The 6 Best Kept Secrets to Finding Big Event Parking

Over the last ten years, Aussies have become more excited than ever about attending sporting matches. 

This means finding a parking space, especially in major sporting venues as Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Accor Stadium (previously ANZ) and Melbourne Cricket grounds, has become a bit of a hassle.

As the day of your match approaches, you’ll be thinking about the fun you’ll have with family and friends at the stadium. But, without some parking planning, you might be setting yourself up for quite the headache before you’re able to find your seats and enjoy the match. 

Even if you do want to find the best parking ahead of time, there are few informative guides at events. Because every stadium has its own parking system and parking options—or let’s face it, lack thereof—it can feel like only the most die-hard fans know the best parking secrets. 

Whether you’re watching cricket, rugby, AFL, or soccer, Parkhound wants to make sure that you start the day off right with an easy parking experience. That’s why we’ve put together the biggest event parking guide for fans in Sydney and Melbourne

We’ll cover parking prices and payment options, suggestions about arrival times, and even some of the best-kept secrets about stadium parking alternatives. We’ve already done the research so that you can focus on what’s important: the big match.

Secret #1: Know what parking options are offered at your stadium

While Sydney and Melbourne have some truly world-class sporting venues,  parking near these facilities can be tricky. No matter which sport catches your eye, there’s a beautiful stadium for you to enjoy. Here’s an overview of some of the more popular sport arenas along with their official parking options:

Accor Stadium

Over the span of twenty years, Accor Stadium, previously known as ANZ Stadium, and also known as Stadium Australia, has packed over 26 million sports enthusiasts in its stands. Because its inaugural role was as the home of the Sydney Olympic Games, you can find this stadium within the Sydney Olympic Park. 

And this is a big stadium. After Melbourne Cricket Ground, Accor is the second largest sports stadium in Australia. So, you can imagine that finding parking for its 110,000 spectators is no small feat.

There are multiple car parks available within walking distance to this venue. In fact, there are 10 car parks within Sydney Olympic Park, offering up almost 400 parking spaces. Some car parks, such as P2, and P4-P6, are ideal for cars needing higher clearance. They also offer open-air parking options. 

Beyond the car parks, you can also find some street parking on Herb Elliot Avenue, Showground Road, Fraser Avenue, Olympic Boulevard, Murray Rose Avenue, Figtree Driver, and Grand Parade. For major events, though, it’s not a good idea to consider on-street parking. The spaces are time-limited, quick-to-fill-up, and sometimes unavailable due to big event road closures.

You can expect to pay $30 for parking at the car parks within Sydney Olympic Park. 

Sydney Cricket Ground

The SCG has a long history, having started as a cricket ground for the British Army in the 1850s. Today, it houses a variety of sporting events, including AFL Football, rugby, and of course, cricket. And with over 48,000 seats, this is another of the busiest stadiums in Sydney.

Compared to Accor, SCG parking is more limited. If you want to park on site, you have your choice of EP2 or EP3. If those are full, additional parking at the Entertainment Quarter or Sydney Boys and Girls High School. SCG Platinum Membership Card holders also have the option to park in the MP1 car park. 

How much is parking at the SCG? Well, it can depend on your membership level. Gold and Platinum Members are allowed to park in EP2 for $15. For everyone else, event day parking costs $25 per car. Event parking at the Entertainment Quarter car park is $30.

Melbourne and Olympic Parks

With so much history, culture, and sporting events to enjoy all in the same vicinity, it’s safe to assume that traffic around AAMI Park and Melbourne Cricket Ground can be a challenge.

On one hand, there’s the MCG, which attracts both history enthusiasts and cricket fans. This huge stadium was built in 1853, and is the home of the first-ever Test held in 1877. And every year since then, the MCG has had a full schedule for cricket lovers. In fact, the MCG has the capacity to welcome over 100,000 spectators. This makes it one of the largest cricket grounds in the world. 

Within walking distance, there’s also the AAMI, Melbourne’s go-to arena for rectangular sports. While it doesn’t have the historical edge of the MCG—AAMI Park was constructed in 2010—this huge state-of-the-art complex can host up to 30,000 people for sport matches. 

Both AAMI Park and MCG parking can be pretty competitive because of limited availability. Using public transportation or off-site parking is highly recommended if you want to avoid the dog-eat-dog parking scenario. That said, there are a few car parks in the area where you might find public parking on event day.

One option for the MCG parking is Yarra Park, which is converted into parking for some events. This is a cash-only option, and your $10 goes towards Yarra park regular maintenance. Unfortunately, Yarra Park is only available for parking when weather permits. So make sure to check the forecast before the match.

You can also use Yarra Park for sporting matches taking place at the AAMI. Although the more convenient parking options are the Northern Car Park, or Eastern Car Park. Parking in these car parks generally costs $7.50, but expect to pay $30 for event parking.

Secret #2: Consider the popularity of your sporting event

There are some major events that will always attract a larger crowd. Sydney Olympic Park, for instance, considers major events to be those attracting more than 50,000 people, like the AFL and NRL Finals, Bledisloe cup, State of Origin, and Soccer, Cricket and Rugby Internationals. 

So, what does this mean for parking? Well, if you’re planning on attending a major event, you might want to avoid parking too close to the stadium, where traffic will be the worst and parking will be the most expensive. 

Check out the next secret for some cost-effective solutions!

Secret #3: Stadium parking alternatives that will save the day

As you can see, the official stadium car parks can be fairly expensive. And, you still may have to contend with pre- and post-match traffic, especially at major sporting events. Unfortunately, even the surrounding city car parks tend to offer only minimal savings without the guarantee of a parking spot. 

If you don’t have a friend or family member living near the stadium to help you secure parking, consider these alternatives:

1. Use public transportation

Using public transport to get to the match will undoubtedly save you money. Most of the big sport stadiums in Melbourne and Sydney are well connected to public transport so that you can enjoy the match without worrying about driving. Some events even include public transit costs in the ticket, so that you can ride to and from the match for no additional charge.

Of course, this isn’t the best option for everyone, since you will likely spend more time getting to the stadium than you would in your own vehicle. Still, it’s one of the best not-so-secret alternatives to Accor, SCG or MCG parking.

2. Book ahead with Parkhound.

Parkhound is a simple and convenient parking solution. Homeowners living within walking distance of the stadium list their parking space on the Parkhound site. And, with advanced booking and cashless payment, there’s nothing to worry about on the day of the match

Parkhound has listings around all of the major stadiums, wherever you live. If you’re looking for cheap alternatives to MCG parking, take a look at some of the parking listings in East Melbourne or Richmond. Instead of SCG parking, why not book one of the over 300 parking spaces available in Moore Park?

You can also look up parking options according to the major event you’ll be attending. Parkhound has put together special parking listings for all of the big events happening in Victoria, NSW and other major Australian cities. 

Choosing an option outside the stadium’s official  car park or MCG parking options is a great way to save money on the day of the match. You’ll also save yourself the stress of battling thousands of people leaving the parking areas after the big event. 

Secret #4: Align your parking option with the entrance on your ticket

You might have experienced the frustration of arriving at the stadium only to realise that you parked on the opposite side of where your seats are located. That means making your way through the sea of fans waiting to get inside. And also trying to navigate the stampede of people leaving at the end of the match.

The secret is to make sure your parking space is located on the side of the stadium you’ll enter and exit. Easy enough, right? Well, if you’re not regularly at the stadium, it can be tricky to know where your entrance will be and which parking areas are optimal for your seat. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you:

Accor Stadium

For events at Accor Stadium, you can know which entry gates are most convenient for you based on the gate entry letter on your ticket. Gate entries H,J,K,L,M,N and O are on the western side of the stadium. So they’re best accessed by the P1 car park. The gate entries on the eastern side are closer to public transit or your Parkhound options in Sydney Olympic Park.

Sydney Cricket Ground

Just like Accor Stadium, you can access SCG through multiple lettered entry gates. Gates A, B, C, and D are located on the western side of the stadium. They are the most accessible gates for almost all SCG parking options. You’ll find that gates F, G, and H are closer to some Parkhound spaces on the east side of the stadium. 

Melbourne and Olympic Parks

With so many different things going on in this bustling area, it will be even more helpful to make sure that your parking options or public transit arrival points are near your stadium entrance.

Let’s start with MCG parking and entry. MCG has four gate entries—1, 2, 3 and 6A—as well as two allocated car park entries—A and E. 

Entrances 1, 2, and 3 are located on the north-western side of the stadium. They are most easily accessed by taxi and bus drop off points, and anyone arriving at the Jolimont Station. 

Richmond Station, as well as the two MCG car parks will have an easier time entering through Gate 6A. Gate 1 is also fairly close to these entrance points. If you’re booking a parking space through Spacer and your gate entry is through 1, 2, or 3, take a look at the parking spaces available in East Melbourne. Otherwise, narrow your search to Richmond for entry through Gate 6A.

As for AAMI Park, the Eastern Car Park (Car Park F) and Parkhound parking spaces located in Richmond or Cremorne are ideal for those entering through Gates 1, 2, 3 or 4. Gates 5, 6, 7 and 8, on the western side, are more easily accessed by Car Park E.

One more thing to remember about this parking secret

Some stadiums have specific protocol for when certain gates are open. Some matches and events will only have one gate open. Others will stagger the times that the gates open as a way to manage the crowds. 

Always stay up to date with announcements from the stadium so that you can better plan where to park. That way, you can have the best entry and exit strategy.

Secret #5: Pre-booking is key

Whether you’re leaning towards the stadium car park options, public transit, or cheaper alternatives like Parkhound, pre-planning is the secret to success. 

Take a look at stadium parking, for instance. Accor, SCG and M&OP car parks all recommend that you book your parking ahead of time, up to 10 days in advance. 

Likewise, booking your Parkhound parking space ahead of time will save you the hassle of fighting for a spot on the day of the match. In fact, the earlier you book, the higher the likelihood that you’ll find the parking options that are cheapest and closest to the stadium.

And if you’re looking to be a step ahead of everyone during peak sports season, Parkhound is the best solution. With our monthly parking options, you can secure a spot with unlimited access and say goodbye to wasting your time looking for a parking space before the big game. Just roll up to the venue and enjoy the game without parking worries!  

Secret #6: Time your arrival just right

The stadiums tend to offer their own recommendations for how early you should show up for the match, with most suggesting an arrival time of 45 minutes in advance. But depending on the match, stadium, and your parking options, you can narrow it down to a more specific time.

Here are some factors that can help you figure out the secret to great timing:

  • Non-sporting match traffic. Sydney and Melbourne traffic can be intense, even when there’s no sporting event scheduled. So, make sure to factor in any traffic delays that could hold you up before you reach the stadium.
  • Differences between a major event and a regular match. As a sports fan in Australia, you can have your pick of exciting sporting events, ranging from casual and fun to intensely competitive. Matches that attract over 50,000 fans, such as the NLR State of Origin or the AFL Grand Final, are considered to be major events. And as such, you can expect major traffic and crowds. For these events, you can easily add an extra half hour to your timing estimates—it takes quite a while to park, get through the gates and find your seat. 
  • Parking and walking times. Where you park will definitely have an impact on how early you should arrive at the stadium. But here’s the secret that you might not have expected: parking off-site can often save you time. After all, you won’t be waiting in long lines to get into the car parks. When you park off-site, your parking space is waiting for you, and all you have to do is factor in your walking time to the stadium.

Take some of the parking spaces available near AAMI Park in Richmond. If you can book one of the spots on Cremorne St, the estimated walking time is only 10 minutes.

  • Security checks. Like traffic and parking, delays for security checks will depend on how many people are expected to attend the match. You may not be able to control others in the queue, but you can make sure that you’re let into the stadium as smoothly as possible by reading up on your stadium’s rules and regulations.

Here’s our not-so-secret secret: you need to show up ahead of time in order to factor in all of these delays. You might be able to cut it closer by parking off-site and parking on the side of your gate entry. However, it’s still a good idea to give yourself a 30 minute buffer before the match starts.

If you can anticipate the delays adding up because of city-wide traffic, make sure that you give yourself even more time so that you don’t miss anything!

What are your secrets for Accor, AAMI and MCG parking?

Does your family have any tricks and tips of your own to get the best stadium parking? Or will you be trying out some of the Parkhound secrets to big event parking at the next match?

Wherever you’re headed for the next match, we want to help you navigate SCGAccor and MCG parking!