View Full Version : Melbourne and surrounds

10th January 2012, 10:23 AM
Melbourne - well its been just over 6 years since I came to live down under. I love this city as it is not a crowded city nor is it a fast paced one, unlike Syndey or London, if you get what i mean. It does not make me an expert to wirte about Melbourne but these are what I know,heard or experienced not only in Melbourne but within Victoria.

Melbourne is in the state of Victoria and is one of the cooler cities in Australia. It is about 900 kms south of Sydney. Melbourne population is over 4 million but spread over 3400 sq miles.
It has many councils/municipalities - i live in Epping which is about 22kms north of Melbourne, within the Whittlesea council. Because it spans over a large area, there are many landed properties that you can see just outside city square (which we call CBD). In the city, there are many high-rise buildings, the tallest being the Eureka tower. When measured either by the height of its roof, or by the height of its highest habitable floor, Eureka Tower was the tallest residential building in the world when completed. The building stands 297 metres in height, with 91 storeys above ground plus one basement level. It is one of only seven buildings in the world with 90 or more storeys.

This is a very cosmo city - it basically has people from all over the world :) and culturally diverse. Over 35% of its population was born overseas namely from Britain, Italy, Croatia, Vietnam, China, New Zealand, Greece, India, Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Africa. Apart from these, there are other Europeans/Mediterranean descendants. There is a street in Melbourne famous for Italian food (Lygon Street), Little Bourke Street is 'Mini China town', Dandenong is southeast Melbourne is Little India/Srilanka etc. There are Murugan temples, Shiva-Vishnu, Durga, Ganesha temples in Melbourne.

Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's garden city, and the state of Victoria was once known as the garden state. There is an abundance of parks and gardens in Melbourne and many close to the CBD with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues.
Within Melbourne, you will get to see many parks, beach, shopping venues (yes! it is a fsahion city after all). Just within a short drive (2 hrs), you will get to Philip island to watch the world's tiniest penguins and other wildlifes, wildlife sanctuaries to see platypus, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, dingos and other native animals. The Great Ocean Road is about 4 hours away from Melbourne, where you can see the 12 Apostles. The drive is scenic and you can stop over at Cape Otway - nice green range. There's beautiful camping/national park not too far from Great Ocean - called the Grampians. I have nto been there yet but was told is it a beautiful place to go and the scene from the top is berathtaking!
If you come in autumn (March-May), you will get to see the trees changing colors (Maple leaves especially) - its a beautiful sight! If you are adventurous enough, take a drive to Canberra (day tripper) and wonder in the many beautiful colors of autumn! It is pleasing to the eyes and brings peace to the soul especially driving along the countryside...

ok;.... got to go, to be continued tomorrow :).

10th January 2012, 10:29 AM

Melbourne skyline


Melbourne Docklands

10th January 2012, 10:29 AM
hmm... eppadi photos-a perusaa aakurathu??

10th January 2012, 12:03 PM
:clap: excellent NM
we dont want experts/professionals views - we are seeking ordinary people's view on each city. :bow:

pls elaborate on immigration matters, stds of living, what to see, what to do and where to eat. :D

10th January 2012, 01:44 PM
Also, I want to know if there is such thing as Melbourne flower.

11th January 2012, 05:30 AM
Visa & immigration :-
Visitors require visas to enter Australia. If you are staying for less than 3 months, you will only need the ETA (Electronic Travel visa-subclass 976) which you can generally apply online or through your travel agent.
If you are intending to stay longer, then, you will need to apply for sub-class 676. This involves a lengthy process. More details can be obtained from the link below :-
Always have a valid visa BEFORE you leave your country. Also, have the information of your destination (lodging, contact details) with you in order to complete your disembarkation card.
You have to declare everything on this card, including all food types, wood products etc. If you in doubt as to the category, please always mark YES, else you risk getting fined! A friend of mine forgot to declare her mooncake so she was forced to throw them away or risk a fine. Dried fish, Baba’s masala powder all need to be declared too – sometimes you will get lucky but sometimes, you might be asked to throw away the Baba’s !!!!

Currencies and Exchange rates :-
Currency :- Australia’s currency comprises coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations; and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar denominations
AUD:USD $1 : $1.03 (yes, AUD is slightly stronger than the USD);
AUD:MYR $1 : RM 3.24

11th January 2012, 05:35 AM
Some notes for you to see :)

11th January 2012, 05:37 AM
A) For those who like history
i) Melbourne Museum – discover Australian history and the rest. Tickets cost ~$10 (adults). See Australia's champion horse Phar Lap, the kitchen set from the hit TV soap Neighbours and learn about local Aboriginal history and culture. Trek through a towering indoor rainforest. Meet live creepy crawlies like tarantulas in the Bugs Alive exhibition. And explore evolution from Darwin to DNA in a showcase that features five life-size dinosaur skeletons. There is a beautiful Carlton Gardens for you to walk around or have a picnic when the weather permits. I used to do that during lunch break when our office was just across the gardens! You can join a free guided tour which will take about 45 mins.

ii) Royal Exhibition Centre – is a world heritage building and is just within 2 mins of the museum. There is a free tour at 2pm daily.

iii) Melbourne Gaol – this is the old Melbourne prison which is about 10 mins from the Museum. This is where the famous (or infamous) criminal Ned Kelly was hanged.

iv) Immigration museum – showcases all things from first migrants etc.

v) Visit Ballarat (approx. 1.5 hrs away) – this was the Gold mining town. You can get to see the old mine and walk around the settlers villages. Nice.

11th January 2012, 05:52 AM
B) Animal lovers
i) Melbourne Zoo – houses many different animals (as usual)

ii) Healesville sanctuary – for native animals:- birds, kangaroos, emus, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devil (very fierce animal!!), reptiles plus shows & meet the animal sessions

iii) Werribee zoo – this is about 45mins away from Melbourne – this is an open-range zoo where you can see the animals Safari style.
A word to note :- all entrances to zoos are abt $25 (adult)

iv) Melbourne Aquarium – haven’t been there but heard it houses many sea animals.
Note :- Melbourne zoo & aquarium are in the city; Healesville is about 1hr from the City.

v) Philip island – watch Penguin parade at dusk – times vary throughout the year (from 5.15pm in winter to 8.45 pm in summer for the penguins to come ashore). Need to book tickets early in peek season otherwise it will be a wasted trip as they block the road and make you go back if you are without a ticket if seatings are full! The Penguins here are the tiniest ones in the world called fairy Penguins

11th January 2012, 05:57 AM
C) Other fun stuff :-

i) Scienceworks – also in the city
You'll get an inside look at science through live demonstrations, hands-on exhibits, guided tours and interactive activities. In the high-voltage, live half-hour show, you'll be taken inside the Lightning Room. Once you step inside the Victoria University High Voltage Theatre, prepare to be electrified by spectacular bolts of lightning and experience the true power of nature's dazzling electrical storms. Ha ha . Scienceworks is also home to the Melbourne Planetarium. Inside the impressive dome, you'll be transported on an amazing guided tour through deep space.

ii) Crown casino – for those who don’t know what to do with $$$$. Opens 24/7/365 !! Food is good there

iii) Hot air balloon around the city

iv) Go for a walk around the city and you’ll be amazed to find good café’s, little shops, outlets in the Melbourne laneways. Once of my nieces and I enjoyed a good cuppa and some delicious cakes when we stumbled upon a nice & cosy little pastry cake shop – YUMMY cakes and pastries. That’s something you must try – pastries!! Go to this link and you’ll see the Melbourne Walk :-

v) Walk along the Yarra river that runs through the city – eat, walk, stop, cycle, jog - - you can do anything along the river as there is a good walkway!

vii) Visit the Royal Botanical gardens – it has many different plant/tree species plus flowers (not sure if you can find your Melbourne Flower here, Groucho .. there is a man made lake and you can take a picnic with you and a book and spend hours in here.

Viii) Within a walking distance is the war memorial for those who are interested in history and war. On ANZAC day (in April) and on the 11th hour of the 11th month of every year (which is the rememberence day), there are events in the war memorial.

ix) Art gallery – for those who are interested in ART, this is is must see

x) Visit the Victoria Market – it has many things such as gift items apart from the usual market stuff. In summer, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while listening to the buskers.

xi) spend a day at Luna Park – fun and excitement in the city with one of the world’s oldest roller coaster, adrenalin-rushing power surge that spins you until your eyes come out! And many other fun rides. Go to this link for more info :- http://www.lunapark.com.au

Note :- in Federation Square in the city, if you go to the information centre, you will find out the various trips and passes available and some of them offer good deals and discounts for tours, entrance fees, restaurants and shopping. Check it out.

11th January 2012, 05:58 AM
D) Some festivals and events in Melbourne

i) Jan – the Australian tennis Open happens here ; 26th Jan is Australia day (something like a National day) – fun to spend the day in the city with air shows, many events for family and kids and end the day with fireworks display.

ii)March/April – International comedy festival

iii) March – Melbourne Food and wine festival – a must for food lovers

iv) Film festival – September

v) Melbourne cup – the famous horse race in November (actually spring is the racing carnival period, the icing on the cake is the Melbourne cup held on the first Tuesday in November). Exciting day for punters – hee hee – you can try your betting skills…

11th January 2012, 06:01 AM
E) Away from the city

i) Great Ocean Road – you must see the 12 (now 11) Apostles! (4 hrs away); go for scenic drive along the coastal road

ii) Check out Grampians – beautiful national park (4 hrs away); go camping in summer, spend the night and wake up to beautiful sun rise – so I was told!

iii) Dandenong ranges - cooling, peaceful, beautiful scenic venue when you drive along the national park

iv) Go north to Echuca – you can take a ride in the old steam boat along the Murray river (abt 4 hrs away)

v) Go south to the Mornington Peninsula – beautiful beaches and countrysides.

vi) Go south west past Great Ocean Road and you will reach Warnambool where you can see whales if you are lucky between June-September.

vii) In winter (June-August), go to Mt Buller (abt 4hrs north) to experience snow. You can play in eths now, make snow man, go toboganning (like a slide), learn to ski or just sight-seeing. You can hire the snow shoes/jackets/pants for the day.

viii) Daylesford and Macedon ranges – beautiful countryside along the way, waterfall and hill tops. Visit Hanging Rock and discover the mystery 

.. and many more….

11th January 2012, 06:04 AM
Melbourne International Flower and Garden show is not to be missed if you are here in March-April -

11th January 2012, 06:14 AM
NM, do share your personal experiences of Melbourne....!

11th January 2012, 06:32 AM
In Dandenong ranges, i loved the Tulip festivals held in mid Sep to Mid Oct every year - see the Tulips :).
When you drive along the ranges, you will see the green everywhere - it is nice to see now and remember how they were all black and burnt after the 2009 bushfires!

Also, when you are in Dandenong ranges, take the Steam Engine ride - this is fun really! It takes you along the ranges and you will see breathtaking views from the train.
When you are in the Dandenong area, don't forget to visit the Carrum Downs Shiva-Vishnu Temple. It is the most beautiful temple in Melbourne - i love it.

11th January 2012, 08:18 AM
Well .. enough of the what to do, where to go etc...
Here's what I have found out/experienced etc over the last few years.......hope Badri comes and shares his too ....

When I first came to Melbourne in 2005, the first thing that hit me was “aiyooh, their immigration and customs is soooooooo slow”. They do try to improve their customs but sometimes it gets to be a lengthy process. It is especially so if there is a ‘Border Security’ episode being filmed on that that particular day of arrival! There will be extra screening! They also have dogs in the immigration area which go sniffing all your bags!! So, do not be alarmed!
The moment I came out of the airport, the cold draft hit me! It was cold when I arrived – I expected it to be warmer in late September as it was spring but NO! Fortunately I had a jacket with me! Even today, it is supposed to be mid-winter but I have 2 layers on. You never know what the weather’s going to be like – if you are lucky, you get a wind-free summery day otherwise, it will be a cold, wintery day with strong cold wind. If you suffer from sinus, be warned that you can feel as though your head is being blown off due to the cold wind – speaking from experience here! I have learnt to always have a light cardigan with me even in Summer! You can get 4 seasons in a day. On Christmas day 2 weeks ago, we got hail storms, some as big as the tennis ball. And when it rains and its windy, you are better off wearing a water-proof jacket or rain-coat. Do not carry an umbrella unless you want to get rid of it. Winds here can get pretty strong!
Buds were coming out when i came and trees were starting to flower. That’s a sight you never get back home where you get flowers all year round. Here, when you come in winter, most trees will be bare and plants would be hibernating! They have seasonal plants here – that’s the other thing we learnt. For the garden, we need to choose carefully – plants that are always green throughout the year so you don’t have a barren garden for 6 months and a flowering one for the next 6 months.

11th January 2012, 08:19 AM
Hmm… my husband taught me ‘nothing is free’ concept here. Once when we looking at some paints and colours for our house, Kan1000 gave me a brochure to keep with me until we checked-out. At the check-out, we paid for all the stuff we bought and happily went home. I then took out the colour brochure and gave it to him. He asked me ‘were you keeping this all this time?’ I said ‘yes’. Hee hee --- apparently we had to pay $5/= for it but I didn’t realize that! I thought it was for free… Kan1000 didn’t know what to do, just shook his head.. for a few trips to the same warehouse after that incident, I had this fear that someone was going to call me out since they have camera everywhere …. Everything is money here and its not cheap! A loaf of bread can cost anywhere between $3 to $5. And DO NOT convert the $$$. Otherwise you won’t even eat bread! Imagine paying 15 Ringgit for a loaf of bread! Sometimes little things like this make you appreciate home. You can’t get any decent lunch / dinner under $5/=. The simplest ‘mee goreng’ can cost 10 – 13 depending on whether you want it to have meat or seafood or plain veg.
In Malaysia/Singapore or even India, I guess we take things for granted. You wake up and if you feel like having nasi lemak for breakfast, you can run down to the stall and get one. You have curry puffs, apam, thosai, cakes and savouries at any time you want. Here, it’s not the case. You wake up and you want nasi lemak, make your own. No stalls open at 6 or 7 for you. No Kopi tiam or nasi kandar where you can hang around with your friends until past midnight. Most restaurants and eateries close shop at 11pm. No such thing as 24 hr Nasi kandar. If you don’t feel like cooking, one can still run down to the local mamak restaurant for a roti canai or rice and it will be nice to eat/tasty. Here, it’s not easy. We struggle to think of where to go for a simple dinner if we don’t cook at home.
Another thing that frustrates me is you can’t go shopping after 5/5.30pm. All shops are closed by 5.30pm. Only supermarkets are open. If you plan to get a gift in a hurry, you need to do this between 9am – 5pm. Some shops are open until 9pm on Thursday nights. Fridays are the only long shopping days – 9am-9pm. Shops close early on weekends as well. It was very strange when I first came here. Even on Saturdays, you need to hurry up and shop!
Seems like I am complaining more than I had intended . Well not all is bad.

11th January 2012, 08:20 AM
I like the timeliness of their transportation system. There is a schedule and they stick to it. Buses / trains and trams are frequent. It does frustrate somewhat if the train/tram you are hoping to catch gets delayed but they do have frequent trains/trams here. Parking in the city can be very expensive – upto $20 for the first 3 hrs or so. Hence, many Melburnians take the public transport to commute. There are ‘Early bird’ concession rates – example if you enter the parking before certain time and exit after a certain time, you end up paying something like $14-17 per day.
The parks are beautiful and kept clean. The public toilets are very clean unlike in some parts of the world. They have family-friendly toilets in every shopping mall where you can bring your whole jing-bang along without having to let them wait outside.
On the road, I noticed very different behaviours from the ones I was used to in Malaysia. The rule here is that you give way to the vehicle on your right side – so when you are at the round-about, you look to your right and if there are no cars, you are free to go. The car on your left must wait for you to drive past before driving off. This was one of the first thing I saw and learnt when I came here. Unlike back home, everyone seems to be rushing and will not give way. The other road-rule here is if it is school zone, during school hours you cannot ever drive above 40. This is a serious offence. And, you must always stick to the speed limit as the fines are hefty! Above by 5Ks, you get fined $140; 10K 240 and the on to $300++!! And on top of getting fined, you get demerit point too! If you are successful in collecting 12 demerit points, the govt gives you to have a good rest for a few months with a suspension. There are cameras everywhere! Normal speed limit is 50 or 60 in residential areas. Imagine, I live only 22kms away from the city and yet it takes me 60-70mins to get to work! But they do give you rewards for being a good driver – I had discounts for my driver’s licence when I renewed it.
I still have lots more to tell but guess this is enough for now…..

11th January 2012, 08:28 AM
NM, thanks for sharing.

About the road rule, it applies every left side driving country, but in Malaysia evan pArkuRan. Traffic is one of the biggest contribution to stress in Malaysia. On your "complain", I heard the same from a lawyer (very successful, very rich) when he was asked why he is not migrating to Australia, he said the same thing. But I guess once you are over it, it's not an issue anymore.

11th January 2012, 08:56 AM
Your last three posts were very useful NM - seen from a visitors eye. :ty:
Looks like I will have to bunk in with you if I ever visit :lol2:

11th January 2012, 09:14 AM
Groucho :- paartheengala, enakke theriyaathu intha rule exist-nu in any left-driving country! you don't really get over it, but you just accept it as the way of life here, grouch.

NOV :- appanaa, intha 3 postukku munna ullathulaa Waste-nu solreengalaa?? enge antha blonk icon?? anyway, i've got a garden shed built just for people who want to bunk in Ha ha ... spiders keep you company. FYI - this summer we are seing plenty of spiders. Apparently the red-backs are the dealiest. Naan athe thedi vacchi shed-la pOttuduren :) Vaanga!