We’ve put together some Australia travel tips that would help first time visitors with their stay.
Australia has always been on our list of places to visit. However, we never thought we’d visit anytime soon since it’s such a loooong flight from Toronto, Canada. Also, prior to embarking on this lengthy travel journey, we still did not contemplate visiting Australia.
It wasn’t until after several months in Southeast Asia we realized we were ready to venture out of Asia. Also, during that time, we knew that we no longer planned to continue slow traveling and wanted to see and do more.
We had a cruise booked with a family member for a 16-day Far East Discovery cruise. This cruise disembarked in Hong Kong and after spending a few days there, we were on our way to Melbourne, Australia.
Upon arrival at each country, we always pickup a sim card for our phones. Our initial reaction when purchasing a sim card in Melbourne was, “We’re no longer in Asia anymore!”. Our dollar wasn’t going to go as far as it did in Asia for sure! 😛
Places we visited in Australia included Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Tasmania and Adelaide. Although some of these stops were only for a day or two, our stay in Melbourne and Perth was for a week to just over a week in each city.
Australia literally took our breathe away, from its stunning coastline/beaches to its impressive mix of culture and dining . We truly enjoyed our stay and highly recommend a visit to anyone considering Australia.
Melbourne, Australia Travel Tips
From our time there, we’ve gathered a list of travel tips that will prepare you and make your trip as smooth as possible.
Obtaining a Visa
You’ll need to find out whether you require a visa and/or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) prior to your visit. As a Canadian, we needed an ETA which we were able to complete online and within 10 minutes we had our ETA emailed to us. The fee at this time (Jan 2019) was AUD$20 each.
If you’re looking for more of a “home” stay, Airbnb is your best bet. We found a great variety of selection in the CBD with very modern and clean apartments with all the essentials of a home. During our travels, having access to a washer and dryer was a necessity. Be sure to enquire with your Airbnb host regarding dryers since most places would only have a washer but no dryer.
As well, a home cooked meal was always something we looked forward to doing when staying a bit longer in a particular place.
There are several means of transport easily available. Download the Uber app on your phone. We used Uber to get from the airport to our Airbnb.
Also, if you’re staying in downtown Melbourne, there is a free City Circle tram that you can hop on and off anywhere within the downtown area. This is so convenient when visiting the different areas/districts in the Central Business District (CBD).
If you’re looking to venture outside of CBD, pickup a myki pass. myki is Melbourne’s public transport pass for the city’s trains, trams and buses. Using myki is simple and provide flexibility to travel on trains, trams and buses all around Melbourne in specific zones. As at Jan 2019, a full fare myki Visitor Pack costs $15 and includes $9 myki money for travel. It includes one day unlimited travel in metropolitan Melbourne, as well as discounts and offers at some of Melbourne’s leading attractions.
Taxes & Tipping
Taxes are included in the cost of all goods. For example, if you’re looking to purchase souvenirs, the price shown is inclusive of tax and that’s the price you will pay.
Tipping is not required in Australia. We were told that the cost of your meal includes the tip for the staff.
This makes your purchases and restaurant meals so much easier at time of payment, since there’s no need for any sort of math in our heads (cuz it’s not as easy when you’ve had a few drinks).
If you’re interested in checking out the Great Ocean Road, 12 Apostles and/or beaches outside of Melbourne and don’t want to rent a car and drive, there are a variety of tour companies that will take you there.
We used Wildlife Tours which to do the Great Ocean Road tour. They picked us up at a location in the CBD near our Airbnb and dropped us back in the evening at the same spot. We highly recommend this tour; the sites were amazing!
Another local tour company is Sightseeing Tours Australia which have some really great reviews. Like we said, there are a lot of companies to choose from. Do your research and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Also, we found that Klook Travel’s prices were really good for things to do. It’s an online excursion booking site. Check them out here and use RKTFIRSTT3 to save a few dollars for first time bookings or code RKTKLKT3 if you’ve purchased from them before.
Within the CBD are many laneways. These laneways are a must visit if you’re in Melbourne. They’re a mecca for coffee shops (the best coffee is in Australia, in our opinions), cafes, boutique shops, and beautiful street art (for that social media capture).
Interesting Note: recently Melbourne beat out Italy and other European countries for the world’s best coffee.
If you want to cross at an intersection with traffic lights, you must hit the crosswalk button. If you don’t and no one else hits it, you’ll be standing at the lights for awhile since the pedestrian crossing light will not change for you to walk. You’ll just continue seeing the hand.
For the best conversion rates, consider United Currency Exchange on Flinder Lane. They do not charge a fee and provide you with the best rates (this was true during our visit in Jan. 2019). Also, expect long lineups or consider getting there just before they open or closer to closing. However, they sometimes run out of some currencies at the end of the day.
We hope these Australia travel tips help with your travels. If you have any additional tips, please drop them below in the comments.
We had such a great time in Australia and know that we will definitely be back for another visit.