The home of the world Test and one-day champions, Australia is a continent as varied as the Test venues. An ideal destination for short or long stays, visitors can enjoy the Great Barrier Reef or Ayres Rock one day and fly to the Boxing Day Test the next. Australia is big - about 30 times the size of the United Kingdom - but accessible with a competitive domestic airline industry and a range of car-hire options for the places in between. Teams can start their tour in Cairns and head south with stop-offs in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, or feel the Fremantle Doctor in Perth before breezing across to the east coast. Cricket is the national summer sport of the 20 million Australians, but expect them to share it with barbecues and the beach.
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The Test grounds are some of the best in the world and most have gone under varying degrees of upgrading in recent years. The massive Melbourne Cricket Ground, with a capacity of almost 100,000, and the SCG, which has changed the most while retaining its famous green-topped members' enclosure, are the most popular for tourists. Perth's isolation makes it less appealing, while Adelaide and Brisbane offer variety.
Melbourne almost never sells out, with the exception of the occasional ODI, and tickets are freely available for almost any match, although Boxing Day is very popular. Sydney tickets for ODIs and the first three days of Tests need booking in advance. The grounds have recipricol arrangements with MCC (MCG) and Surrey CCC (SCG). Demand for tickets on the other three grounds depends on the opposition, but invariably they are sold out or close to for England games. Contact the ground authorities for details.
Clubs, bars, restaurants, shows, shopping arcades, computer-game arcades and cinemas cater for all tastes. Each Test venue is in a state capital so museums, galleries and park strolls provide plenty to do whenever a rest day is needed. Side trips to Margaret River or the Barossa, Yarra and Hunter valleys offer wine tasting, hot-foot to Bondi Beach or Surfers Paradise for some surfing lessons, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or take a tour searching for the local wildlife and natural delights. The choices are endless.
A great place to tour with your club or school. Clean, comfortable and plenty of add-on choices for families and groups. And then there's the cricket. Don't forget your sunscreen.