TRAVEL: Bucket list sporting events not to be missed
SPORTS fans have a plethora of choices of events in Australia and overseas which can be used as part of a holiday adventure or the main reason for getting off the couch and on the road to spectator fun.
But don't forget to book your event tickets early as the best events are sold out quickly.
It's new in the international calendar and the best are committed to be there.
- September 22 to 24, in Prague, Czech Republic.
- The Laver Cup will pit six top European players in a team against their counterparts in the Rest of The World team in doubles and singles competition.
- The team captains are tennis legends.
- Four of the six players will qualify based on their ATP singles ranking as of the Monday following Wimbledon. Two are "captain's picks" that will be announced by the Monday after the US Open.
- Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal will play as teammates.
- All details on events tickets, the venue and transport is at https://lavercup.com.
For those who dream of one day attending the oldest and most prestigious of tennis events, England's Wimbledon is the one.
- July 3 to 16, 2017.
- The qualifying rounds are on from June 26 to 29.
- The championship is held at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, located in Wimbledon, London.
- Transport to and from the venue is either by train and shuttle bus or car.
- There is a range of accommodation options which can be viewed at http://www.eventexpressuk.co.uk/wimbledon-visitors.
- Wimbledon is the largest single annual sporting catering operation. In 2016 the staff served 177,135 glasses of Pimm's, 139,435 portions of strawberries, 133,800 traditional English scones and 2772 kilos of bananas (for players).
- Centre court, where the final matches are played, seats only 14,979 people.
- For all event information, go http://www.wimbledon.com.
Hong Kong Sevens
It's not too late to make a dash to Hong Kong for the annual Rugby Sevens tournament.
- April 7 to 9, 2017.
- Up to 28 teams to compete for USD 150,000 prize money.
- There are loads of accommodation options with great public transport facilities to get to and from the stadium located at Causeway Bay.
- This is one event with a fabulous carnival atmosphere.
- The city comes alive with the most amazing atmosphere as spectators from all across the world, both ex-pats and visitors, cheer their teams along, sign many a boisterous rugby song and enjoy the taste of jugs of Heineken and Pimms.
- Stay around after the event and enjoy the many shopping and eating delights of Hong Kong.
- For all event information, go http://hksevens.com.
DHL New Zealand Lions Series
The series is played over 10 matches in various locations across New Zealand.
There is guaranteed to be tough games and plenty of spectator ribbing going on as the New Zealanders defend their rugby honour against the invading Lions team.
- The game schedule is June 3 (Whangarei) to July 8 (Auckland) inclusive.
- They play 10 matches across the north and south islands, including three against the All Blacks.
- For all event information including tickets and venues, go https://tours.lionsrugby.com.
State of Origin
The true test of your state of origin - well at least for the NSW and Queensland readers - is the annual Rugby League Holden State of Origin.
- The 2017 match dates are on May 32 (Brisbane), June 21 (Sydney) and July 12 (Brisbane).
- You need to get in early to book your tickets for this very popular and passionate series.
- There is good public transport option for both playing venues.
- Tickets are on sale now, go http://tickets.nrl.com/origin.
NRL Grand Final
At the end of 26 rounds of outstanding football between 16 teams, the top two teams in the Telstra Premiership Finals Series will go head-to-head.
- The game is on October 1 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
- Keep an eye on http://tickets.nrl.com/ for ticketing details or contact a sports travel agent, some of whom are already offering grand final ticket and accommodation packages.
Rugby League World Cup
- The dates are from October 27 to December 2.
- Features the best rugby league talent from around the world playing in 19 teams from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, England, France, Samoa, Fiji, Scotland, Tonga, Lebanon, USA, Wales, Ireland and Italy, and women's team from Canada, England, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands plus one more country to be announced.
- Game venues are Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Port Moresby.
- All the event information is at http://www.rlwc2017.com and ticketing at http://www.rlwc2017.com/fixtures.
Spoilt for choice when it comes to top-level golf tournaments, there are two 2017 overseas events that jump to the top of the list.
- The event dates are September 26 to October 1, at the Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, New Jersey.
- This is a team event made up of 12 players in both teams; one represents the USA and the other is an international team.
- It has been held every two years since 1994 and alternates between an international course and a USA course. The 2019 event will be held in Melbourne.
- Stay on after the event and explore New York City, go http://www.nycgo.com.
- For all event details and tickets which are on sale now, go http://www.presidentscup.com.
- The 146th championship is on July 17 to 23 at Royal Birkdale in England, which is located on the west coast, north of Liverpool.
- There is room for 156 qualifiers. In the list of those who have already qualified is Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
- Accommodation and transport bookings can be made through sports travel agencies or through http://www.theopen.com/Spectators/Accommodation.
- Tickets went on sale at the end of February.
- All event information is at http://www.theopen.com.
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
The ultimate in soccer competition, the World Cup is always exciting, controversial and electric, even when you are sitting at home watching it on the TV; imagine what it would be like to be sitting in the stadium.
- Dates are June 14 to July 15, 2018 for the 21st soccer world cup which will be held in Russia.
- The match schedule is published and shows 64 games are scheduled at 12 venues including Moscow, Mordovia and Saint Petersburg.
- The tourist portal of the Russian government is http://welcome2018.com/en and provides fans travelling to Russia with useful information about the host nation of the next FIFA World Cup.
- For all event information, go http://www.fifa.com/worldcup.
There are 20 events in the 2017 Grand Prix circuit starting in Australia in March then going across Asia, the Middle East, Canada and into Europe.
I have selected Monaco as it's a fabulous place to visit, has a snazzy casino, glamorous social scene and is a super location to branch out from to discover more about Europe.
- The Monaco event dates are May 25 to 28.
- The full event schedule is at https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/races/2017.html
- It's 78 laps of speed, noise and excitement culminating in a race distance of just over 260km.
- The nearest international airport is Nice, France.
- The easiest way to get to the principality from Nice by train, with the journey taking around 40 minutes.
- Monaco is the place to stay if you have the money. The next choice is to stay along the coast in one of the quaint seaside towns such as Beaulieu Sur Mer and commute by train.
- Tickets are available from https://tickets.formula1.com/en/3202-monaco-fom or through a sports travel agency.
Tour de France
It's an amazing race of endurance and smarts that takes teams across 3521km from Dusselforf in Germany south to Paris in pursuit of the individual yellow jersey and team honours.
- The 104th Tour dates are July 1 to 23.
- This year's tour will visit three neighbouring countries: Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. In France, 34 counties will be visited.
- The race is broken up into 21 stages; nine flat stages, five hilly stages, five mountain stages including altitude finishes (La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes, Izoard), two individual time-trials stages and two rest days.
- All the event information is at http://www.letour.com/us.
- The official tour operator list is at http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2017/us/tour-operators.html.
Emirates Melbourne Cup 2017
It truly is an event that is famous around the world and does stop a nation for a brief, but exciting moment in time.
- The first Tuesday in November each year is reserved by Australia for horse racing. This year the date is November 7.
- The venue is Flemington Race Course.
- Racing for $6.2 million prize money and a piece of international sporting history ensures the best thoroughbreds are on the course.
- Strap on your high heels, fancy wear, tantalising hat and dig deep for just enough money to lay a few bets at the course.
- There is a lot of accommodation options in Melbourne or perhaps you travel there and stay on board a cruise ship.
- Everything you need to know about the event is at https://www.flemington.com.au/calendar/2017-11-07/emirates-melbourne-cup.
2017-18 Ashes Series
A true cricket tragic will want to be on tour when Australia go into battle against their foe England for the Ashes, and even better, this series is in Australia.
The experts say this is THE tour to be on as Australia and England both have 32 series wins over the 135-year rivalry.
- Five tests will be held between Brisbane (November 23 to 27), Adelaide (December 2 to 6), Perth (December 14 to 18), Melbourne (December 26 to 30) and Sydney (January 4 to 8).
- Tickets and accommodation packages are listed on http://crickettraveloffice.com.au.
CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
If sport is not your thing, what about the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show.
- It's on May 23 to 27.
- The prestigious show is held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London.
- It has been held every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two world wars.
- Garden designers, nurserymen and leading lights of the horticultural world meet each year for the world's best gardening event.
- In 2017 there are 24 gardens, including nine show gardens, nine artisan gardens, five fresh gardens, the Royal Horticultural Show Greening Grey Britain Garden and more than 100 floral displays.
- Getting there is easy when using the Tube, bus, train, shuttle bus and even bicycling.
- Tickets are on sale now.
- For all event information, go https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show.