A Guide to Melbourne Public Transport

Melbourne public transport

It doesn’t cost that much to use public transport in Melbourne, if you know what you’re doing.  Read these tips to save money on your next trip to Melbourne, from the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city, to whether you should buy a Myki Explorer Pack.

1. Getting from the Airport to the City

The main airport in Melbourne, Tullamarine Airport, is not that close to the city.  It’ll cost you at least $50 to catch a taxi from the airport to the city, more if you’re located south of the CBD.  The cheapest and easiest transport from the airport to the CBD is using the Skybus, which costs $18 one way per person (so $36 for two people).  The fare also includes free transfer by mini-bus to most CBD hotels, check the list here.  Alternatively, there are some trams that stop near the airport, but not inside.

2. Free Trams in the CBD

Melbourne public transport

© Logan Campbell on flickr, used under Creative Commons license

If you are staying in the CBD and only catching trams around the CBD, it’s completely free.  The free tram area is bounded by Queen Victoria Market, Docklands, Flinders Street Station, Federation Square and Spring Street.  Check out this map.  You don’t need to buy a myki (the electronic ticket card).

3. Free City Circle Tram

If you want to ride a heritage tram and enjoy free commentary, catch the City Circle Tram around the outside of the CBD, which is also free.  For further details, see here.  The tram runs from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 9pm on Thursday to Sunday, approximately every 12 minutes in each direction.

4. The myki Explorer Pack

For all other journeys by public transport in Melbourne, including trams in Zone 2, trains and buses, you will need to buy a myki electronic card.  For visitors, the best value is usually to buy the myki Explorer pack.

The myki Explorer Pack costs $15, which includes the cost of the myki card (normally $6), $9 myki money (more than enough for unlimited travel in Zones 1 and 2 for 1 day), and discounted entry to attractions such as Eureka Skydeck 88, Old Melbourne Gaol, ACMI and more. Basically, if you’re expecting to spend around $9 worth of fares already, the discounted entries are a free bonus.

The only catch is that the pack isn’t available from that many places. It’s available from:

  • The Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square
  • The Skybus terminals at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station
  • The PTV Hubs (at Southern Cross Station and 750 Collins Street Docklands in the metropolitan area, plus additional locations outside the metropolitan area)
  • The concierge desk at many hotels and other accommodation providers

For full details on the myki Explorer Pack, check out the website.

5. Regular myki Cards

If you’re not located near any of the outlets for the myki Explorer pack or aren’t interested in the discounted attraction offers, just buy a regular myki card.

Here are some valuable tips on using a myki card:

  • The card is available for purchase at all 7-Eleven Stores, selected other retailers with the myki sign, and online.
  • The card costs $6, which is non-refundable.  You need to also put money on the card (i.e. “top-up”).
  • Top-ups are also available all metopolitan train stations, selected tram stops and bus interchanges, PVT Hubs and on board buses.
  • You can top up the card with “myki Money” or a “myki Pass” for 7 days or 28-365 days.  For short-term visits “myki Money” is best.
  • When using myki Money, a 2 hour fare costs $4.10 in Zone 1 or Zone 1+2, daily travel costs $8.20, less on weekends ($6.00) or if you just travel in Zone 2 (in the outer metropolitan area).  Full fares are listed here.
  • Remember to tap on when boarding or entering a train station.  There is no need to tap off unless you are only travelling in Zone 2.
  • Cards can go negative (they will allow you to board even with $0), but you cannot then transfer once it goes negative, even if you are transferring within the 2 hour fare.

6. Can You Take Dogs on Public Transport in Melbourne?

Luckily if you’re visiting Melbourne with a dog, Melbourne is the most dog-friendly city in Australia when it comes to public transport. For starters, all size dogs are allowed on metropolitan trains, with small dogs in a container or larger dogs requiring a leash and muzzle. Additionally, small dogs are also allowed on trams, buses and V/Line trains, in a container. For full more information on visiting Melbourne with a dog, check out my dog-friendly Melbourne guide.

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