Ten years after his F1 debut at Albert Park, Hamilton arrives at the downtown circuit as the leading light of a sport now under new management and featuring wider and faster cars.
Hamilton, 32, was beaten to last year's title by Mercedes team-mate Rosberg, who quit the sport five days later citing the intense pressures of competing.
This year, Hamilton will be face renewed competition from Ferrari and Red Bull, who are expected to close the gap on dominant Mercedes, as well his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas of Finland.
Hamilton is revelling in the new generation of quicker cars, which coincides with American group Liberty Media's takeover and the exit of long-time ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.
"I'm finding the car is much more physical to drive than in the past," said Hamilton, who is seeking his fourth world title after victories in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
"It's so much faster in the corners. The force you feel on your body and on your neck is much higher. I've got bruises and bumps where I've never really had them before."
An overhaul of technical regulations has ushered in wider cars with broader tyres, which are expected to be noisier and provide faster racing, but also put greater physical demands on the drivers.
"Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent -- just like Formula One cars should be," said Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
"The target with these new regulations was to make this generation of F1 cars the quickest in the history of the sport.
"And looking at the results from testing, we're well on the way to achieving that. It's something that's never been done before and that's a radical change.