An article by GenX published
at Melbourne Victoria Australia www.melbournevicaustralia.blogspot.com
Please do not reprint or republish in part or in any form.
Good day mate, in this post I will be listing out what I think you will need to get around Melbourne Central Business District (CBD).
Upon arriving at Melbourne airport, you can take a taxi to your hotel at Melbourne Central Business District for about AUD60. And if you are traveling in a party of more than 4 people, not a problem as there are taxi vans too, and it would be much cheaper than taking 2 taxis.
The first thing is to get a map upon arrival.You can get one at your hotel or at information centres. You can get a free tourist booklet shown below which comes with a map of Melbourne CBD.
The above map shows the route and stops for the FREE Melbourne Tourist Tram called City Circle. Photo of the City Circle is shown below. The City Circle kind of goes around the perimeter of Melbourne CBD and in two directions i.e. clockwise or counter clockwise; therefore make sure that you are waiting at the correct side in the direction you are heading. The duration for the city circle tram is about every 12 minutes. The City Circle Tram also takes you to Harbour Town where you can get discounted clothes and shoes. If you have time to spare, hop on the City Circle and get a free tour of Melbourne.
The Harbour Town in Melbourne is kind of quite compared to the one at Gold Coast where it was pack with people while I was there in early June 2012. Anyway, here are some photos taken at Harbour Town Melbourne.
|The coffee here is pretty good|
Another option is to get a free paper map (instead of carrying the above mentioned booklet wherever you go) from the Tourist Information Centres at Bourke Street Mall or at Federation Square. There are friendly personnel there to give you directions on how to get to your destination.
|Free Paper Map of Melbourne CBD at Tourist Centres|
|Melbourne Tourist Info Centre at Federation Square at junction of Swanston and Flinders|
|Melbourne Visitor Booth at Bourke Street Mall|
While I was there, the Bus Stop 11 at William Street was not in operation and I had to walk to stop 12 at Southbank. The bus duration is every 30 minutes and I strongly recommend that you take the last one at 4pm because after 5pm the bus may not take you to your desired destination.
The free shuttle bus takes you to the Shrine of Remembrance and The Royal Botanic Gardens. It is worthwhile to visit the Shrine of Remembrance where you can pay your respects to the soldiers who served in the British Empire and also get a good 360 degree view of Melbourne.
|Photo taken at Shrine of Remembrance Balcony|
And Chinatown is locate at Little Bourke Street. You can't miss it when you are walking along Russell Street, Swanston Street or Elizabeth Street.
If you want, you can also rent a bicycle from one destination to another. And you must wear a helmet.
And if you want to go for a carriage ride, it will cost you about AUD100 for an hour. The gentleman in the photo below told me he has visited many places all around the world and is going to Sabah in June 2012.
MELBOURNE PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Trains, Trams and Buses.
The railway and tram system in Melbourne is pretty good and covers most suburbs. I must say the trains were comfy and freaking clean.
And here is a Hello Kitty Tram :)
Melbourne claims to have the best public transport system in the world and I can attest to it.What you need is two items and you won't have any problems getting to your desired destination outside Melbourne CBD.
MUST HAVE ITEM NO.1 - Prepaid Sim Card together with a Smart Phone
The first item to get is a prepaid mobile sim card and a smart phone (if you don't have one). I got myself two prepaid sim cards (one from Telstra and another from Vodafone) and even bought a locked Vodafone Huawei X3 Android Smart phone for only AUD 69!!!
Now, here is some valuable info for those who are into lucky number like me where I want my mobile phone numbers to end with number 8. I tell you, Australians are also into number 8 and you can see many luxury cars driven by non Asians having number No. 8 in the car plates!!! And property having addresses with No.8 are hard to come by, whereas if you go to domain.com.au, you will notice many units having No.4 are for sale.
If you were to enter a Vodafone or Telstra outlet, and ask if you can select your phone number, some of the sales people there are really dishonest and will inform you that you cannot and that the number is automatically generated. That's bullshit! Go to another outlet, there are like one telco outlet every corner of Melbourne CBD.
The sales person at the very first Vodafone outlet (a corner outlet at Swanston Street) I entered informed me that I cannot choose my prepaid number, so I walked away. I then visited another Vodafone dealer, also at Swanston Street and was served by a pretty young Asian girl. She happily said I can choose the last four digits of my prepaid number. Only then I realised I was lied too at the first outlet. So, I specified that I do not want any number 4 and must end with the number No.8. Guess what, the computer screen showed several numbers and I got to choose the prepaid number I wanted and or course it ended with the number No.8 :)
Back to topic, why is a smart phone essential? Besides getting the weather forecast so that you are not caught unprepared for a rainy day, it allows you to access to Metlink website Journey Planner (click here to Metlink).
The Metlink Journey Planner is freaking cool. By just entering the start and end point of your journey, it will tell you the available options, either by trams, trains or bus and the duration of the journey! Once again, click here to Metlink if you have not and try it out. It is so easy to use, just key in the address, street name or station and you will be given detailed step by step instructions on how to get to your destination. It even tells you which platform to get on if you are taking the train, And if you still cannot figure out how to get to your destination, then get a cab.
I myself seldom take public transport, more like never, but I had no problems getting to Ascot Vale, Heidelberg, Balwyn, Box Hill and Glen Waverly with Melbourne Public Transport System which is reliable, clean and on time. As for safety, well, if you are traveling in the middle of the night, anywhere on earth is also not 100% safe.
And also with a Smart Phone, I get to use google map to see my location :) My Telstra and Vodafone prepaid AUD30 package does come with data. The AUD69 Huawei phone I got at a Vodafone outlet had hotspot feature and this enable me to video call home with Skype on my Samsung Tab and Facetime with the Apple New iPad :)
To travel on Melbourne Public Transport system, you will need a Myki card. This card can be purchased at the main railway station customer service counter or even at 7 Eleven. The card cost AUD6 for adults and AUD3 for Children (under age 17) and Senior Citizens.
Once you get the card, go to a Myki machine and top up cash into the card and you are ready to go. When you enter a tram or bus, you'll need to touch your Myki card to the card terminal and you will hear a beep if it was touched on successfully. And when you exit the tram or bus, you'll need to touch off. And if you are taking the train, you will need to touch the Myki card before you can enter the platform and also you must remember to "touch off" with the Myki card before you exit the railway station at your destination.
So here is a photo of my cheap Android Phone and Myki card :)
Getting to the Airport from your hotel.
If you are traveling by yourself, look out for below "mini card" what are available at hotels. It cost about AUD17 per person and you'll need to inform them while on the phone you have the discount card before they pick you up the next day else they will not give you any discount. If you are traveling in a party of 5 or 6 persons, call 0384137202 and inform them how many passengers so that they will sent you a taxi-van and it will cost you less than AUD80 from CBD to the airport.
An Article by GenX
GenX Profile and Definitions of Words Used.
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