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Melbourne's main airport at Tullamarine is located 23kms from the CBD with the journey taking from 20 to 35 minutes depending on traffic.
On arrival, you will find many transport options (see below) and information access points in the terminals. All terminals are close or adjoin each other and you will not need to get a bus to go to other terminals.
For departures, during morning peaks, (5.30am - 9.00am) and evening peaks (4.00pm- 7.00pm,) travelling time can be 45-60 minutes. It is best to check the VicTraffic website to identify any traffic problems early. Airline check-in queues during peak are also lengthy even in domestic terminals. Give yourself plenty of time.
The below is a short summary of the main transport options and prices to the city centre:
A taxi to the city should cost between A$55 and $65, including the compulsory airport fee payable by departing taxis and CityLink tollway charges. This will all be included in the final fare.
Airport shuttle buses:
SkyBus is the main airport shuttle to and from Melbourne Airport and the city. It leaves from two locations directly outside the terminals and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SkyBus travels directly to and from Southern Cross Station and leaves every ten minutes for most of the day. Travel times to Southern Cross Station range from 20 - 35 minutes.
Tickets are $19 one way/$38 return for adults and up to four children can travel free. SkyBus have on-board wifi and a shuttle service from Southern Cross Station to most hotels in the city, including Southbank and Docklands. SkyBus recommends allowing 1.5 hours when being picked up from your hotel and transiting to the airport.
There are also a number of shuttle buses that run directly from the airport to inner city hotels, avoiding the need to change buses at Southern Cross Station. They depart from departure Zone L, which is a 50 metre walk from the SkyBus departure point outside arrivals area at the international terminal (refer to the linked map).
The shuttle buses serve a much greater area of the inner city than SkyBus, so may be useful for people not staying in CBD hotels or who do not wish to change buses at Southern Cross Station. Prices range from $18 to $25 depending on the location. Two of the shuttle companies are Starbus and VHA Airport Shuttle.There are many suburb shuttles services the outer suburbs: $20 to $90. Various prices depending on distance.
Using public transport takes a little time and effort, but the cost is low using the
Myki card. The PTV (Public Transport Victoria) bus stops are located near Terminal 4 and can be a little hard to find. Please note there is little public transport information at the airport. An interesting and inexpensive way to get from Melbourne Airport to the city is by combined bus and train. Take the
901 bus to Broadmeadows station (a ride of about 20 minutes) and change to the train for the 40 minute trip to Flinders Street (Melbourne central business district). This service operates at 15 minute intervals during the week and every half hour at night and at weekends. Bus routes 478, 479 or 482 run from the Melbourne Airport bus stop near Terminal 4 to Airport West Shopping Centre that is close to the 59 tram terminus to the city. Visitors connecting to Bendigo can catch a
479 bus to Sunbury station and connect to a V/Line train.
Full details of public transport buses serving Melbourne Airport are at http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/...
General public transport information (for Melbourne and the entire state of Victoria) including a journey planner is at http://ptv.vic.gov.au/
Cost and time comparison:
Ranking in terms of travel times to inner city locations, a taxi will be fastest (approx. 20 - 30 minutes), followed by shuttle buses (25-60 minutes) then public transport (1 - 1.5 hours). In terms of cost, public transport is cheapest ($6), followed by Skybus and city shuttles (around $19), then a taxi (around $50-$65).
Southern Cross station is a major train station in the CBD with access to all train destinations including regional and interstate, good melbourne tram access, tourist information, buses, taxis, travellers aid etc.
Melbourne's public transport "smart card" fare system is called Myki and can be confusing for visitors or casual travellers. A good idea is to purchase a Myki card on line prior to visiting Melbourne. Regular Myki cards can be purchased for $6 at the airport on the 901 bus to Broadmeadows and also by a special visitors' pack available from the Skybus booth (terminal 1). Note that Skybus does not accept Myki but does sell Myki visitor packs. For visitors wishing to purchase a 'full fare' (adult) Myki or add credit to their current Myki card can do so at a Myki machine located on the ground floor of T2, near the toilets at the north end, closest to T1.Full Myki details at Public Transport Victoria.
Hire cars and ride share:
If you plan to drive around, you can hire a car at the airport from one of several operators suchas Enterprise, Redspot, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty . The drive to the city is along CityLink. Check with your rental company on how you are covered for CityLink tolls. The alternative, non-tolled route is on arterial roads such as Mt Alexander Road, originally the route to Bendigo's goldfields.
Routes to the city and on to other major centres, Geelong (and then the Great Ocean Road), Bendigo and Ballarat are straightforward. Turn offs are well signposted. For Phillip Island you head towards the city but stay on the toll road, CityLink, and bypass the CBD. You then continue along the Monash Freeway and follow the signs to Phillip Island. Remember that many inner city hotels charge extra for parking.
Melbourne Airport partners with the original cabfriend.com (taxi share). This can instantly find you a friend to share with in all suburbs and save 30% to 75% of the cost of a taxi. You can also use coseats from the Melbourne Airport ride sharing page.
Another Bus option for regional travellers, connecting to V/Line train services from Melbourne Airport (bus stop outside terminal 1) via the infrequent 479/478 buses to Sunbury (on the Bendigo line) and the 901 to Broadmeadows (on the Seymour/Albury/Shepparton lines). V/Line tickets can be used on metropolitan public transport services (but not Skybus) for no extra charge. But they would need to be purchased in advance (on line) in order to be used from the airport by arriving passengers.
Sita Buses offer transfers between Avalon Airport and the Southern Cross Station Coach Terminal in Melbourne for $20 one way/$36 return. If at least 48 hours notice is given buses will also pick up at city hotel and accommodation venues, Werribee RSL and suburbs up to 6 kilometres from the city (additional charges apply). Buses are timed to meet all Tiger and Jetstar flights.
Approximate taxi fare to/from Melbourne is $80.
Another option is to take a taxi to Lara train station and catch a V/Line train to Melbourne.
Avalon is also serviced by each of the major car rental companies.