Racing in Avoca

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Racing in Avoca

Racing season is something a lot of people look forward to each year. Combining fashion-forward style, the thunderous sounds of hooves and the joy of sharing a glass of bubbly to toast the wins and losses, racing carnivals truly gives us visual treats and excites all the human senses!

While your mind will instantly go to the Spring Racing Carnival (and the likes of The Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day, Stakes Day and Derby Day), there’s another race meet that’s just around the corner. We’re talking about the Autumn Racing Carnival. You still get the thrill of seeing horses racing side-by-side, the excitement of the off-track activity and you can still be one of the fashionable racegoers frocked up for the occasion, the only difference is the date!

If a bit of trackside action in the autumn breeze sounds like an ideal way to spent your weekend, we’d recommend heading to Avoca’s Autumn Race Day on Saturday March 23.

Located less than two hours from Melbourne, Avoca is a vibrant rural town located in the heart of Pyrenees, and will see racegoers take on a more relaxed approach to the beloved Autumn raceday. That’s right. Here, you swap your fascinator for a sunhat, or your suit and tie for shorts and a nice shirt, and loosen up with country thoroughbred racing, local wines, food trucks, Autumn inspired Fashions on the Field and live entertainment.

You’ve still got the thrill of the race day, you just get to be comfortable and relaxed while you do it – especially with a wide range of package options and the campsites they’ve got on offer at the Avoca Racecourse for just $15 per night. There’s even free buses from Ballarat if you’re in the mood for a day trip.

2048px Tony Evans Photo-Avoca Races-8972

If you’re still not convinced, the fact that Ballarat’s Avoca Shire Turf Club has been operating for over 160 years means they know just how to run a successful race day – and I’m saying this from first-hand experience.

Booking out my bestie for the weekend, we trawled through our wardrobes for the perfect outfit, washed our hair and packed up with car for our first trip to Avoca and a day of quality racing, dining, drinking and dancing last year for the Blue Pyrenees Estate Avoca Cup.

While the racing, dining, drinking and dancing on the day was all outstanding, it was the Avoca community that really stole the show. I have never witnessed such personal, genuine connections that snowballed into a sense of belonging at one of these events before; from the employees and the fellow racegoers, to the locals and the fellow campers. At the end of the event, you’re not just leaving a race day, but you’re leaving all these people you had been fortunate enough to meet, these new friends.

This extended far beyond the racecourse too. Whether we were sharing a wine with the owner at Sally’s Paddock, or getting a lift home with the wife of the nice fella down at the pub, Avoca welcomed us with open arms.

I can promise you that you will too experience a little small-town kindness – as long as your open to it of course. In Avoca, it’s quite clear hospitality is more important than the daily hustle, you’re not just treated like a tourist. You’re a visitor, and there’s an important difference between the two. Spend five minutes in this town and you’ll know what I mean.

While the season has changed, the fascinators are put away, and the leaves have begun to fall, Avoca’s charm remains the same. I urge you; grab your bestie, pack up the car, book a camping spot at the racecourse and experience the allure of the Avoca Races this March. You can thank us later.

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Photos by Tony Evans