Getting Around Melbourne

Although most Melbournians travel over 90% of the time via a private motor vehicle, travellers may be surprised to know that Melbourne has one of the best public transportation links in Australia. There are taxis, buses, trains, trams, ports, and a bike hire system available in Melbourne – not to mention the ability to easily walk around by foot.


Trams

The largest tram network in the world can be found in Melbourne. In total, there is 250 km worth of tracks, about 500 trams, 29 routes, and 1763 stops. The tram fleet in Melbourne range from very modern to old heritage trams. Only modern trams have air conditioning.

Using trams is a great way to explore the centre of Melbourne and inner suburbs such as South Yarra, Richmond, St. Kilda, Port Melbourne, etc. Visitors and local alike can also reach by tram the middle and outer Melbourne suburbs such as Burwood, Camberwell, Vermont, Reservoir, Bundoora, Kew, Box Hill and others.

Tram stops are clearly marked and numbered which makes it very easy to find right stop on a map. Very often you can pick up a route map on board of the tram; however they are not always available. Most travel guide brochures which you can pick up from Melbourne Visitor Centre or from some hotels should include a tram network map.

If you want get on the tram, you need to signal to a tram driver that you want to be picked up just before the tram approach the stop. You would do this in a similar way to the way you normally hail a taxi. It is very important to do this if you are the only waiting passenger or your tram stop serves multiple tram routes. Otherwise, your tram may not stop.

Tram in Melbourne, Australia.
Melbourne has one of the largest tram networks in the world offering visitors a great way to explore the city.

If you want get off the tram, you need to let a tram driver know by pressing a green button in modern trams or pull a cord in older trams before you approach your stop. Otherwise, the tram may not stop.

If you only travel around the Melbourne central business district, then you normally do not need to bother about hailing a tram and pressing a button as there is always people who wants to board or get off the tram.

Many trams routes link to train and bus routes, other trams and the City Circle Tram.

Most tram services run between 5am and midnight from Monday to Thursday, between 5am and 1am Friday and Saturday. On Sunday trams run from 7am to 11pm.

Please note that you can not purchase tickets on board of a tram and you must have a valid Myki travel card before boarding a tram. Read more...

Download tram route guides and maps in PDF format.

Download tram timetables in PDF format.


City Circle Tram in Melbourne, Australia.
Use the City Circle Tram to visit major Melbourne attractions and explore the city for free.

Free City Circle Tram

There are Heritage trams operating on the City Circle route which is free. This tram is intended as a tourist tram to Melbourne and very often there will be running audio commentary that announces main point of interests along the route and to help visitors get to know the tourist attractions and other interesting sights of Melbourne city. If you wish to hop on this tram, make sure you hop on a maroon-brown tram Number 35 which is clearly marked “City Circle Tram” at any of the clearly marked tram stop.

It is scheduled to stop every 12 minutes between 10am until 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, and 10 am to 9 pm from Thursday to Saturday. However, it does not run during major public holidays such as Good Friday or Christmas Day.

The City Circle Tram is a great transportation option for visitors who want to explore tourist attractions, sights, shops and other point of interests that are located in or around Melbourne central business district. Please note that this is an old heritage tram which is not wheelchair accessible and it does not have any air conditioning, so it may be uncomfortable during hot summer days. This is a free service and many locals use it as well. So, it can be crowded during peak hours.

On board of the tram, you can pick up a free Melbourne city tourist guide, which normally includes Melbourne map and discount coupons for different Melbourne tourist attractions, and other travel related flyers and brochures.

City Circle Tram Stop in Melbourne, Australia.
The City Circle Tram stops are clearly marked and easy to spot anywhere along the route.

The City Circle Tram stops at the following popular city landmarks and attractions: Federation Square, Flinders Street, Parliament House, Treasury Gardens, City Museum, Melbourne Aquarium, Princess Theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, Victoria Harbour, Docklands, Etihad Stadium, Spring Street, LaTrobe Street, Harbour Esplanade, Carlton Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Waterfront City and Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Immigration Museum, etc.

Also within as short walking distance from the City Circle Tram stops you will find Southbank, Eureka Skydeck, Victorian Arts Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Crown Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Alexandra Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne Park and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook's Cottage, Queen Victoria Markets, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum and IMAX Theatre, Old Melbourne Gaol, Bourke Street Mall, Chinatown, etc.

The City Circle Tram links with other public transport such as other trams, trains, buses.

Download a copy of the City Circle Tram map in PDF format (740Kb)

Download a copy of the City Circle Tram brochure & map in PDF format (764Kb)


Melbourne Visitor Shuttle

The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle (formerly known as the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle) is a bus service that takes tourists around the central part of Melbourne, allowing them to hop on and hop off at 13 different stops.

This service includes on-board commentary about Melbourne attractions and runs daily every 30 minutes between 9:30am and 4:30 pm. The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle does not operate on Christmas Day and has restricted timetable (from 1:00pm to 4:30pm) on ANZAC Day and Labour Day. The entire trip takes about 90 minutes if you do not wish to hop off.

Ticket costs $5 which allows you unlimited trips during a day. Children under 10 years old travel free. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines located at each of 13 stops or from the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square. Please note that ticket machines only accept coins or credit cards.

The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle is a good way to visit Melbourne attractions but it can be too crowded during peak periods to be enjoyable. It is recommended to avoid weekends and public holidays.

The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle operates on a slightly different route than the City Circle Tram and frequents some places that the City Circle Tram does not visit. The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle connects to other public transport services such as the City Circle Tram, regular trams, trains, buses.

The shuttle (normally red colour) and all 13 stops are clearly marked “Melbourne Visitor Shuttle”.

By using this service, you will be able to visit the following popular attractions and destination: Arts precinct, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne Visitor Centre, Sports precinct, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Fitzroy Gardens and Cooks’ Cottage, Collins Street, Chinatown, Bourke Street Mall, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Museum and IMAX Theatre, Royal Exhibition Building, Old Melbourne Gaol, Lygon Street, University of Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market, Docklands, Victoria Harbour, Etihad Stadium, Waterfront City and Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Immigration Museum, Melbourne Aquarium, Southbank, Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Crown Entertainment Complex, Shrine of Remembrance, Royal Botanic Gardens, and many others.

Tourists can pick up the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle brochure at the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square.

Download a copy of the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle brochure & map in PDF format (2.1Mb)


Trains

The train network in Melbourne is run by Metro Trains. This train network comprises of 15 main train lines and 218 stations. These lines include Frankston Line, Pakenham Line, Cranbourne Line, Sandringham Line, Sydenham Line, Williamstown Line, Lilydale Line, Glen Waverly Line, Belgrave Line, Alamein Line, Hurstbridge Line, Epping Line, South Morang Line, Craigieburn Line, Upfield Line, Werribee Line, Stony Point Line.

Most tourists in Melbourne will find the City Loop stations very useful, as this is an excellent choice for those wishing to visit tourist attractions around the Melbourne central business district area. The City Loop is mostly underground but does include the two largest stations in the city as well as 3 major underground train stations. These include Flinders Street Station which is the main train station, Southern Cross Station (former Spencer Street Station) which is a major Melbourne hub and connects with regional and interstate trains and buses and airport buses, Melbourne Central, Flagstaff, and Parliament.

Please note that the train doors do not open automatically. When your train arrives and stops, you need to press the green button on the train door. Older types of trains do not have buttons, so you need to open the door by the handle. The doors will close automatically once the train is ready to depart.

Normally all trains have automated stop announcement. New types of trains also have electronic signs where you can see what the next stop would be. There are train network map on every train.

You can pick up a map and timetable at many large train stations from attended ticket booths. Most travel guide brochures which you can pick up from Melbourne Visitor Centre or from some hotels should include a train network map.

Most train services run between 5am and midnight from Monday to Thursday, between 5am and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sunday trains run from 7am to 11pm.

Download train network maps in PDF format and search timetable.

To travel on a train, you will need a Myki travel card which you must purchase at all train stations. Read more...


Buses

Melbourne has an extensive network of buses, with over 300 routes available operating by several different companies.

The bus network serves the Central Business District and cross-suburban travel, provides connections to major shopping centres, train stations, etc.

Most visitors to Melbourne will stay either in the Central Business District or inner suburbs which are served very well by extensive tram network and trains. Therefore, many visitors may not use buses often or do not use them at all. Buses are very useful in outer suburbs and some areas which are not covered by trams and trains.

If you want get on the bus, you need to signal to a bus driver that you want to be picked up just before the bus approach the stop. You would do this in a similar way to the way you normally hail a taxi. If you do not do this, then your bus may not stop.

If you want get off the bus, you need to let a bus driver know by pressing a green button before you approach your stop. Otherwise, the bus may not stop.

There are several bus routes that provide services between Melbourne Airport and some Melbourne suburbs, also connecting to trains. While these buses do not go to Melbourne central business district or inner suburbs, some visitors may find them useful.

Many of bus routes run between 6am and 9pm on weekdays, between 8am and 9pm on Saturdays and between 9am and 9pm on Sundays.

Please note that you can not purchase tickets on board of a bus and you must have a valid Myki travel card before boarding a bus. Read more...

Search and download bus timetables and maps.


NightRider Buses

The NightRider buses operate after midnight on weekends. This service is intended to help visitors and locals alike have safe late night travel from the central part of Melbourne to the outer suburbs. Buses run every 30 minutes starting at 1:30am until 4:30am on Saturdays, and until 5:30 on Sundays.

There is no other public transport after 1:30am and the NightRider bus is the only inexpensive option to get to your hotel after the late night out. Another alternative would be to catch a taxi.

There are 13 routes and over 450 NightRider bus stops around Melbourne allows travellers to get to many inner and outer suburbs covering popular destinations such as Docklands, Richmond, North Melbourne, St Kilda, Brighton, Carlton, Brunswick, Prahran, South Yarra, etc.

The NightRider bus routes go as far as St Albans, Werribee, Melton, Sunbury, Dandenong, Cranbourne, Frankston, Belgrave, Croydon, Lilydale, Craigieburn, Knox, Bayswater, Doncaster, Epping, Eltham, Mornington, Rosebud, Healesville.

Most services depart from Swanston Street (between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane) next to St Paul’s Cathedral. These buses are clearly marked with a big sign “NightRider” and the text “NightRider - the after midnight bus service”.

You can ask a drive to stop anywhere along the route, not just on designated stops.

All the NightRider buses are equipped with CCTV surveillance and have phones available for those needing to arrange a taxi to meet you at your bus stop or just to make a private phone call. If you need to call a taxi or use the phone, just let the bus driver know.

Please note you need a valid Myki travel card that you must purchase before boarding the bus. Read more...

Download a NightRider network map in PDF format (93Kb) or find a specific NightRider route map.


Myki travel card, Melbourne, Australia.
Myki is the only ticket to travel on Melbourne trams, trains and buses.

Tickets & Fares

Melbourne public transport network is separated into two zones: Zone 1 (central business district and inner suburbs) and Zone 2 (middle and outer suburbs). Most tourists will most likely stay and travel in Zone 1 as this is where most popular hotels and tourist attractions are located.

Myki is the only ticket available and it allows you to travel on Melbourne trains, trams and buses. Myki is a reusable plastic travel card that you need top up before you travel and can be used over and over again. You must touch on your Myki card at the Myki reader every time you board a trams or bus, or entering a train station. At the end of each journey you need to touch off your Myki to get the best fare.

You can purchase and top up your Myki from Myki machine at all train stations, from attended ticket booths at major train stations, from some large tram stops and bus interchanges, from any 7-Eleven store, from selected newsagents, convenience stores and other retailers that display the Myki sign. Please note that Myki can not be purchased on board trams or buses.

A full fare Myki card costs $6, while Myki for children costs $3 and will have $0.00 balance. This is a non-refundable upfront cost associated the cost of producing your travel card.

When you purchase or top up your Maki card, there are two options: “Myki money” and “Myki pass”.

With “Myki money” you ‘pay as you go’ and you will be charged either ‘2 hour’ or ‘Daily’ fare depending on how long you travel during a day. “Myki money” is good for casual travellers and if you are planning to stay in Melbourne less than 5 days. 2-hour fare costs $3.50 and daily fare costs $7.00 in Zone 1.

If you are planning to stay in Melbourne 5 days or longer, then you should consider “7-day Myki pass” which would be cheaper than using “Myki money” over 5 day period. “7-day Myki pass” costs $35 for adults in Zone 1.

It is recommended that purchase your Myki as soon as you arrive to Melbourne. Please note that most tram and bus stops especially in middle and outer suburbs do not sell Myki and it could be a bit challenging to find an authorized Myki retailer.

If you have any unused balance left on your Myki card before you leave Melbourne, you can apply for a refund.

Myki Visitor Pack, Melbourne, Australia.
International and interstate tourists planning to visit Melbourne attractions should consider buying Myki Visitor Pack.

Myki Visitor Pack. International and interstate tourists planning to visit Melbourne attractions should consider buying Myki Visitor Pack which includes a Myki travel card pre-loaded with $8 myki money which is enough for 1 day travel in Zone 1 or 2-hour travel in Zone 1 and Zone 2. Later, you can top up your Myki at any time as described above.

The biggest benefit of Myki Visitor Pack is that it includes discount coupons and offers at 15 popular tourist attractions such as Melbourne Aquarium, Eureka Skydeck, National Sports Museum, Cooks' Cottage, Puffing Billy, Art Centre, Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne River Cruises, and some tours. All these offers allow visitors to save more than $130.

Myki Visitor Pack costs $14 for adults and $7 for children. Visitors can purchase a Myki Visitor Pack from SkyBus stops at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station, Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station, PTV Hub at 750 Collins Street Docklands, Station Pier, many hotels and other selected resellers.

Download Myki Visitor Pack brochure in PDF format (943 Kb).


Journey Planner

There is a free online Journey Planner service provided by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) that allows visitors to plan their journey anywhere in Melbourne or Victoria state.

All you need to do is enter your origin and destination into online Journey Planner and you will see your travel plan which will include information on what public transport you need to use, connections, timetables, estimated travel time and maps.

This service could be extremely useful for first time visitors.


Taxis

Taxi in Melbourne, Australia.
Painted in yellow and operated by different companies, taxis in Melbourne are plentiful and easy to spot.

Taxis in Melbourne are plentiful and easy to spot as they all painted in canary-yellow colour. Taxis are operated by different companies such as 13 CABS, Silvertop Taxis, Yellow Cabs, Arrow Taxis and Embassy.

All taxi drivers wear a special uniform and must display an identity card on dashboard. Most taxis in Melbourne equipped with GPS navigation systems and security cameras.

There are three main way to get a taxi in Melbourne. First, you can hire a taxi from taxi ranks or taxi stands that are clearly signposted at many popular locations such as major hotels, major train stations, airports, some busy spots in the central business district, shopping centres, etc.

The second option is to hail a taxi from the side of the road. Just pick a place where it would be safe and easy for the driver to stop.

Finally, you can book a taxi over the phone or online which is a great option for those who wants to leave or arrive your destination at a specific time. It is always recommended to pre-book your taxi during busy periods such as public holidays and Friday or Saturday nights.

Taxis in Melbourne operate by meter which is clearly visible to passengers. There is a $3.20 flag fall that you will see immediately when taxi meter is started. A standard taxi fare is $1.617 per kilometre. There may be extra charges on top of what you see on a taxi meter, such as a phone booking fee, a late night surcharge, airport surcharge, Christmas / New Year surcharge, toll road charges, etc.

Late night trips between 10pm and 5am need to be paid in advance. It is normal when a driver asks you to pay an up-front deposit during a night time.

It is recommended to pay for your taxi trip by cash. While all taxis accept credit cards, it would involve 10% surcharge. There have also been reports that some dishonest taxi drivers involve in credit card fraud. So, avoid using your credit card if you can.

Visitors should be aware that they may be refused a taxi ride if they want to travel a short distance. This is not legal but does happen especially at busy times like Friday or Saturday night.

For larger groups there are larger taxis that can accommodate up to 11 people.


Ferries

There is number of different ferry companies that run their services on Yarra River and Port Philip Bay. While boats and ferries are not considered regular public transport, they are a great way to explore Melbourne city by waterways and mainly used by tourists.

One of the most popular river services that run regularly between Melbourne central business district and Williamstown is operated by Williamstown Ferries. Normally this service runs every hour from 10:30am till 5:30pm but it is subject to demand and weather conditions. There are 6 stops on request: Southgate / Southbank, Crown Casino / Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, South Wharf / Polly Woodside, Yarra Edge, Scienceworks and Williamstown. One way adult ticket costs $18 and return ticket costs $28.

Melbourne Water Taxis is the only water taxi company in Melbourne providing reliable services on Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers. They can pick up and drop off passengers at any suitable point and operate 7 days a week between 9:00am and midnight.

Melbourne River Cruises gives visitors a unique opportunity to explore Melbourne city from a different perspective. They operate every day and offer sightseeing cruises showcasing major attractions alongside Yarra River, Docklands and Williamstown.

There are number of other operators that offer sightseeing cruises, private charters, dinner cruises, etc.

All river services are not part of Melbourne public transport network and therefore Myki travel cards can not be used to pay for your trip.


Car Hire

If you fancy a bit of a drive Melbourne and the rest of Victoria, there are plenty of car rental options both from local and international car hire firms. The main car hire companies include Thrifty, Hertz, Europcar, Budget, and Avis. Major car hire companies have their branches at the airport and throughout the city.

The most important rule to remember in Australia is that you must drive on the left-hand side of the road and always wear a seatbelt.

It is relatively easy to drive in Melbourne and Victoria. Parking in the central business district is expensive during business hours on weekdays and it may cost you up to $60 for a whole day. Parking on weekends is more affordable and may cost you up to $10 all day. In middle and outer suburbs it is relatively easy to find free parking.

In order to rent a vehicle, the minimum age is 25. However, those under 25 may still be able to rent a car but extra surcharges will apply.

A driver's licence from home country can be used to drive in Australia as long as it is in English and have a photo.


Bicycle

Melbourne offers a public bicycle rental scheme called Melbourne Bike Share. This is one of the most popular and easiest options to hire a bicycle.

There are over 50 bicycle docking stations located around Melbourne central business district and some inner suburbs such as Docklands, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Richmond, North Melbourne, Carlton, etc.

Visitors can purchase a subscription that cost $2.70 per day or $8 per week. On top of this you will need to pay usage fees if your bicycle trip lasts over 30 minutes. It will cost $2 up to 60 minutes, $7 up to 90 minutes, $17 up to 2 hours, and then extra $10 per each additional 30 minutes.

While it is great to explore Melbourne by bicycle, this service can be costly if you want to use a bicycle for longer than 2 hour period. When you visit Melbourne attractions, you can just return your bicycle to the nearest bicycle docking station, and then hire it again. If you keep all you individual trips under 30 minutes, it could be very cheap to get around Melbourne by bicycle.

It is illegal not to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Some but not all bicycle docking stations offer free helmets. You can also purchase a helmet for $5 at vending machines at Melbourne University and Southern Cross Station, as well as many 7-Eleven and some IGA convenience stores. If you return it undamaged, you will get a refund of $3.

Please note that you can only pay by a credit card if you want to hire a bicycle from Melbourne Bike Share and there is a refundable $50 security deposit every time you hire a bicycle.

There also are many other bike rental companies in Melbourne that could possible offer more flexibility, bicycles for children, or better prices if you want to hire a bicycle for a longer period of time.