Hook Turns - not for the faint hearted
One of the most perplexing things about Melbourne is our unique "Hook Turns." Until about 15 years ago there were only 5 hook turn intersections and all in the central business district, but be warned as there has been a population explosion of those dreaded turns and some could even find their way to an intersection near you (could almost be an export income earner for the city).
The first thing to look for is the distinctive sign (see photo) placed before an intersection and in the intersection usually hanging from the tram wires - and there is the reason for these turns; to keep the intersections clear so the trams are not held up by those who want to right turn. Some say the tram drivers take no prisoners and just go straight through anything in their path.
Below is a web link to an animated on-line instruction on how to use our crazy turns, but here's my version:
1. Approach intersection from LEFT lane with right blinker flashing
3. Proceed into intersection and stay as close as you can to the white pedestrian zone line without hitting too many pedestrians.
4. Wipe perspiration from brow and hands - particularly hands as you don't want the steering wheel to slip from your white-knuckle grasp.
5. Just before reaching the furtherest point in the intersection and without hitting any pedestrians or traffic lights, hard turn to the right so your vehicle starts to turn.
6. Stop as close as you can to facing traffic light.
7. Take 5 Valiums
8. When traffic light facing you turns red complete turn BUT check to make sure that no-one - and in particular trams and taxis - has run the red light.
9. Take off as quickly as you can and before you get run down by traffic going in the same direction of travel.
10. Pull over as soon as possible and clean up mess under and on seat.
Suggest you might like to practice several times on a quiet day before attempting in peak periods. Warning, it takes some people 1,000 attempts to get the turn correct and almost never for volvo drivers.
Melbourne's Hook Turns
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Cashiers at the Food Court and Restaurant
In Melbourne, there were two incidents that the cashiers gave me a wrong change and no change at all...
Be careful when you purchaser food at the food-court when you don't have small change. If you plan to use your A$50 or A$100 bills, make sure you know what you gave to the cashiers. They could treat your A$50 as A$20, if you did not count properly... you might be cheated.
If they found out that you are tourist, you are more likely to get it...
Welcome to the Penguin World !
I think this is a tourist trap ! We paid quite an amount of aussie dollars just to see a few tiny penguins that came out of the water after sunset.
Unique Suggestions: Better if you know how to drive to the island then to join a tour.
Fun Alternatives: It's extremely windy and cold, don't forget to bring a jacket along with you if you visit this island even though the day seems to be warm, sunny and bright ! Their weather changes drastically !
Dangerous "Sky Smileys"
It was a night to behold - the 1st December 2008 - when Melbourne (and southern Australia) witnessed a strange sight - a large "smiley" appeared from the heavens ☺☻. The unusual astronomical event occurred when Venus, Jupiter and a three-day-old crescent Moon nearly "aligned" to form the face over our city.
OK so why is this a tourist trap? Well people were craning their necks to see and without looking where they were going, crashed into light poles, traffic signs, other people and cars.
So it is strongly suggested that the next "smiley" event ☺which is expected to be in another 5 years, that you avoid this city and go somewhere else for the night - ouch, who just bumped into me? ☻
The 2 photos of the event were taken about 1 hour apart.
Other than that, can I say ♥ u ☺
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- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Well folks I saw plenty of people selling what they call Opal jewelry. I was not impressed.
I was quoted a $3000 AUD price for a strand of boulder opal beads. I looked at the woman and walked out the door. She realized she had tried to "DUPE" the wrong person. The Opal Museum had beautiful specimens at high prices but, they were the real thing and in nice settings. Will look up the adress and print it later.
Unique Suggestions: If you want something jewelry like, find the sterling silver people and buy something inlaid from them. It all comes from asia but it will be far better.
Fun Alternatives: Search out the below street level tourist junk shops. There prices are lower because they are not paying the high rent for street level. I found some nice trinkets, such as cups, scrapbook stickers, small coffee infuser, and keychain holders at reduced prices.
Most of these places are located in and around Swanson STreet.
Koala Conservation Centre on Philip Island
There's 2 parts to this place. The controlled boardwalks area and the bushlands. The ranger tells you that in the boardwalk area (which is quite small), "u can spot koalas on the trees but there are only 6 of them around. So have fun spotting them. If you want to see more, try your luck in the bushlands" - You wouldn't want to pay money to play hide and seek with the koals, would you? When spotted, they are usually high up on the trees. Not up close and personal. Unless you are the adventurous type who will venture beyond the boardwalks into the think forestation, I suggest you give this place a miss.
Metlink Sunday Saver
On Sundays, the Metlink ticket costs $2.50 for all Zones. This is a great way to travel and see Melbourne.
Compare this to other days, where a 2hour zone1 full fare is $3.20.
However, the machines on the trams and along Flinders st don't have this selection.
No all tourist traps are bad
,I would say in general Melbourne is a safe international city and most tours are not a ripp off though like all cities there are bad area's so just use common sense and you should be fine.
The biggest tourist trap is a unplanned walk up the nooks and crannies of our fair city
beware melbourne has some great lanes where you will spend money shopping here is cocogal doing just that.
The biggest problem here is you won't have enough time as there are awesome coffee shops ,fast serve soup spots (Gems )
Hard ware lane is a great place to grab lunch in the summer months and sit out side the many cafe style restaurants.
Alot of melbourians probably haven't been luch enough to discover some of these little lane ways.
Unique Suggestions: There are some real hidden gems in some of these little lanes and I wonder just how some of the operators make ends meat as so few people are lucky enough to find them .
I just love walking through dregaves st in early morning smelling coffee and thinking how the hell do I pic a place though usually you find you get loyal to one place through habbit as much as anything because they mostly all serve above average coffee esp. when you have the time not to get it as take away most itmes I don't .
what ever you do dont drink...out of the Yarra
What ever you do dont drink out of the yarra river pictured here.
Melbourne's drinking water is one of the best in the world but it comes form some where else.
it was once said that melbourne's yarra river was so clean and clear but that was by one of the early explorer's imagine if he could see it now.
IN RECENT YEARS MELBOURNE HAS BEGAN TO Embrace ITS MAIN RIVER AGAIN
The building of the south bank complex was the beginnging and more recently the crown casino on the water front has bought the yarra to life.
late in 2005 one of the biggest eyes sore bridges was given a new walk way across the river now allowing to main walks across this section of the city from crown to Fliders Street station
Water Tours can be done up and down the river as both sight seeing and for river parties ect. some going up the yarra and other out to the bay or acroos to williamstown (worth a look)
I Myself love to ride my bike along the southbank side of the river up to Chapel street Paharan in the spring and summer months.
If there is a city with better bike tracks, any where in the world better than melbourne then I take my hat off to it as our bike tracks are outstanding .
Unique Suggestions: I wonder deep down If there are any real tourist traps outside the norm that all things touristy are often over priced .
Lets think Yes melbourne weather can be both a joy of what makes living great and it can be reason of asking do you have needle i can jab into my arms and just end it al hahah.
Melbourne is easy City to find one's way around .
Driving Maybe the Dreaded Hook turn Where in some city streets you have to turn right from left hand side of the road (this is done as to not slow trams )
God how do I explain it Its so simple but dam scary when your not used to it.
weel here goes .
1 move to the left hand lane of intersection ( of the up comming street you wish to turn right at)
2 indicate a right hand turn
3 move as far left as you can about one car lengh through the intersection and stop.
4 Very important
5 do not try to turn right even if traffic in right hand lane is clear
6 you must wait for the lights to turn red (most important stage )
then you can make your right hand turn just ahead of the other traffic that was going straight up the street as the light goes green for them so in a sense you turn right to go straight
7 ask some one else I think Im confusing even myself
Fun Alternatives: Look out if your at function at Crown Casino as lately I have been working there as a contractor alot lol.
Please do not give money to people begging in the city.. Most do this for a living and are probably more wealthy than you or i.. They tend to get aggresive sometimes so try not to stop when asked... Its not a huge problem but can be annoying..
all i can say is give it time, its not new york, its not london, dont expect the same service rate, train times are terrible and dont expect to get to places on time if using public transport.
Unique Suggestions: Go that little bit early, just to make sure you get there or wherever you are going on time!
Fun Alternatives: Its fine as long as you make time for ya travel. Or of course hire a car!!
Melbourne Aquarium - Just for kids!
Don't get trapped! Yes there are some sharks, but the exhibitions are set for children, with very basic scientific explanations. The big thank itself isn't that big. Nothing to do with Sidney Aquarium!
Unique Suggestions: See the sharks in the big thank. If you're lucky enough you could visit the aquarium when some divers feed the fish. Amazing experience.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the zoo, that's much more interesting.
If you're fans of the marine world, then fly to Sidney (Aquarium) or to the Gold Coast (SeaWorld)!
Recommended in many travel-guides, we made it to Williamstown by boat. The trip takes about 1 hour. Honestly, there is really nothing special to see except a few ordinary houses. "Buildings" would be too much.
So save your money and your time and stay away!!
- Luxury Travel
Irish / English Pubs around Melbourne .....
Unless you're really into going to these pubs, suggest you stay well clear of them. Some include Bridy O'Reilly's and the Elephant & Wheelbarrow - they're basically just franchise pubs cashing in on the irish/english theme and after the tourist $$$. They are often more expensive than the more traditional Melbourne pubs.
Not the greatest places to go to enjoy the Australian lifestyle. These places often get packed out with alot of pissed people after work and of course there's the swag of pint guzzling dickheads ... if you're not not able to hold a conversation (or your glass for that matter!) due to inebriation, you'll love it.
Unique Suggestions: Be well and truly on your way before you arrive .....
Fun Alternatives: With so many great pubs around Melbourne to choose from, just don't go to these ones!
day trips at obscene prices
to those who're interested in regional victoria, try to avoid those tour agents that seem to be mushrooming all over the city. they charge exorbitant prices and entice tourists by those buy2free1 type deals which still cost heaps in comparison to renting a car and using the Melway (very readable).
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