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Is Melbourne Safe At Night?

Welcome to Melbourne, one of the most culturally diverse places globally! This is a city where people speak over 200 languages from many different countries. So you won't find another place quite like it. Add to our international melting pot some great shopping and fashion, fantastic art, world-class food and real natural beauty, and it's no wonder Melbourne's been named the world's most liveable city for seven years running. Among the most heavily populated cities in all of Australia, the city of Melbourne attracts travellers from around the globe. However, there are dangers you should be aware of to stay safe.

Tips For Women Travelling To Melbourne.

Getting Around

Unfortunately, Melbourne still doesn't have a train connecting the airport to the CBD, but there's a bus service that will get you there, as well as taxis that are always available. However, getting around the city on public transport (trains, trams and buses) is pretty easy once you've settled in. Just as in other big cities like London or Tokyo, you can purchase a transport card (a Myki) to load funds onto, and you tap on/off as you travel, with money being deducted as you go. You can also access free travel within Melbourne's Free Tram Zone within the CBD, which is a great way to save money!

Where To Stay

While Melbourne is generally considered a fairly safe city (where women are on an equal footing to men than many other parts of the world), it's not exempt from crime. If you're a first-time visitor, and especially if you're travelling alone, staying in a hotel in the CDB would be the best option – there's a greater police presence, the area's well-lit has busy streets, and there are always lots of people around. On the other hand, if you're a repeat visitor, it's great to have you back! For those looking for a different scene, look at staying a little further out of the city in areas like Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy or Richmond. It's also important to note that Melbourne is a safe and welcoming city to people of all faiths and races. So whichever area you choose to stay in, you're sure to find something that will suit your tastes.

In Australia, 80 per cent of men say they feel safe walking alone at night. The gap between how men and women feel about their safety when walking alone at night is higher in Australia than in any of the 38 countries included in the OECD's Better Life Index.

Melbourne is one of the safest cities in the world to live, work and study.

While fewer than half of all respondents said they felt safe in downtown Victoria or Esquimalt Plaza at night, the total is statistically unchanged from what it was in previous years. In 2017, during VicPD's most recent community survey, only 42 per cent of respondents said they felt safe in these areas at night.

Crime rates in Melbourne, Australia

  • Level of crime 45.26 Moderate
  • Problem people using or dealing drugs 55.04 Moderate
  • Problem property crimes such as vandalism and theft 53.04 Moderate
  • Problem violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery 44.47 Moderate
  • Problem corruption and bribery 36.54 Low

FAQs About The Safety Of Melbourne At Night

Shop Til You Drop!

The ladies of Melbourne LOVE to shop! In the city, check out the Bourke Street Mall for some of the bigger name stores like Myer, Zara, David Jones and H&M; Melbourne Central for big labels like Country Road, MIMCO, Sephora and Gap; and Emporium for designer brands like Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Carla Zampatti. If you're ready to take a short tram ride out of the city, you'll find some amazing Melbourne fashion labels on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, outlet malls on Bridge Road in Richmond and vintage heaven on Smith Street in Collingwood.

Free Activities In Cbd

Melbourne can be an expensive city, so it's good to make the most of the free activities on offer. For starters, you can feast your eyes on the fine artwork at the National Gallery of Victoria, but if street art is more your thing, then head on over to Hosier Lane or Blender Lane. Other activities include enjoying the greenery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, walking through the gorgeous State Library of Victoria or joining a free walking tour! You can also window shop your way through Queen Victoria Market, depending on how well you're able to resist shopping and eating your way through.

Explore The City's Cultural Areas

As with any city with a huge mix of cultures, you'll find that different areas have certain ethnic slants. You can find a community of people who share your culture or even experience many other cultures without leaving Melbourne. Some areas where immigrants typically established themselves include:

Hipster Areas

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Every city has them, and Melbourne is no exception. Two of my favourite hipster streets in Melbourne, just outside the CBD, are Smith Street in Collingwood and Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. You'll find an incredible collection of world-famous coffee spots and artisan bakeries, boutique clothing labels and little purveyors of vintage and pre-loved items, constantly changing street art and pop-up shops. Suffice to say, this is where the cool kids hang out, and you wouldn't want to miss out.

Brunch Like A Local

Sometimes, the best way to experience a city is through its food. Our reputation for good food and coffee is incredibly strong, and something we're super proud of, but lunch and dinner aren't as big a deal here as they used to be. These days, brunch is king. All over the city and around the suburbs, you'll find friends, couples and families catching up for a mid-morning feed that'll put your standard bacon and eggs to shame. So naturally, this meal is perfectly paired with those amazing cups of coffee that Melbourne is so well-known for.

As for where to go, throw a stone, and you'll hit half a dozen great places. A few places to consider visiting in the city area are Manchester Press in the CBD, Kitty Burns in Abbotsford, The Vertue of the Coffee Drink in Carlton, Pillar of Salt in Richmond and Rustica in Fitzroy. You'll also find that halal food options aren't scarce in Melbourne. There's a plethora of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine to choose from, and some restaurant options include Abdul's Halal Takeaway Foods and Sawasdee Thai. Of course, it's always best to be on the safe side and enquire with a restaurant regarding their halal status.

Enjoy A Drink With A View

Melbournians love a rooftop bar. It's little surprise why, as there's nothing better than indulging in a nice, cold cocktail as you watch the sun go down over the city on a warm summer night. For retro kitsch and fabulous cocktails, try Madame Brussels or Palmz Rooftop. If you'd like to nibble while you have your drinks, Campari House will serve up a great pizza, while Pacos Tacos has a great laid-back Mexican canteen vibe.

Get Out Of The City

Don't forget that we've got some stunning coastal areas just outside the city! You can hire a car, take a day trip to locations like the Great Ocean Road, where you can enjoy some of Victoria state's pristine beaches and amazing scenery, or head to Phillip Island, where you can meet the fairy penguins. If the beach isn't your thing, maybe some wine-drinking in the Yarra Valley or the day spas in Daylesford is more your style. But set aside a day to leave the city, and you'll open up a gateway to a whole lot of adventure.

Be Smart Around Animals

I'm sure that at some point, you've probably heard some variation of the phrase, "Everything in Australia wants to kill you." While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the animals in this country are some of the deadliest in the world. You generally won't come across anything too dangerous in the CBD, but if you take a day trip or head out to more rural areas, here are a few things to be aware of with regards to spiders and snakes:

  • Don't ever reach under rocks, into brush areas, into holes in trees or pick up fallen tree branches – that's where some of our snakes and spiders like to hide.
  • Another favourite hiding spot for snakes is around bodies of water surrounded by long grass and shrubs. Always be wary, especially in hot weather.
  • If you do come across a snake (one of the more common, venomous breeds is the Eastern Brown which is found in drier areas), they're generally only going to attack if they feel threatened, so give them a wide berth and make sure your exit path doesn't block them into a corner.
  • While they certainly aren't all deadly, a general rule of thumb is that if you see a snake or spider, assume they are venomous and act accordingly.

Dangers Of Night Time Driving In Australia

Australian Wildlife Are Nocturnal. 

Our animals (kangaroos, wallaby's, wombats, possums, to name a few) come out to play when the sun goes down, and they tend to like to play on the roads. As the temperature drops at night, the roads remain warm and make for the perfect place to sleep for much Australian wildlife. They also tend to get startled in headlights and are not known for their quick reaction times. The likelihood of either one of you being able to react in time is slim to none, and a collision is almost always inevitable. Dusk and dawn are also when our animals are at their most active and where visibility is compromised. We have had a scenario in the past where a family had the unfortunate experience of colliding with a red kangaroo one night on an isolated stretch of road. The vehicle was a write-off and needed to be replaced. However, because the accident occurred at night, there were no available towing companies, and the family could not be reached until the following day. In the middle of nowhere, they had to spend the night in a broken vehicle. This type of traumatic experience that we don't want anyone to go through, especially with young children.

Australia Is Big With Long, Isolated Stretches Of Road. 

If you find yourself stranded along with one of our vast stretches of roads between destinations, you will, in all likelihood, be there for the night. Australia is a beautiful country, but it is also a very harsh country weather-wise, with summer temperatures that can soar well into the '40s (Celsius) and can drop into the negatives. During winter, spring and autumn, roads are prone to forming black ice and can become very slippery and difficult to negotiate. We don't want our customers to ever be in unsafe conditions, and being stranded overnight in the Australian outback is not a safe place to be. Due to the size of the country, it is possible that you can be left stranded in an area where it will take up to 8 hours for a tow truck to reach you. Another point to consider is the lack of mobile coverage in some areas of Australia. Outside of residential areas, you may be without coverage, meaning that if you were to have had an accident, you would have to wait for another vehicle to pass to seek help, and there is no telling how long that could take. 

Visibility Is Decreased At Night-Time.

Driving at night becomes much harder as you are limited to the area illuminated by your headlights—factor in the glare from oncoming traffic. Your visibility is reduced even further with your reaction time in these conditions being slower...not ideal when confronted with wildlife in the middle of the road.

Open Grazing Livestock Pose A Potential Hazard.

In the outback, farms don't always have fenced-in areas for their animals, creating natural corridors for their life-stock to move freely to access food, shelter and water. This means that these animals crossroads without warning. Life-stock is not known for its fast reaction skills, so the likelihood of you hitting them is great when startled by headlights. Additionally, these animals move in herds, so the chance of you encountering a herd across the road is great.

Driver Fatigue Is A Major Cause Of Accidents.

Between 20 to 30% of all fatal accidents on Australian roads are caused by driver fatigue. In addition, studies have shown that sleep-deprived driving is the same as driving while intoxicated with alcohol. Some of the effects of driver fatigue are:

  • Difficulty concentrating and being easily distracted
  • Poor judgement
  • Reduced hand-eye coordination and visual perception
  • Reduced vigilance
  • Slower reaction time

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These are just a few factors that contribute to the perils of driving at night. Factor in not being well versed in Australian road rules (for international customers), inexperience in driving a campervan or motorhome and not knowing the area you are driving in, driving at night is just not worth it. We want our customers to have the best experience possible when they hit the road in one of our vehicles, and that is why we strongly recommend that you do not drive at night. So how can you make the best out of your trip?

  • Do your research: Australia is a large country with the distances between destinations being deceptively long
  • Plan your trip: Make sure you allow for adequate driving time between stops so you have enough time to find your campground while it is still light out
  • Know the rules: Research Australian driving rules, so you know how to drive in each state in Australia safely
  • Have a buddy: to avoid driver fatigue, make sure you have someone with who you can share the driving with
  • Rest: If you have decided to take a solo trip, give yourself time to recuperate between the different legs of your journey
  • Be prepared: Always have enough petrol/diesel, drinking water and other necessities when travelling. Fuel stations are few and far between when travelling in some areas, with stations sometimes being up to 500km's apart.
  • And above all: stop when the sun goes down. One of the greatest joys about hiring a campervan or motorhome for your road trip is so that you can enjoy your evenings relaxing under the stars after a day of adventuring. Don't compromise your trip by travelling in unsafe conditions. More information on optimising your campervan/motorhome holiday experience:
    • Outback Travel Tips
    • What To Bring
    • About Australia

Conclusion:

There are few things as exciting as planning a holiday road trip. Especially if this road trip is in one of our campervans or motorhomes. Australia is a prime holiday destination for doing a self-drive holiday: large open spaces, lovely long stretches of uninterrupted roads and breathtaking scenery. However, driving in Australia at night is a whole other experience and one that we strongly advise all our customers against doing.

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