package
• Roving canapés and punch station
• Live entertainment and samba dancers
• Sweepstakes
• Prizes for best dressed
• Exclusive use of venue from 1 pm until 3:30 pm
• Open to public from 3:30 pm

Ideal for: Those looking for a vibrant place to watch the race, cocktail lovers and those who love to get up and dance!

Tickets: via Eventbrite.

The Loft (O’Connor) 

Indulge in tasty canapes upon arrival at The Loft at midday and then take a seat for a three-course share-style meal with a, wait for it, FOUR-HOUR beverage package featuring tropical cocktails made in-house by the specialist staff themselves with spirits ranging from Stella Artois beer to Villa Sandi Prosecco.

Entertainment: Relax and soak in the grand views of the surrounding suburbs, Telstra Tower and Black Mountain in a lovely leafy environment during the Cup Day festivities.

Cost: $130 per person from 12pm-4pm.

Ideal for: Good for those wanting to experience a laid-back vibe where one can chill out in a phresh (yes that is fresh with a ph), funky and retro styled leafy environment.

Tickets: via Eventbrite.

Casino Canberra (City)

Casino Canberra introduces the Mad Hatter Cup Day. Indulge in the fanciful delights of Spring racing in style at Casino Canberra while you graze on delicious savoury platters, sip sparkling Chandon champagne upon arrival and enjoy beverages during Happy Hour amongst the buzz of the big race.

Entertainment: Flaunt your inner fashionista in the best-dressed competitions with lots of grand prizes up for grabs and try your luck with the in-house sweeps. Whilst giving your tastebuds a workout, enjoy the world-class entertainment by former leading singer of Australia’s biggest girl group, Girlfriend, Robyn Loau.

Cost: Entry is free. Prices for food start from a base rate of $12 per person for a Lucky Meal to a $50 Mantou platter special (all packages between 12pm-4pm).

Ideal for: For anyone wanting to have a fun, social day being entertained by DJs and performers.

Tickets: Keep an eye on the website for more details.

Thoroughbred Park (Northside)

Thoroughbred Park boasts options from picnics to corporate dining where you can enjoy beverages and food stalls from 11 am to 6 pm. Keep the partying going all day long whilst you watch the Cup in Flemington on the big screen with the added excitement of live local racing.

Entertainment: There will be Fashions on the Field so you can let your inner show pony shine. There are numerous prizes up for grabs.

Cost: Dependant on packages selected but range from free tickets for under 18s to $25.50 for an adult General Admissions ticket.

Ideal for: Those wanting to entertain guests, socialise with friends and work colleagues or network with clients. A fantastic hotspot for fashionistas, socialites and racing fans alike to strut their stuff whilst experiencing the excitement of local racing and the nitty gritty of the race course track.

Tickets: via Ticketek.

Binara One (City)

Binara One at Crowne Plaza is hosting a relaxed Melbourne Cup event on their leafy outdoor terrace. From 1.30pm, enjoy canapes on the terrace and a drinks package or pre-order platters for your group.

Entertainment: Watch the race on the big screens.

Cost: $65 per person package including a selection of hors-d’oeuvres, house wine and beer or select a canape platter from the menu and order drinks from the bar (platters must be pre-ordered).

Tickets: Bookings are essential. Phone 02 6274 5500. Find more info here.

Ideal for: City workers and those wanting to spend the day relaxing outside with friends in the centre of town.

EQ Cafe and Lounge (Deakin)

For those Southside workers who’d like to stroll to their Cup lunch, relax at EQ with a choice between a buffet lunch or a premium package that includes a buffet lunch as well as a four-hour drinks package.

Entertainment: From 12pm, all races will be on the big screen as well as EQ sweepstakes, fashion on the field, his and hers best dressed prizes and ‘DJ Sue’ kicking off from 3pm.

Cost: $49 for a buffet including premium roast meats and seafood and a selection of gourmet salads with dessert from the EQ Bakehouse.

$85 includes all of the above plus a four-hour beverage package.

Ideal for: Inner South siders who appreciate a short Uber ride home in the afternoon.

Book: via Eventbrite.

Public (Manuka)

Munch on delicious Italian inspired canapes and a race day drinks package whilst watching the races live on the big screen in a retro, pub-style dining space.

Entertainment: Featuring live music from local artists and DJs with prizes also up for grabs for the best dressed.

Cost: $100 per person (tickets will be sold up until the 3 November).

Ideal for: People who want to have a relaxed and fun day out with their mates in a bar style setting to watch the race on a big screen TV.

Tickets: Contact Public on (02) 6161 8808.

The Statesman (Curtin)

Once again The Statesman Hotel is hosting a Melbourne Cup Day event which includes an all you can eat buffet, 2 x drink vouchers and a goody gift bag that one can enjoy whilst watching the race live on the big screen.

Entertainment: Enjoy live music and try your luck to win a prize for being the best dressed on the day from midday up until the late evening.

Cost: $88 per person.

Ideal for: For those wanting to party into the evening without having to change venues or alter their drinking plans in a casual, bistro-style setting with the option of staying the night at a four-star hotel without prior booking.

Tickets: Contact Reception on (02) 6162 0799.

Gungahlin Lakes Club (Gungahlin)

The annual Lakes Luncheon sells out every year and this year will be no exception with a three-course lunch paired with bubbly upon arrival.

Entertainment: Listen to some live music or participate in the best-dressed competition, or, if you are not keen to strut your stuff, join in on the sweeps. PLUS there are goody bags for each attendee full to the brim with delights from the Gungahlin Marketplace and its retailers.

Cost: Range from $46-$80.

Ideal for: Those planning on having an early night and just enjoying the festivities in a relaxed, family-friendly location where you can watch the race on big screen TVs.

Tickets: Purchase tickets here.

Are you a venue putting on an event for The Cup? Email us at [email protected] to be included


Josie Gouvoussis

Josie Gouvoussis is a 16-year-old intern, currently in Year 11 at Radford College, studying Ancient History and English Literature. Born and bred in the nation’s capital, Josie is an aspiring journalist and hopes to one day write her way around Europe. She enjoys meeting, learning from and writing about local Canberrans and the extraordinary lives they lead. She is a low key (by low-key meaning fangirl obsessed) book lover who will read anything from politics and history to gore, crime and fantasy. Usually one can find her lounging around deeply immersed in a fiction novel or swimming with her friends. More about the Author

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