sometimes they fall down!
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.
- Road Trip
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.
The Australian Sun!
Skin cancer is the biggest danger here in Australia. It is unlikely you will encounter any of the dangerous creatures that Australia is famous for, but chances are that unless you are very cautious with the sun (hat, long sleeves, sun-screen lotion), you will get burnt.
Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world even though Australians are much more cautious than other nationalities. The reason is due to the ozone hole over the southern hemisphere, giving Australia a very high UV exposure.
- Budget Travel
A Safe City
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
Crown Casino - wrongly named.
There are many who would have me charged with heresy for daring to criticise Crown Casino. but in my opinion the place is over rated and tacky. Not to mention the throngs of drunks and gamblers and it is a place that I do not want to re-visit. Besides all that, the place cost around 2 BILLION dollars and the owners and investors would not have spent that money to loose money. Like nearly all casinos they have an almost bottomless pit of money for when 'the house' is on a loosing streak. What chance does the average 'mug punter' have - nil, zero, none etc. I just hope you get the message!!
In my opinion the place was wrongly named and should be called CLOWN Casino.
I used to drive taxis here in Melbourne and after a few bad experiences with passengers, totally refused to pick up from CLOWN - and I was not alone in my own personal 'ban' on the establishment. One evening I dropped off another drunken passenger at the Clarendon Street entrance and a security guard asked me if I was going to pick up a passenger - "Not on your life," I replied. "I don't blame you," was the whispered reply.
In the writing of all my other tips I have included web site and phone numbers when available - I'm not doing that for Clown and if you take my advise you too will stay away.
BTW - some years ago I won a $100 dining voucher to be used at one of the restaurants attached to the gaming area. My wife and I dined well that night and then for 3 days afterwards, suffered from food poisoning. My doctor will verify this if required.
Photo taken from the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant tram stop in Normanby Road.
- Casino and Gambling
Watch where you go if you get sick
This 'tip' is really a bit of black humour.
At a suburban East Doncaster local shopping centre can be found an odd ball duo of businesses side by side and I've wondered how the planning department would allow 2 businesses to operate next to each other.
Not sure if I want to visit the medical clinic with White Lady funerals as their neighbour. Is there a back door where the clinics mistakes get quietly sent onto the next stage?
Another odd ball duo is in Clifton Hill where a McDonalds restaurant is right next door to a legal brothel - do you want fries with that!!!!!
Jackson Court Shopping Centre
Left hand brain in the right hand drive car
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!
Train stations & Drugs
Train stations, and not only those close to the city centre, are notorious for heroin junkies. You may be asked if you would like to 'score', and most of the time a polite "No" or "No, thanks" is sufficient to ensure you are left alone.
000 is the emergency phone number to connect you to Police, Fire and Ambulance. It is a useful number to know when travelling anywhere in Melbourne. It can be dialled from any phone (even pay phones) and is a free call. To be used in emergencies only.
131 638 is the phone number for the MET transport system, which all Melbourne trains, buses and trams are a part of. You should report any suspicious or destructive behaviour witnessed to this organisation.
Dodgy Areas of Melbourne
As someone said previously Melbourne is a relatively safe city and as a local i have to say the streets are pretty safe however there are a few places tourists should be aware of....
1. Corner of Bourke Street and Russell Street city. (Hungry jacks, Amusement parlour etc) This block has had problems with Heroin Deals etc.... Most problems occur after 10pm at night and it's safe to walk down this block during the day.
2. Flinders St Station after 10pm, All the weirdos seem to come out and you might be asked for money, cigarettes etc Just pretend you don't have anything and they should leave you alone.
3. Gray Street St Kilda (Nighttime), If you're into prostitution then this is the place for you! Otherwise i'd say avoid it!
4. Various beggars around city: On the whole we have very few beggars and us locals actually tend to recognise them. Most of them are harmless and refuse to get help preferring to live on the streets but be aware that the people that sit outside various mcDonalds etc claiming they need to get to Sydney have been doing it for years! Just ignore them and again say you can't help them. As the problem is once you give them something they follow you around like a leech.
5. Footscray, Not really a tourist area so you wouldn't really have an excuse to go there anyway, this place has an elevated crime rate and is home to a lot of commission people.
If you have any more queries feel free to contact me
Public Toilets close at 5pm!!
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!
Possums in the Park!
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. :)
- Budget Travel
No this is NOT a tip about the famous Collingwood football club, but rather about the bird.
Here in Australia we have a very aggressive black and white bird – the magpies. From August to November the “kids” are being raised and the parent birds are very protective and liable to swoop and attach anyone they see as a threat – and that could mean you who is just enjoying a walk in a park or even ambling along a street.
It is mainly the male birds who attach and they are a more brilliant black and white as distinct to the females who are more 2 tones of gray. The males will attack without any warning squawk and then quickly line you up in their sights for another attach. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most common targets for these aggressive birds and they can draw blood with their sharp beaks.
The main photo is a close up of a tame magpie at Puffing Billy's Lakeside Station and he is always on the look out for a free hand out of food, but by the looks of the beak he's been doing a bit of worm hunting. The bird shown in photo 2 has just been fed meat and is quite tame. He and his girlfriend and often in our back garden looking for a free hand out – and in late spring and early summer will bring their off spring for a free feed – an entertaining sight. Photo 3 is the current (2012) 'Maggie' and as shown comes right up to our back door hoping we'll see her (yes it is a 'her') and give a free feed of minced meat. Photo 4 is 'Bubby 1 or 2' and for the first time we've been feeding 2 'kids'. With all 4 - Mum (Maggie), Dad (Nervous Ned) and Bubby 1 and 2 it is a busy place and the ration of raw minced meat does not go that far - but they are fun to have around.
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
Stand your ground
If you decide to dine in Hardware Lane in the city, be perpared to be besieged by touts in front of every single restaurant drumming up business. It can become quite invasive. You need to be strong and smile and say that you intend to read all the menus before making your decision. As a rule of thumb most of them will offer you a free drink or a free starter to get you in. Be sure to take them up on their offer if you do go in and remind them if you have to as sometimes they seem to forget.
Th bottom line is however, that although you need to be aware of these touts awaiting you, don't let it put you off dining in Hardware Lane as there are some very good restaurants there.
You will find touts at many restaurants in Melbourne especially in Chinatown and in some places on Lygon Street for instance, but nowhere are they as prominent as in Hardware Lane.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
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 belongs to me!
Another no no. The Great Ocean Road was deserted so I thought I would just do what I've always wanted to do - stand in the middle of the road. :)
Please don't do this unless you are absolutely sure that the road is clear. You don't want to become a roadkill. :þ
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