Travelling for Sport

When we started Hidden Treasures on ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast in 2021, it was intended that I would speak every couple of weeks.  After a few months of fortnightly discussions, I was asked to come in every week.

Well, we’ve reached a milestone.  This is our 50th episode of Hidden Treasures.  To mark this achievement we’ve got a special guest lined up to contribute to our discussion about some of our favourite hidden treasures over the past 50 episodes.

We’re lifting our bat for the half century.

While we’ve travelled regionally and even gone overseas, this show is grounded in the discoveries you can make in Perth. 

A little city hanging on to the edge of a continent that has so much to offer for staycations or day trips with destinations motivated by sport, culture, hunger or just because you want to hit the road for an afternoon and see what’s out there.

Fun Fact!  Half of our episodes have featured a suburb of Perth.

Fun Fact! In nearly half of our episodes I’ve found a way to mention that I grew up in Narrogin.

Fun Fact! One episode inspired you to travel to a long lost theme park.

One of our best hidden treasures is discovering sport around Perth that you might not have known about or maybe always known about but never gone to.

One of our favourite stories last year was when we talked about WAFL grounds and what it’s like to attend a WAFL match. 

Claremont FC’s Trophy Case (not a real tiger)

The support from WAFL clubs who let me hang out at their Members Bar and to the mighty South Fremantle Bulldogs who let me hangout with the team after a big win.  To talk about the footy, footy food and tribalism was great fun.

On the day of the AFL Grand Final we also did a story about different sports you could watch or have a go at in Perth.

Bring on Clint Wheeldon from ABC Sport!

We asked Clint where he’s travelled for sport and why is sport such a great reason to travel.

We talked about what we have stolen from a sporting ground. For me, I’ve taken grass from Lords and the MCG.

Travelling for sport sometimes has to be done at all costs.  My wife allowed me to spend a fortune to see the Socceroos v Uraguay in 2002. I was like a Roman Emperor in the Southern Stand of the MCG.

Travelling for sport can also be a pilgrimage or a party.  Sometimes it’s just about seeing the ground even if there’s no game being played.  Sometimes it is about travelling with friends or a tour group and seeing your favourite sport.

So after 50 episodes what have we learnt? What makes Hidden Treasures a hidden treasure?  Because we have fun and the reason we have fun is because there’s so much out there and all you need is a reason to find it. 

Reconnect with a hometown, stop for a while in a suburb you normally just commute through or find hidden treasure in known treasure, like we did on Wadjemup, or take a break in Perth like we did in Innaloo and Karrinyup as part of staycation homework for Molly, or take the advice of my man Tom and get to a regional show.

Get out there and find a rite of passage like Ebonnie’s trip to Busselton Jetty or find any jetty, like we did with Ben Carlish from Recfishwest. Find a new sport like Padel, or find a fishburger or laneway mural.

Why is travelling for sport a Hidden Treasure?  You don’t have to play it to enjoy it?  Take a road trip to a country footy match and honk your horn, or just take a walk down to your suburban ground.

Sport is yet another reason to get out and about. It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight and it’s the thrill of finding something new to do and finding a new tribe to enjoy it with.

What ground do you want to walk onto?

As published in Have A Go News newspaper and online … don’t let the players on the field have all the fun when you visit Optus Stadium

The Romans knew the value of a good stadium didn’t they?  Can you imagine doing a tour of the Colosseum when it was at its peak?  Game day at the Colosseum may have had more on the line for most of the participants but just to have walked through the service tunnels and holding cells and then maybe walking around the top, seeing up close the linen sails that extended outwards on elaborate rope and pulley systems to provide shade for the audience, would have been amazing.

Having zipped up my Ozone ‘Ghostbuster’ jumpsuit and climbed into my harness and adjusted my straps, I walk with the other members of our merry band through the bowels of Optus Stadium, past crates of plates and all sorts of things destined for what is above. There are no lions, gladiators, Roman centurions or terracotta amphorae filled with wine, but there’s still a lot going on.

But we’re going higher than those who are sitting in the seats and corporate boxes, we’re even going higher than the stadium’s halo roof, a continuous fabric cantilevered structure that circles the stadium, providing valuable shade and spectacular lighting displays.

Listen and lean

We’re heading more than 40 metres off the ground to a small row of seats where harnesses keep you safe but can’t restrain your excitement as you watch a match unfold from a perspective even Roman Emperors couldn’t dream about.

This is what amplifying your experience is all about when you come to Optus Stadium. Getting as much out of your experience as possible and being a part of the narrative of your adventure, not just relying on the teams playing on the field below you to provide all of the drama and excitement.

If the height and the view is not quite enough of a challenge then you can always do the lean out, relying on your tour leaders’ instructions and your harness to prevent your fall.  With your back to the field, you inch your way backwards, right to the very edge, and hold your harness line and then lean out and let go of your harness.

As good as I get at handballing

A few photos will be taken that show you holding your arms out or pretending to handball a footy.  I’ve already decided to do the tour again because I want to do the lean out and pretend I’ve gone up for a big mark of the footy. 

This experience is all about levels.  Literally and metaphorically.  You literally go up to the highest level of the stadium to reach your seat.  You ride a lift, climb 78 steps, emerge through hatches and at each level the view gets better and better. On a catwalk alongside the stadium lights, you walk around the stadium until you’re at the eastern end.

This is where you’ll find your seat, the highest seats in the house and if you think it can’t get any better that’s when you can take it to the next level and lean out over the edge. 

From a sporting perspective I enjoy my footy but have mates who love it more.  I couldn’t help thinking of my mates, not just for the excitement of the experience, but for the perspective you have with an aerial view. 

Every twitch of a player, the transfers of play, the switches and flow of the game is entrancing.  It’s like watching the coach’s magnet board come to life!

Don’t drop your chewy

As a precinct, get ready to do more than watch some great sport when you come to Optus Stadium. Get ready to participate.  Get ready to lean out off the edge of the most beautiful stadium in the world and let rip with a huge scream. 

With the HALO experience, Matagarup Bridge climb and soon to be launched 400m zipline, plus Aboriginal cultural tours and stadium behind the scenes tours, there’s so much you can do with your time when you visit Optus Stadium.

There doesn’t even need to be a game on.  Optus Stadium is more than a beautiful sporting arena, it’s already got history and atmosphere and even though it’s new, it has that rite of passage feeling about it that means you want visit it, whether you’re visiting Perth or looking for a day out if you live in Perth.

Want to Know More?

The Ozone booking office and merchandise store is located at the western end of Optus Stadium and their website is www.theozone.com.au.

Verdict

With only a moderate level of fitness you can do the game day rooftop experience all year long, or on a quiet weekday with no sport. The HALO experience will meet your need for an awesome view and level of excitement with great staff and great harnesses. And you get a free cap!

6PR Interview: Sports Tourism

Please enjoy the discussion below about sports tourism; what it’s worth, why we do it and how we do it:

 

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In 1987, Fremantle was revitalized to support one of the globes biggest sporting events of the 1980’s, the America’s Cup.  Today, you can touch the mystical winged keel of Australia II at the WA Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay.

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F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo ensured a big crowd came to SpeedFest in 2015