Sandi Sieger


  • Melbourne, Australia

Sandi Sieger is a correspondent based in Melbourne who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Sieger loves exploring the diversity and culture in her city — food, arts, fashion, luxury, style and entertainment are all in her day’s work and play. She’s also a freelance writer and the editor of Onya Magazine, a lifestyle publication about Australia. Sieger writes about lifestyle, wellness, travel, parenting and Australian affairs, and also documents her thoughts and adventures on her blog, In The Thick Of It.

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  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    What is public transportation like in Melbourne?

    Melbourne's public transport system is relatively easy to use and offers a quick and efficient way to get around the city.

    Your options are:

    Trams, Trains and Buses

    You’ll need a Myki smartcard to travel on any public transport in Melbourne. This offers you with flexible travel options between trains, trams and buses – whether it’s just for short trips, a few hours a day, or all day. Visit Public Transport Victoria for information on purchasing a Myki smartcard, and for downloadable maps and timetables.

    NightRider Bus Service

    This is a late night bus service that operates on Friday and Saturdays. The NightRider leaves from safe locations in the central city, making over 300 stops along ten NightRider routes. Again, visit Public Transport Victoria for further information.

    City Circle Tram and Melbourne Visitor Shuffle

    The City Circle Tram and Melbourne Visitor Shuffle bus get you to all the city’s major attractions for free. The City Circle Tram is a free service around central Melbourne taking passengers past some of Melbourne's major attractions. The Visitor Shuffle runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily, stopping at key destinations.
  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    Should visitors rent a car in Melbourne?

    It’s not necessary to rent a car when visiting Melbourne. However, if you’re planning to venture beyond the city – to the county, peninsula or further, then it’s certainly an option to think about.

    Melbourne’s city is grid-like in appearance and exploring it on-foot is an easy way to get around. Public transport makes it easy to travel across the city quickly, as well. The inner city suburbs of Melbourne are easily accessed by train, tram or bus, as are outer suburbs.

    Most train lines end about an hour or so out of Melbourne’s city, which means exploring areas like the Dandenong Ranges is relatively easy and cost-effective. On top of this, there are many bus tours that travel from the city to various destinations – like the Great Ocean Road, Portsea and more. Taxis (cabs) in Melbourne will take you anywhere, but can be incredibly expensive.

    Driving in Melbourne isn’t overly difficult – so long as you are armed with a good map or GPS. Drivers are generally courteous and helpful. Traffic is an issue, but usually only at peak times of day (7am-9am and 4pm-6pm) and in certain congested areas. If you are confident driving in another country (particularly on the other side of the road if you’re from the USA) then definitely give it a go – the freedom of a car will allow you to discover so many places  - more than you can probably stop at – but having a car is certainly not a requirement, especially if you are not planning on venturing too far away from the city.
  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    What is the best time to visit Melbourne?

    Melbourne is a wonderful to city to visit at any time of the year – and no, I’m not just saying that!

    If you have the luxury of choice, my advice would be to choose the season that you most enjoy. Do you love a long, hot summer? Prefer cooler days? Like a temperate and generally mild climate?

    There’s always something to see and do in Melbourne, so unless you’re visiting at a specific time for a specific event, let your weather preference guide your trip.

    Melbourne’s summers are generally very hot - temperatures exceed 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) daily and nights are usually balmy – sometimes humid, sometimes dry, but always warm.

    Melbourne’s winters are usually cool – we don’t experience snow in the city (of course, you can enjoy it in the alpine ranges) but winter is a mixture of chilly days and rainy days. Don’t let that deter you – the occasional grey day is present, but Melbourne winters feature many blue skies, too. And the city is perfect to explore in Winter.

    The in-between months in Melbourne are the most temperate – Autumn (Fall) consists of warm, sunny days that mostly turn into crisp nights and mornings, particularly as the months roll on. And there’s nothing like seeing the scattering of leaves across our tree-lined streets. Spring sees locals kiss goodbye to winter and start to embrace lovely, mild days – and it’s a magical time where gardens across the city bloom with colour.

    There’s no best time to visit Melbourne – anytime is a good time, and that’s the truth.
  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    What is the tipping etiquette in Melbourne?

    Tipping in Melbourne is not mandatory – at all. Of course, it is appreciated, but it’s certainly not a part of our custom, tradition or expectation. In recent years, tipping has become more popular but it’s at the discretion and inclination of the tipper.

    Tipping is only usually done at more expensive restaurants with more tailored and exceptional service. However, everywhere from the corner café to the casual restaurant will most likely have a tip jar or bowl at the front counter where you can pop a few coins in to contribute to the staff tipping pool.

    The hospitality industry in Melbourne is a very well respected one – wage rates and overtime rates are protected and staff do not rely on tips to form the basis of their wage – any tip is an added extra or bonus.

    A 10% goods and services tax (GST) is included in the bill when purchasing any goods or service in Melbourne.
  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    What language is spoken in Melbourne?

    English is spoken in Melbourne. All across the city and suburbs, in all venues and establishments, you will be able to converse in English.

    Approximately 80% of language spoken in homes across Melbourne is also English. Melbourne is, however, a very multi-cultural city. Migration patterns over the years have ensured that the city has many influences – from food to culture – and in some cases you can also converse in certain areas and establishments in Italian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Cantonese, German, Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin and more.

    It’s important to note that Auslan, the sign language for the deaf, is also used across Melbourne.
  • On March 3, 2013
    Sandi Sieger answered the question: Sandi Sieger

    What are the best historic hotels in Melbourne?

    Melbourne’s city is a mix of old and new – historic buildings line the streets, as do modern skyscrapers and apartments. It’s not unusual to see a 19th Century building alongside a futuristic designed one. In Melbourne, we love to honor our traditions and history, which is why so many ‘old’ buildings are heritage listed, ensuring their legacy and beauty lives on for generations to come.

    Here’s five of the best historic hotels in Melbourne:

    The Windsor Hotel is not only Melbourne, but also Australia’s, oldest and most-cherished hotel. Currently celebrating their 130th year, the 5 star Windsor Hotel is located at 111 Spring Street, in walking distance to the arts and theatre precinct, gardens, restaurants, cafes, famous landmarks and public transport.

    The Victoria Hotel has been an icon in Melbourne for just over 128 years. Located right in the heart of the central business district, its now modern rooms are mixed in with historic areas, such as the lobby.

    Located on prestigious Collins Street, the InterContinential Melbourne at the Rialto incorporates one of the city’s last remaining examples of 19th Century Victorian Gothic architecture. Behind the Gothic facade sits 253 exquisitely stylish and modern guest rooms and suites – this hotel will not disappoint.

    The Grand Hotel Melbourne offers boutique apartment accommodation in a heritage-listed building. Its palatial apartments are fully self-contained in a gorgeously grandeur Victorian era designed hotel.

    Classified by The National Trust and also holding a heritage listing, Hotel Charsfield on St Kilda Road is another fine example of Victorian architecture in Melbourne’s city. This 4 star boutique hotel has serious character – don’t be surprised if you feel like a character in The Great Gatsby.