When you visit a new city you could be forgiven for being a little bit worried about how you’re going to get around. You want to take in all that the city has to offer, but you’re just not sure how to best get exploring. When faced with a myriad of transport options, and minimal knowledge of where you are heading, you will undoubtedly be confused and overwhelmed.
Melbourne is thankfully very easy to get around with a number of transport options to choose from, each of which is fairly self-explanatory. However, if you do get stuck, something that sets Melbourne apart from the rest is the friendliness of its inhabitants (it is the world’s most liveable city after all so what’s not to smile about?!). You just need to ask someone to help you out and they would be all too happy to oblige.
So how exactly do you get around Melbourne?
Melbourne is best known for its characterful tram network. You can take in the city sights on the charming City Circle (#35) tram, hopping on and hopping off as much as you like along its circular route. It can take you a whole day to work your way around the city circle if you make the most of each of the stops.
However, make note that the #35 tram is no longer the only free ride around the city. Recently all Melbourne trams operating within the CBD area became a complimentary service for those travelling within the Free Tram Zone (check out the map before you travel so you don’t get stung). Many of the main city attractions are within this zone so you can save your pennies for a famous Melbourne latte or vino. If you do need to venture outside of this zone, to suburbs such as Port Melbourne and St Kilda and beyond, then you will need to be familiar with Melbourne’s Myki system (which we describe below). You’ll need a Myki to travel on Melbourne’s trains, trams and buses. Don’t risk going even one stop outside of the Free Tram Zone without a ‘touched-on’ Myki though as the inspectors will be sure to be waiting for you! The best website to check out before you travel is Plan Your Journey, or you can download the ‘PTV’ app to help map out your public transport journey. Victoria’s V-line network will also help to take you further afield if you perhaps fancy a day out in the country side.
If you’ve ever visited London then you will be familiar with the Oyster card system, which is basically a pre-paid card allowing you get around the city, using the Underground system in particular. Well, consider the Myki, the Oyster down under (well in Melbourne at least!).
You simply buy a card from a registered outlet, top it up, and away you go. You need to ‘touch on and off’ whenever you get on or off a tram, train or bus, which registers your fare and checks validity of your pass. This is a great way to get around without having to search for cash all the time when using public transport. You just need to be organised and buy your Myki in advance.
Unless you have been living under a big old rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the emergence of the taxi network’s public enemy number one, Uber. Using simply a smartphone to order your ride without exchanging any cash, Uber has made it all too easy and convenient to move around Melbourne. Originating in the USA, Uber has really gained popularity in Australia for the reasons just mentioned. Basically all you need to do it download the ‘Uber’ app, register and request your ride. Uber drivers are notoriously prompt so you can have a ride within minutes. Simple!
Of course, an old faithful way of getting from A to B is the humble taxi. You will find taxis aplenty round the city. Most of Melbourne’s taxis are yellow but you may also find a silver or white taxi floating around. Taxis are always marked as such and driver accreditation should be displayed on the dashboard. If the vehicle doesn’t look like your typical taxi that you see in the movies then chances are that it is not legit. Don’t risk it. Again, just ask a local if the ride you are planning to take is legitimate.
Of course you could hire a car if you want full control over how you experience Melbourne. However, with a really reliable, low cost, and easy to use public transport system, there really is no need to worry yourself with driving. It also comes with the hassle of having to learn the road rules and risk having to make a ‘hook turn’ (a tourist driver’s worst nightmare!). If you still fancy your own ride around the city and beyond then we can always help you with a tour 😉
– Lauren and James