FRB Local Information

FRB2018: Finding and understanding Fast Radio Bursts will be held from 12-16 February at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art.

Climate
Melbourne has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and cool winters and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. The average temperatures in February range from 16.0C to 26.6C (79.9F to 60.8F), so please dress appropriately.  The Australian sun is very strong.  Always wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and SPF 50+ sunscreen lotion, even on cloudy days.  If spending the day outdoors, reapply sunscreen regularly.  Stay out of the sun during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.

Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne has an integrated public transport system based around extensive train, tram, bus and taxi systems.  For more information about getting around Melbourne please visit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Melbourne/Travel-information/Getting-around

Power Supply
Our electrical current is 220-240 Volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from almost all other countries, so make sure to bring an adaptor. 

Driving
Cars in Australia drive on the left.  Please take care when crossing streets (and driving!) if you are not used to this. Speed limits in Queensland are 50 km/h in local/suburban areas and 100 km/h on highways, unless otherwise posted. Penalties for speeding, for failing to wear a seatbelt, or for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are all extremely severe (for example, breaking the speed limit by 20 km/h incurs a fine of AUD$531).

Time Zone
In February, Melbourne will be on Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), which is 11 hours ahead of GMT.

Currency
The only currency accepted in Australia is the Australian Dollars (AUD); at the time of writing, 1 AUD was equivalent to USD 0.75, EUR 0.72, GBP 0.62 and JPY 86.  Currency exchange is available at banks, hotels, international airports and in tourist areas. You can also directly withdraw AUD from automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout Australia using most foreign bank cards; your bank may impose a fee for such withdrawals. Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are both widely accepted at shops, hotels and restaurants (although some smaller vendors might not accept American Express or will apply a surcharge on its use). Banking hours are typically 9.30am-4.00pm on Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu, 9.30pm-5.00pm on Fri, and closed on weekends.

Smoking
Australia has strong anti-smoking legislation. Cigarettes are heavily taxed (typically costing more than $20 per pack), must be kept from view by vendors, and are sold in plain green packaging containing graphic health warnings. In Queensland, it is illegal to smoke within 4 metres of the entrance to any public building, at bus/train stops, in most public places and restaurants, or in a car containing children. There are also heavy fines for improper disposal of cigarette butts. Note that all accommodation rooms at the conference venue/hotel are non-smoking.  For more information please visit: Queensland Health.

For more information about Queensland and Australia please see:

Victoria: http://www.visitvictoria.com/
Australia: http://www.australia.com/en