You’re in Melbourne, mate! Modern and lively, sprawling and vast, this city of more than 4 million people boasts no shortage of delicious things to eat and drink, plus fun things to see and do. If you’re reading this, you’re probably here for the World Barista Championship, held in conjunction with the 2013 Melbourne International Coffee Expo. Visit our Melbourne Sprudge Guides hub for a king’s ransom of recommended food and drink, compiled from a series of informal polls we sent out to friends with an intimate knowledge of the Melbourne urban landscape. This particular feature is meant to orient you towards what you can expect out on the town in Melbs.

Getting Around:

Bus from the Airport – http://www.skybus.com.au
The ‘Oyster Card’ of Melbourne for public transport – http://www.myki.com.au
Public Transport Victoria – http://ptv.vic.gov.au
Taxis – 13 Cabs, a reasonably priced service with call-in pickup available. Download their app and order a cab with ease!The Little Differences:

Food and drinks can be pricey in Melbourne, but remember, tax and gratuity are included in the menu price. Additional tips are still definitely welcomed, but not “expected / demanded” like you might have experienced in North America. Expect to pay between $6 and $10 for a beer, and cocktails starting at $12 and ranging up to $22 are not uncommon. Just roll with it.

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Filter coffee is still a relatively new component to specialty coffee service in Melbs, but the best cafes all offer it. Also, batch brew is largely non-existent, and almost all coffee is table service unless you’re ordering from the take-away counter. “Please have a seat and we’ll be right with you!”

Neighborhoods are listed in addresses here, so don’t be frightened when you see Fitzroy, Collingwood, or Brunswick as the location you want to go to for dinner, it’s still in Melbourne!

It’s autumn here, and it gets cold – down into the upper 40’s or 50’s at night. Pack a jacket, and be aware that Melbourne’s weather can shift several times within a single day, like in San Francisco.

What shouldn’t I miss?

Several of our poll responders shouted out the Melbourne Zoo, which is where you can pet kangaroos and hug koalas, plus see mountain gorillas and all manner of other creatures. Zoo admission starts at $26.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are said to be awesome, and admission is free. Several of the city’s suburbs also have their own gardens, like the ones in Fitzroy and Carlton.

The Queen Victoria Market is a site to behold, with incredible produce and deli sections, and plenty of quick bites available. The QVM isn’t far from the MICE site, so plan yourself a stop in before the event one morning.

There’s a colony of little penguins living in St. Kilda, and you can go see them doing their little penguin thing in the wild. This activity is free, adorable, and has its own website. You’ll be earning considerable bragging rights amongst friends back home, and the Instagram possibilities are clearly endless. Hanging out with wild penguins is proof positive that you’re in a totally different part of the world.

For recommendations on coffee, dining, drinks, and dive bars, visit our Melbourne Info Portal.

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