An AFL fans' guide to watching footy in every state

crowd at sports game cheering

Alice Piper

Posted April 01, 2022

Whether you’re a diehard fan and follow your team to every home game, or fancy a weekend away combined with some footy in hostile territory, here is your guide to watching AFL in every state. 

Any true AFL fan will tell you that no matter where your team sits on the ladder, you get out there and support them each and every week, travelling near and far, rain, hail or shine. 

But when each ground around the country differs in terms of size, turf, atmosphere and tradition, the stadium experience will depend greatly on the state and city you’re in.  

So, whether it’s in Melbourne, further north in South East Queensland, or far west in Perth, Australia is full of world-class stadiums in great locations just waiting for you to enjoy footy, a pie and a beer. 

Guide to watching AFL football in every state  


Ah, Victoria – the spiritual (and literal) home of everything AFL. From fans decked out in footy apparel and front fences painted in team colours to a state-wide public holiday ahead of the Grand Final, Victorians really are a passionate bunch when it comes to AFL.  

With Victoria featuring multiple stadiums, those being the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Marvel Stadium in the heart of Melbourne, GMHBA Stadium in Geelong and Mars Stadium in Ballarat, there are multiple games a week to enjoy.  

If you’re heading to the MCG, be prepared for an electric atmosphere, especially if any of the big rival teams such as Richmond Tigers, Collingwood Magpies, Carlton Blues, Essendon Bombers, Hawthorn Hawks and Melbourne Demons are playing each other. This year, the biggest stand in the MCG looks a little different too, with the Great Southern Stand renamed the S.K Warne stand in honour of cricket legend Shane Warne.

Sitting in the Docklands precinct is Marvel Stadium, where spectators can enjoy a new scoreboard and lighting upgrades under the comfort of a retractable roof. If you stay close to the action, you’ll be able to walk to the ground, enjoying dinner along the way and (hopefully) celebratory drinks on the way home.  

Down the highway in Geelong, GMHBA Stadium, the spiritual home of the Geelong Cats, now features significant upgrades including the opening of new stands and more light towers. The upgrades mean the stadium hosts blockbuster matches all season long. And what’s better is Geelong is a stone's throw from Torquay and the surf coast, which is perfect to enjoy a whole weekend of footy and adventure.  

Further north, Mars Stadium in Ballarat hosts a few Western Bulldogs matches each year. The boutique ground had a major redevelopment in 2016, and holds around 11,000 spectators, so it's sure to be packed out when footy comes to town. Ballarat is the ideal base to explore the charm of the Grampians region.

New South Wales 

With two stadiums in Sydney – the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Giants Stadium – as well as Manuka Oval in Canberra, there are a few different stadiums to try out in New South Wales.  

The SCG is the home of the Sydney Swans and has seen champions crowned, premiership flags unfurled and some of AFL's most iconic moments. Overall, the atmosphere at blockbuster AFL games at the SCG is on par with anything you’ll experience nationwide.


The SCG has witnessed many iconic football moments including Lance Franklin's 1000th goal.

Before a game at the SCG, head into bars such as East Village or the Courthouse Hotel in Darlinghurst, The Light Brigade in Woollahra, or the Royal Oak Hotel in Double Bay and get revved up with other footy fans. And when the game is said and done, rest up before exploring more of Sydney over the weekend. 

Manuka Oval, located in the Canberra suburb of Manuka, sees the GWS Giants play four games at the stadium. The stadium is one of the few in Australia to retain much of its heritage, with the original curator's cottage and the Lord's Taverners garden adding a certain charm to the environment. 

In 2012, the ACT government partnered with the AFL and the GWS Giants to redevelop the stadium, which has seen the introduction of light towers for night matches, as well as new reserved seating. With more redevelopments planned for the future to cater for bigger footy crowds, the nation's capital is staking its claim as the perfect destination for a weekend of footy and sightseeing. 


The Gabba, deriving its name from the Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, is the home of the Brisbane Lions.

During the 2020 AFL season, the Gabba became the first stadium outside the state of Victoria to host an AFL Grand Final.

The Gabba is set for even more spotlight moments in the coming years, with the stadium set to undergo a $1b redevelopment for the 2032 Summer Olympics, with capacity to grow to 50,000.  

Don’t forget Queensland’s other AFL venues, Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, home of the Gold Coast Suns, and Cazalys Stadium in Cairns, both of which make for a great weekend away by the beach.

With great accommodation options in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, such as RACV Royal Pines Resort, which is walking distance to Metricon Stadium, catching a footy game in the Sunshine State might just be the winter escape you need.

South Australia 

Reopening in 2014 following a major $575 million redevelopment, Adelaide Oval became the new home to local teams the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power, with the 53,500 capacity providing an atmosphere for fans to savour.  

While the oval has always been a South Australian icon, its upgrade transformed it into one of the most advanced outdoor venues in Australia. However, with over 2,100 square metres of grass and almost 900 square metres of viewing platforms, the stadium still caters to the old-school tradition of watching footy on the hill.

Before the game, experience South Australian hospitality and get pumped at The Little Bar, Ballers Sports Bar, or Wing it Sports Bar, all in the CBD, before a short walk to the venue. And with so many accommodation options in Adelaide, you can make an entire weekend of it and even head out to the Barossa Valley to celebrate a win.  


sports stadium surrounded by water

Adelaide Oval is just a short walk over the bridge from the heart of the Adelaide CBD. Image: Getty


Both UTAS Stadium in Launceston and Blundstone Arena in Hobart have been bringing footy to Tasmania since 2001 and 2014 respectively, with the Hawthorn Hawks hosting games in Launceston venue and North Melbourne Kangaroos hosting games in Hobart.  

With both venues catering to less than 20,000 spectators, you can expect a more intimate football experience than you might be used to on the mainland (and colder conditions), but the games are no less thrilling. 

If you’re heading to the game in Hobart, RACV Hobart Hotel is a great vantage point to get to the stadium, and base to check out the best of Hobart and Launceston over the weekend, with Tasmania the perfect place to explore everything food, wine and amazing scenery.

Western Australia  

Optus Stadium in Perth is home to the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers.  

This stadium, inaugurated in 2018, was built with comfort and style in mind, as 85 per cent of it is covered by a continuous fabric roof with integrated lighting.

Optus Stadium is also the most high-tech AFL stadium in the country, winning a swag of industry awards including the Australian Institute of Architects’ WA Architecture Award and the Australian and New Zealand Sports Technology Award.

With a 60,000 capacity, as well as turf measurements of 165mx130m (which is almost on par with the MCG), heading west for a game is sure to deliver a fiery and partisan football experience.   

If you do make the four-hour plane trip to Perth, spend some time exploring the Margaret River region, or staying at number of amazing venues, so you can really feel like you’ve made the most of it.


sports stadium with buildings in background and water at the front

Optus Stadium is the most high-tech AFL stadium in the country. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Northern Territory 

The Northern Territory has been gaining traction in the world of AFL, with TIO Stadium in Darwin and TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs hosting some AFL games in recent years, most notably the 2020 'Dreamtime in Darwin' clash between Essendon and Richmond. 

You can ditch the jacket and beanie when heading to both boutique stadiums, as the hot and humid conditions are sure to add a unique element to the game.

If you’re really keen, you could take a drive through the Red Centre to get to the grounds, extending the trip from a weekend into one of the most culturally enriching holidays Australia has to offer. 

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