When you go to another country and another culture, there are always differences.
You'll probably find that Australia is not hard to get used at all, especially food-wise.
Chances are that Melbourne will have an area which will make you feel at home, no matter which country you're from.
English and Celtic based, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Turkish, Croat, Serb, Arab, Afghan, Russian, Somalian, Dutch, Czech, Polish and just about every other culture, has settled in Australia and some eating areas of Melbourne are like an international food fair.
There's an eatery in Melbourne (and Victoria) for everything from Pie & Chips to Haute Cuisine, and everything in between.
NUMBER ONE AND MOST IMPORTANT.
Don't fall for the movie or tourist agency stereotypes about Australia. This is not a country filled with Mad Max, Redneck hooligans, Steve Irwin, or Crocodile Dundee. Despite what some Australians might like, it's not the wild west.
Australia is a nation of generally likeable and gregarious people, who just don't see any point in pretention. Be yourself and it will be like you're among friends.
Q. Is food expensive in Australia?
A. You can get a good sandwich and a coffee/tea or juice for around $10- $12 in cities and $8- $10 in provincial areas.
Restaurant prices vary
- From $10 per main course in local Mediterranean & Oriental eateries - Best places to eat
- Around $15 - $18 in pub-type (non-accommodation) hotels - Often over-rated & only average value
- $20 - $30 at more traditional "real" restaurants and boutique converted pubs - plus high wine prices
- International hotel's restaurants - Usually good food, but lots of overheads
Melbourne has a particularly economical way of eating out - The Bring-your-own (B.Y.O.) restaurant. In restaurants that are BYO, you take wine to the restaraunt, which you've bought at a bottle shop or off-license, at a better price. They'll charge a corkage fee of about $2.50, but you don't pay a restaurant mark-up on the wine.
Q. Do Kangaroos really roam suburban streets in Australia?
A. Of course not. You've been listening to tourism people again.
Q. Is Australia dangerous, because I've heard there are a lot of dangerous animals there?
A. The only mildly wild animals in Australia are dingoes and you'd have to search to find one of them. The really dangerous things are Snakes and Spiders.
Q. Are they a real worry then?
A. Well, Australia has 9 of the 10 most dangerous snakes in the world and a couple of the top Spiders, but most of them are out in "The Bush" and most Australians have never even seen one of them, so you'll likely never run across them.
You really would have to mount a very determined search to find one. In all our years, we have only run across 2 of the dangerous snakes and that was in areas where you'd be surprised if you DIDN'T find them (and not in Victoria, by the way) They're usually more scared than we are and the spiders hide anyway.
Honestly, it is NOT a worry and never enters most Australins minds. It looks good for nature programs on television, but in reality, it may as well be another world. Victoria probably has the least of them all.
Q. Is it always hot in Australia?
A. Of course not. There would be perhaps 10 to 15 days in the year, which were uncomfortable, but the rest are between 12 degrees and 28 degrees celsius (50 - 82 F.) AND we don't get cold enough to have snow, apart from in snow resorts. We've felt hotter in England.
Q. Are Australians friendly to Tourists ?
A. We sure are, as long as you don't mind the informality that goes along with that friendliness. We're not intrusive, but most Australians tend to be a little irreverent of authority. Expect to be called "mate" a lot.
- Lost and need directions? Ask anyone and they'll usually help you out
- The Police are usually friendly
- Shopkeepers aren't "snooty" (Well they are in SOME shops)
Q. Is Australia a safe place for a tourist ?
A. In Melbourne, very safe. We have never heard of any tourist-oriented crime happening here. The idea of carrying "mugging money" or having rental cars hijacked, appals most Australians.
There is the usual petty crime that you find in any big city, but you can walk the streets at night, without worrying - as long as you don't go to the seedy areas.
Just ask your hotel staff which areas are doubtful. There aren't many.