If you are in need of a "Dunny" when you are walking around Melbourne, make sure to set your watch for 4:45pm, so you can use it before you lose it!
As I was taking a stroll down the road, the urge came over me to use the restroom, but looking down at my watch, 8pm was closely coming up. As I spotted a public toilet, my elation was growing at the ability to relieve tension, and I went to open the door.... to find it locked!!! In despair, I squeezed tight, found one of the 1000 or so cafes in the nearby area and had to purchase a coffee in exchange for a restroom pass.
So heed the warning... don't start a park walk that you can not finish!
This is me, in the first five minutes of driving a right hand drive car on the left side of the road, stick shift on the LEFT!!!!!
Coming up to a roundabout!
Oh my GOD!!! WHAT DO I DO?????
The car's owner, in the passenger seat, is trying to be calm. But the tension in his voice is evident.
"UH.....Cristina.........UH..............Maybe you'd better STOP HERE!! And let that car go by?"
"Oh yes, of course, I was going to do that."
Beware Aussies! I return in December! It could be me at that next roundabout!
If you are hiring a car in Melbourne, be aware of the hook turns in the city.
A hook turn is a right-and-turn from the left lane. This leaves the right hand lane free for traffic and the tram tracks clear for trams. note: in Australia we drive on the left-hand-side.
You will see little signs hanging from the overhead lines that say 'Hook Turn', where applicable.
The link below gives a fantastic animation for those confused - thank you to Ben Kreunen.
All towns have their seedier side unfortunately melbourne has kings street. It is safe enough during the day but beware if you travel there late at night. There are a number of strip bars and combined with a fair bit of alcohol this area can attract dodgy men. Would suggest to females to stay away from the nightclubs on this street there are safer and more interesting ones in other areas.
Melbourne seems to have pretty heavy traffic, the worst I've seen in Australia. Not only that, they seem to lay things out in a kind of a strange way. One thing I found constantly confusing, even in the simple grid of downtown, was their use of Lt to denote Little. Invariably, Collins and Lt Collins will be parallel and next to each other to confuse. It took a few days to finally get the hang of this. Sharing the street with the trams doesn't help you get along either, and if you're not careful, you can end up in express lanes with no easy way off. Add to all this pedestrians that wander in front of cars and you have a mess.
A picture of the 9th out of 12 apostles that fell down this morning. July 3, 2005. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to see such a landmark and then watch it crumble before your eyes, heaven forbid if you were on the beach how scary that would have been.
I was wandering around Fitzroy Gardens today and saw this sign I thought was a bit funny. It says:
'These gardens are home to both the common brushtail and common ringtail possom. Due to a plentiful supply of food and shelter, there are now too many possums for the gardens to sustain. This, in turn, has led to a decline in the health of the trees.
Council is undertaking a number of passive measures to manage possum numbers and tree damage, such as putting guards around trees and covering empty hollows in the trees.
Enjoy viewing the possums, but please do not feed or touch them.'
And what a cute possom picture at the top of the fairly large possum monument :) After reading this, I was fairly disappointed that I didn't see a single possum in all of my wanderings around the park. But if I had, I definitely wouldn't have fed or touched it. :)
By both national and world standards, Melbourne is very safe. St. Kilda is sort of a red light district, but it isn't really that dangerous. The truth is that the majority of crime is organised, such as the Mafia, and unless your a cop or involved with one of these gangs, violent crime isn't too much to worry about. However, an unfortunate problem here is drugs, especially heroin. The people who use this stuff need to stop killing their bodies, but in the mean time, there are many needle collection bins around the city, for public safety. At least they can responsibly dispose of the syringes.
"Either up your nose or through your vein
with nothing to gain but killing your brain"
-Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, 'White Lines', 1983
Driving in any big city is a pain in the ass. Getting a parking fine is even worse. Parking your car is big business these days and tickets are required almost everywhere. Instead take my advice - walk, use public transport or get your hands on a bicycle as it's better for the environment and your state of mind.
Ushering in 1st Jan 2004 was an awful nightmare swanston street. post-fireworks, hoardes of people were scrambling for trains which ended at 130am and many were stranded behind. the next train would commmence at 6am..some waited for taxis to the wee hours of the morning.
It can't be helped, when you've been brought up on Road Signs with sheep and cows, the sight of koalas, kangaroos and Echidnas (?!?!) is just too much. You just have to get out your car, however dangerous the road may be, just to get that tourist snap with the road sign above your head. So beware as you speed around the bends, It's not the animals in danger, but the tourists. I know, I'm one of them.
Watch out for Trams when you're driving in the centre of the city. Normal road rules don't apply, and you have to follow the lead of the locals when turning right, coz you always let the trams go first. Thankfully we only drove briefly through the centre before escaping to the open road, but it was a hairy experience all the same.
Weather is so changeable -and in a so short time - in Melbourne,some days you can experience 4 seasons in one day.I remember being burned out by the heat and sun and freezing just after a few hours in the very same day,So for those who are planning to travel there,I dont suggest you to bring your gloves and raincoats with you when sunbathing on the beach:) but the sun might be so cheating some days,check the forecasting reports before travelling:)
The road rules in Melbourne is pretty different and it took my weeks to get used to this system,this is not only a warning for drivers but for the pedestrians too because traffic works from the opposite way such like in UK,Japan.And when driving,right turn is from the left,and always watch the tramways in the city center.
When visiting Melbourne, exercise caution similar to when visiting any other sizeable city. It's unhelpful to make sweeping generalisations about what you should and shouldn't do in Melbourne. So, my advice is to keep your wits about you, don't make a habit of walking around at night on your own, and, if you find yourself in such a situation, keep your head up and walk purposefully (ie. so that you give the impression that you know where you are and you know where you're going).
These rules apply to pretty much any place that you travel to / visit that you aren't familiar with.
Melburnians are pretty friendly and helpful; if you ever need assistance, just ask.