Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, with over 4.5m inhabitants, and is the capital of the state of Victoria. Melbourne is often called the Cultural Capital of Australia, with its many museums or art galleries; its inhabitants known to be multicultural and open minded. The city’s Victorian architecture and the nearby Great Ocean Road – often considered as the most scenic road in Australia- attracts over 2 million international visitors every year, and 59 million in total.
Australia is one of the safest countries in the world; but as a large city Melbourne has some gained a reputation for being violent. While being mostly unfounded media sensationalism, there are some areas more dangerous than others- however tourists are very unlikely to be targeted.
SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip while in Melbourne, and be aware of all potential dangers.
The Central Business District (aka the Docklands) is the historical and most popular neighborhood of the city. With many company headquarters, international brands stores, outlets and the nearby Etihad Stadium, it is a very popular neighborhood for both tourists and locals. The City Town Hall and Saint Paul’s Cathedral can be found on Swanston Street (a pedestrian and tram-only street). The area is very busy and safe during the day – although there is some risk of pickpocketing around Flinders Street and its station. At night, the area can get empty really fast, it is better to stay on the main streets. King’s Street, north of the CBD, is know for being the city’s Red Light District with some legal and illegal prostitution.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Melbourne is a very safe city. With a rating of 88% Australia, is ranked 10th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There is some pickpocket risk in Melbourne. Be careful around the Flinders Street station crowds and its adjacent streets. Most pickpocket acts happen during seasonal events such as Christmas, the Melbourne Cup or the Footy Grand Finale.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Melbourne is a safe city regarding mugging risks, although some areas better be avoided at night.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are very few scams in Melbourne. In the Red Light District area there can be some “scams” in strip clubs where bartenders make you pay drinks at a high price. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Transports and taxis are generally safe in Melbourne, but train stations in the suburbs can be frightening as they are very empty. Locate the “Safety zones” on the platforms, which are well-lit and have security cameras.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There can be some occasional natural hazards (geological, meteorological) in Melbourne, and the sun UV index is very strong (see the page about Australia for more advice)
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Melbourne is a very safe city in respect to terrorist threats.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Melbourne and Australia in general is safe for women travelers.
Avoid Being A Victim! 10 Tips for Your Personal Safety
It is best to carry a small bag across your shoulder or wear a concealed pouch rather than a back pack
Carry as little cash as you can
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
Beware of individuals who act strangely and who try to divert your attention in order to steal your belongings.
Pay special attention while seating on restaurants and café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from ATMs or near tourist attractions
Never keep your mobile phone or wallet on the table of a café or restaurant.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery in an ostentatious way
If an attacker tries to snatch your bag, don’t try to stop them as you will risk being injured
Thieves commonly work near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, subways and target vehicles with non-local license plates.
Most but not all of pickpockets work in groups, often as teenagers
The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). As of June 2016, 1 Us Dollar= 1.39 AUD.
Australia is an expensive country to visit, but they are many cheap accommodations for backpackers and those travelling on a shoestring.
Expect to pay from 100 AUD to 300 AUD per day.