Driving in the Melbourne CBD and on roads with trams can be difficult for those who do not live in the city, so I would not recommend it. If it wasn't for the infamous hook turns, I would say it is OK to drive.
A hook turn is a right turn from the left lane (yes, that sounds like suicide). It is one of the most unnatural driving maneuvers I have ever experienced. Hook turns were designed so cars turning right would not sit on the tram tracks. When you are in a car and experience a hook turn for the first time, you will get very nervous.
The website below will have a good animation of a hook turn.
Melbourne has has had so many changes to it's public transport ticketing system recently that lots of locals choose not to pay. The visitor should be wary of following this lead. The fine is steep, and the enforcers neanderthal.
If you spy a group of 4 or 4 blue uniformed knuckledraggers boarding a train or tram beware. These guys need to travel in groups, so they won't be intimidated by a 1.5m tall asian student.
(or in fact a 15 year old girl as seen in this recent assault by these fine specimens)
Remember that they are folk with a Hitler complex who have failed to meet the standard of the police force or the army. Use words of one syllable so as not to confuse them, and have your valid ticket ready to minimise the length of your interaction with them.
City drivers: Hook turns
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.
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Keep safe and keep it real
Once you arrive in Austrailia Airport its is very important to have your keys of your suit cases at hand as they will check you , I think the ozzy airports was the most strick I`ve ever been to . You are not allowed to have any food in your bags of any sort or plants as they have this big rule about protecting thier own air, spieces .. Being that they have more different creatures up there :oP .
You will not joke around in their kind of airport and you will be given a list of questions to answer such as the obvoius but please dont every think of bending the rules there cause not even ( god can help you then )
Make sure you have proof of where you going to and your reason for stay as they are very suspicous .
Four Seasons in One Day!
Let me warn you about Melbourne's mysterious weather as described by the Crowded House song:
"Four Seasons In One Day"
Expect the unexpected! It is quite possible to have a 40+ degree sunshine day in the summer, followed by an evening of 15 degrees and rain.
I remember new years eve 2005. My car temperature gage read 45 degrees at 5pm, and almost at the switch of a button in the early hours of the morning, the temperature didnt reach past 16 degrees and the rain bolted down for entire New Years Day.
My advice to you would be to pack/wear the following, every day, because you just don't know what the day will bring:
Factor 30+ sunscreen
Thongs (flip flops/sandals)
Socks (worn with thongs for that hip look .. not!)
You just never know, you might use all of the above in less than 24 hours .. I KID YOU NOT!!
But I guess thats what makes Melbourne famous for its weather.
Melbourne has some great beaches but also can be dangerous.. Please swim between the flags and obey the signs... they are there to protect the public.. Do not get caught talking on your phone whilst driving.. You will be fined quite a hefty amount and dont consider going over the alcohol limit when driving..
The Quiet Tram
Especially so on Collins & Bourke streets, Trams can be a major danger when crossing the road as they seem to fly down the street not making a noise. There are special crossing spots that you should use though just checking before you cross the road is a must. As there are few cars on some stretches it appears that all is safe, this is not the case. We saw two near misses in a day and a half though I have not heard of any fatalities of late.
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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.
Whilst it probably doesn't occur too frequently, drink spiking is known to happen in bars, clubs, and pubs.
People can unknowingly slip drugs into drinks, which can lead to dire consequences.
However, this doesn't make Melbourne any more a dangerous place as the next one, but please be aware that it can occur.
Use common sense and never leave your drinks unattended!!
strip clubs and more strip clubs .
I guess I would say king Street (city) would be one place you might find some Volience on any given friday or saturday night
The street is home to many gentleman's clubs and so often there are loads of bucks night sporting clubs and what ever large groups of mostly drunken people wanting to have some fun .
So often the fun tourns sour as the drinks go from just enough to more than enough .
Having said that in most cases while walking down king stret you will not meet with any thing more than some drunken Idiot yelling at you .
So if you don't respond most times thats as far as it ever goes .
If you want trouble and want to be the big man you have come tot he right place for fight or as we aussie's call it a blue
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Melbourne is one of the safest cities in the world, and I felt safe walking alone almost everywhere at all hours of the night, although I would not recommend it unless you know the city very well.
Just use common sense - there are still idiots out there ruining it for everyone. I knew someone living there while I was there who was mugged by 4 people at knifepoint, taken to an ATM, and forced to withdraw $2000. Luckily, he was unharmed. And this was in the CBD - so just watch yourself at night.
Drug use is a big problem in Melbourne. Heroin is a very popular drug and there are needle syringe collection bins in many public bathrooms and other locations in the city. They exist for everyone's safety, so do not be alarmed if you see one.
Melbourne tries to educate people about the effects of drug use, but they're attitude is that if they can't discourage people from using drugs, the people should do it responsibly.
MYKI VISITOR CARDS
More text to ome.
Melbourne public transport is ticketless and individual tickets cannot be purchased on board trams and buses and many rail stations (can be purchased at so-called premium stations). In order to travel you must have a MYKI card which contains stored money - 'tap on' card on the platform or on board when arriving and 'tap off' when trip finished - not trams. Seems quite easy BUT in the opinion of many it is a rip off for visitors who are forced to pay $6 for the card ($3 concession, child or seniors).
The myki Visitor Pack is available from the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station (near entrance at Collins and Spencer streets), the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station and Station Pier (when cruise ships are docked). It "may" also be available from the concierge desks of 'some' of the accomodation hotels.
On the plus side, the Visitors Pack does contain discount coupons for many Melbourne attractions including Puffing Billy. A warning on the visitors Myki card - although the purchase price does include some "Myki Money" it would NOT be enough to travel to/from Belgrave and Puffing Billy, which is in Zone 2. You wil need to top up card for a all day Zone 1 + 2 (photo of top up machine above - buses have a small top up machine operated by driver).
WARNING Ticket inspectors do travel on all forms of transport and do have a reputation for being tough - even on visitors.
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I went down to melbourne recently for abit of work and site seeing its such a great place, ended up rolling my rental car on the Great Ocean Road. My warning is if your driving a 4X4 or a people mover along the Great Ocean Road be careful, cuz its very possible you can roll the car on the endless curves while looking at the amazing veiw, thankfully i was ok and the people at Sixt rental cars were really awesome throughout the whole process.
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Just like any other city
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.
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