FairFX is an official sponsor of Sky Sports F1® for the 2017 Formula 1 season, which means we’ll be running some great competitions throughout the season and our blog will feature lots of exciting travel tips, videos and behind the scenes insights.
The season kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix™ in Melbourne, so we’re sharing our tips for getting the most out of a trip to coastal capital of Australia’s state of Victoria.
If you haven’t already got a trip to Australia planned, we’re sure you’ll be considering it once you’ve read our Melbourne destination guide.
With Australia being in the southern hemisphere, it’s currently autumn in Melbourne. This is a great time of year to visit as the weather isn’t too hot. You’ll usually experience temperatures between the high 20s and low 30s, but you might get the occasional thunderstorm.
Melbourne has a rich mix of cultures and has gained a reputation as the “cultural and sporting capital” of Australia. Since its European settlement in 1835, different nationalities have migrated to Melbourne at various stages of its history and have contributed significantly to the city’s growing identity.
What to see
This weekend the Australian Grand Prix™ will be taking over the street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. The cars will complete 58 laps of Albert Park serene lake.
For the rest of the year, the park continues to buzz with life with joggers, cyclists and dog walkers. Hire a boat and explore the lake or, if you prefer dry land, admire the colourful sailboats from the shore.
Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are just a short walk from Albert Park. The gardens are internationally renowned and feature beautiful flowers and plants from around the world. Go punting on the lake or walk up Guilfoyle’s Volcano, an historic water reservoir with commanding views of the city.
Head downtown for some retail therapy and a bite to eat. You’ll also find Hosier Lane downtown, one of the many streets in Melbourne displaying unique expressions of art on the building walls.
Where to stay
Melbourne’s city centre is the perfect place to stay if you want easy access to the city’s best restaurants and covered shopping arcades. Here you’ll find apartment-style hotels, fashion boutiques and chandelier-lit bars.
Choose the hotels along the south bank of Yarra River if you’re looking for postcard views of the city skyline. Several tram routes wind south to the South Melbourne Market and the residential beaches of Port Melbourne and Albert Park.
East Melbourne is a highly sought-after residential area of Art Deco apartment buildings and elegant terrace houses with iron-lace balconies. This is an excellent location for a quieter stay with morning strolls through the quaint gardens dotted throughout the area.
What to eat
Melbourne’s mix of cultures means that it serves up a great mix of food.
To sample the best the city’s food scene has to offer, head to the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival between 31st March and 9th April. The festival is celebrating its 25th year and hosts a range of events and tasting sessions. Sip some of Australia’s finest wines, pick up some tips for beekeeping as a hobby or join a food tour of the city.
When it comes to planning dinner, there’s plenty to eat in the main Central Business District but a lot of great restaurants can be found in surrounding neighbourhoods like Fitzroy, Carlton, and Richmond.
Melbourne is big on coffee so wherever you are in the city, there is always a great café nearby for a spot of lunch and a caffeine boost. Australia’s coffee culture is renowned for its quality, meaning that you can blindly walk into almost any café in Melbourne and get a reliably good coffee. That said, the city’s top coffee is concentrated in the inner neighbourhoods — numerous roasting houses have begun to spring up around Fitzroy, Collingwood, and Brunswick.
Getting around Melbourne
Using the city’s famed trams and an extensive train and bus network, you’ll be able explore every corner of Melbourne.
With a reusable smart card called myki, you can travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses.
Visitors can buy a myki Visitor Pack to travel on public transport in Melbourne and regional Victoria. It includes discounts and offers at 15 of Melbourne’s leading attractions, including museums, must-see experiences, walking, cycling and foodie tours. You can buy your Visitor Pack when you land at Melbourne Airport.
Tips for buying Australian Dollars
For an easy way to pay and manage your money throughout your trip to Melbourne, order a FairFX Prepaid Mastercard®.
With the FairFX Everywhere Card you can pay like a local, wherever you are in the world. Load the card with Sterling and you’ll automatically pay in the right currency when you spend. Meaning you can even extend your trip to New Zealand or Asia, and continue using the card.
If you are travelling in the next 5 working days try our next-day travel cash service. Our cards usually arrive within 5 working days. In exceptional circumstances, it might take slightly longer.
Either way, make sure you don’t leave buying your Australian Dollars to the last minute – airport currency stands have some of the worst rates in the country.
Were you paying close attention to our Melbourne destination guide? Test your knowledge with our quick quiz.