The classic tourist kitsch transport - horse and carriage pulled through the streets of Melbourne. Has a certain 'romantic' appeal, especially when the city is sun-dappled. 'Til you find out that its basically A$50 for 15 minutes
Unique Suggestions: YOu decide to either do it or not - it is avoidable (although if you have young kids, might be a bit harder)
Fun Alternatives: Walk or catch a tram :)
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
BUT YOU WILL IN THIS PHOTO: WALKWAY ALONG THE YARRA RIVER WITH MELBOURNE CITY CENTER IN THE BACKGROUND AND THE ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS ACROSS THE ROAD ON THE LEFT (BARBARA'S RIGHT).
We suggest you avoid the Crown Entertainment Complex on the south bank at all costs. You see as much about Melbourne and Australia here as you would by visiting New York City (probably less). This is a mega complex of movie theatres, gambling halls, fast food restaurants, yuppie bars and restaurants, ultra-mall style shopping down an endless inside corridor that runs along the Yarra river and ends at the spectacular Crown Hotel with an elaborate watershow in the expansive lobby (the only thing in the complex worth seeing).
Unique Suggestions: See the Crown Hotel at the Queens St. end of the complex and get supper and evening entertainment somewhere else.
Fun Alternatives: Have dinner at one of the many restaurants in the downtown part of the city on the north side of the river. We like "Young and Jackson" bar and Brasserie, upstairs if you can.
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.
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 ☺
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!!
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..
It should not cost more than about $25 for a taxi from the airport to the city.
However, on my first visit i got conned by a driver telling me that his taxi was a 'special' taxi when i settled up. Funny that as his taxi looked just like all the other cabs ....
That teaches me right not to check the price before getting in i guess but u have been warned, jet lagged travellers are a taxi drivers ideal passengers!
Fun Alternatives: don't be lazy and just get the airport bus to the city which is so much cheaper particually if you are by yourself.
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.
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!!
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).
There are plenty of stores that sell trinkets of 'ýuthentic' Australian products, ranging from the smallest of things (like a packet of TimTam biscuits) to a large didgereedoo. Choose wisely - these places tend to charge exorbitant prices, and you are likely going to find what you are looking for cheaper in a more remote part of the town.
Unique Suggestions: Buy something small, like a fridge magnet!
Fun Alternatives: Instead of buying one of the books with photographs of Melbourne from these stores, go to any one of the bookstores and pick up the same book for less.
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.
The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road will usually have quite a few people. If you want to take good pictures of this area, try to visit it in the early to mid morning time period. I hit it in the afternoon, when the sun was not in the greatest spot for photos.