Melbourne is the Capital City of the State of Victoria. It has a population of approximately 3.5 million people. Melbourne is commonly referred to as the cultural capital of Australia. It is the pre-eminent centre for arts and culture, education, fine food and dining and shopping. Sport is also a city focus. Melbourne is home to many of the world’s most famous sporting events F1 Grand Prix, Australian Tennis Open, AFL Grand Final and Melbourne Cup Horse Race.
BANKING AND CREDIT CARDS
Most banks are open from 9.00am to 4.30pm from Monday to Thursday, banks are usually open until 5.00pm on a Friday and some major banks are now open on a Saturday from 9.00am to 12.00pm. There are Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) located around the city which can be used after hours. Most banks are able to cash travellers’ cheques.
Major credit cards are widely accepted. Your credit card can also be used at an ATM with your Personal Identification Number.
There are many places to exchange currency in the CBD. Banks, travel agencies and dedicated exchange spots are readily available.
Melbourne (or anywhere in Australia) does not operate on a tipping culture. You may tip to show your appreciation for good service, but it is not a requirement.
TAXES IN MELBOURNE
A Goods and Services Tax of 10% tax is applied to most goods and services in Australia. All displayed prices for Goods and Services are required to include the GST.
If you leave Australia within 30 days of buying goods, you may be exempt from paying GST. You can take advantage of the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) to claim back the GST you have paid, and also claim back any Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) you paid. TRS only applies to goods that you can carry as hand luggage, and other conditions do apply.
Melbourne has a moderate climate. In March the average temperature is between 13°c - 24°c. During Winter (June – Aug) it can be as cold as 10°c during the day. Extremes throughout the year are common so it is appropriate to always carry a coat – however be prepared for lovely sunny days too.
If calling from a public telephone, the average price for a phone call to another landline within Australia is 50c. Phone cards can be purchased from post offices and newsagents, for local, interstate and international calls. Mobile (cell phone) calls are more expensive.
When making international phone calls, the following formula should be used: 0011 + country code + area code (if this has a ‘0’ please omit) + telephone number.
Meals prices range anywhere from AU$10 at local cafes and small restaurants to AU$200 at world-leading restaurants. Southbank, Degraves Street, and other small laneways throughout Melbourne are fantastic places to explore and find that special, simple or exotic place to dine. Pub meals are generally well priced and hearty fare.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Melbourne has a multitude of inner city and regional tourist options that are easily accessible from the city. From museums, plays, festivals and galleries to the Penguin Parade, Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo, Geelong Waterfront, St Kilda Beach and an assortment of café’s and eating strips, there is plenty to do. Please visit the City of Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne Ph: 03 9658 9641 for maps, directions, last minute theatre tickets, and general advise.
Melbourne’s famous tram network is a fast and convenient way of getting around town and into the inner suburbs. Tram stops are well signed and you need only ask for general directions. The city circle tram (maroon in colour) is a free service that you can simply jump on and off. The service operates in a circular route around the CBD passing major tourist attractions, as well as linking with other tram, train and bus routes in and around Melbourne. It operates from 10.00am – to 6.00pm daily and until 9.00pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Flinders Street Station is the city’s railway hub. Located on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street, it is a popular meeting place.
Public transport can only be paid for using a MYKI card. These cards are available online or at convenience stores.