Electricity : 240/250 volt AC 50Hz. Leading hotels provide 110 volt outlets for razors. Australian power outlets take 3 flat prong plugs.
Tipping : In general it has not customary to tip in Australia though this is slowly changing, particularly in larger cities. In some restaurants it is standard practice to leave a gratuity. The usual amount is between ten and fifteen percent. It is certainly a friendly gesture to pay a little on top of the bill if the service has been good.
Water : Australian tap water is safe to drink. Milk is pasteurised. Beer is chilled. Australian wines are excellent.
Crime : There is no serious crime to worry about. However I was always cautious about being in Flinders St Station late at night when the platforms are not so busy.
Money : Travellers cheques are readily changed at banks and hotels. Cheques in Australian dollars are recommended. There may be a small charge for cashing travellers' cheques at some banks. Banks are generally open 9:30am - 4pm Mon-Thur; 9:30am - 5pm Fri.
Fire Bans : Bush fires are a serious matter in Victoria. Always respect fire bans warnings that are broadcast on the radio and be careful with cigarette butts and broken glass which can ignite bushfires in hot, dry weather.
Weather : Just about any time of year is good to visit although Melbourne's climate has an unfortunate reputation: wet, windy, unpredictable and liable to extremes - very hot or very cold and often both on the same day! I’m not kidding. On the plus side, Melbourne's multitude of parks makes it a beautiful place to witness the changing seasons. Melbourne receives only about half the rainfall of Sydney and Melbourne. In winter the average temperature ranges between a maximum of 13°C (55°F) and a low of 6°C (43°F).
Tipping is not obligatory. Don't even try tipping hairdressers unless you want to embarass them and yourself. When meeting people it is generally informal - shaking hands, kissing on the cheeks, just hello... anything goes.
Their's something I like to do when I go to parties, It's called a 'beer bong', you should have a try of it if you haven't already. All u need is 2 litre bottle of coke or something and a piece of hose, join them together and put beer in the bottle and suck the beer straight down the tube. As shown in my picture.
The local broadsheet newspaper is the excellent Age, sister paper to the Sydney Morning Herald. Read it while you're there, or catch it online at www.theage.com.au
there was a time visitors from other countries were not that common, even know the social life is such that unless you are introduced to you through the circle of friends you already have, little chanfe of knowing visitors. so imagine my surprise, when an umonhon indian friend of mine from Nebraska, emailed me to say she would be in Melbourne for a day and that we could have lunch together.. it was sheer delight.. friendship, the ambience of melbourne, nostalgia, love and affection... this is the stuff of dreams.
i will look for her the next time in Australia if she is still there. Knowing the Indians, they dont like to be away from their native country too long.
I miss you MiHuSa
November is Melbourne Cup. Every year the city and pretty much the country, comes to a halt for 3 mins while the Melbourne cup race is held.
March/April - the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is held at one of Melbourne?s comedy clubs.
March - The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is held around Albert Park. It is also the start of the Australian Rules Football Season, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Appreciate the unique Aboriginal Art in the many galleries in the city. Aboriginal tribes have for thousands of years created elaborated sand and body paintings using sand, ochres, blood, feathers, twigs and seeds for their ceremonies. In recent years, these designs have been recreated first on hardboard and now in acrylic paint on canvas. Most artistic expression is concerned with myths and totemic beliefs of spirit ancestors – THE DREAMTIME – a time of creation, the underlying essence of all aborigine life and nature.
A few galleries to visit:
Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings
73 – 75 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: 9650 3277, 9650 7291
Open 7 days a week
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5:30pm
Sunday : 12pm – 5pm
Or by appointment
Aboriginal Galleries of Australia
35 Spring Street, Melbourne
Phone: 9654 2516
Opens Monday to Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Shop 5/6 Mid Level, 3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Phone: 9686 0663
Spirit of the Wandjina Art Gallery
1040 High Street, Armadale
Phone: 9500 8894
Open 7 days a week, 11am – 6pm
The Koorie Heritage Trust Inc was established to protect and promote Koorie culture from southeastern Australia. It holds collections of artefacts dating back to pre-colonial times and arts and crafts produced by Koorie artists. There are also exhibitions by local Koorie artists and travelling exhibitions from other states and territories in the gallery spaces. Participates in workshops in arts and crafts such as basket weaving and jewellery making.
There is also a library with a range of material from the early 1800s till today, reflecting the history and attitudes of Koories and non-Koories in Victoria and southern New South Wales. However, access to the library is by appointment only.
The Trust is located at 234 – 236 Flinders Lane, Melbourne in the Manchester House
Monday : 10am – 4:30pm
Tuesday to Friday: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Entrance to the galleries is by donation
Melbourne is justly proud of the National Gallery of Art, with its wonderful collection of art treasures, including the stained glass ceiling of the Grat Hall, by Leonard French. Another great asset is The Sidney Myer Music Bowl, in the Alexandra Gardens.
Buildings of interest
1. St. Patrick's Cathedral
A fine building in the English Gothic style, Melbournes Catholic Cathedral stands in East Melbourne near the top end of Collins Street.
A liberal use of flying buttresses, pinnacles and turrets contributes to the archtiectural richness of the building.
2. Queens College
Part of the Melbourne University, Carlton, commenced 1855. Two other universities, Monash and Latrobe have since been founded in Melbourne, and a fourth is in the planning stages.
3. Parliament House
Home of the Victorian Stadt Parliament, in Spring Street. For (maybe 40?) years the Australian Federal Parliament met in this building, until it moved to the new Parliament House in Canberra in 1927.
4. Latrobe Cottage
This was Victoria's first Government House. Originally situated in Jolimont, now part of Melbourne, it was moved to a site near the Shrine of Remembrance, close to the present Government House, and is a National Trust property.
G'day mate!!! Probably the most common greeting you'll hear there.
Oh. And never call a Koala a 'bear'. Despite it's similarities with those grizzlies, the Koala is not known as a bear. It is known as a marsupial(animals that carry their offspring in pouches eg.kangaroos). So if you want to call a Koala a 'bear', prepared to get sniggled at by the locals.
Pick up a free copy of MX newspaper in designated 'boxes' in the city and train stations (only those in the city). Lots of interesting stuff to read.
Don't have a pic of MX. That's our spoilt chihuahua Pi who loves taking pics. She gets very excited whenever we take the camera out.
Near St. Kilda Road is the massive Shrine of Remembrance built as a memorial for World War I veterans. The memories of Gallipoli is still fresh in the minds of Australians. They take ANZAC Day (April 25) seriously. The memorial is on a hill where the view is somewhat scenic.
Always get garlic sauce on a Souvlaki!!! Only really see Souvlakis in Greece and Melbourne (the other city of Greece!!) Did you know that there's more Greeks in Melbourne than in any other city in the world apart from Athens!!!! With them came Souvlaki, lamb or beek rapped up in peta bread with tomatos, onion, lettuce, sauce and anything else you may wish. Warning: Can self destruct in hands!!!!
Although many people may say that tipping is not customary in Australia it is seen as a kind and courteous gesture and not an insult. If you have had a good time, enjoyed yourself or received great service then don't be shy and tip away! Especially if you intend to be a regular visitor at an establishment, i'm sure the staff will appreciate your gesture and make an extra effort should you make a return visit.