The 2017 Sydney Spring Carnival brings the Harbour City to life with 10 weeks of top tier thoroughbred racing at two world-class venues. Socialites, fashionistas and fanatic form guide readers come out in full force, creating a buzzing atmosphere for wonderful days out. Here’s how to make the most of it.
The carnival kicks off on September 9 with Run to the Rose Race Day at Rosehill Gardens and finishes on November 7 with Melbourne Cup Race Meeting at Royal Randwick. While every event has its own appeal, highlights of the carnival include the return of Winx at Colgate Optic White Stakes Day (if you’re unfamiliar with the mare, the important thing to know is she’s currently on a record breaking winning streak, having won 17 consecutive stakes races) and Everest Race Day, where the main event’s $10 million prize pool makes it the world’s richest turf race.
Those seeking a taste of the highlife will enjoy the famous Gold Marquee at Royal Randwick’s Moët & Chandon Stakes Day, where guests can sip fine French champagne and rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
If you’re after something special at Rosehill Gardens, splash out a little bit extra to secure yourself a seat in The Hive. This multipurpose space is the crowning jewel of the venue’s recent $28 million refurbishment and offers superb views of the track as well as a cocktail bar featuring delicious concoctions made with honey cultivated on the premises.
What to wear
The Spring Carnival is a wonderful opportunity to flaunt the new season’s fashions. Remember to dress appropriately (no midriffs, sloppy footwear or denim) - especially if you’ve purchased members’ tickets - and rest assured that hats and headwear are always encouraged. If you’ll be on the grass most of the day, consider swapping stilettos for wider heels so you’re not constantly sinking into the ground. Finally, some race days encourage a specific dress code, like black and white attire on Derby Day and a splash of red on Colgate Optic White Stakes Day.
Where to stay
Once you’ve decided which race day you want to go to, check whether it’s at Royal Randwick or Rosehill Gardens. If it’s the former, a stay at Adina Apartment Hotel Coogee or Adina Apartment Hotel Surry Hills will put you nice and close to the action. Make the most of the free public transport you get with your race day ticket by jumping on one of the buses that take you almost door to door or hop in an Uber for an easy 10 minute ride. Both hotels offer spacious apartment accommodation, including fully equipped kitchens for cooking up your own race day champagne breakfast and spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, ideal for getting ready. They’re also located in two of Sydney’s best suburbs: choose Coogee if you want to explore the beautiful eastern beaches and choose Surry Hills if you want to indulge in Sydney’s café culture and best boutique shopping.
If the race of your choice is at Rosehill Gardens, we suggest either Travelodge Hotel Blacktown or Medina Serviced Apartments North Ryde. Travelodge is the perfect option for travellers looking for comfortable and affordable stays, while Medina is a top choice for those looking to spread out in a home away from home. Both are around a 20-minute drive to Rosehill Gardens and act as excellent bases to explore Sydney’s western suburbs.