Ashes to Ashes: Next stop Australia

England saw off Australia's cricketers in the home series. Now it's time to go Down Under and watch them do it all over again. Simon Calder explains how

As winter approaches, prepare for more bad light – unless you decide to pack your cricket bag for the nation where the sun shines especially brightly in November, December and January. Bowling straight from Sydney airport to the cricket ground ahead of a fine day's tournament is the best possible antidote to a northern winter.

Normally you would expect to wait a couple of years between one Ashes series ending and the next starting. But this year there are less than three months for the Barmy Army to wait before the next battle: the First Test in the next Ashes series begins at the Gabba in Brisbane in November.

Thousands of fans, enthused by England's 3-0 success in the home series, are planning to head for Australia. But what awaits them in terms of finding airline seats, hotels, transport and tickets? And how will the series affect travellers who don't like cricket but happen to be heading Down Under this winter? Here's the scorecard.

Air fares: what's happening?

To keep a lid on your spending, aim for the First Test in Brisbane, over the fourth weekend in November. There's a range of flights from various UK airports to the Queensland capital available at less than £900 return – not significantly more than the usual fare during that month. There are no direct flights, but the widest choice of UK airports is on Emirates via Dubai.

For the Second Test, at the Adelaide Oval over the first weekend in December, flights from Heathrow and Manchester are available via Singapore for less than £1,000 return.

You might also be able to find a bargain to Perth for the Third Test, if you are prepared to fly home straight after close of play on the final day. Malaysia Airlines from Heathrow is currently quoting around £1,114 for a 11-17 December trip.

For the last two Tests in the series – in Melbourne and Sydney – just accept that the fares are going to soar. The matches coincide with the "super-peak" season for flights to and from Australia before and after Christmas/New Year. For flying out direct from Heathrow to Melbourne on the last Saturday before Christmas and returning from Sydney the day after the final test match, with the hop between the two cities included, the prevailing price is around £2,000.

Is it worth holding on for a better deal?

Not for trips over Christmas and New Year – fares are likely only to increase, so book as soon as you can. For late November/early December you can afford to wait a bit longer before committing, because the airlines still have plenty of capacity. But don't expect fares to fall significantly.

Somewhere to stay?

While air fares from Britain remain good value, once you touch down you're exposed to the mighty Australian dollar. It has weakened slightly in the past six months but is still punishingly strong. Combine that with the spike in demand that a Test match always creates, and some of the prices for hotels are astronomical. Looking at Perth, a double room at a good hotel close to the Waca ground is going to cost you more than £1,700, if you check in the night before the Third Test starts and check out the day after it finishes. If you are prepared to compromise on comfort, Australia has lots of quality hostels. You don't need to be confined to a dorm – the equivalent of £50 a night gets you a double room.

How do I get hold of tickets?

Tickets went on sale last month. You might imagine that, in a sports-mad nation, they'd all be gone by now. But there are two things in your favour. First, the grounds are much larger: the MCG in Melbourne holds nearly six times as many spectators as Trent Bridge. Second, population distribution in Australia means that the "catchment area" for each city is more limited. While 10 million people or more live within a two-hour drive of Lords or Edgbaston, there are far fewer prospective spectactors within easy reach of the Australian venues. So there's still a fair amount of choice online at cricket.com.au/tickets. For example, for the Boxing Day start of the Fourth Test in Melbourne, ground admission is A$40 (£23) with the best seats at $170 (£100) .

What's the best way to get around?

Go overland, but bear in mind the scale of Australia. Melbourne and Sydney are more than 650 miles apart by road – a full day's drive. From the Second Test in Adelaide to the Third in Perth, you could take the Indian Pacific train (A$415/£244), but you'll arrive only in time for the second day. Most fans will fly, which pushes fares up.

I'm on a tight budget. Any tips?

For Test cricket, go early: combine Brisbane and Adelaide. But if you're content with a one-day international, aim for the match in Sydney on 19 January. Fares and hotel rates will be much lower. If you can stretch your visit by a week, the following Sunday is Australia Day – coinciding with the last one-day international at the Adelaide Oval.

I don't like cricket – but I'm heading to Australia. What effect will it have?

Be prepared for expense and disruption if you plan to be in a host city while a Test is taking place. Hotel rooms will be at a premium, and flights – both domestic and international – are likely to be scarce and expensive immediately before and after each match. If you haven't yet booked, consider postponing until next winter. You could be first in the queue for flights.

Where and when?

First Test

Gabba, Brisbane

(21-25 November).

Second Test

Adelaide Oval

(5-9 December).

Third Test

The Waca, Perth

(13-17 December).

Fourth Test

Melbourne Cricket Ground (26-30 December).

Fifth Test

Sydney Cricket

Ground (3-7 Jan) .

One-day series

First match, Melbourne (12 January); second, Brisbane (17 January); third, Sydney (19 January); fourth, Perth (24 January); fifth, Adelaide (26 January).

Twenty20 series

Blundstone Arena, Hobart (29 January); MCG, Melbourne (31 January); Stadium Australia, Sydney (2 February).

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing