The island continent is all set to host the 7th edition of the T20 World Cup this year from 18 October to 15 November 2020 across seven cities. Along with towering sixes, fours that race to the boundary like a tracer bullet, stumps which go somersaulting and gravity-defying relay catches, Australia would be looking forward to re-creating history again this time with the whole country behind to support them. Along with the matches, there await a bundle of opportunities outside the stadiums, in and around all the host cities.
The only host city on the Western Coast. Perth is lapped with pristine, soft sandy beaches garlanded by calm, turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean and out the box restaurants. Kings Park and Botanic Gardens is the key attraction; it's one of the world's largest city park. One could feast on the views of Swan and Canning river all day like Australian opener David Warner on anything short of a good length. If beaches are something you can't get enough of, you are going to have a field day every day in Perth, the sunniest of all capital cities in Australia. Yanchep National Park has something for everyone. One can indulge in birding or trace the trails to experience the subtle blend of biodiversity of the northern Swan Coastal Plain which comprises of grey-haired kangaroos and koalas. The National Park has over 400 caves. The Crystal Cave and Cabaret Cave are hot favourites offering views of staggering stalactites, stalagmites and helictites. The Margaret River region, an overnight trip option away from Perth, offers splendid opportunities of wine tours, rock climbing expeditions, horseback rides and much more as you start scratching the surface.
This bustling metropolitan city is as sleek & slug as Mohammad Shami's toe crushing yorkers. The town mixes 'laid-back' with epic surfing spots, culinary playgrounds and most excellent wine region to deliver a potent punch, just like the Indian batsman Rohit Sharma lunges on a length ball and smashes it to the stratosphere. For absolute cricket fanatics, the Adelaide Oval houses the 'Bradman Museum' which is a repository of all things Sir Don Bradman' – one of the greatest ever batsman to have ever graced the 22 yards. Adelaide Botanic Garden features educational themed plantings such as medicinal plants, a Mediterranean garden, Australian native species, and a wetland designed to sequester enough water to irrigate the entire grounds eventually. The vineyards at Adelaide Hills and Ashton Hills will make you as starry-eyed as Steve Smith when somebody pitches him a length ball. Adelaide Central Market is the largest covered market in the Southern Hemisphere, and this is not the only unique thing about it. The market is home to popular cafes, shops and stalls offering a wide variety of fresh produce; it's a one-stop-shop for a full stop to all your culinary cravings. Glenelg could be your go-to destination to unwind after a power-packed game at the Adelaide Oval.
Melbourne tops the list of the most liveable city in the world, like Virat Kohli, tops the 'Cricketer of the Year' every now and then. The city boasts of various galleries, chic cafes, museums, botanic gardens, public squares and shops, and is the sporting capital of Australia. Scenic gardens and parklands garland the Melbourne Museum. The museum showcases heritage, society and culture through a melange of collection. Highlights include Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the Children's Gallery, the latter offering a series of hands-on activities designed to stimulate and engage youngsters. Just a stone’s throw from the Melbourne Museum is the elaborate Royal Exhibition Building. Regular tours are available here. Situated in Kings Domain Gardens is the Shrine of Remembrance, which serves as a reminder for all the brave servicemen and women involved in the Ist World War. This monument is the central focus for Remembrance Day, held on 11 November each year, and though there aren't any matches in Melbourne on 11th November, you could give it a shot in case the team you are supporting does not make it to the finals. Docklands is Melbourne's newest waterfront entertainment precinct. With the highest concentration of 'green-star' rated buildings in the Southern Hemisphere, the satellite village is filled with parklands, cosy cafés and restaurants. You can marvel at the spectacular views of the city from the giant observation wheel, Melbourne Star. An art and vintage market held along the waterfront every Sunday is a surprise package and, you should latch onto it as Ravindra Jadeja does to a firmly hit ball. Melbourne will be hosting the Final on the 15th of November.
Kardinia Park will be hosting 6 'Group A league matches' over three match days from 18th to 22nd October (2 matches every alternate day). Geelong is the launching pad to the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, about 100 kilometres southwest of Melbourne. Families can hang out at expansive boutique farms and catch up with kangaroos and koalas at Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary Flat & smooth promenade circuits along the edge of Corio Bay and scenic picnic spots sprout along the way, with beautiful bay views. Barwon Heads is a laid-back and charming sea-side town. The Barwon River is the only river slushing inland through the Bellarine Peninsula, and its lip is a peaceful spot for a soothing picnic. Halt at the boutique shops and cafes on Hitchcock Avenue for a much-needed breather. Sign up for a skydiving adventure or scenic flight, if a thrilling T20 match is not enough to get your blood pumping. Just north of Barwon Heads, birdwatchers and anglers will be delighted at Lake Connewarre and its surrounding wetlands. Train buffs could shunt themselves to the Bellarine Railway, the holy grail for train aficionados. Both steam and diesel-powered trains operate from the Queenscliff station on most weekends, and exciting themed rides are organized from time to time, adding more intrigue to the experience. Point Lonsdale, overlooking an unrestrained stretch of sea is ideal for soaking up the beautiful views as you ramble along the old pier or idle by witnessing a surreal sunset.
The sunny city will host three matches at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. One can never be short of doing things in this city, with Southbank topping the list of all things to do in Brisbane. It has beaches, gardens, restaurants, cafes, a movie theatre and the Wheel of Brisbane. 'Story Bridge' offers unparalleled views of the cityscape, especially at dusk and dawn. 'The Wheel of Brisbane' is another hot-spot if you would want to soak in special views of the city. Eagle Street Pier is dotted by a wide range of cocktail bars and clubs, and it is the perfect place to celebrate your team’s victory. Zoom away in a go-kart at the Kinston Park Raceway, and take the free CityHoppers freeway if you want to pack in as many highlights of the inner city around the Kangaroo Point of the Brisbane River. 40 km offshore from Brisbane are the exquisite Moreton islands, that can be reached by boat, barge or ferry. You can snorkel for starfishes during the day, feed majestic bottlenose dolphins during the evening and be mesmerized by celestial stars at night. If you are as lucky as Ben Stokes has been over the last year or so, you might spot a shooting star.
The Sydney Cricket Ground will host five power-packed matches at the Super 12 stage, and the first semi-final on 11 November. This city is a joyous extravaganza and owns the bragging rights of top of the line indulgences which could be only experienced here. The Sydney Opera House needs no introduction. It's undisputedly one of the best places on the planet to be blown away by epic music, dance, theatre and opera performances. Get access to panoramic views of Sydney from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the largest steel-arch bridge in the world. If vertigo is something which sends shivers down your spine, then you could wonder at its architectural intricacies as you board a ferry and ride beneath the 'Coat Hanger'- the name, the locals call it by. Bondi Beach is a bountiful of bliss and Australia's most coveted strip of sand. Surf lessons are available for first-timers, and it is the smarter thing to do if you do not wish to be caught on the wrong foot like batsman trying to sweep Afghan leggie, Rashid Khan. A 6 km (3.7 miles) breezy walk from the Bondi Beach will transcend you to Coogee, a dreamy, drowsy sea-side suburb which grants views of captivating cliffs, and coral coloured corrugated coasts. A day trip away from Sydney is the stunning sandstone plateaus of the Blue Mountains. Replete with waterfalls, camping grounds, bushwalks and eucalyptus thicket, this is the place to nestle as deep in the heart of nature as one can.
The Tasmanian capital will host the most matches. Six Group B First round matches and two Super-12 matches at the Bellerive Oval. The city is a rich melting pot of culture, heritage, history, food, and natural beauty, and is rapidly making its name on the global circuit like Pakistan's Babar Azam. The Salamanca Place is a testimony of classical Australian architecture which these days is latticed with boisterous bars, chic-cafes, and restless restaurants overlooking the harbour. In its shadows is the Salamanca Square, a shoppers' delight especially on Saturdays when the precinct is brimming with action because of the Salamanca Market. Wayfaring on the streets of Battery Point will take you back to the early 19th century. This place was inhabited by contractual labourers which is evident in the construction of the place. The Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery showcases Aboriginal and colonial relics interweaved along with modern art and special exhibitions. Chiselled into Triassic clastic rock, the Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) is a "subversive adult Disneyland" as described by David Walsh, the founder of the museum. The museum created a furore with its exhibitions, and its displays are so striking that they can evoke a response even out of dead rocks. Mount Wellington is the crown jewel of Hobart and offers gleaming vistas of flora, fauna and wildlife from a height of 1270 meters. Here, you can hop on a horse, zoom away on a bike, and put your endurance to test at rock climbing.
Though it is not hosting any matches, Canberra is still worth every second of your time. Art and innovation coalesce together in Australia's capital city. You can browse through the works of Monet, Salvador Dali and many other accomplished artists along with the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia. The Australian Parliament and Australian War Memorial are other vital highlights which will fill you up with admiration and respect for the Aussie spirit. The stunning and serene atmosphere at Lake Burley Griffin make it the ideal spot to idle away and witness a surreal change of ambience at sunrise and sunset. Your team would be making the most of this sporting extravaganza on the field show your support and gear up for a lot more action off-the-field.
Photo credits: Geelong - https://flic.kr/p/xrZCb4 - Julie Clarke, Canberra - https://flic.kr/p/9ppj5Q - John, Cover Image - https://flic.kr/p/DEBT6u - Ashley, Perth - https://pixabay.com/photos/perth-western-australia-city-1368337/