Christmas is a favorite holiday for my wife and I. In particular we love how a city decorates and celebrates Christmas. Melbourne is much like New York at Christmas time except it is very hot temperature wise. Melbourne had a serious of Christmas events and displays happening all over the city for adults and children. The streets and shop windows were decorated with Christmas accents. The major department stores had large window displays depicting Christmas scenes (just like back home).
My wife and I had an excellent time strolling along the streets and looking at the window displays. I loved the Gingerbread Exibit with all the local scenes of Melbourne in edible form. Even the bridges had Christmas decorations; including a huge Misletoe in which to grab a kiss.
It's always cheaper to get a local prepaid SIM. You can buy a local SIM card from any Woolworths supermarket - a $29 recharge gets you more value than you can spend in a month including a huge 5GB of data usage.
I promise you that roaming using your phone will cost way more than that.
If you are here for a year or more a plan from one of the choices below may be better value. In any case never, ever use international roaming. It's the worst.
The best value right now seems to be Woolworths.
You may also want to check out this search bar of free wifis in Melbourne.
Other major providers of phone services (if you don't like the Woolworths plans):
The Grampians National Park is a 3.5 hour drive out of Melbourne City on the Western Freeway. The most convenient and reasonable way to get to the Grampians is on a private car. If you can't hire one or don't have one on your own, you're stuck with day tours through one of these companies:
APT Day Tours:
Fondest memory: Walking. Exploring. Discovering.
These are my favourite walking trails in Grampians National Park:
1) The Pinnacle
2) Mackenzie Falls
3) Mount Stapylton
You can find a long list of different walks that suit all levels of experience and difficulty here:
I agree about taxi drivers, many these days have no idea where they have to go, it would be good if you have the address of the hotel you are staying at,and there is a surcharge after 10pm and you may be asked to pay upfront. Some drivers dont ask for payment first, but be prepared.
Enjoy your stay in Melbourne
The only section of this question I am able to answer is regarding the Dandenongs. We spent about 2-3 hours in May this year in the Ranges and really did little else but drive and stop for a quick drink. I would do either the Dandenongs or Healesville and that way you will really be able to enjoy one and not half heartedly do both. We really enjoyed the Dandenongs there were quaint and unusual shops around every corner and we had a good look around the train station area and there were many places to pull over and enjoy the natural scenery.
Have a great trip whatever you do.
Melbourne is a great city for walking. Off every main road there are these little alleys where you will undoubtedly something to interest you. Quirky shops, hip and happening bars and clubs, chic cafes, charming restaurants. On several occasions, we were drawn into what appeared to be an otherwise quiet alley by some interest lights or music drifting out of it. However, upon walking in, its would be liked we had stumbled upon a whole new world where Melbourne where coolest were hanging out, away from the usual touristy Swanston crowds.
Fondest memory: Walking along the many little alleys and down bohemian Brunswick Street.
Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna Everage has been starting off 'her' TV and stage shows with 'Hello Possums' for longer than most of us can remember - after all 'she' started her show business career back in the 1950's and has been poking fun at us ever since.
OK back to the business at hand - Possums. Nocturnal they can be heard scampering around older houses and particularly those surrounded by trees. They eat almost anything that grows - fruit is their favourite, but they'll also 'knock off' (that's Aussie slang for steal) flowers, seedlings and vegetables.
Our own garden in suburban Melbourne seems to be inundated with possums - the common bushtail photographed - and almost every night we can hear them stomping on our roof. About the size of a domestic cat, they can pack a punch with their rapier like claws and healthy teeth. Their growl can be heard and for those not used to the noise, it can sound like a much larger animal.
The possums are a protected species and cannot be baited or killed.
Visitors to Melbourne wishing to see possums should head to the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne at night.
The following web site may assist you if you are experiencing a 'possum problem': http://www.nana.asn.au/n2-possum.htm
Melbourne 774 ABC Radio Station
Live streaming of news, views, current affairs, talkback, entertainment, sport, music, and rural issues covered. Podcasts of sessions you may miss available for download.
http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=4007 for other internet based information
Alfred Felton was born at Maldon, Essex, England on 8 December 1831. He travelled to Victoria on the ship California in 1853, lured by the metal that made Victoria what it is today - gold interestingly living not far from today's suburb of Maldon in Melbourne.
Instead, in 1857, we find him in business in Collins Street, Melbourne, as a commission agent and dealer in merchandise and in 1859 he was listed as an importer and general dealer. Two years later he was in business in Swanston street, as a wholesale druggist.
In 1866 he went into partnership with F. S. Grimwade and founded Felton Grimwade and Company, wholesale druggists and manufacturing chemists; this was his path to riches. As the business grew over the years, the partners acquired interests in associated industries such as Melbourne Glass Bottle Works, and Cuming Smith and Company, makers of artificial manures.
His own wants were few and he never married. His philantropic bent meant that he gave away considerable amounts to charity, and also gathered large collections of pictures and books which at times threatened to push him out of his rooms at the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, near Melbourne where he died on 8 January 1904.
In 2005 Melbourne Grammar Grimwade House opened "The Alfred Felton Hall" in honour of Felton.
Fondest memory: Felton Bequest
In his will, Alfred Felton established a bequest to support culture and the community, with half the fund benefiting Victorian charities (particularly those that supported women and children, perhaps somewhat oddly in view of his own marital status) and the other half used to acquire and donate art works to the National Gallery of Victoria. Alfred Felton had no direct descendants. Once the payment of legacies and probate duties was met, the residue of the estate was £378,033, a huge sum, the equivalent of over AUS$40 million in today's money.
The National Gallery of Victoria suddenly gained acquisition funds greater than those of London's National and Tate galleries combined. Fortuitously, soon after bequest, the October Revolution happened in Russia. Bolsheviks sold a significant part of collections of such museums as the Hermitage and Pushkin Museum, and some of these were acquired because of the Felton Bequest for National Gallery of Victoria.
The Felton Bequest has also been used to buy many masterpieces of Australian art. Over the past 100 years more than 15,000 art works have been acquired through the Felton Bequest with a current total value of more than AUS$1 billion.
This has come about due to the fact that the money wasn't put in a bank but invested on the stock market and thus the funds have snowballed over the years and the gallery has been able to be a player on the international scene.
These works are the core of today's National Gallery of Victoria and have made the collections of the museum celebrated around the world.
During the weekends and sometime during the weekday, you can see lot of people performing their skills especially in the Central Business District....mostly near the big shopping malls in and around Burke Street. Its nice to watch/hear while you wait for your trams or when you need to relax a bit after hectic shopping!! You can contribute as much as you can to them...
Fondest memory: The guy in the photo is inserting a Foot long knife inside his mouth (His esophagus must be wider than normal????)
One of the Precincts is Carlton where I spent a lot of time.
In the surroundings there are the Carlton Gardens,one of Australia’s most important classical structures and the Royal Exhibition Building. Completed in 1879 for the International Exhibition of 1880, it also played host to the opening of Australia’s first Commonwealth Parliament in 1901. Both the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building were World Heritage listed in 2004.
Across the courtyard, and reflecting the historic Exhibition Building in its enormous glass frontage, is the ultra-modern Melbourne Museum. This innovative and award-winning museum is the home of champion race horse Phar Lap and many fascinating examples of Australian culture and heritage.
To Its boundaries are roughly Elizabeth Street to the West, Princes Street to the North, Victoria Street to the south, and Nicholson Street to the East.
Just as info: 1)In Lincoln Square is situated The Bali Memorial, which commemorates the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings. It was officially opened on 12 October 2005, the third anniversary of the disaster that killed 202 innocent people, including 99 Australians.
2) The northern part of Argyle Square, adjacent to Lygon Street, has been redeveloped into an Italian piazza, known as Piazza Italia, in a joint project between the City of Melbourne and its twin city, Milan. A giant sundial is the main feature of the piazza.
3) Carlton is also home to the famous Dracula Nightclub, which is on the corner of Cardigan Street and Victoria Street.
Since the Precinct is not exactly in the centre of Melbourne, to get here there are many tram routes, running along Swanston street and terminating at Melbourne University. The no. 8 and no. 1 trams continues through Carlton North and beyond via Lygon Street.
Buses serve Carlton via Lygon, Elgin, and Rathdowne Streets.
Honestly I walked many and many times from here directly to the Centre, it doesn't take so much!
Fondest memory: Even if I went there during australian winter, I was lucky to have some warm days during which my friend VT's Aussie75 and I stopped to hve a coffee on some of little Bars along Lygon Street, that is the historic heartland of Melbourne’s Italian community and the place where the city’s famous café culture was born. It was here in the 1950s that one of the street’s Italian-owned cafés imported Melbourne’s first espresso machine!
Since my friend had to work I often could experience Carlton like one of the locals. I often lost myself in the Readings bookstore next to the Nova Cinema.
I'd been on the Yarra before, but upstream, which is where the tourist's first trip usually is.
The second occasion I had more time and was a little more adventurous so I opted to head for Williamstown.
The trip there was truncated with a couple of unplanned stops and we managed to turn a 50 minute trip into nearly an hour. We actually repassed an opposition ferry three times!
The initial part of the cruise was through the city and out through the Docklands development, a much touted revision of the old Melbourne docks.
Fondest memory: There's on thing I like about Melbourne skyscrapers and that is their judicious use of glass. Depending on what time of day or night you are doing your viewing, you may see pure gold, deep blue, glistening brown or shining purple.
Another thing is that they mostly have distinctive shapes, unlike the boxes that tend to proliferate in other major cities.
All this was in evidence on the first part of the cruise (pics 4 & 5), as well as the container ship that are berthed slightly further downstream (pic 2).
When arriving at Melbourne Airport, don't forget to pick up the Melbourne in Spring|Summer|Autumn|Winter booklet.
The last page contains discount vouchers for various places of interest (eg Melbourne Aquarium, Haelesville Sanctuary, etc)
Melbourne's Chinatown is located within the Melbourne Central Business District and is centred around the eastern end of Little Bourke St. It extends between the corners of Swanston and Exhibition Streets.
Ornate gates guard the entrance and fat lanterns dangle overhead welcoming to bright and buzzing Chinatown, a slice of Asia in the heart of Melbourne.
You’ll find dozens of traditional laneway eating houses alongside some of the city’s most-awarded contemporary silver service restaurants.
Shops and businesses in the thriving arcades off Little Bourke Street sell everything from Chinoiserie to fungi.
At 22 Cohen Place there is the Chinese Museum that shows about the stories and culture of Chinese Australianswith artefacts and photographs dating from the gold rush of the 1850s to modern times, spread over five levels of exhibition space.
Chinatown is home to the Asian Food Festival (August-September) and the Chinese New Year Festival (February), attracting visitors who want to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Asia.
Walking there during a busy day it made me really feel not to be in Australia but in a street in Hong Kong or in China!!!
Fondest memory: One Sunday Micky and her boyfriend with another friend and me went to Chinatown so that I could have the experience of yum cha, that means lunch, especially at the weekend. ...OH MY GOD!!! I eat soooo much!!! there were soooo many peole!!!
Pics will come soon
In first days I was in Melbourne I found myself in front of this quite big glassy building, that 'is Federation Square, opened on 26 October 2002. If you go inside, you'll find yourself in the Melbourne Visitor Centre - a one-stop shop for visitors to learn all there is to see and do in Melbourne and Victoria. On the first floor there is a desk as info point where you can ask a little map of the town, while downstairs there is a huge room where you can collect free leaflets about everything in Australia and Melbourne.I think it can be quite useful as a good start! Besides the infopoint, in the other part of the structure there are also some interesting museums, as the Ian Potter Centre that hosts the collection of Australian art, or the state-of-the-art Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Federation Square is Melbourne's new civic centre. The Square has been built to serve as a central focalpoint for the city but also to block out the ugliness of railway lines that run through the very heart of the city. It is situated opposite Flinders Street Station.The pic I upload here it's not mine, I borrowed it from Internet. I have to work my pictures with the scanner...
I chose this one to show the sharp contrast between the 2 styles.
Its website is : http://www.federationsquare.com.au/
It is open from:9am-6pm daily.
You can get there both by train at Flinders Street Station, part of the city loop metropolitan train service, that is opposite the square and by tram;take any tram along Swanston and Flinders street.
Asking around I found out that lots of people don't like it so much, infact the Square is controversial due to its striking, but unusual, design using large panels and claddings of sandstone, zinc and glass. It is a strikingly modern design for a civic centre!!
Panoramic city views are breathtaking from this ideal location on the famous South bank Promenade....more
When it comes to luxury and service the Crown gets it right. Crown Towers is located on the banks...more
Everything was really good at this hotel, well located, comfortable, decorated with excellent taste,...more