Melbourne Visitors Information
The minimum legal 'drinking' age is 18. Young people going to bars and discos should carry identification to prove they are at least 18 years old. They will not be let in otherwise. No one may buy liquor from a bar or liquor store (bottle shop) unless they are at least 18. Buying liquor for a 'minor' is illegal.
Banks are usually open 9.30am - 4.00pm Monday - Thursday and 9.30am - 5.00pm Fridays. Most are closed weekends. Cash is available from automatic teller machines around the clock. They accept a range of cards including Visa, Mastercard, American express and Diners Club. Machines display the cards they accept. Personal identification numbers PINs are needed.
Bus Services & Transfers
Coaches, private car, stretch, or mini-bus transfers are all available, please refer to our tours and activities page for more info or ask when booking your accommodation.
Rental cars and Motorhomes and Campervans are freely available from Melbourne Airport and Melbourne City locations, again please refer to our tours and activities page for more info or ask when booking your accommodation.
Casual is the usual dress style in Australia, although more formal attire may be required at five star restaurants and theatres. Light clothing for summer is recommended, although a sweater may be needed for cooler nights. Warm clothing including thick sweaters or jumpers and coats and jackets should be packed for winter in Victoria.
All banks have automated teller machines (ATMs) accessible 24-hours a day, generally outside the branch or in the foyer. Check with your card issuer that your charge or account-linked credit card can be used in this way, and at which bank as none accept every brand of card.
The Australian dollar is divided into 100 cents. One and two cent coins are no longer in circulation, but many items in shops and supermarkets are priced in odd amounts, such as $1.97 or $9.99. The law provides that the TOTAL bill is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. So $19.97 becomes $19.95, $19.98 becomes $20.00. Coin denominations are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c $1 and $2. Notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, are colour coded and made from a plastic compound that will survive a wash or a swim.
Driving and Distances
Australians drive on the left, which can be initially disconcerting for some visitors used to driving on the right side of the road. However, it does take only a small amount of time to adjust - just remember, passenger on the kerb side! Roads are generally good and major routes are well signposted.
Drivers and all passengers are required to wear seatbelts. Infants must be in 'baby capsules' and small children in child seats, which can be hired from car rental companies.
Speed limits are clearly marked (generally 60 km/h in built up areas and 100 km/h on open roads). Speed cameras and radars are widely used.
Victorian's have a passion for arts, culture, food, wine, sports and the outdoors. There is a multitude of events throughout the year that celebrate these and much more. Often during these special events hotels will require a minimum night stay and surcharges will apply. Accommodation will also need to be prepaid with hefty cancellation fees.
More than 200 international flights land at Melbourne each week. Melbourne city is 25 kilometres from the airport, a 25 minute drive via the Tullamarine Freeway. A taxi trip to central Melbourne costs around $40 or there is a shuttle service every 30 minutes.
Maps and Regional Information
Naturally, Victoria's regions are packed with a diversity of attractions that will thrill and surprise. From the high country's snow capped mountains and pristine beauty of its national parks, to stunning coastal rock formations and magnificent beaches, Victoria offers an unmatched range of exciting experiences. And the state's compact size means they area all within easy reach. In no more than two to three hours drive visitors can experience temperate rainforests, wild coastal scenery, wineries, lakes, magnificent rivers and snow in winter. Fly for one hour from Melbourne and visitors can be in the desert of Mildura & Murray Outback region.
For more information on the regions of Melbourne and Victoria, please visit our accommodation page.
For the location of a hotel or landmark please use our Melbourne map.
Australian health care professionals are highly trained and medical services are amongst the best in the world. Visitors from the UK, New Zealand and Finland are entitled to free or heavily subsidised medical and hospital care under reciprocal national health care agreements with the taxpayer funded Medicare organisation. All other visitors should take out travel insurance when visiting Australia. Several Australian-based travel insurers have special cover for visitors which are very much less expensive than travel cover sold in the US, for instance. Major hotels have doctor's on-call.
Melbourne has an integrated system of electric trains, trams and buses known as the Met. Tickets that allow travel across all services can be purchased from vending machines at railway stations and on any bus or tram. Coins are required.
Victoria has first class freeways and highways connecting the states, cities and towns and interstate destinations. Roads are classified using the M, A, B & C numbering system according to their quality and function. For example M roads are freeways and A roads are highways. Road signs carry the classification and number.
Citylink is a 22km expressway with tunnels under the Yarra River linking the airport with the city and south eastern suburbs. It is divided into two sections, the southern and western links and connects the Tullamarine Freeway, the West Gate and Monash Freeways. Distinctive blue and yellow signs identify Citylink, warning drivers tolls apply. Citylink uses electronic tolling (no toll booths). Casual users can purchase 24 hour or weekend passes from post offices or the CityLink Customer Centre (Ph. 13 26 29 or log onto www.citylink.com.au). Passes allow unlimited travel on all Citylink sections. The date of travel must be nominated with the 24 hour period beginning from the time of the first trip. Weekend passes apply from midday on the Friday to midnight on the Sunday. All vehicles using Citylink are photographed and those without valid e-tags or day passes are fined. Taxis incorporate the toll in their fares.
Retail shopping hours vary across Victoria. Most shops are open 9.00apm - 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm Saturday and 10.00am - 4.00pm on Sundays. Many convenience stores, supermarkets and fast food restaurants are open 24 hours a day. Major Melbourne department stores and suburban shopping centres open on Sundays.
Being a compact state, Victoria's regions clip together in little modules, allowing the visitor to easily plan a holiday based on what to see or what to do. In our region information we have suggested things to do in each area and our attractions page has many special interest areas. As a guideline, allow at least two - three days for each region you want to explore. For more information on what to see and do while in Victoria, click here - Melbourne and Victoria suggested itineraries.
Victoria operates on Australia Eastern Standard time for most of the year which is based on Greenwich meantime plus 10 hours. Daylight saving applies from the last Sunday in October until the last Sunday in March. Clocks are advanced one hour during this period.
No service charge applies in Australia. Tipping is not mandatory but a 10% tip in restaurants and hotel bars is normal for good service.
Travellers cheques, especially in foreign currencies, are generally NOT accepted EXCEPT by hotels and big stores and tourist shops. These display a 'travellers cheques welcome' sign. Cash your cheques at a bank or Bureau de Change to ensure you have enough spending money. The same holds true for foreign currency, which is not generally accepted by Australian businesses and shops.
Victoria is Australia's most diverse and compact wine state, boasting 21 different wine regions, four within one hour's drive of Melbourne. Every major wine is produced in Victoria - dry white and reds; sparkling whites and reds; dessert and forfeited wines. The wine regions of the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and Macedon are all located within an hour's drive of Melbourne.