Getting around Melbourne
Getting around Melbourne on public transport is not only easy and cheap, it’s part of the fun.
I’ve lived in Melbourne most of my life and know the city and it’s transport system very well. Now that I am living interstate one of the questions I am frequently asked by friends who are planning to visit the city is “what’s the best way of getting around Melbourne”? Here’s my advice.
One of the best ways to explore Melbourne is on foot. The grid layout of the city makes getting around Melbourne easy to navigate, and most attractions are within easy walking distance.
Walking around the city allows visitors to experience the city’s vibe and culture. It’s also a great way to discover the many laneways and arcades that the city is famous for. Make sure you wear a good pair of walking shoes, as having sore feet can slow you down and ruin your day.
Join a Free Walking Tour
Like most major international cities, Melbourne offers free walking tours. These tours are the perfect way to see the city as well as learn about it’s history. They’re also a great option if you’re travelling solo and don’t want to wander around the city on your own.
The I’m free walking tour departs every day at 10:30am and 2:30pm from the Sir Redmond Barry Statue, located in front of the State Library on Swanston Street. No bookings are required. Rain, hail or shine, just show up and look for the tour guide dressed in a bright green T-Shirt. The walking tour takes approximately two and a half to three hours and takes in attractions such as Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, Chinatown, the Yarra River and much more.
Although the I’m free tour is free, don’t feel shy about giving your guide a tip if you think they’ve done a good job showing you around their city.
Cycling is a great option for getting around Melbourne. Melbourne Bike Share offers unlimited 30 minute rides between bike stations. Subscriptions start at just $3 per day, however if your ride exceeds 30 minutes you can incur overtime fees, as detailed on their website.
RIDE THE TRAMS
Free Tram Zone
In 2015 Melbourne introduced the Free Tram Zone. The Free Tram Zone makes getting around Melbourne on public transport more affordable for tourists and locals and is a great initiative by Yarra Trams.
The Free Tram Zone includes the area from the iconic Queen Victoria Market, across to Victoria Harbour in Docklands, up to Spring Street and over to Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. Although tram travel within this central area of Melbourne is free, you will need a myki card if you plan to start or finish your journey outside of this central area.
To catch a Tram in the free zone, simply wait at any tram stop along the Free Tram Zone route, marked with Free Tram Zone signage.
For more information on the area covered by the Free Tram Zone and a downloadable map, go to the Public Transport Victoria website.
City Circle Tram
The City Circle Tram is a free and convenient way to see the sights of central Melbourne and the Docklands while experiencing a ride on one of the city’s much loved heritage trams.
The City Circle Tram operate in both directions every 12 minutes between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. City Circle Trams do not run on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
During the tram ride, an audio commentary provides details of city landmarks and major attractions such as the City Museum, Parliament House, Docklands, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and the Princess Theatre.
The City Circle Tram also links with other tram, train and bus routes around Melbourne.
To catch the City Circle Tram, simply wait at any tram stop along the City Circle Tram route, marked with a City Circle sign.
TAKE THE TRAIN
Melbourne’s metro trains run between the outer suburbs and Flinders Street Station in the city. The city loop is Melbourne’s underground system, with five stations in the central business district: Southern Cross Station, Flagstaff (closed weekends), Melbourne Central, Parliament and Flinders Street. Southern Cross Station is Melbourne’s hub for regional and interstate trains.
HOP ON A BUS
Melbourne’s free Tourist Bus is a free hop on, hop off service with stops at a number of Melbourne city attractions. Its route is designed to complement the free Melbourne City Circle Tram, which takes a different route around the city.
There are 13 regular stops on the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle route. For people travelling further afield, Melbourne buses run frequently to major hubs, including shopping centres, leisure and sports venues, and Melbourne’s inner city suburbs.
Getting around Melbourne is easy with a myki. myki is Melbourne’s ticket to travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. It’s a plastic smartcard with stored value which can be topped up as required.
A myki card can be purchased online at the PTV website, premium train stations, retail outlets displaying the myki sign (including 7-Elevens), or by calling 1800 800 007 (free from a land line) in Australia.
As a frequent visitor to Melbourne I find the myki card very convenient. I can top up my card before I arrive in Melbourne so it’s one less thing to worry about when I’m travelling.
MYKI VISITOR PACK
For flexible travel, buy a myki Visitor Pack from Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station (corner Swanston and Little Collins streets), SkyBus terminals and some hotels. Visitor Packs include a pre-loaded myki card with enough value for one day of travel in Zone 1 and 2, instructions on how to use myki, a Melbourne tram map and discount entry to Melbourne attractions.
Street and transports maps, providing and an overview of Melbourne’s tram, train and bus routes, bike tracks and walking trails are available from Melbourne’s visitor information centres.
Tech savvy visitors can also use the m.visitvictoria.com ‘Nearby’ mode for access to a mapped list of attractions, shops, food and wine options that are close by. This makes getting around Melbourne even easier.
SKYBUS SHUTTLE (AIRPORT TRANSFER)
The Skybus Shuttle operates an airport bus service between Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine and Southern Cross station in the Melbourne City Centre. This service operates 24/7, including all public holidays. I frequently use the Skybus Shuttle and find it very convenient with buses running every 10 minutes throughout the day.
Tickets can be purchased on arrival at the bus stop or purchased online. To review ticket pricing and/or make a purchase visit the Skybus website.
On arrival at Southern Cross Station in the city, SkyBus provides a complimentary hotel transfer service, subject to availability, during the hours of 6am-10.30pm on Monday to Friday; 7.30am-5.30pm on Saturday and Sunday (excluding Christmas day).
GETTING AROUND MELBOURNE
Getting around Melbourne on public transport has never been easier. The City Circle Tram and Free Tram Zone services makes travelling around the city centre fast and affordable. Can’t complain about that!
Now, it’s over to you! If you have any additional information, feel free to leave a comment below.
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