A knowledgeable travel professional, with their extensive knowledge and contacts in the industry, can provide support before your trip, monitor your progress en route and provide post travel assistance. Because we coordinate air, land, rail and sea transportation, your trip can proceed seamlessly to your hotel/resort, activities and excursions. Rather than than doing your own time consuming research, let us use our extensive knowledge to help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure the quality of trip you’ve been looking for.
Melbourne local time
There are several things to see and do in, or around, Melbourne, below are some items that we recommend:
- Werribee Mansion: Located 30 minutes West of Melbourne, Werribee Mansion is a living, breathing postcard of 19th century Australia. Wealthy sheep farmers built ‘the mansion’ and the Italianate-style architecture and its Victorian period interiors are as inspiring today as when it was completed in 1877.
- Eureka Skydeck 88: Two dedicated lifts propel visitors to level 88 in under 40 seconds. Only Skydeck 88 can take you to The Edge, a switchable glass cube which slides out from the building, with you inside! This is a “must see” if your in Melbourne
- Melbourne Museum: The museum showcases Australian social history, Indigenous cultures, science and the environment. Located adjacent to the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, and home to IMAX Theatre Melbourne.
- The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel: Located in Melbourne’s waterfront precinct of Docklands, takes visitors on a 30-minute ride in fully enclosed glass cabins and offers extraordinary bird’s-eye views of the city and surrounds, including Port Phillip Bay and as far away as Mount Macedon and the Dandenong Ranges.
Witness the rugged splendor of the famous 12 Apostles, magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s dramatic coastline. Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.
The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 meters high were left isolated from the shore. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change color from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometers stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Below are some highlights of this world-class drive
- Gibsons Steps: Take 86 steps down to the beach below to be dwarfed by the 70-metre high vertical cliff line. Walk along the beach to the enormous offshore rock stacks – Gog and MaGog.
- Loch Ard Gorge: Stand on top of the cliff and you’ll be amazed at the sheer size of the cliffs and the narrow opening out to sea at the Loch Ard Gorge. In rough weather the crashing waves put on quite a show.
- London Bridge: Witness London Bridge, originally a natural archway and tunnel in an offshore rock formation, however, it collapsed in 1990 and became a bridge without a middle.
- Bay of Islands: Surround yourself by the rock stacks that tower from the ocean in the Bay of Islands creating a haunting natural landscape in contrast to the 12 Apostles.
Phillip Island Nature Parks
Home to the world-famous Penguin Parade and other popular wildlife attractions – all only 90 minutes from Melbourne. Discover Australian wildlife up close and in their natural habitat while you explore the Penguin Parade, Wild Ocean EcoBoat Tours, Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Nobbies Centre. The Nature Parks also provides numerous coastal and bushland walks across Phillip Island, traversing breathtaking beaches, woodlands and wetlands.
Healesville Sanctuary, in the heart of the Yarra Valley, is world-renowned as the best place to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. The Sanctuary is 70 acres of bushland that offers a distinctly Australian setting for visitors to experience unique close-up encounters with some of Australia’s unique and endearing wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, emus, dingoes, birds of prey and platypus. It is also an ideal place to enjoy the best food and wine the Yarra Valley has to offer.
Healesville Sanctuary is an Australian wildlife experience that centers on local conservation and indigenous culture. Set in a beautiful natural environment, the Sanctuary offers a place for people and animals to reconnect with nature from creek to canopy.
Be awed by Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area in Wilsons Promontory National Park. Affectionately known as ‘The Prom’, it is one of the state’s best loved parks – and with good reason. This 50,000 hectare reserve is threaded with a labyrinth of walking tracks that showcase all manner of magical realms sheltering abundant wildlife. There are several scenic trails, camping and wildlife viewing at Wilsons Promontory National Park. A locals favorite place, so make sure to add it to your itinerary!
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Victoria Travel Information and Tips
Passport, Visa and Customs
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas online.
There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. These include applying for the right type of visa, application requirements, your obligations while in Australia and the importance of complying with visa conditions.
A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. There are a number of tourist visas available for people wishing to visit Australia as a tourist. Visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements. Legato Travel can issue these visa’s, furthering streamlining your vacation planning.
Customs and Quarantine
Australia’s customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Australia. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. There is no limit on currency but you will need to declare amounts over $10000. For more detailed information go to the Australian Government Customs and Border Protection website and Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for issuing visas to people who want to visit, work, study or live in Australia. It is responsible for the management of lawful and orderly entry and stay of people in Australia, including through effective border security. It provides information and application forms for migration to Australia, and information about settling in Australia, Australian citizenship, and multicultural affairs.
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of Australia’s borders. It works closely with other government and international agencies, in particular the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Defense, to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.
The Department of Agriculture manages quarantine controls at Australian borders to minimize the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.
Weather and Seasons
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of our continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimeters. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Australia is a country for all seasons. You can do practically anything here, at any time of year. There are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in our tropical north.
Summer in Australia, from December to February, is a great time to get outdoors. Swim Sydney’s beaches or hike Tasmania’s Overland Track. March to May heralds Australia’s autumn, a season of fiery foliage in Canberra and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne. Australia’s winter, from June to August, offers snow skiing in the Australian Alps. Alternatively, take a winter sun holiday. Snorkel in the temperate Great Barrier Reef or 4WD through South Australia’s Simpson Desert. Spring in Australia, from September to November is the time to watch for whales and wildflowers as you explore the wineries of Western Australia’s Margaret River region.
In tropical Australia, the dry season from May to October has clear blue skies and sunny days. It’s the time to experience Darwin’s vibrant outdoor markets, movies and festivals. December to March is the wet season, which is hot and humid with daily rainstorms. See waterfalls thunder through Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks or fly over Katherine Gorge when its water levels are highest.
Australia is generally a safe destination with travelers enjoying unhindered travel experiences in terms of their personal safety and security. Our stable political system, well-maintained roads, low crime rate and high standard of health make it a safe and easy country to explore.
With common-sense, you can safely enjoy Australia’s unique landscapes – from the vast outback to wild ocean beaches and pristine wilderness. However, as with all travel at home or away, you should observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions.
Here you will find practical information out about the health facilities and services available and website links for more detailed information.
Travel Insurance & Medical Services
A travel insurance policy that covers you for theft, loss, accidents and medical problems before you leave home is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure activities like scuba diving, bushwalking or traveling in remote areas, check that your policy fully covers these activities. Remember to bring your insurance policy details and emergency contact numbers and with you. Contact Legato Travel for questions about travel insurance and purchase your policy.
Vaccinations & Medications
No special immunizations or vaccinations are required to visit Australia unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. However, regulations and medical advice can change at short notice, so check with your doctor and the relevant Australian Government websites before you leave home.
Medicine brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on your arrival. It is recommended you bring a prescription or letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the medicine you are carrying. If you need to obtain prescription medicine while you are here, the prescription must be written by a doctor in Australia.
Much time and effort has been spent in recent years to ensure that traveling with a disability won’t stop you enjoying all that Australia has to offer. If you have a medical condition or special needs, you will find plenty of services available. Speak to your travel agent about your specific requirements or visit the websites below to help you prepare before you leave home.
000 is the number for all emergency services in Australia. An operator will connect you to police, ambulance or the fire brigade. You should only call 000 in an emergency.
The Australian sun is very strong and can burn your skin in as little as 15 minutes in summer, so it is important to protect yourself all year round, even if it is a cloudy day.
Surf & Water Safety
Most of Australia’s population lives close to the coastline and the beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity. Australians love the water, and every day thousands of people flock to Australia’s coastline to swim, surf, relax and have fun. But our beautiful beaches can hold hidden dangers in the form of strong currents and beach conditions can change dramatically for those who are not used to them.
Popular beaches are usually patrolled by volunteer lifesavers from October to April and red and yellow flags mark the safest area for swimming. Be safe and always swim between these flags and always swim with other people.
If you intend to go diving, check with a dive operator in the locality or contact the Diving Industry Association in the state that you are visiting for information on site conditions, safety regulations, licenses, permits and diver rating requirements.
Traveling in remote locations
Australia’s outback tracks are among the best four-wheel-drive journeys in the world, but driving in Australia’s remote and rugged areas requires thorough preparation. Before embarking on an unescorted outback journey, check road conditions, ensure your vehicle is properly equipped and that you have a good map, extra provisions and an emergency plan. Make sure you inform someone of your expected arrival. Distances between towns in Australia are often hundreds of kilometers apart, so plan your trip accordingly. Be aware that mobile phones may have limited coverage in remote areas. If your vehicle breaks down in a remote area, always stay with your vehicle. This is the single most important rule of survival. Some roads should not be traveled unless part of a well-organized convoy.
If bushwalking or hiking check the length and difficulty of the walk and consider using a local guide for long or challenging walks. Check the Parks Australia website for the latest information on track conditions and hazards.
Australia’s currency is Australian Dollars (AUD) and currency exchange is available at banks, hotels and international airports. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, JCB and their affiliates. Try this handy currency converter.
Goods and Services Tax
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund of the GST paid on goods bought here if you have spent AUD$300 or more in one store, no more than 30 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals.
You’ll find large department stores, arcades, malls, gift and souvenir shops across Australia. Trading hours vary across the country but shops in tourist and city areas are generally open until 6pm, with the exception of late night shopping on either Thursdays or Fridays in different states. In Australia you are covered by Australia’s consumer protection laws which require businesses to treat you fairly.
Tipping and bargaining
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill. In up market restaurants, it is usual to tip waiters up to ten per cent of the bill for good service. However, tipping is always your choice. It is not custom to bargain in Australia.
The emergency number for police, ambulance and or fire brigade is 000.
Australia’s official language is English. However, being a multicultural nation with a significant migrant population, we also enjoy a tremendous diversity of languages and cultures.
Electrical power points
Our electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adapter.
Australia’s country code is 61. Local calls from public pay phones are untimed and charged at AUD$.050. Mobile, long distance and overseas calls are usually timed.Mobile phone network coverage is available across Australia, however coverage may be limited in some remote areas. Internet access is widely available at internet cafes, accommodation and libraries.
Post offices are usually open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travelers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.
Flying is the best way to cover large distances in a short time. You’ll spend less time traveling and more time on the ground savoring Australia’s can’t-miss landscapes and laid-back lifestyle. Australia’s domestic airlines – Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Rex and their subsidiaries – serve all state capital cities and regional cities. Competition amongst domestic airlines means that great fares are available.
Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful touring routes in the world. Travel from Sydney to Brisbane past sleepy seaside towns and lush hinterland. Experience Australia’s Red Centre in an epic drive across the desert. Or follow Victoria’s Great Ocean Road as it hugs our spectacular south-east coast. You’ll find car rental companies at major airports, central city locations, suburbs and resorts. So hire a car, four wheel drive, caravans or motorbike and hit the highway.
- Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car. The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h and 50km/h in some suburban areas. On country roads and highways, the maximum speed is usually 110km/h. For your safety, drink-driving laws apply, and drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Motor cyclists and cyclists must wear helmets. An international visitor may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver’s license for the same class of vehicle. You should carry both your home license and international license when driving.
Coach and bus travel in Australia is comfortable, easy and economical. Coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and videos. Services are frequent, affordable and efficient. Australia’s national coach operator, Greyhound, offer passes to fit every budget.
Train travel is a convenient, affordable and scenic way to explore Australia. Interstate and intra-state rail services connect our cities and regional centers, while cross-country train trips offer a unique insight into Australia’s size and diversity. Traveling options range from budget to luxury, and a range of rail passes can reduce your costs if you plan to see large sections of the country.
Australia also has epic rail journeys such as The Ghan and Indian-Pacific, which sweep across the continent, offering comfort and a sense bygone romance. The Indian-Pacific travels between Sydney to Perth, stopping for whistle-stop tours of Broken Hill, Adelaide and gold-rich Kalgoorlie. The legendary Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, taking in Australia’s Red Centre and the tropical Top End.
All of Australia’s capital cities are served by a wide variety of public transport, including trains, buses, ferries, monorail, light rail and trams. Taxis charge according to their meter.
The Spirit of Tasmania runs a passenger and vehicle ferry service between Melbourne and Tasmania nightly. Extra services are running during summer peak times. Sealink ferries connect South Australia and Kangaroo Island several times a day. Ferries connect suburbs in our capital cities – they criss-cross Sydney Harbour, the Swan River in Perth and the Brisbane River in Brisbane.
Walking is a great way to get around our cities, so get ready to pound our wide, easy-on-the-feet pedestrian streets. You can also tackle some of the longest tracks and trails in the world in Australia – impressive journeys of a thousand kilometers or more that can take several weeks to complete.