I don’t know about you, but arriving in a new city or country is always confusing to me. Invariably I am tired from the flight, dealing with different rules, perhaps a different language, and I often just don’t know where I am going. Without the proper research, I have often ended up using expensive or time consuming transport options to get to my accommodation and found out later I could have done it better. With this in mind, after dozens of visits to Melbourne, I have put together this list of Melbourne airport transfers to help you get into the city using the best option for you.
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Melbourne Airport Transfers
First, a little about Melbourne Airport. In this post I am primarily talking about Tullamarine Airport. This is the main International and Domestic airport in Melbourne. It will have airport code MEL. Do check your paperwork though, because some of the domestic low cost carriers fly into Avalon Airport (AVV) instead. Towards the end of 2018, Avalon is also starting to host international flights, with Air Asia flying into there.
Melbourne domestic airport and international airport are all combined into four terminals located side by side and each terminal is easily accessed from the others by foot. All four terminals use the same road access too. That means that no matter which terminal you land in, the instructions below will be the same.
The Easiest Option from Melbourne Airport – Skybus
Almost every person you ask will recommend SkyBus Melbourne Airport as the preferred option to get to the city. That is because it is so easy. It runs 24 hours a day and the wait is usually not more that 10-15 minutes (In the early hours of the morning the timetable says 30 minutes, but I’ve not caught it at this time). There are three stops where the bus can be caught at Melbourne Airport, outside or T1, T3 & T4, and you will not be able to miss the bright red signage as you walk outside.
The buses have luggage racks, wifi and take about 30 minutes to arrive at Southern Cross station. There you can connect to trains and trams to all over the city, or if you are staying in the CBD (Central Business District), there is another smaller shuttle that will drop you directly to your hotel at no extra charge. The Skybus costs $19.75AUD ($14.50USD/€13.50) if purchased on line in advance, but you can buy tickets at the kiosks at each of the bus stops at the airport as well as at Southern Cross Station.
There are options with Skybus to travel to other locations in Melbourne, such as Docklands, Southbank, Saint Kilda and more. There are also transfers to Avalon Airport available. Please check the website for further details.
(If you are a Virgin Australia frequent flyer member, don’t forget to swipe or enter your Velocity number when purchasing tickets to earn points)
The Door to Door Option – Taxi
The Melbourne Airport Taxi Service is the best option if you are staying outside of the CBD, have two or three people, or perhaps have more luggage than you want to take on a bus. The taxi ranks are clearly signed inside the terminals as well as just outside the doors. There is a queue system, but it normally moves fairly quickly and there will not be much of a wait except at very busy times.
It will cost approximately $60-$70AUD to get from Melbourne Airport to the city by taxi. There is an airport fee and a Tollway fee, but they will both be rolled into the fare, not added on top. Taxi’s are metered and no negotiation is required. There will be extra charges at night and for larger cars. Booking is not required, and will actually incur an extra fee if. For more information about taxi fares and fees, click here.
The Door to Door But-I-Don’t-Want-a-Taxi Option – Uber
Australia has Uber, and at Melbourne Airport they are able to pick up in the Public Pick Up and Ride Share lanes directly outside the doors of the terminals. Cross over to the lanes closest to the Park Royal Hotel, and you will see signs for the lanes. It is likely that your driver will call you to ask exactly where you are. Fares into the CBD using UberX start from about $50AUD.
The Budget Option from Melbourne Airport – Public Transport
A direct public transport link to Melbourne Airport has been under discussion for as long as I can remember, but there is not yet one in place. Even so, it is still possible to get into the CBD using local transport. It is a little more complex, and will take a bit over an hour, but at most it will cost $8.60AUD – the Myki daily fare limit – but more likely it will be $4.30AUD.
As you leave the terminals, cross over one lane of traffic to find the bus stops. Towards the T1 end of the lane, find the bus stop for the 901 bus towards Frankston. Take the bus as far as the Broadmeadows Station, this will take about 15 minutes. Most buses have signs saying the names of the upcoming stops, but if not, ask the driver or use Google Maps to find where to get off. The bus will stop right outside the train station, making the transfer to a city train easy. Look for trains going to Southern Cross or Flinders Street Stations.
Click here to use the Victorian Public Transport trip planner for details of this trip and any others in Melbourne.
To catch public transport in Melbourne, you will need a Myki card. It is not possible to pay using cash. The best place to buy your Myki card is from the Skybus ticket kiosks at Melbourne Airport on on arrival. There is a special Myki Explorer card available for visitors for $15AUD, which includes $9AUD of travel, enough to cover your first full day no matter how many rides you take (as the daily limit is $8.60AUD).
You will also receive a bunch of discounts to popular Melbourne tourist attractions too. More credit can be easily added to the Myki Explorer card. I find it most convenient to do it at any 7Eleven, but there are other options too. Click here to read more about the Myki Explorer card and top up locations.
The Luxury Option – Private Transfers
Do you prefer to walk through arrivals, see a sign with your name on it, then sink back into luxury leather seats as you are whisked to your hotel? Then this option is for you! This completely stress-free option can be booked well in advance. Prices will vary, so click through to see prices and availability for your dates.
The Group Option – Shuttle Bus
If travelling with a group it is possible to book seats in advance on a small, door to door shuttle bus for around the price of the Skybus. This alleviates the need to move a whole group from one bus to another at Souther Cross Station. Click here to see details.
The Flexible Option – Renting a Car
All of the major car rental companies – and a few smaller ones – have offices in the various arrivals areas of Melbourne Airport. If you are planning to continue your holiday with a car, renting as you arrrive is a good option. Melbourne can be a very busy airport, so I suggest booking your car in advance to be sure you get what you want. Click through to RentalCars.com to compare the rates of all the big names in one place.
Transfers from Avalon Airport
Getting from Avalon Airport to Melbourne city has many of the same options as from Tullamarine. Skybus is the most convenient option and costs $22AUD for a one way ticket and takes approximately 50 minutes. Again, buy tickets in advance or at the Skybus stop at the airport. A taxi will be in excess of $100AUD. One option that is not currently available is public transport.
I hope you have been able to find your perfect Melbourne Airport Transfers and have a smooth trip into the CBD.
Stuck in the Airport? Click here to purchase entry to the Plaza Premium Lounge
Looking for things to do now that you are in Melbourne?
Click here to check out my list of the best free things to do during your visit.
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