The conference will take place at the Sebel hotel, a short tram ride from the centre of the beautiful city of Melbourne and in walking distance of a number of attractions. The Sebel is located beside Albert Park lake, one of the cities major circuits for an early morning walk or run. Trams run regularly along St Kilda Rd in to the city and out to St.Kilda, famous for its cafes, pubs, beach and its colourful history.
Melbourne itself has an extensive fully linked train, tram and bus network. NB. The Sebel is located well within transport zone 1 and you will get to all Melbourne's major cafe, restaurant, park, garden, tourist and entertainment centres with a zone 1 ticket. For the more adventurous who want to travel to the suburbs and see sights such as Ramsay street, famous for the location of the TV soap "Neighbours" you will need a zone 1/2 ticket and a lot of time!
From the city the following trams stop on St Kilda Rd close to the Sebel : 3 and 3a (direction East Malvern); 5 (Malvern); 6 (Glen Iris); 16 ( Kew); 64 (East Brighton), 67 (Carnegie). Alight at the High street stop and walk down Lorne street to the Sebel. Understanding the ticketing system for Melbourne's transport requires 3 years fulltime study but for the visitor needing the essentials: Tickets are time based and allow you to use train/tram/bus and swap from one to another anywhere in the zone of choice. The standard fare for an all day zone 1 ticket is $6.80 but you can do better than this by buying a weekly ticket or cards allowing multiple journeys..
The most flexible and cheapest weekday option is probably to buy a 10 x 2hr metcard ticket ($29.40) which has to be bought from a person/station and is *not* available from a machine. This has ticket has two nice advantages: If you use it twice on the one day it becomes a day ticket and no further fares are removed. If you use it after 6.00pm then the 2 hour time limit stretches to the early hours of the following morning. You must validate your ticket in a machine every time you hop on a train, tram or bus.
The airport is served by taxis and by skybus (which will drop you at Southern Cross station in Melbourne city).
Melbourne has a mediterranean type of climate and weather throughout Australia is available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
All visitors to Australia require a visa. These can be obtained from Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas see http://www.dfat.gov.au/missions/ or electronically via http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
The Australian $ has dropped to be very low against all major currencies making Australia a very cheap place to visit.
It is somewhat volatile and you can access current exchange rates through http://www.x-rates.com/d/AUD/table.html
Melbourne can be reached directly by air from numerous cities in Europe, Asia and America and provides easy access to Australia’s major tourist attractions for pre or post conference trips. The airport is served both by major carriers and by budget airlines.
A range of airlines service Australia with budget airlines such as
Jetstar, Tiger and Air Asia (will soon fly London to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne) providing many options. Depending on the season and availability of bargain fares Qantas and Virginblue are also sources for reasonably priced fares.
NB For those coming from Europe or Asia Tiger airways have the cheapest flights from Singapore to Melbourne.