AUSTRALIAN CRICKET TOUR TO THE WEST INDIES 2023 - TOUR PROGRAM
When preparing an Australian Cricket Tour to the West Indies our fingers are always crossed to play in Antigua and Barbados, but what we want is rarely what we get. Australia last played Test Cricket inAntigua 2008 and Barbados 2012 so it is time we returned. If only we had an influence on fixturing!
There has always been a correlation between where we play and how many people tour. If we don’t play in Cape Town, or Kolkata, or Galle, or Barbados (for e.g.) then fewer people tour. #Fact
“Dear West Indies Cricket,
If you invite Australia to play test cricket in Antigua, Barbados, and St Lucia in 2023 you will see 1000+ Australians visit each island. If you invite Australia to play in Guyana, Trinidad, and Jamaica, you won't.
We hope to see you in our thousands in 2023.
Australian Cricket Tours.”
Not knowing where we play until 6 months or less before the first ball doesn’t help, but we've created a 3-Test Tour to showcase our favourite Caribbean. This 'example tour' is presented so you know what to expect when you choose to join us in the wonderful West Indies.
In early planning, we consider hotels we have stayed in before, as a starting point. It doesn't mean we will stay there again as new hotels always appear, old hotels close down, and quite frankly moods and people change. When we do our pre-tour tour, we look for new hotels that we may ultimately stay, or at least use them as a back up.
C19 affected many aspects of tourism from 2020 - 2022 and though many are on their way to recovery, many hotels, restaurants, bars, and drivers we've used may no longer be in business. What we present is a flavour of how we tour, and what we'd like to do.
There are some very affordable 'all-inclusive' (all drinks & meals included) resorts across the Eastern Caribbean, but knowing we are at the game for 5-days, you won't get full value, at face value.
One hotel can charge $1000pp 'room only' for 8-nights (our usual length of stay per test), whereas the hotel next door charges $800, all-inclusive. Though you miss lunch and drinks when we are at the game, you still pay a lot less to receive a lot more. It comes down to comparative pricing and availability at the time, and why we sometimes include all-inclusive, and sometimes not, and why we always do a pre-tour tour.
No matter which islands we play and which hotels we stay, we want you to receive excellent value for your time with us and we will do our best for you with the cricket fixture we are given.
Indian Premier League (IPL) runs until the end of May 2023, so our 'example tour program' is focussed on touring June 1 – July 10 for 3 test Matches. The first test in Dominica 2015 started on June 3 so we're keeping the same match dates and the same starting island; St Maarten / St Martin (SXM), the world’s smallest shared landmass!
Australian Cricket Tour To The West Indies 2023
Welcome To Stunning St Maarten
June 1 - 6
Easy to reach with dozens of daily direct flights from the USA to suit all frequent and infrequent flyers, we will be in this tiny half-French/half-Dutch hamlet from June 1.
Your 4-night SXM Tour starts on June 2 but you’re welcome to join us on June 1 to get some early plane spotting done on famous Maho Beach. Even the most hardened plane-haters thrill to standing under inbound aircraft just 10m above you.
With drinks included at our resort, you may not want to leave, but we never go to SXM without cruising to our ever-favourite Prickly Pear on Anguilla. If you want a break from our included dinner, a night at the BBQ shacks of Grand Case is always good.
Jumping on a bongo bus to the Dutch Capital of Phillipsburg for incredibly affordable duty-free won’t disappoint nor will the vast promenade on Great Bay. 4 nights in SXM is never enough but leave we must for the first test in Antigua.
Your flight to Antigua is included so you only need to get up on time and let our friendly SXM taxi driver Lorraine shuttle you to the airport in time for the short hop to St John’s.
The world’s coolest bus driver known to us, ‘Big Earl’, will drive us from VC Bird International Airport to the all-inclusive Starfish Jolly Beach Resort on the southwest coast, where we've lived before. When preparing West Indies 2021, Starfish Jolly Beach was open, however, is currently closed for refurbishment. Although this is where we'd love to stay, circumstance at the time means we may need to look elsewhere.
No matter where we ultimately stay, we will likely ask Big Earl to drive us to/from Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium each day, so you don’t have to worry about that unless you sleep-in after too much rum-punch at sunset after play.
Speaking of sunsets, the best in Antigua are seen from Shirley Heights where half the nation ascends on Sunday to celebrate the end of another week or a West Indies victory. Win or lose, we will go to the Heights, and if we have an extra day (if the game ends early) we will sail to Barbuda.
On Day 6 we can see Barbuda in the distance as our catamaran adventure circumvents the island. This great day out is a perfect way to finish Awesome Antigua, before doing it again in Beautiful Barbados.
Leaving Antigus, Big Earl will take us back to VC Bird Airport for our flight to the most popular Eastern Caribbean island. Rooster, a big cool Bajan, will drive us from Grantley Adams to our hotel on Barbados' stunning south coast, where dynamic St Lawrence Gap is found, halfway to Bridgetown from the airport.
Hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, bars, resorts, clubs, street food, cafes, Dover Beach, and Christendom's most perfectly positioned Church await you in this outstanding south coast village. Since 1995 there was never a reason to live anywhere else but in or at least near 'The Gap'.
In years past we have stayed in 3 hotels in ‘the Gap’, which doesn’t mean we will in 2023. Staying in hotels next door to each other is no different than being in opposing ‘wings’ in a massive resort, but it will come to availability and 'the vibe'. The current travel climate may have blunted the Gap's edge, so we admit to looking to stay at other hotels on the west coast for a change, rather than the blinkered reservations we usually make.
While we work on that, depending on where we eventually camp, Rooster will take us to/from the famous Kensington Oval each day, if need be. We hope to have 5-days at ‘The Oval’ but if the game ends early we will take a leisurely drive around the island ticking the box on a few fave rum shacks.
The day after play, we have an all-inclusive sunset sail along the west coast before lobbing over to vibrant St Vincent for 5 days in the Grenadines before our much-wanted 3rd Test in St Lucia.
Welcome To Vibrant St Vincent
June 22 - 27
Rooster will return us to Grantley Adams Airport for the non-stop-hop to Argyle International on St Vincent’s east coast. We last toured St Vincent in 2012 for 2 ODI’s at Arnos Vale, but the 6 nights we had was not enough and left us longing to return. Now we can.
Friends Kim and Earl offer a unique airport transfer by boat to our beachy hotel for 5 nights on St Vincent Island's south west coast. Spare days can be exploring Kingstown (the ‘city of arches’), Fort St Charlotte, or hiking the waterfalls and forests of the interior, though a purpose for many visitors is Pirates of the Caribbean film locations, such as the glistening sands of Union Island.
One day we will schooner our way to Union Island in the far south of this 32 island archipelago nation on the beautiful Friendship Rose for an 'arvo' at Sparrow’s Beach Club. Snorkeling, swimming, or simply sunning on the whitest of white beaches (as seen in the films), on which we have a BBQ lunch.
Bottomless rum-punch for the ride home will make you thankful that tomorrow is a day spent in the forests. The following day we will do ‘Pirates’ to the north, along the stunning volcanic west coast.
Along with Union Island, we will have a day trip to Bequia (Bek-Way), and a sunset trip to Mustique for a farewell dinner at one of the island's most popular beach restaurants.
After 5 smooth nights, we’ll be zipped back across the waters to Argyle for the 30 mins flight north to Castries and much wanted 3rd Test at Beausejour.
Welcome To Sparkling St Lucia
June 27 – July 5
2nd Test: St Lucia, June 29 - July 3, 2023 (example dates only)
Landing in the better of St Lucia’s two international airports, when arriving into George Charles Airport the views of the capital, Castries (11km south of Darren Sammy Cricket Ground), from the right-hand side are spectacular, though brief.
We have 8 nights in a luscious all-inclusive resort on Reduit Beach at very popular Rodney Bay. Only 4km from the cricket, we will shuttle you to and from the game making St Lucia as deservedly relaxing as possible.
On Day 6 a catamaran will pick us up on Reduit beach and sail to St Lucia’s postcard geographic wonders and national symbol, the Pitons. Stopping in the French village of Soufriere for ‘refreshment’, we lunch on Anse Chastanet and swim the afternoon away before another sunset sail home.
If the game ends early you can (as on any other island) tee-up on spectacular Sandals Country Club north of Rodney Bay. We will otherwise have an optional day trip through the island. If you are not joining us in St Kitts and flying home from St Lucia, you may fly from Hewanorra Airport in the far south.
The 65km drive from Rodney Bay is firstly at your expense, but secondly allow time to stop along the way. There is a lot more spectacular West Indian scenery and views to enjoy before you leave for what could be another 5 or more years!
Welcome To Kicky St Kitts
July 5 - 10
One of our preferred ‘little’ islands to play Cricket, perfectly positioned between lovable St Maarten and awesome Antigua, any cricket here is a blessing. Warner Park is in the heart of Basseterre, just 5km from our hotel on Frigate Bay, which is two bays on opposing sides of the isthmus. You won't arrive at the wrong side of the bay, as we drive you from the airport to the hotel.
We live and survive on the south side of the ‘strip’; the epi-centre of St Kittitian entertainment. Beach bars, restaurants, grills, music, fire, and sand along the strip is where we kick back after the Test Series for 4 nights, and a round-island road and rail trip! The Eastern Caribbean’s only railway will be part of the journey to Brimstone Hill Fortress and the black sand beach of Dieppe.
It wouldn’t be an island trip without including a day on a catamaran also. We will sail south to the St Kitt’s stunning sister isle of Nevis for lunch before sailing north for sunset off Brimstone Hill.
We would love to play Test cricket here and maybe we'll be surprised, as we were with Dominica in 2012 and 2015. It’s a gorgeous little island where in 1995 we met the Australian Cricket Team and were invited to their hotel for a rum-punch party. The rest, as we say, is why we help you enjoy Australian Cricket Tours to the West Indies and beyond today!