If you’re visiting Melbourne for the Australian Open the information in this article will help you figure out the options for getting around.
The easiest way to get around the centre of Melbourne is to walk. The city centre is fairly compact and it’s straightforward to navigate because the streets are organised in a grid formation.
Exploring Melbourne’s famous laneways and arcades is best done on foot. Here you will find bustling, pedestrianised walkways with vibrant cafes, boutique shops and interesting street art.
Melbourne has a comprehensive public transport system. It can be used for short journeys around the CBD and to reach the visit-worthy neighbourhoods further out.
Free City Circle Tram (Route 35)
The free tourist tram (route 35) circumnavigates Melbourne’s CBD. This route runs both clockwise and anti-clockwise, passing a number of major tourist attractions and connecting with other parts of the public transport network. No ticket is required for this tram. The City Circle trams are easy to spot because they are a distinctive maroon colour.
The City Circle trams run approximately every 12 minutes in both directions. Operating times are 10am to 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 9pm Thursday to Saturday.
If you have time it’s worth doing a complete circuit on this tram early on in your stay to help orientate yourself. You’ll get your bearings on what’s located where and the commentary will inform you about places you’ll want to go to during your visit.
Trains, Trams and Buses
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is the body responsible for public transport in Melbourne.
The PTV website contains maps of routes, timetables and a journey planner.
As a general rule trams are the best form of transport for short journeys of a few kilometers and trains are faster for longer trips.
There are two main train stations in the CBD, Flinders St and Southern Cross (which is also referred to as it’s old name, Spencer St).
The bus network in central Melbourne is fairly limited and unlikely to be a useful option for most short journeys in the CBD.
All public transport in Melbourne uses myki ticketing system. Read GSG’s guide to myki.
Tram Tracker App
If you’re like me and you don’t like waiting for public transport without knowing how long your wait will be, get the free Tram Tracker app.
It gives real time tram arrival information, shows what tram stops are close by and where trams go to from those stops. Note that it’s not always exactly real time though!
Visitor Shuttle Bus
A visitor shuttle bus service operates around central Melbourne with 13 hop-on hop-off stops. The route is more comprehensive than the City Circle tram as it also includes the Lygon St precinct, University of Melbourne and Queen Victoria market to the north of the city; Waterfront city in the Docklands and the Southbank precinct, Botanical Gardens and Shrine of Remembrance to the south. Tickets cost $5 per day, under 10’s travel free.
Bike share scheme
Melbourne operates a bike share scheme with 51 bike stations and 600 bicycles across the city.
A bike can be hired for up to 24 hours at a time and there is a two-part cost.
First is a subscription fee. This can be either daily, weekly or annual. The second cost is a time based usage fee. There is no usage charge for the first 30 mins.
It is compulsory to wear a bicycle helmet when cycling in Victoria, even on bike paths. Cycling without a helmet can result in a fine. The Melbourne bike share scheme makes helmets available at the subsidised price of $5 through selected 7-Eleven stores and a vending machine at Southern Cross station
Melbourne’s taxis are yellow which makes them easy to spot. There are generally plenty of taxis in the centre of Melbourne. They can be booked via phone, hailed on the street or found at taxi ranks located around the city.
Taxi operators include:
Given the close proximity of most locations that visitors will want to get to, and the comprehensive public transport network, hiring a car is not necessary. However, if you do plan to drive in Melbourne there are some driving rules, primarily relating to Trams, that visitors need to know. Visit the Vicroads website for further information.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal