Getting Around Melbourne
The best way to get around Melbourne is by tram. Trams operate throughout the day and offer multiple routes that criss-cross the city. There's even a free tram designed just for tourists. You can also board Melbourne's buses and trains with the same myki ticket that you'll use for trams. While taxis and rental cars are available, they'll both cost more than public transportation. To avoid the hassle of adjusting to Melbourne's quirky road rules, it's best to avoid driving here.
The Melbourne Airport (MEL) is about 16 miles northwest of downtown Melbourne. You can take a SkyBus from the airport into the city for AU$19 ($15). You can also hire a taxi or rent a car.
Melbourne loves its trams. And the free City Circle Tram, which operates in the central business district, is especially popular. This tram service is available Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On the regular trams, you can travel throughout the city and into nearby suburbs like Richmond, St Kilda and South Yarra-Prahran. Tram service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
You can buy tickets – known as "myki" passes – online, in retail outlets with a myki sign and at train stations and select bus and tram stops. Tram ticket packages – which include a myki card preloaded with AU$8 ($6), a souvenir myki wallet and special rates for local attractions like the Eureka Skydeck and the Melbourne Museum – can be purchased from the Melbourne Visitor Centre, in airport and Southern Cross Station SkyBus terminals and at participating hotels. For travelers ages 17 and older, a AU$6 ($5) fee applies to purchase a myki card; discounted rates are available for childrens myki cards. The myki Visitor Value Pack costs AU$14 (or $11). Once a card is purchased, money or a seven-day pass will need to be loaded onto the card to pay for tram fares. Basic fares (which are valid for two hours) cost AU$2.70 or AU$3.90 ($2 or $3) depending on the zone you're traveling in, while seven-day passes start at AU$27 ($21).
Buses run along more than 300 routes in central Melbourne and into the suburbs. There are two bus zones, and bus fares are based on the distance traveled. Standard fares cost AU$2.70 or AU$3.90 for two hours of rides. Bus schedules vary depending on the route, though most buses operate between 5 a.m. and midnight. The NightRider service only runs every on Saturdays and Sundays. Buses accept myki passes. You can also purchase tickets on the bus from the driver.
The main train hub for city travel is the Flinders Street Railway Station, while regional and interstate trains arrive and depart from the Southern Cross Station. The City Loop, a five-station rail route located in central Melbourne, is probably the most convenient train network for travelers. Trains also make stops in other parts of the city and in the outer suburbs. Train hours vary depending on the line, though most routes run from 5 to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday, 24 hours on Satudays and between 3:30 and 1 a.m. on Sundays. You can purchase tickets (which cost AU$2.70 or AU$3.90 depending on the zone) from a train conductor or use a myki pass to pay for train fares.
|On Foot||Although we do recommend walking around individual neighborhoods like the CBD and Fitzroy, you'll need to rely on public transportation to get from one end of the city to another. The distance between some of Melbourne's top attractions also makes it a challenge to rely solely on getting around on foot.|
Yellow taxicabs are available in Melbourne, and you can hail them right off the street. Expect a taxi from Melbourne Airport into the CBD to cost between AU$43 to AU$77 (or roughly $33 to $59). All rides charge an initial rate of AU$4.20 (about $3), plus an additional AU$6 ($5) per mile traveled. Extra charges apply for rides to or from the airport and for rides provided between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors can use the Uber ride-sharing service to get around Melbourne as well.
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 or from agencies located in the city. Metered street parking in downtown Melbourne starts at AU$5.50 ($4) per hour.
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