Getting Around Melbourne
The best way to get around Melbourne is by tram. Tram routes criss-cross the city, and their hours are extensive. Plus, there's even a free tram designed just for tourists! You can also board Melbourne's buses and trains with the same Metlink ticket that you'll use for trams. While taxis and rental cars are available, they'll both cost you more than public transport will. And we don't recommend driving as many Americans find it difficult to adjust to Melbourne's rules of the road.
The Melbourne Airport (MEL) is roughly 14 miles northwest of the city center. You can take a SkyBus from the airport into the city for $16 AUD (about the same in USD). You can also hire a taxi or rent a car.
Melbourne loves its trams. And the free City Circle Tram is especially popular. On the regular trams, you can travel throughout the city and into nearby suburbs like Richmond, St Kilda, and South Yarra. Tram service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; until 1:30 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. You can buy tickets, called "Metcards," on Metlink's website, in select retail outlets (that showcase a blue Metcard sign) and via a helpline (1-800-652-313). By the end of 2012, the city is hoping to move completely from the Metcard to another ticketing system called "myki." Myki is currently being used alongside Metcards, and the passes are fairly, with passengers purchasing a certain number of days worth of travel. For seven days of unlimited travel using myki, expect to pay just over $55 AUD (roughly $55 USD); this allows you access to all Metlink services and stops.
Buses run along more than 300 routes in central Melbourne and into the suburbs. There are two bus zones, and the fare depends on the time of day and the distance traveled. Bus service is 24 hours/seven days a week, though the NightRider service is much slower. Buses accept both Metcard and myki passes, and you can also buy tickets on the bus from the driver.
The main train hub for city travel is the Flinders Street Station, while regional and interstate trains arrive and depart from the Southern Cross Station. There's a five-station underground train that makes stops at places like Melbourne Central along a route called the "The City Loop;" this is probably the most convenient train for travelers. The other trains make stops in the city and out into the outer suburbs. Train service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; until about 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. All trains accept both Metcard and myki passes.
|On Foot||Although we do recommend touring individual neighborhoods like the City Centre and Fitzroy on foot, you'll need to rely on public transportation to get from one end of the city to another. At times, the distance between attractions can be intimidated, so seek other options.|
|Taxi||Yellow taxi cabs are fairly affordable in Melbourne, and you can hail them right off the street. Expect a taxi from Melbourne Airport into the Central Business District to cost you about 45 to 50 AUD (relatively the same in USD).|
|Car||We do not recommend driving in Melbourne. With all the trams hurtling down the streets (and passengers hopping off them into the street), driving can be a harrowing experience. The roads can be confusing too, and there are several road rules that differ from those in the States. However, if you really want some wheels in the city, you can rent them at the Melbourne Airport (MEL) or from agencies located in the city.|
Entry & Exit Requirements
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter Australia. You can stay in the country for up to 90 days as long as you acquire an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), an electronic visa that can be obtained here. Airlines and travel agents may also apply for ETAs on your behalf. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department's website.