Review of MCG Tour – What You Need to Know

It is one of the most well-known sporting grounds in the world, so much so, that when you say you are going the “G” people know you are talking about the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).  Built in 1853, it is the birthplace of Test (1877) and One Day Cricket (1971) and has been home to the Australian Football League (AFL) since 1859.

With such history it is little wonder that MCG tours have become so popular with people wanting to get a glimpse of the behind the scenes workings of this infamous oval. 

But how much do really get to experience on a MCG Tour?

Join us as we take you through our encounter of touring the MCG, with what you really get to see and not see, during your visit.

In this learn What You Will Experience on a MCG Tour

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oval screen and stadium part of what you see on a MCG tour
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Before the Tour

Arriving at the MCG you make your way around to gate three to register for your tour.  You will receive a wrist band and be directed to the coat check to store any large day bags. 

bronze statue of three men playing AFL at MCG
Outside Gate 3

Then it’s just a short wait for the next tour to start and you will be greeted by your volunteer tour guide.

Top Trip Tip: Don’t forget to get your camera/phone from your bag.

What You See on the MCG Tour

What you see on your 75 minute tour will largely depend on the season that you are visiting and what events are currently taking place.

The Oval

We are taking the MCG Tour the week after the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final.  This means the MCG is in a transition zone.  All the AFL fixture are being removed and cricket is being installed.  Our enthusiastic tour guide tells us that we are very privileged to be here this day as the turf is being changed with the cricket pitch being installed.

looking across the green turf of the MCG

The guide tells us all about the various stadiums that hold up to 100 000 people around the field, pointing out the oldest and newest stands.

We get to walk down to the edge of the oval to experience where the players sit waiting for their turn to play and then walk up through the grandstand to the cricketers viewing box that houses plush seats behind a glass wall.

Behind the Scenes

Whilst seeing the oval is amazing it isn’t really anything more than what you would see if you were attending an event (minus the crowd).  But the real interesting part of the MCG tour is getting to see underneath the stadium and learn how the production is put together.

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Catering

When you visit the MCG for an event part of the experience is the food.  As soon as we descend below the stadium we see through large class walls the expansive stainless steel catering kitchens. 

There is also a dining hall attached for employees.

Delivery access

The kitchen is adjacent to the delivery access. A two lane road loops below the entire stadium seating.

Team change and locker rooms

On the other side of the delivery access road are the team rooms.  There is a homeroom and visitor’s room.

Now when I say room I really mean a suite of rooms.  There is the locker room, manager room, medic rooms, change rooms and ice-bath rooms.

Now, remember we are visiting during the change over from football to cricket so unfortunately, the locker rooms are bare concrete shells.  Our guide advises they really come alive when the cricketers “move-in” with lounge areas.

Press Room

Just near the locker rooms is the Press Room.  We all get the opportunity to sit at the desk that mangers and sporting stars sit behind to address the cameras and journalists.

press room table and backdrop seen during a Melbourne Cricket Ground Tour
Press room

Cricket Nets

The MCG is the home of cricket and therefore there are lots of batting nets and cages available for practice and warm-ups.

Top Trip Tip: The MCG is constantly in use and therefore things you had hoped to see may not be available

Member Areas

Next we head upstairs to the top tier of the stadium.  It offers a magnificent view across the oval.

overview of the oval, stadium and screen

General Membership

You would think upstairs would be for members, but the number of general membership is at capacity.  You actually have to join a wait list to be accepted – and be prepared for a bit of a wait say about 25 years.  Yes you read right!

Long Room

For those that have been long term members, that is a member for 50 years you gain access to the Long Room.  As the name explains this is a large long room with dark carpets and a polished timber bar on the top level of the stadium with views over the oval. 

Seriously if you’ve waited 25 years to become a member then been a member for 50 years, you’ll be needing a seat where you don’t get knocked around by the general crowds.

Committee Room

Then of course there are always the elite!  They have their very own English club dining room with its highly polished timber architraves and furniture from which to view the games.

However we could only view the dining room from the entrance, but we did get to enjoy the large art works and tapestries that line the wide corridor to the Committee Room and Long Room.

After the Tour

The National Sports Museum

Unfortunately, when we visited Melbourne last year (2019) the MCG Museum was closed for renovation.  Which is a shame as (on the website) it looks really interactive and fun for kids.

There is an additional cost to visit the museum this is the list of combo tour prices for the museum and MCG Tour:

  • Adults $40
  • Kids (5-15 years) $20
  • Family $95

(The MCG sports museum is Temporally Closed check the website for re-opening times)

MCG Shop

If you are feeling inspired from all the sporting nostalgia or you didn’t get time earlier pop into the shop for a souvenir of your favourite sporting team.

Paddock Café

With the MCG Tour taking at least 75 minutes (ours went longer as we had such an enthusiastic tour guide) and then if you add on the museum you could well be hungry.  Fortunately, there is a café on site.  They served lovely Toasted Paninis and these fun mini hot dogs for kids.

mini hotdogs and fries served at Paddocks Cafe
Mini hotdogs

MCG Tour Information

Getting There

The MCG is located in Yarra Park in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

To get to the MCG from Flinders Street Station you can catch the “70” or “75” tram.  Don’t forget you will need a MYKI transport card as you will travel further than the city free zone. 

Or you can do as we did and get off the tram at Federation Square and walk.  This will take about 15 minutes to walk along the white gravel paths, but it is a pretty walk through the gardens.

Booking

You can either book tickets directly through the MCG Tour website or like us buy tickets at the door.

Cost

  • Adults $30
  • Child (5-15years) $15
  • Family $75

Times

  • MCG Tours depart regularly from 10am – 3pm
  • Tours are not available on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Melbourne Cup Day
  • (Temporally Closed see website for re-opening times)

MCG Tour Verdict

The tour was full of factual statistics and information with our tour guide being a wealth of information and I really liked being able to see behind the scenes and go into areas that are otherwise off limits.

However, I was a little disappointed that the change rooms were completely depleted of any furnishings and team décor.  But, as our tour guide mentioned we were lucky to see the changeover of the turf. 

So, when you plan your visit there will always be that chance of not seeing something you had thought you would as the oval is a sporting field that is in use all year round.

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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