From the trams that run through its center to the Royal Botanic Gardens on the Yarra River, Melbourne is a city like no other. A port for cruises to Australia, you'll want to get to know Melbourne as only a local would. Here are a few insider travel tips to get you started.
1. Try some Vegemite.
You might be familiar with the idea of the Vegemite sandwich if you've ever listen to the band Men at Work, but this salty spread never gained much popularity outside of Australia. If you can eat it without a wince, you just might pass for a local.
2. Always brake for kangaroos.
These animals are bigger than you may think, and they're no less troublesome to locals than deer are to those in the US. When you see a sign on the road warning you to watch for kangaroos, that doesn't mean get out the camera.
3. Love sports.
Melbourne natives enjoy all types of sports, including rugby and cricket. The city's big sporting events — the Australian Open Tennis Championships in January and the Grand Prix in March — always get the locals buzzing with excitement.
4. Know your wine.
When in Melbourne, local brands such as Jacob's Creek are acceptable, and even New Zealand sauvignon blanc is common — but try not to order any wine from Napa Valley if you want to look like you belong.
5. Keep cool.
Temperatures fluctuate in Melbourne, especially in the summer, which occurs from December–February. Layer your clothing, and you'll be fine. Just because it's going to be hot doesn't mean you should ditch your jacket in the morning.
6. Pick your coffee.
Forget Starbucks — Melbourne is one of the biggest coffee-drinking cities in the world. Get familiar with the lingo: a short black is just a shot of espresso; a long black is one shot (or two) over hot water; a flat white is espresso with steamed milk and little to no froth; and if you order an iced coffee, you'll get espresso mixed with milk, then topped with ice cream and whipped cream.
7. Don't expect to find a courthouse at Federation Square.
This development has nothing to do with law, order, or politics. Fed Square is a hot spot, especially at night when there are events in the square, and clubs like popular Transport Public Bar are sure to be packed until the wee hours.
8. Save your "g'day."
This greeting may be acceptable in the Outback, but locals in Melbourne are more likely to say "ciao." Feel free to greet locals with "hi" when you get off your cruise ship in Melbourne.
9. Know the city name.
Melbourne is pronounced "mell-burn." But if you really want to fit in, abbreviate the name: Melbs. This term is primarily used when outside the city center.
10. Cuddle a koala — carefully.
Hold your excitement over these adorable creatures when you're among locals in Melbourne, but don't forget to book a shore excursion to Healesville Sanctuary, where you can see koalas, wallabies, and other native animals to this area.
Are you ready to browse Australia cruises? Princess Cruises offers a variety of time frames and ports for exploring the land down under.