Rydges Melbourne (CBD)
Etihad Stadium is a fabulous venue for all types of sporting fixtures events and concerts. It can easily change from hosting AFL matches to A-League football to one-off rugby league and rugby union matches to Big Bash cricket to an event like the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to a concert like AC/DC. It is an all-weather venue and the retractable roof, 125m above the playing surface, takes eight minutes to open/shut. It is the only football venue in the Southern Hemisphere with a retractable roof.
The stadium has become somewhat of a flagship for the vibrant Docklands development where apartments, shopping centres, restaurants and bars just seem to organically ‘appear’. Construction on the then named ‘Victoria Stadium’ began in 1997 and was completed in 2000 at a cost of $460 million.
The ground capacity is usually around 53,000 to 56,000 people, depending on the configuration/event. Over 70,000 people attended the 2014 International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses and big name concert acts like AC/DC, Coldplay, Eminem and Robbie Williams have topped the 60,000 attendance statistics.
If you would like to take a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour of Etihad Stadium, they operate three times a day, Monday to Friday (most days). Tours depart at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm and take approximately an hour. There is no 3:00pm tour on event days and tours do not run on public holidays. Tours cost $15 for adults, $12 concession and $8 children (14 and under) and take you to the AFL players’ change rooms, the players/coaches’ briefing room, the coaches’ box, the AFL umpire’s tunnel, the media centre and tribunal room. To start the tour, meet at the Customer Services Desk inside Gate 2 at the top of the escalator. Tours Gift Vouchers are available.
Etihad Stadium is fully accessible for mobility impaired and wheelchair patrons with 470 seats and wheelchair bays across all price categories, most alongside companion seats. Getting to Etihad Stadium is easy. If you travel by car, the stadium car park (2500 undercover spaces) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For train travellers, Southern Cross Station is adjacent to the stadium (a short walk across the Bourke Street pedestrian footbridge). City trams run from La Trobe Street and Harbour Esplanade or hop off in the CBD (Spencer Street, Bourke Street or Collins Street) and walk.
There are eight ATMs in the stadium complex and a range of food and beverage outlets to suit all tastes and budgets. There are a number of quick service retail food and drink outlets (pies, burgers, fish & chips, roast chicken rolls etc) as well as specialty retail carts offering a premium range of traditional and international cuisines (gourmet sausages, salads, sandwiches, sushi etc). There’s the Locker Room Bar & Café for a comfortable and casual place to meet up before or after an event (with big screens to show the event), the EJ Whitton Bar for drinks with a view of the action and the more upmarket Arena View Restaurant.