deird1: Vimes lighting a cigar using a swamp dragon, with text "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" (Vimes)
[personal profile] deird1
This got longer than it was intended to.

[personal profile] frayadjacent is moving to Melbourne, and I was thinking through the things she'd need to know about living here - and discovered that, actually, there are quite a lot of them. So, I'm dividing up by category, and posting them here for the amusement of anyone who has time to read things.

In General

One thing you may know about Australia: it's really hot.

One thing you may not know about Austraia: it's really cold.

We have intensely hot summers, even this far south. I'm not talking equator hot, but still... quite warm.

We also have extremely cold winters, even this far north. This is helped by the fact that we're on the south coast, with nothing in between us and Antarctica except ocean. We get freezing winter winds.

Our houses are also designed to guard against hot weather, not cold weather. This week, it's been 1 degree (34 F) every morning - and my house has felt that way.

Guarding Against Sunburn

If you're outside during summer, you will get sunburnt. Simple fact.

To stop this from happening: slip, slop, slap. In other words: "Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat." Whatever you do, don't stand around with no hat, no top, and no sunscreen. YOU WILL GET BURNT AND IT WILL HURT.

You might also want to spend $5 in China Town, and get yourself a nice parasol. Carrying around your own portable shade is really helpful, especially when it's hot enough that a minute of direct sunlight will result in sweat dripping off your ears.


If you have a good winter coat, bring it with you. You will not find a good one here.

Our clothes tend more towards the dealing-with-hot-weather end of the spectrum. Our winter coats are kind of thin and puny.

Speaking of clothes...

Melbourne's Eccentricities

Melbourne is famous for its ridiculously changable weather. A single day can be hot, cold, sunny, rainy, and windy.

To deal with this, learn to dress in layers. You want to be able to take off a layer or two of clothes if it suddenly gets hot - without being arrested for public indecency. And you want to carry around an extra layer of warmth in case it suddenly gets cold.

The Heatstroke Thing

I have seen this happen to far too many Europeans.

What they do is, they come down here in summer weather. And, being from a cold climate, they think "Ooh! Summer! That's the time when we run around outside really fast, and enjoy ourselves!" So... they do. They run, and run, and run, and leap, and bound, and run some more, and... collapse on the ground and start puking everywhere.

Try not to do this.

Running around outside is one of the fun parts of summer, but you need to pace yourself. Drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks in the shade, and walk slowly if you can. Trust me. I know whereof I speak.

Dealing With Drought

We're in a drought. Kinda permanently.

Don't waste water. Don't leave taps going. Don't wash your car in your driveway, or the neighbours might start to glare at you.

Dealing With Bushfires

Something you won't have to deal with, mostly. Australians are very organised, so we schedule bushfires to happen once a year, in a specific area of the state set aside for that purpose. Just... don't go there then, and you'll be fine.

Don't light matches outside during summer, though. Not until you've checked if it's a total fire ban day.

Safety Tips for Crazy Critters

Not technically about weather, but it fit here better than anywhere else. And it's about the environment, so that counts, right?

We have:
- snakes
- spiders
- jellyfish
- sharks
- marsupials

And here are some quick, simple tips for not letting them kill you:

1) Do not put your hand inside something you can't see into.
Not under logs. Not inside gumboots. Not into a patch of grass. Not inside a rabbit hole.

Putting your hand somewhere you can't see is a good way to get bitten by whatever you've accidentally attacked. Don't do it.

2) Have a glass ready in case of spiders.
Put the glass over the top of the spider, put a piece of card underneath the glass, and deposit the spider outside.

Or, follow my example and shriek until someone kind gets rid of it for you.

3) Swim between the flags.
Most public beaches will have flags posted. The area between the flags will be supervised by lifeguards. They will stop you drowning, pick you up when you fall off your surfboard, and hunt down the sharks that massacred you and avenge your death.

4) Do not hug the cuddly animals.
Unless the nice people at the animal sanctuaries are handing you one and saying "Here, hug this". The sanctuary people are nice. They won't let you get your face ripped off unless you really deserve it.

This concludes everything you need to know about surviving Australia's weather. Questions? Comments?

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