There’s a reason Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital. It is a beautiful city, filled with many wonders to explore. However, it is also Australia’s second-largest city and can be overwhelming, and confusing. To help you find your footing, here are five indispensable tips for Melbourne newbies:
1. Find your important providers before you need them
Whether you’re after the best osteopath South Melbourne has to offer or a financial advisor in the Western suburbs, it’s best to seek out these important people before you need them. If you wait until your back has gone out or your taxes are due, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and end up making an appointment based on availability rather than suitability.
2. Get yourself a Myki card (or mobile Myki)
Melbourne has one of the best public transport systems in the world. This card (or app) is your ticket to getting pretty much anywhere you need to go in Melbourne. It can be used on trains, trams, and buses. However, it can be slightly confusing. On trains and buses, you must always touch on and touch off at the Myki reader, waiting until you hear the beep to confirm the system has recognised you.
With the trams, Melbourne decided it would be fun to be super confusing. In the city centre, there’s a free tram zone – don’t use your Myki card here. Travel in Zones 1 and 2 requires touching on but not touching off. For travel exclusively in Zone 2, touching on and off will earn you a cheaper trip.
3. Prepare yourself for the weather
Melbourne can be tough on people coming from different climates, especially Queenslanders. In the middle of summer, Melbourne can be hit with arctic winds that make it frostier than the coldest winter’s day in North Queensland. For this reason, it’s important to have a wardrobe that can handle all weather conditions. Layers will be your best friends. It’s advisable to have hoodies, coats, scarves, beanies, gloves, and thermal socks, especially if you’re used to the tropics.
4. Don’t get stuck in Melbourne
Though Melbourne is a beautiful city, it also places you on the doorstep of some of Australia’s most beautiful natural wonders. Pandemic permitting, take the time to head out to the Yarra Ranges National Park, Mornington Peninsula, and Torquay.
You’ll be surprised at how short the road trips are out to these and other beautiful spots around Melbourne. If you find yourself particularly drawn to Torquay and the magnificent southern coast of Victoria, then it might be worth scheduling some time off to explore the Great Ocean Road.
5. Melbourne has some weird road rules
Melbourne is connected via a tram system, and as a driver, you’ll often be sharing the road with trams. This is where all of Melbourne’s unique road rules come from.
On some roads, if you want to turn right, you’ll need to go into the far left lane to do so. This is called a “hook turn,” and the intersections featuring them are usually well-signed. You must also avoid overtaking trams on the left, and if a tram stops, you must stop behind it. This is due to the fact that there may be pedestrians boarding or disembarking. Finally, avoid driving in the tram lane unless you need to make a right turn in 50 metres or less.
Keep the above tips in mind, and you should be able to sidestep some of Melbourne’s potential pitfalls and enjoy all the beauty the city has to offer.