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Down under in Australia, the passion for sports goes far beyond kangaroos and koalas!

From cheering on cricket pitches to riding waves at the beach, Aussies love their sports.

We’ve compiled the top 11 most popular sports in Australia for you to explore.

Let’s dive in!

Most Popular Sports in Australia:

  1. Soccer
  2. Cricket
  3. Rugby
  4. Tennis
  5. Basketball
  6. Netball
  7. Swimming
  8. Golf
  9. Surfing
  10. Cycling
  11. Australian Rules Football

#1 Soccer

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: 19th century
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Tim Cahill (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 1.2 million

Soccer, known as football in Australia, has become increasingly popular over the years. It appeals to a wide range of sports lovers due to its engaging gameplay and universal appeal.

The A-League is Australia’s premier soccer competition, generating great interest among fans who follow their favorite teams passionately. Tim Cahill, Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer, has gained significant recognition as an exceptional player in Australia and internationally.

Historically, Australia’s qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup after a 32-year drought remains etched in the memories of soccer enthusiasts. Soccer’s growing popularity continues to make an impact on Australia’s sports scene.

#2 Cricket

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Early 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Sir Donald Bradman (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 1.4 million

Cricket holds a special place in Australia’s sporting culture, with generations of fans embracing the sport. It’s played and watched in various forms, from Test matches to action-packed T20 games.

The Big Bash League and the Sheffield Shield are among the most popular cricket competitions in the country. Sir Donald Bradman, considered one of the greatest batsmen of all time, remains an iconic figure in Australian cricket.

Australia’s numerous Ashes victories against England and multiple World Cup titles have reinforced cricket’s standing as a beloved sport in the country.

#3 Rugby

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: 1860s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: David Pocock (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 900,000

Rugby is a popular sport in Australia, consisting of two main variants, Rugby League and Rugby Union. Both versions attract a dedicated following and showcase athleticism, teamwork, and intense competition.

The National Rugby League (NRL) is Australia’s elite club competition in Rugby League, while the Super Rugby represents the professional Rugby Union championship. The Wallabies, Australia’s national Rugby Union team, have won two Rugby World Cups, making them a celebrated team among fans.

Rugby stars like David Pocock have had a significant impact on the sport in Australia, inspiring aspiring players and bringing excitement to fans nationwide.

#4 Tennis

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Rod Laver (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 530,000

Tennis is a highly popular sport in Australia, both at the professional level and as a recreational activity. Australian fans resonate with its elegant and competitive nature that caters to diverse participants.

The Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, takes place annually in Melbourne, showcasing world-class talent and drawing significant global attention. Australia boasts legendary tennis players, such as Rod Laver, who is the only player to achieve two calendar-year Grand Slams.

Carrying a rich history and promising talent, tennis maintains a prevalent position within Australia’s sports panorama.

#5 Basketball

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Patty Mills (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 1 million

Basketball in Australia has witnessed consistent growth over the years. With its dynamic, fast-paced gameplay, it has attracted a large fan base and inspired budding talent.

The National Basketball League (NBL) represents Australia’s top-tier professional men’s basketball competition, featuring intense rivalries and exciting matches. Australian basketball star Patty Mills has achieved considerable success and recognition on the global stage, particularly in the NBA.

Basketball’s presence in Australia continues to grow, with promising prospects and soaring popularity, creating unforgettable moments for Aussie fans.

#6 Netball

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Liz Ellis (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 1.2 million

Netball is an immensely popular sport in Australia, particularly among women, as it combines athleticism, strategy, and teamwork. The sport has a long-standing tradition in the country and is considered a vital part of Australian sports culture.

The Suncorp Super Netball league serves as the premier domestic competition, showcasing the skills of talented players from around the nation. Former Australian netballer Liz Ellis stands out as a prominent figure in the sport, having captained the national team and achieved various accolades.

The success and prominence of netball in Australia are evident in the continued triumphs of the national team, the Diamonds, on the international stage.

#7 Swimming

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Swimmer from Australia: Ian Thorpe (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Swimmers in Australia: 4.5 million

With its beautiful coastlines and warm climate, swimming is an integral part of Australia’s sporting culture. Australians have a deep connection with water, and swimming is embraced both as a leisure activity and a competitive sport.

Australia has a long tradition of hosting prominent swimming competitions, including the Australian Swimming Championships and the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. Ian Thorpe, one of Australia’s most celebrated swimmers, has set multiple world records and won numerous Olympic gold medals.

The sport of swimming continues to make significant strides in Australia, developing talented athletes and fostering a love for the water among the population.

#8 Golf

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Golfer from Australia: Greg Norman (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Golfers in Australia: 1.3 million

Golf in Australia has grown steadily over the years, offering a relaxed yet challenging experience for players of all skill levels. The sport attracts a dedicated following, with numerous golf courses scattered across the nation.

Australia hosts several prestigious golf tournaments, such as the Emirates Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship. Australian golf legend Greg Norman holds a significant place in the golfing world, known for his exceptional prowess on the course and numerous career achievements.

With golf’s continued popularity, Australia’s golf courses remain a testament to the sport’s significance in the country, producing talented golfers and attracting global events.

#9 Surfing

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Surfer from Australia: Mick Fanning (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Surfers in Australia: 2.5 million

Surfing is not just a sport, but a way of life for many Australians. With some of the most stunning coastlines in the world, the country has garnered a global reputation as a surfing paradise.

Various prominent surfing competitions take place in Australia, including the Rip Curl Pro and the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro. Mick Fanning, a three-time world surfing champion, has become a household name and is highly revered in the Australian surfing community.

Australia’s love for surfing extends from professional events to local beaches, where residents often gather to catch the perfect wave and share their passion for the sea.

#10 Cycling

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Australia: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Cyclist from Australia: Cadel Evans (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Cycling Enthusiasts in Australia: 3.5 million

Cycling has a unique place in Australia’s sporting culture. Whether it’s competitive cycling or leisurely rides, the sport continues to grow in popularity due to its diverse appeal.

The Tour Down Under, one of the most prestigious cycling events in Australia, attracts professional cyclists from across the globe. Cadel Evans, the first Australian to win the Tour de France in 2011, has become an emblematic figure for Australian cycling.

Various initiatives on both local and national levels are promoting cycling throughout the country. Australia’s passion for cycling extends beyond the race track, encompassing well-maintained trails and organized cycling events enjoyed by millions.

#11 Australian Rules Football

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Invention: Mid-1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Australia: Gary Ablett Jr. (Australian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Australia: 1.2 million

Australian Rules Football (AFL) is a unique and iconic sport in Australia, deeply ingrained in the country’s culture. Combining skill, athleticism, and strategy, it captivates fans of all ages and enjoys a vast following.

The Australian Football League (AFL) serves as the premier competition in the sport. Fans passionately support their teams, creating an electric atmosphere at every match. Gary Ablett Jr., one of the most celebrated AFL players, has achieved great success in the league and numerous accolades.

AFL’s significance in Australia’s sporting landscape is immense, fostering strong connections between fans, players, and clubs, with memorable moments and deep-seated rivalries at the heart of this iconic sport.


What is the most popular sport in Australia?

Cricket is the most popular sport in Australia, deeply rooted in the nation’s culture, and enjoyed by millions of fans and players alike, making it an integral part of the Australian sporting landscape.

What is the national sport of Australia?

The national sport of Australia is cricket, with a long-standing tradition and significant fan base, making this beloved sport an essential part of Australia’s cultural identity.

What are the most watched sports in Australia?

The most watched sports in Australia are cricket, Australian Rules Football, rugby, soccer, tennis, basketball, netball, swimming, golf, and surfing, each boasting significant viewership and fan bases throughout the country.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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The image used doesn’t accurately represent Australian Rules Football.

Rev Nisay

We’ve updated the post with the correct image for Australian Rules Football. Thanks for pointing that out to us!