The weather in Melbourne can be unpredictable. It reminds us a little bit of home where it can be hot one day and cold the next. We were surprised by the cool summer temps and overcast and rainy days that plagued Melbourne during the first week of the new year. However, it seems like overnight we went from unseasonably cool to record heats.
One of our main reasons for visiting Melbourne was to watch the Australian Open. We had “shade” tickets in Rod Laver Arena for the first four days of the open. The first day was warm but overall a pleasant day. However, the heat intensified overnight resulting in a string of days where the temperatures soared above of 40 degrees Celsius (or 104 F).
We were thankful that we were not the ones having to play in the extreme conditions. Although the heat was more manageable in the shaded stands, we still felt like we spent the better part of three days in a sauna sweating. Had we been in the “sun” seats we would not only have been sweaty and hot, but also would have been sunburned in the process! One unusual thing we saw and were impressed by was the Australian Open staff walking up and down the isles throughout the day offering sunscreen. Likewise, free sunscreen was being distributed at the entrance to help people from being burnt to a crisp under the scorching sun.
We managed to survive the heat and still enjoyed some great live tennis matches. Here are a few things people did to survive the heat:
Staying hydrated was key. Like others, we packed water bottles and re-filled them a few times during the day at the water fountains (aka bubblers). We had to plan accordingly, as lines did get long between matches! But it was definitely a budget friendly way to keep hydrated. Bottles of water at concession stands were over four dollars.
Frozen Water Bottles
We froze a water bottle and brought it with us to the match. Not only does the water stay cooler for a long period of time, but we observed many people using the frozen water bottles like ice packs to try and cool their body temperatures. While others just used the cool water to wipe themselves down.
Some of the more simple cooling tactics included using a fan. We saw the gamut of different types of fans … handheld paper fans, small battery powered hand-held fans, and fancy ones that combined a spray bottle with an electronic fan! Many of our seat neighbors inadvertently shared their mist with us to Kevin’s dismay.
We observed people using a few different cooling agents to try to ward of the heat. Some people froze a wet washcloth in a plastic bag, and used that to help bring down their core temperature. Others draped wet towels around their neck/shoulders. We saw lots of people with cooling neck wraps. We even saw people wrapped in cooling blankets…a novel invention that we’ve never seen before and had to look up. See www.coolweave.com.au/blankets.htm.
We were happy when the officials at the Australian Open put the heat rule into affect resulting in the decision to close the roof of the arena. Although it remained warm inside the stadium, the temperatures were much more manageable. Despite the record temps, we enjoyed the early rounds of the Australian Open. We’re now looking forward to going to the quarter finals where the unpredictable Melbourne weather looks like it will be much cooler.