- Lloyd Rothwell
Blundstone Arena – Hobart Hurricanes
Photos by Lloyd Rothwell, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Blundstone Arena 15 Derwent St Bellerive, TAS 7018 Australia
Year Opened: 1914
This is the Story of the Hurricanes
The major cricketing venue in Australia’s island state dates from 1914 and has a current capacity of 19,500. Located in the Hobart suburb of Bellerive on the banks of the Derwent River across from the CBD, the ground has undergone a series of upgrades over the past 15 years which has made it a regular stop during Australia’s summer of international cricket. Tasmania wasn’t integrated into regular domestic cricket until the late 1970s but has produced a number of great players and cult heroes such as David Boon and Colin Miller.
As well as being the home of the Tasmanian Cricket Association, Blundstone Arena is also a football stadium. The ground is a long time host of the Clarence Football Club from the Tasmanian Football League while additionally acting as a home-away-from-home for the North Melbourne Kangaroos from the AFL. The ‘Roos are one of several clubs who have leveraged the Tasmanian market, with Hawthorn playing several games in Launceston.
The Hobart Hurricanes, like all the other Big Bash League Twenty20 cricket franchises, was formed in 2011 as a new identity separate from existing state teams. While their on-field performance is best described as mediocre, their crowds have steadily increased over the years and now average over 16,000.
Food & Beverage 3
The food options are mostly as expected at Blundstone, consisting of the usual items such as pies ($5), chips ($4) and burgers ($7) – albeit, slightly better priced than at most major venues around the country. The quality is reasonable so don’t feel too bad about grabbing something to munch on while you enjoy the game. The cheapest beer is $7.50 with wine $6.50 while soft drinks cost $4.50,
More than $35m has been spent on upgrading Blundstone Arena since 1999 including on new grandstands, practice facilities, and light towers to enable day-night fixtures. The exterior of the stadium is sleek and modern. The majority of seating can now be found in the southern and western stands, known as the David Boon and Ricky Ponting Stands respectively. For the uninitiated, Ponting is arguably the greatest ever cricketer to hail from the Apple Isle and the only Tasmanian to have captained Australia in test cricket. As well as being the mainstay of Australia’s batting order for much of the late 1980s and 1990s, Boon has become a cult hero; known for his impressive moustache, quiet persona and supposedly holding the beer drinking record for an airplane flight between Sydney and London having consumed 52 cans en route to the victorious Ashes Tour of England in 1989. Behind the stands there stands a statue of both Ponting and Boon, and the western gate is also the site of pre-game fan activation stalls.
The remainder of the venue consists of the Members Pavilion at the northern end of the ground, while on the eastern side sits a smaller grandstand, grass hill, and video scoreboard.
Tasmania, even in the summertime, can be cold and windy. “Tassie” is of course the southernmost state of the continent and lies in the path of the “Roaring Forties”. While the Ponting Stand now blocks some of the strong southerly winds it can still be cool.
Bellerive is predominately a residential area on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. The Hobart CBD lies on the other side of the river, accessed by the Tasman Bridge. Hobart is the capital city of the state of Tasmania. The state has a fascinating history having been founded as a harsh and brutal convict settlement. Tasmania also experienced the worst of the poor race relations between white settlers and the indigenous population, with most accepted accounts noting that a concerted and calculated campaign of extermination by the whites went close to wiping out the Tasmanian Aborigines altogether.
The city retains much of its colonial architecture connecting visitors to the past. A must-visit is Hadley’s Orient Hotel (34 Murray St). Originally built by convict labour in 1834, Hadley’s is reportedly Australia’s oldest continually operating pub, and is a Hobart gem. Another good historic pub to visit is Customs House (1 Murray St), which is frequented by sailors after completing the famous Sydney-Hobart yacht race held each year after Christmas. Tasmania is also known for its fresh produce, particularly seafood sourced from the local surrounding waters. Many restaurants can be found in the waterside tourist precinct of Salamanca Place, best accessed by the sandstone built Kelly’s Steps.
If you are interested in history then Port Arthur is definitely worth a visit too (90 min drive).
Hurricanes fans are strong supporters of their team, but despite the ground announcer proclaiming them as the “best fans in the BBL” they’re a little more subdued than other fans around the country. This is not necessarily a criticism, as from a cricket perspective they are the most attentive fan base in the league.
There is some parking close by the oval, and many people drive to the game. Free parking can be found at South St Reserve, while there are free shuttle bus services from the city. Best tip is to check the website for the game you plan on attending to ascertain the most suitable option for you: http://blundstonearena.com.au/match-day-information/
Access within the stadium is relatively smooth, and navigation is easy.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices offer value for money with Adult General Admission from as low as $23. The usual discounts for children and families also apply, making entry for most very affordable. As always, all BBL teams tend to offer a good experience for families, and are a sensational way to take the youngsters to experience the fun of a night out at the cricket. With access and refreshments reasonably priced, the Hurricanes are definitely affordable and high quality entertainment.
Blundstone Arena offers both tours and a library / museum, although both have limited hours so be sure to confirm on the venue website before you visit. As with most stadiums, tours are not available on game days. Also, be sure to check out the view from The Plumb Café at the top of the western stairs!
The Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena are the perfect excuse for a trip to beautiful Tasmania!