Halal Travel to Melbourne
Covid-19 Situation in Australia
Islam in Melbourne
According to the 2016 census, the Muslim population numbered 210,000 individuals and 3.23% of all Muslims Victoria.
4.2% of people in Greater Melbourne are Muslim. Many Muslims living there are Bosnian and Turkish. Melbourne’s Australian Muslims live primarily in the northern suburbs surrounding Broadmeadows, (mostly Turkish), Coburg, Brunswick and Epping (mostly Lebanese) and a few in the outer southern suburbs such as Noble Park and Dandenong (mainly Bosnian).
Very few Muslims live in rural areas with the exceptions of the sizeable Turkish and Albanian community in Shepparton, which has Victoria’s oldest mosque.
Mirrabooka and Beechboro contain predominantly Bosnian communities. The oldest mosque in Perth is the Perth Mosque on William Street in Northbridge. It has undergone many renovations although the original section still remains. Other mosques in Perth are located in Rivervale, Mirrabooka, Beechboro and Hepburn.
There are also communities of Muslims from Turkey, the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and South-East Asia, in Sydney and Melbourne, the Turkish communities around Auburn, New South Wales and Meadow Heights and Roxburgh Park and the South Asian communities around Parramatta. Indonesian Muslims, are more widely distributed in Darwin.
Melbourne is the second largest city and the cultural capital of Australia, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. Many of its 4 million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad. The capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria, and located at the head of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is a magnet for migrants from all over the world, and consistently ranks as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Visitors come to attend major sporting events, and to use it as a base for exploring nearby places such as Grampians National Park, the Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island and its penguin parade. Many UK visitors come for tours of filming locations of the soap opera Neighbours.
Introduction to Melbourne
History of Melbourne
The British settlement of Melbourne commenced in 1835 when settlers from Tasmania “purchased” land on Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River from the local Aboriginal tribes. The streets of central Melbourne were carefully laid out in 1837, with some streets 30 metres wide. The settlement was named “Melbourne” after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the British Prime Minister at that time. The first British lieutenant-governor, Charles La Trobe, arrived in 1839 – his Cottage still stands and can be visited in the Kings Domain. The year 1851 was a landmark for Melbourne — the colony of Victoria was separated from New South Wales and very soon after, gold was discovered in Victoria, sparking a huge gold rush. Aspects of the gold rush history can be seen at the Gold Treasury Museum, housed in the Treasury Building built in 1858. Gold was the catalyst for several decades of prosperity lasting through to the late 1880s and examples of the ornate Victorian-era structures built during this time still stand. In 1888, the property boom collapsed and Victoria suffered the depression of the 1890s. Throughout the gold and building booms, Melbourne managed to retain its many spacious parks and gardens which remain to this day.
In 1901, the British colonies of Australia became a self-governing federation and Melbourne became the temporary capital of Australia, with the Federal Parliament meeting in the Parliament House of Victoria until 1927 when the new Federal capital of Canberra was founded. After World War II, Melbourne grew rapidly, with its mainly Anglo-Celtic population boosted by immigration from Europe, particularly from Greece and Italy. Today Melbourne has the biggest Greek population (over 800,000) of any city outside Greece and the biggest Italian population (over 230,000) of any city outside Italy. The significant pre-war Jewish population was also boosted after the war. From the mid-1970s, many immigrants came from Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and Cambodia. Melbourne has had a Chinese population since the gold rush of the 1850s. Chinatown has existed from that time but the population of Chinese and other East Asians has also been boosted by immigration.
New highrise buildings replaced many of Melbourne’s interesting old structures in the construction boom of the 1970s and 80s. Melbournians belatedly recognised the loss of their architectural heritage and steps were taken to protect what was left. Construction of the huge Crown Casino (briefly the largest casino in the world) in the 1990s upset some Melbournians with its introduction of a gambling culture. Melbourne’s development continues in the 2000s with the opening of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square and the Docklands precinct.
Culture & Tradition of Melbourne
Melbourne is often called the cultural capital of Australia, with its many art galleries, film festivals, orchestras, choral and opera productions, vibrant live music scene, and a strong food, wine and coffee culture. People in Melbourne tend to dress up more than in Sydney, partly due to the colder climate. Many bars and clubs have strict dress regulations, such as requiring collars and dress shoes for men.
Particular events to note include the Melbourne International Film Festival in August, the International Art Festival in October, and the Melbourne Comedy Festival in April. There are also many concerts and exhibitions throughout the year. In addition to the Melbourne Museum, there are special museums dedicated to subjects such as science, immigration, Chinese history, Jewish history, sport, racing, film and moving image, railways, police, fire brigades and banking.
Melbournians are sports enthusiasts and particularly passionate about Australian Rules Football, a sport invented in Melbourne. In fact the Australian Football League (AFL) is not so much a sport as a religion in Melbourne, with 9 of the 10 Victorian teams being based in Melbourne. As a guide, the entire national competition only has 18 teams, meaning half the league is based in Melbourne alone. The AFL culminates in the AFL Grand Final in the spring, which is played every year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Horse racing is another passion, and the majority of the state has a public holiday on the first Tuesday of November for the racing of the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s famous horse races. Cricket is the big summer sport and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the ‘MCG’) is one of the world’s leading grounds. The National Sports Museum (NSM) (including the Racing Museum) Australia’s only truly dedicated multi-sports museum is also located at the MCG.
Each January, Melbourne hosts tennis’ Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slam championships. In March, Melbourne hosts the first race of the Formula One season, the Formula One Grand Prix. The race is held in Albert Park in South Melbourne. Two professional Association Football teams are based in Melbourne, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City FC; the two teams now share the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, commercially known as AAMI Park also playing at Etihad Stadium. The city also boasts one professional team in each rugby code, with both also playing at AAMI Park. The Melbourne Storm play rugby league in the National Rugby League, with teams throughout Australia plus one in New Zealand. The Melbourne Rebels play rugby union in Super Rugby, which features four other Australian sides and five each in New Zealand and South Africa. Melbourne is the unquestioned sporting capital of Australia with the largest arenas and two of the major sporting administrations basing their operation in Melbourne: Cricket Australia is a stone’s throw from the MCG, and the AFL games are played at both the MCG and Etihad Stadium.
The city’s climate has a notoriety for its changeability, often referred to as “four seasons in a day”. Its climate can be described generally as temperate, with warm summers and cool winters. During the summer of December to February, temperatures hover around 26–30°C (79–86°F), but it is not out of the ordinary for the city to swelter through heatwaves of over 40°C (104°F). Humidity is rarely an issue, with mildly comfortable nights down to about 16°C (61°F). With approximately 600 mm of rainfall annually, Melbourne gets only half as much rain as Sydney. October is typically the wettest month.
Winter (June–August) is usually cool with a mix of clear, sunny weather and cold & damp conditions. Temperatures in winter can range from chilly overnight lows as low as 2 °C (36 °F) to daytime highs as high as 19 °C (66 °F) at times. Light snow has been recorded in and around Melbourne during the winter months only a couple of times over the last century, although the hills east of the city however usually see a snow shower or two every winter. You should consider visiting Melbourne in the autumn and spring — temperatures during these periods are usually very pleasant, without being unbearably warm with daytime highs usually in the 20s °C (70s °F).
With such wild and unpredictable weather, it can be difficult deciding what to wear when planning a day out in Melbourne. A common tip is to wear layers of clothing, that can be removed or worn as the day goes on.
The city is served by three airports, Melbourne Airport, which has international and domestic flights, and the smaller mostly domestic airports Essendon Airport and Avalon Airport.
Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is 22 km north-west of the City Centre in the Hume region. There are regular flights from all major Australian and New Zealand cities. There are direct flights from many Asian hubs, with connections from Europe, and direct flights from North America, South America and Europe.
Avalon Airport () is a mainly domestic airport 55 km south-west of Melbourne in Lara, near Geelong. Although much further than Melbourne Airport, fares from Avalon are sometimes considerably cheaper. The terminals are generally very simple, with just an ATM, car hire desks and baggage carousels. Other facilities include a cafe, bar and a video arcade room. There are several flights in and out of Avalon each day, with many domestic operated by lower-cost airline Jetstar (which also flies to Melbourne Airport) and an AirAsiaX flight to Kuala Lumpur.
SkyBus operates a coach shuttle to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s City Centre via the outer western suburb of Werribee, meeting every flight arrival and departure. The transfer costs $22 one-way for an adult, and $10 for a child (4-14 years). Other than the coach, there is no public transport; Lara Station is 8 km from the terminal, meaning one could ride a bike on the road to/from the airport or catch a taxi, which would cost about $15 to the station. A taxi to the city from the airport could cost upwards of $100.
The driving time from Avalon Airport to Melbourne’s City Centre is about 45 minutes in good traffic conditions. Avalon Airport is also convenient for reaching nearby Geelong and the Great Ocean Road.
Southern Cross Station is Melbourne’s regional rail hub for interstate and intrastate travel. It’s on the western side of the City Centre, with good public transport connections to the rest of the city.
- V/Line. The regional rail operator for Victoria, with services across the state from Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Bairnsdale and other places. V/Line also operates some services interstate, including the train to Albury-Wodonga, and combined train/coach services to Adelaide and Canberra.
- . This rail service between Sydney and Melbourne leaves twice daily in the morning and evening. The journey takes just under 11 hours, and you must book in advance.
- The Overland. This rail service between Adelaide and Melbourne takes just under 11 hours. Departures leave twice weekly in each direction.
From Sydney, the quickest route to Melbourne is the Hume Highway, which takes 10 hours of driving without any stops. This road is almost all dual-carriageway (freeway). The Princes Highway (National Route 1) goes along the coast and is less crowded. It takes longer with lower speed limits, hills and bends, and few opportunities to overtake. See Sydney to Melbourne by car for more information.
Adelaide is slightly closer than Sydney and can be reached in 9 hours. The coastal route is scenic but slower.
A direct journey from Brisbane takes 21 hours of driving and takes you further inland along the Newell Highway. This makes for an alternative to the standard Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne coastal route.
Bus services to Melbourne from out of state are provided by Firefly Express and Greyhound.
Bus services within Victoria are operated by V/Line, and operate from most major and many minor Victorian towns.
The Spirit of Tasmania passenger/car ferry runs every night to Melbourne from Devonport, Tasmania. The 10½ hour journey departs at 7:30PM, arriving 6AM, with an extra day sailing during peak periods including summer.
Ticket prices depend on time of year and your sleeping accommodation. A seat (no bed) is the cheapest, starting (in off-peak season) from $108 for adults and $82 for children. The seat is most uncomfortable, equivalent to a cinema seat. Cabins with bunk beds start from $187 adults, $97 children. Peak season costs are about 25% higher. Cars cost $59 all year round.
Melbourne is also served by several international cruise ships throughout the year, particularly in the Summer cruise season.
All passenger ships serving Melbourne arrive at and depart from Station Pier in Port Melbourne, about 5 km from the city centre. Tram route 109 (towards Box Hill) departs frequently from the old railway station across the road from the Pier, travelling into the heart of Melbourne along Collins St. You can purchase mykis at the tram stop’s machine or from a visitor desk in the peak season.
Melbourne has a very large metropolitan area, but most sights of interest are within the city centre, and most of the rest can be reached within about 20 minutes on the train or tram. Melbourne’s city centre is laid out in an orderly grid system, similar to the grid system of Manhattan, meaning that navigating the city centre is easy.
By public transport
Melbourne has a fairly reliable public transportation system consisting of trams, trains and buses: trams and trains branch out from the city centre to the suburbs, while buses usually cover the rest. There are connections to all major attractions of the city, and it is fairly easy to get around without a car. Most of the network is wheelchair and pram accessible, with the major exception of the tram network, which mostly operates with older, step-entry vehicles. Train, tram and major bus services generally operate between 5AM and midnight Monday–Saturday and after 8AM Sunday. On Friday and Saturday nights, all-night train, tram and bus services run on a limited night network.
Public Transport Victoria coordinates public transport and provides timetables, maps, disruption info and a very useful journey planner. Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices; Google Maps also integrates train, tram and bus information.
Myki is the reloadable smartcard used for all travel on trains, trams and buses. Myki cards can be purchased and reloaded from staffed railway stations, machines at stations, major tram stops and the airport, online, and various retail stores such as newsagencies and all 7-Eleven stores. You cannot purchase or reload them on trams, trains or buses.
Regular adult cards cost $6, and concession/under-16 cards cost $3. Concessions only apply to Australians with the appropriate concession card. The card comes with no preloaded credit and the fee is non-refundable. A myki Explorer pack ($15/7.50 adult child), which comes preloaded with $9/4.50 of credit (enough for a full day of travel) and a stack of attraction discount coupons, can be purchased at the Melbourne Visitor Centre, SkyBus terminals at the airport and Southern Cross Station, PTV Hubs and many accommodation providers.
To use myki, touch on by holding the card onto a reader before travel at the train station, or on board a bus/tram, and wait for the beep. Touch off when exiting a train station or a bus, although touching off on a tram is optional. Metropolitan Melbourne has two zones: Zone 1 which covers the entire city, and Zone 2 which allows a cheaper fare when travelling only in the outer suburbs. The fare (including the travel time and zone) is automatically calculated and deducted by myki, so there is no need to plan costs in advance. In the city centre, there is also a Free Tram Zone where one does not require a myki to travel and should not touch on if remaining within the zone.
Myki fares (as at 1 January 2020)Adult
|Zone 1||Zone 2||Zone 1||Zone 2|
Regulations and laws surrounding public transport are strict. Ticket inspectors are common, and fines start at $207 (maybe more now) on the spot for offences such as fare evasion, putting feet on seats, swearing and drinking alcohol.
The train network is operated by Metro Trains Melbourne with blue branding. A partly-underground “City Loop” forms the basis of the network, with all the other lines branching off to the suburbs like the spokes of a wheel. The lines are named after the station at the end of the line, and all run through Flinders Street Station, the city’s famous suburban railway hub. Trains to the suburbs generally operate at 10-20 minute frequencies, with higher frequencies (but more overcrowding) in peak times. Be aware that some trains skip suburban stations when running express to and from the city; check information screens carefully to be sure.
Trams are a prominent feature in Melbourne’s urban landscape. The city has the largest network in the world. The network is operated by Yarra Trams with green branding. Most tram lines branch out from the city centre like spokes. In the city, they often become crowded, and you are unlikely to get a seat. The network is operated by a mix of newer, low-floor trams with stop announcements and older models with step-entry. Stops in the inner city generally have platforms, although most stops require hailing the tram from the side of the road; take care at these stops and look for distracted cars which may illegally speed past.
Yarra Trams’ official iOS and Android app, tramTRACKER, is very useful for tracking real-time tram arrivals and following the tram’s progress onboard. Most tram routes will have 8-12 minute service during the day, with higher frequencies in the peak, but lower frequencies of 20-30 minutes in the evenings.
Travel on all trams in the city centre is free. The boundary of the Free Tram Zone is marked with plenty of signage, but remember to touch on if you leave the FTZ. This is in addition to the City Circle, a free tourist tram in the city centre, which runs past many major sights in historical trams.
Buses serve as connections to places without rail transport, often connecting to major shopping centres and train stations. Denoted by orange branding and stops, most buses are low-floor and air-conditioned. A few major trunk routes (including ones such as the 200/207 in the inner north, the 900 to Chadstone, 907 to Doncaster, etc) operate at 10-15 minute frequencies, although for most buses, it is necessary to use the journey planner or check timetables, as service tends to be far less frequent than trains and trams.
As mentioned above, the free City Circle Tram (Route 35) runs around the CBD perimeter, operated by vintage-style maroon or green trams. Audio commentary provides information about attractions that are passed. These trams are geared to visitors and provide access to sites of interest to the tourist. More information is provided in the City Centre guide.
The Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is another option that also extends to key tourism destinations just outside of the city centre, including the MCG, Lygon Street and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The buses run at 30-minute intervals between 9:30AM and 4:30PM daily. A complete circuit takes 90 minutes, with on-board commentary. It costs $10 for two consecutive days, allowing visitors to hop on and off as many times as they desire within that timeframe. Tickets may be purchased online, at the Melbourne Visitor Centre or with a credit card or coins at ticket machines at each stop.
The inner suburbs of Melbourne have a good network of bike paths by the standards of English-speaking countries, plus a generally flat terrain, making pedal-power a great way to take in the city. Most paths are “shared footways” under the law, although the majority of users in most places are cyclists. This means cyclists should expect to share the path with pedestrians, dog-walkers, rollerbladers, joggers, prams and tricycles. Some trails contain on-road sections (in marked bike lanes). It is legal to cycle on footpaths only when supervising cycling children or when the path is marked or signposted as allowing bikes. Helmets are required by law, as are lights when riding at night.
- Yarra River Trail. Runs from the mouth of Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River, through the city and onwards to Westerfolds Park in the outer suburbs.
- Capital City Trail. Runs a circuit through Melbourne’s inner suburbs, the Docklands precinct and the city. It’s a good way to see a slice of day-to-day life.
- Bay Trail. A pleasant trek around Port Phillip Bay, running from Port Melbourne, through the bustling beach-side precinct of St Kilda, past the famous bathing sheds of Brighton, all the way to Carrum. A punt operates under the West Gate Bridge on weekends and public holidays allowing a start at Altona Meadows along the Williamstown Trail, across the punt, and joining with the Bay Trail. You can’t cycle on the West Gate Bridge.
- Maribyrnong River Trail. Starting at Southbank and finishing at Brimbank Park in Melbourne’s west, the Maribyrnong river trail is a 28-km trail with easy to moderate riding on a good track. The trail takes you past the Polly Woodside ship and through the Docklands to Footscray Road. You’ll then ride along the Maribyrnong River, passing Flemington Racecourse before crossing the river and over to Pipemakers Park. The remainder of the trail takes you through bushland and river reserves and underneath bridges before finishing up at Brimbank Park.
Bicycles may be taken freely on trains, although there may not be space during the peak. Only folding bikes are permitted on trams and buses.
- . Bikes cost $2.90 per day, as long as you return the bike every 30 minutes (note if you don’t check the bike in 3 hours rental will cost upwards of $40). $5 bike helmets can be bought at some 7-Eleven stores throughout the city centre and can be refunded for $3 at any store that sells them. If you are lucky you can find one attached to the front of the bike.
- Rentabike, Vault 14 Princes Walk (near Federation Square, Federation Wharf, on the north side of the Yarra). 10AM-5PM. $35 per day.
- Freddys Bike Tours & Rentals, 32 Rebecca Walk (Batman Park on the Yarra River near to the Melbourne Aquarium). 9AM-7PM. Bicycle hire and bike rentals. Also offers a range of guided bicycle tours through various Melbourne precincts. $25 per day.
Driving in Melbourne’s city centre is generally inadvisable. Congestion tends to be bad, street parking difficult to find, and parking in multi-storey carparks tends to be rather expensive. In addition, you will have to learn how to execute a hook turn (described below) due to the large number of trams in the city. That being said, driving is generally the best way of getting around Melbourne’s suburbs, as the public transport network tends to be less reliable, less frequent and more thinly spread out than in the city centre, particularly in the outer suburbs. If travelling from the outer suburbs to the city, it’s generally best to park your car at the nearest railway station and catch a train in. In the centre, street parking can be as much as $3.50 an hour. Motorcycles and scooters may park on footpaths legally for free as long as they do not obstruct pedestrians or crossings.
The major car rental chains are well-represented and include Avis, Bargain Car Rentals, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Independent car rental companies are also plentiful and can offer good value for money. Many of the rental companies are located close to Melbourne’s Southbank, so if you are staying close to or on the outskirts of the CBD, it should be relatively easy to find both the well represented and independent car rental companies. Comparisons between the local car hire companies can also be made on VroomVroomVroom, Car Rental Buddy or Car Hire Choice. If you are looking to cover a long distance by car, ensure your rental policy includes unlimited mileage – most economy to standard sized car rental include this already.
In the city centre, a number of intersections require you to perform the infamous hook turn to turn right due to tram tracks running down the centre of the road. Follow the signs: move into the left lane and move as far forward as possible, wait and when the traffic signal for the street you are turning into turns green, make the turn.
There are two major tollways in Melbourne, both of which have no manual tollgates and require daypasses to be purchased in advance or up to three days after the trip online or over the phone. Registration number and car details should be provided; failure to buy a pass can result in expensive fines, and car rental companies will often stack their own administration charges on top of these. Be aware that major rental companies will often offer a toll option, which is usually cheaper than purchasing your own passes. Tollways are represented by blue and yellow road signage rather than the usual green and white signs.
CityLink is the T-shaped tollway through the city core, connecting the West Gate Freeway in the west, Monash Freeway in the south-east and Tullamarine Freeway in the north. These freeways are useful for travelling to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island and Melbourne Airport respectively. A 24-hour pass costs $16.69 for cars, $8.32 for motorcycles and more for larger vehicles (May 2016).
EastLink is a north-south tollway through the eastern suburbs and is useful for reaching the Mornington Peninsula and Frankston. A one trip pass costs $5.94 for cars, $2.97 for motorcycles and more for larger vehicles (May 2016). If you are likely to be using both tollroads, it may be worth purchasing a Melbourne Pass for $5.50 in addition to the regular toll costs depending on the length of the trip. Tags from other Australian cities work on CityLink and the EastLink tollway, but passes do not.
Melbourne is an excellent city for walking and you should have no problems navigating the CBD grid. The walking time between each end of the city is less than 30 minutes. A brisk walk may even see you keeping up with the trams as they crawl through the city centre.
Melbourne taxis are ubiquitous in the centre but less often spotted in the suburbs. The largest companies are 13CABS (☎ 13-CABS/132227), Silver Top Taxis (☎ 131008). There are personalised luxury airport taxi service operators such as CabInMinutes (☎ 0416271787). Taxis are traditionally yellow in colour, although silver and white colours also exist. Fares are standardized so that the meter starts ticking Day Rate (T1) (9AM-5AM) at $4.20 and clocks up $1.622/km, Overnight Rate (T2) (5AM-9AM) at $5.20 and clocks up $1.804/km and Peak Rate (T3) (10AM-4AM Friday and Saturday) at $6.20 and clocks up $1.986/km, meaning that short hops within the centre can go for under $10, but longer hauls get expensive pretty fast. A $2 fee applies for telephone booking a taxi and a $3.58 fee for catching a taxi from the airport. Sitting in traffic is $0.568/min at T1, $0.631/min at T2 and $0.695/min at T3. Between 10PM and 5AM, taxi fares can be prepaid: you pay an estimated sum to the driver in advance and the fare is corrected on arrival. There is no negotiated fares for taxis in Melbourne. The Taxi Services Commission provides a full fare list and useful fare estimator on their website.
Additionally, Uber services are also widely available in Melbourne.
Melbourne is a great city for arts, culture, dining, and events. Visitors frequently comment on the “good vibe” of the city, which can only be understood by experiencing it for yourself. There are a wide and varied assortment of attractions and sights, with something for every traveller. Most are in the City Centre, in close reach of public transport. Melbourne is also a good base for experiencing the other attractions of Victoria, most of which can be reached on day trips.
- See interesting films at the Art Deco-styled Astor Theatre in St Kilda. There are several moonlight cinema programmes in summer. The Melbourne International Film Festival is on in August.
- Alternately, visit the Cinema Nova on Lygon Street (tram 1 or 8) on a Monday for $6 films before 4PM.
- Visit the Queen Victoria Markets
- Fans of Neighbours can do a tour of filming locations
- Visit a comedy club. The Comic’s Lounge has shows for $10–25 including a show filmed for Channel 31 on Mondays, or dinner and show for $45. The Comedy Club has dinner and show for $32 and shows only beginning at $7 (discount ticket price).
- Watch the mesmerising process of personalised hard candy being hand-made at Suga. Around lunch time is a good time to see (and sample!). There is a store at Queen Victoria Market, but if you visit the Royal Arcade location, you can also watch chocolate making next door at Koko Black.
- Watch a game of AFL football at the MCG or Etihad Stadium during the winter, or a Cricket Match during the summer.
- Kick back at one of Melbourne’s fantastic cafes in the CBD (Degraves St, The Causeway, and other laneways are fantastic for this), South Yarra (Chapel Street) or Fitzroy (Brunswick Street, Smith Street).
- Melbourne has an exceptionally vibrant live music scene. Many bars and pubs will have copies of the free magazines “Beat” and “Inpress” which provide local gig guides. Fitzroy, Collingwood and St. Kilda are generally your best bets for seeing some of the great local talent Melbourne has to offer. Venues where you generally can’t go wrong include: “The Evelyn”, “The Espy” ( closed for renovations as of Jan 2016 ), The Corner Hotel in Richmond & The Northcote Social Club.
- The Black Light Mini Golf is located at the Docklands. This is an 18 hole mini golf range designed around an Australian theme. It is under black light with a light and sound system and featuring fluorescent colours. It is located behind the Big Wheel Being located indoors means that you can play all year round, Admission pricing is $13 for an adult and $10 for a child. It takes around 1 hour to play. An attraction to the Black Light Mini Golf is “The Coffin Ride”. This is as freaky as it sounds, you take a virtual ride in a coffin with the lid closed, there are sounds, smells and your mates can have a really good laugh watching you on TV.
- Melbourne is an excellent place to master your photography skills. So many places to take a fantastic picture.
- Visit one of Melbourne’s many arcade and laneways, tucked away from the main city streets and avenues. One of these, the Cathedral Arcade, forms a narrow laneway, connecting Swanston Street to Flinders Lane in the central business district. It is a T-shaped arcade, however one of the laneways ends inside the Nicholas building.
- Melbourne’s museums are generally well-regarded and worth a visit if you have time to spare. The Melbourne Museum and National Gallery of Victoria often have interesting temporary exhibitions.
- Visit the beach (St Kilda, Brighton, or Frankston on the east side. Williamstown on the west side.)
- Watch the tennis in January. The Australian Open or Kooyong Classic
- Experience fine dining in an inner city tram http://www.tramrestaurant.com.au/
- Be entertained at Crown Casino
- Go hiking on scenic Mt Dandenong -Challenge yourself physically on the 1000 steps, or visit the cute towns of Sassafras or Olinda, or take a ride on the century-old Puffing Billy steam train
- Chill out in the Botanical Gardens or one of the many parks (Albert Park, Carlton Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens)
- Have a laugh at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March/April each year
- See amazing sand sculptures in nearby Frankston from the end of December to April each year (take the Frankston train line)
- Watch the Australian Grand Prix in March/April each year
- Visit the Eureka Skydeck for the best view of the city on level 88 of the Eureka Tower. Or indulge in fine dining by booking on level 89 of the Eureka Tower.
- Visit one of Melbourne’s outdoor cinemas in the warmer months of the year (November to April)
- Get dressed up for “the race that stops the nation” on the first Tuesday of November The Melbourne Cup, or one of the other races in The Spring Racing Carnival
- Visit any or all of the three amazing zoos. http://www.zoo.org.au/ At the Melbourne Zoo, visitors have the additional opportunities to interact, pet, and take close-up photography with a number of the animals, including kangaroos, meerkats, lemurs, and others
- Take a free tram ride around the city on the free city circle line (route35).
- See Melbourne’s Yarra River by kayak
- Visit the State Library of Victoria
You can take language classes, join a cafe book group, learn to draw, sign up for historical or foodie walks, study for your Victorian Certificate of Education or take computer or business classes at the Council of Adult Education (CAE). The CAE is also home to the City Library where you can sign up to borrow books or just read magazines in their cafe.
Melbourne is home to several universities, two of which belong to the prestigious “Group of Eight”: the University of Melbourne and Monash University. There are opportunities for international students to enroll in these universities, either in their degree programmes or through exchange agreements with foreign universities, and these are opportunities for foreigners to live in Melbourne for an extended period of time.
The most popular industry for a working holiday is to work in hospitality jobs around the St. Kilda area. The wages in all other industries are usually much better than working in hospitality but require more specific skills.
Fruit picking is a possible source of income but in the greater Melbourne area there are not many jobs are offered. You will find better chances are in the dairy business but you should have some basic experience. Grape vine tending is another possibility in the nearby Yarra Valley.
Shopping hours in metro Melbourne are typically 7 days a week, 9AM–5:30PM weekdays and 9AM (maybe later)–5PM weekends. Most suburban shopping centres such as Chadstone have later closing hours on Thursdays and Fridays – mostly up to 9PM. Supermarkets have extended hours 7 days, the majority opening at 7AM and closing at midnight or 1AM; there are also many 24-hour supermarkets.
Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia with numerous malls and boutique-lined streets.
In the CBD itself, Little Collins Street is home to some of the world’s top designers and fashion houses; Collins Street also boasts other high end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Brunswick Street (Fitzroy), and the southern end of Chapel Street in Prahran/Windsor, have clusters of stores selling an eclectic mix of vintage, rave, retro and alternative gear such as Shag, Fat Helen’s and Beaut Vintage to shop around.
Melbourne Central is another shopping mall based in the city, adjacent to the underground station of the same name. The Bourke Street Mall with the department store David Jones, as well as the flagship store of Myer, Australia’s largest department store chain, is another city-central shopping hub.
For the bargain shopper, there is a DFO Outlet Malls located on Spencer Street, Melbourne city, just north of Southern Cross Train station.
Elizabeth Street has plenty of bargain backpackers stores, for example Mitchell’s Adventure (255–257 Elizabeth Street), which can offer outdoor products for bargain prices.
Bridge Road in Richmond is a strip where warehouse direct outlets rule and no-one pays recommended retail price. Chapel Street in South Yarra is a favourite among the locals, with its spread of exclusive boutiques, cafes and well established chain stores. There are also several huge shopping complexes in the outer suburbs, such as Chadstone and Southland (Cheltenham) in the South-East. Doncaster Shoppingtown, Eastland (Ringwood) and Knox City are in the outer East. Northland in the north, Highpoint in the west.
Melbourne is also home to many of Australia’s largest shopping centres; including Chadstone Shopping Centre in Malvern East (the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere) which has over 530 stores, Knox City Shopping Centre which has 350 stores, and Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in Casey which includes approximately 330 stores.
Looking for something in particular?
For those in the bridal market, High Street in Armadale, Stonnington and Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne/Northern suburbs are the two main clusters for bridal apparel and accessories. For those who are looking for local, aspiring designer creations, try Greville Street in South Yarra, Stonnington or Smith Street and surrounds in Yarra.
To buy funny souvenirs and Australian typical stuff, walk or take the tram to Victoria Market. You’ll find all you need there and the price is usually a half or a third of the prices in the souvenir shops downtown. Make sure to try a bratwurst dog and check out the cheese stalls while you’re there.
Halal Restaurants in Melbourne
Indian Halal Restaurants
Indian restaurants can be found throughout Melbourne, particularly in the city, North Melbourne, and inner eastern suburbs such as Richmond and Hawthorn. There are also numerous Indian snack bars in the city that serve cheap but tasty curries and samosas, cafeteria-style.
Nepalese food is also popular in Melbourne, and some restaurants feature both Nepalese and Indian cuisine on their menus. An increasing number of Indian restaurants offer home delivery.
Indonesian Halal Restaurants
Befitting its large number of Indonesian students, Melbourne has many Indonesian restaurants. One of the most famous is Blok M on Commercial Road, Prahran, which many famous Indonesians have visited. Another popular restaurant is Nelayan with two restaurants on Swanston Street and Glenferrie Road, Agung on Glenferrie Road, Bali Bagus on Franklin Street, Es Teler 77 on Swanston St, Nusantara in Caulfield and Bali Bowl on Flinders Lane. There is also Warung Gudeg, specialising in Jogjakartan local cuisine in Clayton.
Malaysian/Singapore Halal Restaurants
Malaysians and Singaporeans feeling homesick will find a host of restaurants and foodcourt outlets offering items like roti canai/paratha, nasi lemak, prawn noodles, and laksa. Many are in the City Centre; there are Malaysian restaurants scattered throughout Melbourne. Little Bourke Street has a few Malaysian run eateries as well as QV’s Kopitiam (corner of Lonsdale and Swanston St, CBD), Boxhill has a new Malaysian run (with Malaysian cooks – most Malaysian run eateries employ cooks from China) eatery called Petaling Street which has provided the most authentic fare so far.
Middle Eastern Halal Restaurants
Arab, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish restaurants tend to be concentrated in Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg to the north of the city centre. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong and they all are Halal.
Melbourne has a long and rich coffee culture beginning with Victorian era coffee palaces and further enhanced by Italian migrants arriving in the aftermath of World War II.
Perhaps the most famous Italian style cafe is Pellegrini’s, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne city. Fitzroy is known for funky, bohemian-style cafes. Collins Street features many elegant cafes. Many Italian style cafes are found in Carlton; Brunetti’s is open late and always packed.
Serious espresso connoisseurs would enjoy visiting St Ali cafe/roastery in South Melbourne, Auction Rooms (Errol St) in North Melbourne, or the Maling Room café in Canterbury.
- Atomica cafe (268 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, tel +61 3 9417-4255) serves a strong, but well-balanced mix of coffee and silky smooth milk. Atomica also has seats on the footpath, if the upbeat music is too much for your coffee buzz and, on a warm sunny day, it is an ideal spot to mix it with the Brunswick Street crowd.
- The Green Refectory (115 Sydney Road, Brunswick, tel +61 3 9387-1150), Easy to miss, but better you don’t. Serves great value homemade food, and quality Illy coffee to accompany it. The crowd is eclectic mix of the Brunswick artsy crowd, university students and young professionals pushing prams. Despite its nondescript exterior (look for the ‘Illy’ coffee sign that juts out from the front windows), the difficulty of locating this place hasn’t affected its popularity at all.
- 7 grams (505 Church St, Richmond, ☎ +61 3 9429-8505) has a ‘best in show’ coffee. The cafe itself is unpretentious, with an understated decor and a row of black-topped, chrome-legged stools along a mirror bar.
- 65 Degrees (309 Exhibition St, ☎ +61 3 9662-1080) The owners have a long history of accolades. Champion barista, world latte artist and award winning coffee blend, gridlock coffee. Fast, friendly service and some of the finest coffee around.
- Image Superstore Cafe (690 Elizabeth St, ☎+61 3 9349-5529) serves great coffee with superb staff where you can enjoy high tea surrounded by funky New York and Paris inspired interior design. What makes this cafe even more unique is you can have your photo taken by a professional photographer on the spot.
Where to stay in Melbourne
Melbourne’s budget accommodation options can be found in two main areas, namely in the City Centre and in the seaside suburb of St Kilda. However, outside these two areas, there are also several popular budget options in bohemian Fitzroy, South Melbourne, and Windsor.
- Greenhouse Backpacker, toll-free: 1800 249 207. Is a Hall of Fame award winning hostel located in the heart of Melbourne at 228 Flinders Lane. Each guest gets free unlimited internet 24/7, free daily breakfast, 24 hour reception, five in-house tours and more.
- Melbourne Metro YHA. Is an award winning hostel located on the city fringe, close to major attractions including the Queen Victoria Market and Zoo. This funky hostel is a great place to stay when visiting Melbourne.
- Melbourne Central YHA. Is right in the centre of the City. It is situated along the City Circle tram route and most Melbourne attractions are within walking distance. The staff are friendly, helpful and caring. It was opened in 2009 and is highly maintained.
- All Nations Backpackers Hostel, 2 Spencer St, , toll-free: 1800 666237, fax: . 24-hour reception. Dorm beds from $19, single $38, double $48.
- Nomads Melbourne (Nomads Industry), 198 A’Beckett St, , toll-free: 1800 666237. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Directly opposite the Queen Victoria Market.
- United Backpackers, 250 Flinders St. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Opposite Flinders Street Station, in the centre of Melbourne.
- Claremont Guest House, in an historic 1886 building. Rated a 3-Star Guest House by AAAT, and is a multiple winner of Hostelworld’s monthly ‘Best Hostel in Australia’ award as voted by backpackers. Free Wi-fi. Free breakfast. Public transport at the door.
- CityTempo Apartments, compact CBD apartments on Queen Street near the Queen Vic Markets. 4 Stars (AAA Tourism), all linen/towels provided with kitchenettes. Some apartments include clothes washer/dryer. 353 Queen Street, Melbourne. Free call within Australia:☎ 1800 248 983
Around the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix (late March) and other international events, hostel accommodation is booked out and some hostels raise their prices. Be sure to book ahead.
Accommodation in this price bracket can mostly be found in the city centre. There are however options scattered throughout the suburbs.
- Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne, 328 Flinders Street Melbourne VIC 3000. One of Australia’s finest historic hotels. Built in 1913, this meticulously restored hotel retains the elegant style of the early 1900s while providing you with all the convenience of 21st century technology and amenities. Parking available. From 189.
- Jika International Motel – Melbourne – Fairfield. ☎ +61 3 9481-2822 Fax +61 3 9489-8819 .
- Golden Chain Motels – Melbourne has many locations in Melbourne and surrounding area serving quality accommodation at affordable prices.
The City Centre remains the main area for this category of accommodation.
- The Blackman – An Art Series Hotel, 452 St.Kilda Road. A five-star boutique with 207 rooms. The hotel was named for artist Charles Blackman and was built immediately behind the historic Airlie Mansion.
- The Como Melbourne, 630 Chapel St. This chic South Yarra hotel is on fashionable Chapel Street.
- Grand Hotel Melbourne, 33 Spencer St, , toll-free: 1300 361 455. This heritage-listed apartment hotel has been restored to retain the style of the 1880s while providing guests with modern facilities.
- Hotel Lindrum, 26 Flinders St. Hotel Lindrum is a boutique hotel offering stylish accommodation and facilities.
Telecommunications in Melbourne
Postal Services in Melbourne
After a fire gutted the original building in 2001, most of Melbourne’s grand General Post Office (250 Elizabeth St; ☎: 13 13 18; Fax: 9203 3078; M–F 8:30AM–5:30PM, Sa 9AM–4PM, Su 10AM–4PM; ) has now been turned into an upmarket retail precinct. The main post office in the Melbourne CBD is situated at the corner of Elizabeth and Little Bourke Streets. Poste restante services are also located here.
Coin operated payphones can still be found around the city. Near stations and post-offices are the usual places to look. International calling cards are also available at these outlets. Using a payphone to make a local call will cost you $0.50 (untimed, although some phones limit your call to 15 minutes).
Mobile phone coverage within the CBD and surrounds is usually good-to-excellent. 3G and 4G services are available throughout the city. You will require some identification to purchase a prepaid (PAYG) SIM card, which are sold at most convenience stores, newsagents and supermarkets. This may be requested at time of purchase, and/or time of activation.
The largest companies are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Amaysim, which uses the Optus network is the best value, and can be picked up from any 7 Eleven store; note that to activate it you will need a full Australian address and access to email; in addition, it doesn’t allow tethering for new activations. If you wish to make cheap international calls, Lebara and Lycamobile are the best choices.
Melbourne’s area code for landline telephones is 03 (internationally dial +613). To make an international direct dial call, the trunk line access code is generally 0011 or simply add a + in front of the number if your phone allows.
Internet Cafe’s in Melbourne
Melbourne offers a free public WiFi which allows for up to 250 MB per device, per day and does not require personal information or feature pop-up advertising in the Melbourne CBD including CBD train stations, Bourke St Mall, Queen Victoria Market and South Wharf Promenade at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, aditionaly Internet cafes are dotted throughout the city, especially near the backpacker enclaves of St Kilda and Flinders Street. Speeds are usually excellent and rates range from $2.50–12 per hour, the cheapest usually found in combination market/internet cafes in the Asian parts of town.
- Telstra phone boxes, All throughout Melbourne. Many phone boxes, which otherwise under-utilised, have become Wifi hotspots. They are recognised by a purple cube placed on top of the phone box. Just open up your wifi settings and connect to ‘Telstra free wifi’. Eventually these hotspots will become a paid service, but as of early 2015 they are being trialled, and are available free to everyone for 30 minutes a day.
- mag nation, 88 Elizabeth St. This shop has free WiFi.
- HiSpeed Internet Kiosks (At Spencer Street DFO.). A chain with many stores across the country. 21 minutes for $2.
- e:FiftyFive (55 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne) is like a huge basement lounge room that feels more like a bar than an internet cafe. Great DJs, comfortable couches and dirt-cheap $2/hour internet access when you buy a drink attract plenty of travellers and will make writing that email home an enjoyable experience.
- VA (Bourke Street, Melbourne) is one of the countless but arguably the best internet/LAN gaming cafes in Melbourne, which is packed full of “hardcore gamers” on Sunday afternoons (sponsored competition day). Non-member rates start at $3.50/hour while membership costs a mere $15 (includes $12 credit) and benefits include play offers such as $4/2 hours, $5/3 hours and $6/4 hours, as well as day and night packages.
- Cydus (Victoria Street, North Melbourne) large range of internet usage services every day and at any time (including most public holidays). Non-member rates start at $3/hour while membership costs $10 (includes 2 hours free play) and membership rates are $2/hour while member offers include “Endurance Pass” (5 hours play + $2.80 snack voucher) and “Survival Pass” (10 hours play).
- City Library, 253 Flinders Ln. Free internet access through Melbourne Library Service (approximately 2 Mbps down- and upload).
- The State Library . Offers free internet at many workstations and does not require membership (limited to 15 minutes or 1 hour per session, no session limits). You can get a free membership for access to free wireless web access, however, the wireless access is limited and you may not be able to access some sites and services. Printing facilities are also provided for a fee.
- Melbourne Central shopping centre (corner of Swanston and La Trobe St) has free wireless internet access.
- Australia on Collins shopping centre (on Collins St) has free wireless internet access.
- Federation Square (corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street, outside Flinders Street railway station) is supposedly Australia’s largest free outdoor wireless hotspot.
- McDonald’s. Almost all McDonald’s branches in town have free WiFi. The network is heavily filtered, and both time and bandwidth are limited, but you should be able to check email and do most basic web browsing.
Consulates in Melbourne
- China, 570 St. Kilda Road, , fax: .
- Greece, 37-39 Albert Road Melbourne, Victoria 3004, , fax: .
- India, 344, St. Kilda Road, , fax: .
- Indonesia, 72 Queens Road.
- New Zealand, Level 4, 45 William St, , fax: .
- United Kingdom, 17th Floor, 90 Collins St.
- United States, 553 St. Kilda Road, , fax: .
Stay safe and avoid Scams in Melbourne
Melbourne is generally a very safe city for its size, although some parts of Melbourne are best avoided at night; these include parts of the western suburbs around Footscray and Sunshine, some northern suburbs such as Broadmeadows and southern suburbs like Frankston and Dandenong. The city centre, particularly the area around the nightclub and strip club district of King Street, can be a hotspot for alcohol-fuelled violence late at night. However, you are more likely to be heckled by drunken revellers and street walkers than you are to be actually threatened or randomly attacked. Demonstrating normal safety precautions and staying to well-lit streets is a good way to avoid trouble.
Protective Services Officers (PSOs) patrol Melbourne’s railway stations from 6PM to the last train, with all stations possessing a ‘safety zone’ with increased lighting, CCTV cameras and easy access to the red emergency button. Trains also contain buttons in the case of an emergency, while it’s a good idea to sit close to the driver while on a train, tram or bus late at night. The public transport network is generally safe, although drug or alcohol affected travellers occasionally give other commuters grief.
If driving a car, beware of car theft or break-in. Keep valuables out of sight when parked, always lock the car and leave the windows up before you leave. If you are waiting in your car, lock the car as well. A police officer will always show ID before asking you to open your door or window.
Pickpocketing is rare in Melbourne, but be aware of your belongings in and around Flinders Street Station and the crowded block between Flinders and Collins Streets on Swanston Street. Beggars frequent the southern ends of Elizabeth and Swanston Streets, although are unlikely to give you trouble.
Although scams are rare in Melbourne, some real estate agents attempt to prey on foreigners by deducting costs for non-existent reparations and cleaning from the bond. The Tenants Union of Victoria can help with these issues when moving in and out.
It is important to take care around tram lines. Trams are heavy and it can take over 100 metres for a tram to safely stop. Even if a tram has passed, look carefully both ways, as trams will often run nose-to-tail on busy corridors like Swanston Street. If driving, it is illegal to U-turn across tram tracks or pass a tram while the doors are open and passengers are disembarking.
Melbourne is fairly centrally located on the coast of Victoria, and there are many natural and man-made attractions that make for a nice day trip. Another way to visit regional Victoria is utilising the VicLink public transport system. Regular train journeys leave from Southern Cross station. Regional attractions include:
These places are within an hour’s drive of central Melbourne.
- Melbourne/Western suburbs — historic mansion and open-range zoo
- Dandenong Ranges — national park, gardens, historic steam railway
- Wine-tasting in the Yarra Valley, Healesville and the Healesville Sanctuary
- Port Phillip Bay scenic drive and the Mornington Peninsula — the seaside resort locations of Sorrento and Portsea, offering both bayside and surf beaches
- Warburton and Mount Donna Buang — winter sightseeing snow
- Mount Buller — skiing and sightseeing.
- Mornington Peninsula.
- Phillip Island.
- The Goldfields — Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Maldon.
- Grampians National Park.
- South West Coast — Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula, and the Great Ocean Road, with its many scenic vistas.
From Port Melbourne, take the Spirit Of Tasmania to Devonport, the gateway to Tasmania. Crossings take approximately 12 hours.