Capital of Victoria, Australia’s ‘cultural capital’ and arguably the place to find the country’s best coffee, Melbourne has much to offer its residents as well as visitors from all over the world.
Our comprehensive transport guide includes public transportation as well as alternative transport modes including car sharing, cycling and walking – all of which are best used in conjunction with the TripGo app. It’ll quickly and easily let you compare all the options below, show you how much your trip will cost, how long it will take and the environmental impact it will have.
Public transport tickets
Melbourne’s contactless smartcard ticketing system is called myki. It is valid for:
- Metropolitan train, tram and bus services within myki ticketing zones 1 and 2, including SmartBus
- V/Line (regional) trains travelling within the V/Line commuter belt (between Melbourne and Seymour, Traralgon, Wendoree, Waurn Ponds and Eaglehawk stations)
- Buses within Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Latrobe Valley, Seymour and Warragu
Please note: myki is not valid for Skybus services, ferries, long distance trains and V/Line coaches.
Ticket options: myki offers two types of tickets, for infrequent travel just load your card with “myki money”. If you travel on public transport regularly, get a “myki pass”; this is a pre-paid ticket (or pass) for a certain period of time (e.g. 7 days). If you’re unsure which one to get, use PTV’s calculator. With “myki money”, several caps apply including 2h and daily travel, on weekends, early in the morning etc.
Visitors to Melbourne can buy a special myki Visitor Value Pack to travel on the public transport network, which includes a pre-loaded myki card and Melbourne tourist attraction vouchers.
Please note: the costs for a myki card and the credit on it are not refundable, so plan ahead if you’re nearing the end of your stay in Melbourne and don’t top it up with too much.
How to use: Touch your myki card on and off to ensure you get the correct fare: hold the card to the reader until it beeps and shows a green light. Make sure you’re using the right console; some are to check your myki balance only.
Sometimes the readers detect multiple myki cards at the same time; if that happens just separate your cards and touch on again with the card of choice.
- No need to touch off on trams unless your whole trip is in Zone 2.
- 2h-fares touched on from 6pm are valid until 3am the next morning.
- Daily tickets are valid until 3am the next morning.
- One way (single) trips on V/Line include one hour’s free travel either side of your journey. All other ticket types, including Day Return, include free travel all day. This includes all metropolitan trains, trams and buses.
Trips to and from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport
Travelling to or from the airport can be expensive, so we collected the best tips:
- Check TripGo for your best connection. You can sort your results to show you the cheapest or quickest option. Keep in mind that it might be a combination of modes (e.g. tram or Skybus and taxi) – TripGo will let you know.
- If taking a taxi, be aware of the airport fee and toll charges (these will be included in TripGo’s price estimate).
- The Skybus Super Shuttle is a popular option. Please note that it does not accept myki. You can buy tickets online or at a ticket booth before boarding. It also has on-board wi-fi.
- Parking is quite expensive at the airport. There are several official options available, including the long-term car park. If you’re planning to drive, this is often a good compromise of cost, convenience and distance to the terminal. Early online booking for any parking option can save you a lot of money. There are also many private parking operators nearby (again book early to save). Or you can try to find parking in a nearby street and catch a cab from there.
- Your cheapest option though might be to find someone to drop you off or pick you up; there’s a free 20 minute ‘waiting bay’ left of the airport in front of the old Jetstar terminal.
Melbourne has the world’s largest tram network, and the only operational trams left in Australia. Travel in Melbourne’s central area is free; you only need a myki card if you’re starting or finishing your trip outside this area.
If you’re new to Melbourne, make sure you hop onto one of the free City Circle trams which loop the centre every 12 minutes (in both directions). What a great way to see the inner city! Audio commentary is included for those hoping to learn something about Melbourne, though might be hard to hear at times as the route is usually quite crowded.
Alternatively, there’s a Visitor Shuttle bus which is a great way to see Melbourne’s attractions for $10 for an all-day ticket.
Also keep in mind that unless your trip is entirely within zone 2, there is no need to touch off on trams. If in doubt, just tap off to ensure you’re not paying more than you should.
During peak hour it may be quicker to walk rather than taking the tram due to heavy traffic in the CBD. Trams are also likely to be crowded during peak periods.
Safety first – when getting on and off, make sure you watch for traffic.
Make sure you touch your myki card on when you board the bus, and tap off before exiting.
Press the stop button in time to allow the driver time to react – check the map in TripGo to see how far away from your stop you are.
SmartBuses run more often and for longer hours than most “normal” bus services; they also have new technology with real-time information, highly visible stops etc.
Night Buses operate at night from the CBD and suburban train stations to the outer suburbs. The Night Coach is a 2am service from the CBD to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon.
Both are part of a Night Network trial PTV is running in 2016.
See above for tips on the Skybus shuttle bus.
Please note: For travel on V/Line coaches you will need a V/Line paper ticket. You can buy those at all staffed V/Line stations, most Metro premium stations, at any V/Line ticket sales agent or online.
Trains can be crowded during peak hours. Allow some extra time if travelling during those times.
At a train station, if you touch on and then decide not to travel, touch off within 15 minutes of touching on and you are charged nothing for this change of mind.
Early Bird special: Train travel completed before 7am on weekdays is free, but you have to touch your myki card on and off.
Safe travel: Generally, public transport in Melbourne is considered quite safe. However, suburbs far out from the CBD tend to be more dangerous than others. If you can, it is always safer to travel with others and stay in lit areas. Stay in Safety Zones while on stations at night. These are marked with yellow lines and are usually well lit and have emergency buttons as well as about 4 cameras pointed at the area. If you travel by train at night, stay in the front carriage close to the driver’s area and note the emergency buttons. If a problem occurs, push the emergency buttons on the train or railway station to attract attention.
Please note: For travel on long distance trains you will need a V/Line paper ticket. You can buy those at all staffed V/Line stations, most Metro premium stations, at any V/Line ticket sales agent or online.
There are two public ferry services in Melbourne, the “Westgate Punt” between Spotswood and Fishermans Bend; and the “French Island Ferry” between Stony Point railway station, French Island and Cowes on Phillip Island. Ferries do not accept myki, but you can buy tickets on board.
All Melbourne taxis are painted canary yellow, so they’re very easy to recognise. Those that can only operate at peak times, at night and at special events have green tops.
Just hail a cab when you need and see one; taxis with their roof top light on are available. Alternatively, you can book through TripGo.
Fares: Taxis operate and charge on a metre. This should be clearly displayed so you can keep an eye on your fare. There are additional charges for phone booking, road tolls, as well as airport and late night surcharges; check TripGo for a price estimate before hopping on. Between 10pm and 5am fares have to be paid in advance and are adjusted on arrival.
You can pay for your taxi trip by credit card. If you do, save your receipts and keep an eye on your statements to ensure you don’t become a fraud victim.
Uber is similar to a taxi service, but (subject to conditions and checks) almost anyone can drive to earn some money. You have to book in order to take Uber, but this is easily done through the taxi option in TripGo. Fares may be cheaper than for taxis, though there might also be surge pricing at times of high demand. At the end of your trip, don’t forget to rate your driver and leave feedback.
Freeways and roads in Melbourne are often badly congested during peak hours, so make sure you check your alternatives in TripGo.
In the city, watch for cyclists, trams and tram passengers. You must stop behind a stationary tram with open doors to give way to passengers stepping on or getting off the tram.
Note Melbourne’s “hook-turn” rule: To ensure that trams get a clear way through some intersections, drivers turning right must do so from the left-hand lane at some intersections. It will be clearly marked if this rule applies to an intersection.
Parking in the city can be hard to find and expensive. Often it is advisable to use alternative transport to and within the CBD.
Safety: Beware of car theft or break-in. Hide valuables out of sight, lock the car and leave the windows up.
Toll roads in Melbourne have blue signage with gold coloured lettering. This is in contrast to the green signage with white lettering used on roads that do not require the payment of tolls for their use. You can get an electronic tag (recommended for long-term users), or different time based passes (24h, weekend or up to 30 days) ahead of your trip. If you have no electronic tag or pass during your trip, you will need to buy a time based pass no more than 3 days after using a toll road.
You can also purchase these pass over the counter at a post office, or at selected newsagents and service stations.
TripGo includes both Flexicar and GoGet in its Car Sharing options.
Car sharing lets you use a car that’s not your own and drive it to where you’d like to go (basically like a rental, but more flexible as you can get to the car at any time of the day). At the end of your trip, you’ll need to return the car to its pod. You’ll have to register with car sharing services in order to use them. For more info on car sharing, check out The City of Melbourne’s info page.
GoGet offers a fleet of regularly updated and well serviced cars, with a variety of options (including economy cars, vans, utes, people movers and premium cars). Flexicar is very similar; it’s worth comparing both companies’ plans, car options and pod locations to see which one suits you best.
TripGo makes it easy to compare prices and times (some pods might be further away), and you can see more details and book your GoGet trips straight from the app.
Motorbikes and scooters can make quite a big difference to get through Melbourne’s congested streets. Filtering is legal, i.e. you are allowed to pass stopped cars on the left. Technically, you are also allowed to pass cars on the right as long as you don’t cross the line and it is safe to do so. For more info, see this video on lane filtering and splitting.
It is both legal and free to park on the footpath in Melbourne with a motorbike or scooter. There are also many designated motorcycle on-road parking spaces in the CBD.
Due to Melbourne’s changing weather, it might be a good idea to carry wet weather gear with you.
As in any large city, ride defensively; riding outside the city is a lot more pleasant and less stressful.
The relatively flat terrain and mild climate as well as the city’s network of off-road bicycle paths are great for cycling here.
Safety: Often paths are shared with pedestrians, so please ride considerately. Riding without a helmet is illegal; free helmets are available with bike sharing bikes. If you own a bike, it is best to buy a strong D-lock or chain lock and always lock your bicycle when it is unattended as bike theft is a common problem in the city.
There are often great ways to combine public transport and cycling; check TripGo for options. Bicycles can be taken for free on most public transport (subject to space), but only folding bikes (folded and in a bag) are allowed on metropolitan trams, buses and V/Line coaches.
Parking: Some Metro and V/Line stations also have free bike lockers (need to pay bond). There are also parkiteer bike cages available at some stations. These are free, but you will need to register and use an access card. You can also hire a locker at a Metro station for up to 3 months.
Bike share: Your first 30 minutes are free. Just walk up to any bike share station, buy a daily or weekly access pass and pay by credit card. The card will be used to identify you for further trips in your chosen time period. You’ll get a ticket with the unlock code (valid only for this trip). Choose a bike, enter the code and when the light is green pull the bike out on the handlebars. Adjust the seat height before starting your ride. After your trip, you can return the bike to any station – make sure the green light turns on before walking away, and don’t forget to lock the helmet on the bike.
It is possible to buy an annual subscription for the service online. You will receive a Bike Share key which you can use at any bike docking point.
Most major attractions and locations in Melbourne are quickly and easily reached by walking.
Safety: Take extreme care when crossing tram tracks; trams run very fast and quietly. Make sure you check in both directions before crossing.
Melbourne is generally quite safe; just keep your valuables safe, and take usual precautions especially when walking around on your own at night. If you can, it is always safer to walk with others and stay in lit areas.
Wanting to explore Melbourne on foot? Check out these Melbourne walks for some inspiration.
So, here you have it – our complete guide to transport in Melbourne.
Anything wrong or missing? Let us know in the comments below!
- Title image:Melbourne skyline and Princes Bridge (by Diliff), via Wikimedia Commons
- Myki fair payment device By Marcus Wong Wongm (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Melbourne Airport By SimonEast (This image was shot/created by SimonEast.) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Tram Z3.215 + B2.2028 Swanston By Bahnfrend (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- SmartBus liveried Ventura bus By Marcus Wong Wongm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
- Showgrounds Railway Station Melbourne By Marcus Wong Wongm (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Melbourne taxi By eGuide Travel [CC BY 2.0], via flickr
- Eastern Freeway Belford St By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Hook Turn Sign Melbourne By Melburnian; licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
- Suzuki Alto GoGet Share Car By Tom Worthington (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Sym hd200 scooter By Zanitycomau (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Cyclists riding in Melbourne for 350 Climate Action By Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- Melbourne City Bikes By Papier K (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- China Town in Melbourne, Australia CC BY 3.0], via freeaussiestock.com
Content (main sources)
- Melbourne Australia: Getting Around Melbourne
- Melbourne Bike Share System
- Public Transport Victoria: Myki
- Public Transport Users Association: Tips
- Travel Victoria: Toll roads
- TripAdvisor: Melbourne
- Visit Victoria: Getting Around
- Weekend Notes: Parking at Melbourne Airport
- Wikipedia: Melbourne; Transport in Melbourne; myki; Cycling in Melbourne
- Wikitravel: Melbourne
- And all websites linked in the article above
First published on 19 February 2015. Updated on 1 June 2016.