Domestic Travellers - should use the following links to book early in order to secure discounted rates for your flights
Virgin Blue: www.virginblue.com.au
International Travellers - we recommend contacting your travel agent soon to book your airfares to Australian in order to secure discounted rates for your flight!
Although there are many direct international flights to Melbourne, some flights may require travel via Sydney International Airport. Travellers will then need to catch a connecting flight to Melbourne. The main domestic carriers within Australia are Virgin Blue, Qantas and JetStar. All have daily flights to Melbourne and their web pages are worth visiting for those looking to secure discounted domestic air travel.
For details on Melbourne's International Airport please click here.
ALL travellers to Australia must have a valid visa before boarding their flight.
Travellers to Australia cannot apply for a visa on arrival. For many countries, the visa is paperless and added automativally to your air ticket. Check with your travel agent if uncertain.
Information on attending an event in Australia can be found at www.immi.gov.au/visitors/index.htm (Visa Arrangements for Events, Conferences and Meetings in Australia).
You can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) directly through the following link www.eta.immi.gov.au
Details for contacting the appropriate visa office closest to the applicant's place of residence can be found at www.immi.gov.au/contacts/overseas/index.htm
Banks and Banking Hours
Normal banking hours are Monday - Thursday 9:30am - 4:00pm and Fridays 9:30am - 5:00pm, excluding public holidays. 24 hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found throughout the city and shopping centres. There are four major banks in Australia which offer a full range of banking services, they are;
Melbourne has a reputation for its changeable weather. A tip for any visitor is to be prepared for anything! As a general rule Melbourne enjoys a temperate climate with warm to hot summers, mild and sometimes balmy springs and autumns and cool winters. The average maximum temperature during summer (when the conference will be on) are around 26 degrees celcius and minimum is 15 degrees celcius.
Currency and Exchange
The official currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). Australian currency is comprised of notes and coins and are of decimal currency. In view of the currency, you may occasionally see prices such as $2.98, this figure is rounded up to the nearest five cents, in this case $3.00.
Money exhcangers can be found all around the city and most major tourist destinations. All major banks also offer money exchange services and cashing of travellers cheques, your passport is required for identification purposes when cashing travellers cheques.
Throughout Melbourne you'll find numerous Currency Exchange desks, most hotels also have exchange rates at their reception desks, however some hotels will have a limit to what you can exchange.
Australia uses 240V mains electricity and uses 'three point' power sockets. Please click here to view the standard plug used within Australia, Type I. Universal adaptors are available from most gift stores and electrical shops around the city. To find out more please visit Electricity World Standards.
Trading hours are generally;
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm but some operate 10:00am - 6:00pm and many stay open late Friday night until 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
GMT + 10:00 hours then GMT + 11:00 hours during daylight savings (October - April where clocks are advanced one hour)
Open seven days a week, Melbourne and Victoria's visitor information centres are staffed by friendly, professional and trained people with extensive local knowledge. They can provide reliable information on attractions, activities and events, help you make reservations for accommodation or sightseeing tours, or give up to the minute advice in the area.
There are two main information centres in the Melbourne CBD;
Melbourne Visitor Centre
2 Swanston St
Phone: 03 9658 9658
Melbourne Visitor Booth
Bourke St Mall
Phone: 03 9658 9658
Keep an eye out for the City Ambassadors in various locations around the CBD dressed in their distinctive red uniforms. These volunteers are here to assist you with your enquiries.
Melbourne tap water is filtered, fresh and safe to drink. It conforms with Australian and international drinking water standards.
Useful Australian Websites
Australia Exchange Rates - http://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/frequency/exchange-rates.html
Australian Currency - http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/currency.html
Australian Weather - Bureau of Meteorology
Smartraveller - The Australian Government's travel advisory and consular information service. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
The Australian Customs site is designed to help you get through the security checkpoints at the airport quickly and easily. It will help you understand the aviation security measures in place at Australian airports and why they are necessary. It provides information on preparing for your trip, what you are prohibited from taking on board, and travelling with children, medicines or sporting equipment. It also provides a number of videos that explain the screening process and liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions. This site will be updated with new information to reflect changes in airport security arrangements as they occur.
Australian Customs - Information for travellers - http://www.customs.gov.au/knowbeforeyougo/default.asp
The TRS enables you to claim a refund, subject to certain conditions, of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
To claim a refund you must:
•Spend $300 (GST inclusive) or more in the one store and get a single tax invoice
•Buy goods no more than 30 days before departure
•Wear or carry the goods on board the aircraft or ship and present them along with your original tax invoice, passport and international boarding pass to a Customs Officer at a TRS facility
•Claims at airports are available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
•Claims at seaports should be made no earlier than 4 hours and no later than 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.
The refund only applies to goods you take with you as hand luggage or wear onto the aircraft or ship (unless aviation security measures, effective from 31 March 2007, in regard to liquids, aerosols and gels prevent you from doing so) when you leave Australia. It does not apply to services or goods consumed or partly consumed in Australia, such as wine, chocolate or perfume. However, unlike other tourist shopping schemes, most of the goods, such as clothing and cameras, can be used in Australia before departure.
For further information please click here.