Melbourne native Rebecca Kinsella shares her tips on how best to experience her home city.
1. Don’t… pronounce it Mel-born

Nothing screams tourist more than being the only one in a city of 4 million people pronouncing it incorrectly.

Do… pronounce it Mel-buhn (or Mel-behn) and learn the local lingo

When we refer to footy we’re talking about Australian Rules Football (AFL), and despite a growing interest, no one really cares too much for soccer or rugby here.

We tend to get around in our thongs, too; no one wears “jandles” or “flip-flops” in this city.

2. Don’t… dress for the weather

Disregard the seasonal forecast, because you may experience one of the hottest days on record, only to receive a month’s rainfall the next. Then, you’ll be hammered by hailstones the size of small fruits.

Do… dress for EVERY type of weather

Pack some factor-50 sunscreen, an umbrella, and your windproof jacket. And layer, layer, layer. Don’t forget to bitch and moan about the weather too. Striking up a chat with an exasperated “Can you believe the weather we’re having?” will set you in good stead with the locals.

3. Don’t… buy into the Melbourne vs. Sydney debate

Melbourne isn’t a city of touristy sights comparable to Sydney, but it is regularly ranked among the “world’s most livable cities.” For me, Melbourne is not a city to see; it’s a city to do.

Photo: avlxyz

During summer, one of my favorite things to do is pack a picnic and a bottle of wine, and head to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Here you can catch an outdoor play or pull up a beanbag at the Moonlight cinema.

Also, check out the twilight openings at the Queen Victoria Market to shop and sample international dishes, or join the locals and kick back with a barbecue and beer on the banks of the Yarra River.

Do… take Melbourne’s side if you have to

OK, if you must spark some inter-city rivalry, tell people that you think the “locals are friendlier” and that Melbourne is much more “cultured” than Sydney. We love hearing this, and it could earn you a free drink.

4. Don’t… expect to go surfing

Ah, bless those surfers heading to Melbourne for the Aussie lifestyle of “sun and surf” — sorry, but our waves are tiny!

Photo: Paleontour

Do… go windsurfing or kiteboarding instead

Melbourne’s calm bays provide ideal conditions for windsurfing at Brighton, Elwood, and Sandringham.

Or try kiteboarding on St. Kilda’s West Beach. A lesson will set you back $100 for an hour.

5. Don’t… take the City Circle Tram

Although it’s free and a great way to get around the city, the speaker static, tram bells, and people transiting through city chaos makes it all a bit tricky to hear the audio guide.

Do… take a FREE guided walking tour

Melbourne’s grid design makes it easy to explore by foot. A local volunteer that speaks your language can provide you with a free walking orientation of the city.

Or if you prefer to see the city solo, download a self-guided walk and look out for the City Ambassadors in red t-shirts if you need directions or advice.