Air is the most common method of reaching Melbourne, and if you're not in Australia, pretty much your only option. The city is served by two airports: Melbourne Airport, which has international and domestic flights, and the domestic-only Avalon Airport.
Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is 22 km north-west of the city centre in the northern suburbs. There are regular flights from all major Australian and New Zealand cities, and there are direct international flights to many Asian hubs with onwards connections to Europe. There are direct flights to North America, South America and Europe.
Avalon Airport,, is situated in the Geelong outer suburb of Lara. The airport is located 55 km to the south-west of Melbourne, and is considerably further from Melbourne CBD than the Melbourne airport at Tullamarine. However, a shuttle to Southern Cross costs only $4 more than a shuttle from Tullamarine, and fares from Avalon are sometimes considerably cheaper. The terminal itself is about as simple as it gets, with just an ATM, car hire desks and baggage carousels in what looks like an old hanger at arrivals. The departure facilities are a little better, with a cafe and a bar, and a video arcade room.
Avalon Airport is serviced only by low-cost airline Jetstar. It also flies from Tullamarine, so be sure to double-check departure locations.
Options to get to the Melbourne CBD:
All intercity rail services from interstate and intrastate destinations operate to and from Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station), located on the western edge of Melbourne's central business district. The station has recently been renovated and has excellent links to the rest of the city's public transport network as it is part of the City Loop. Some services stop at Flinders St Station immediately prior to Southern Cross, which is a nice gateway to the city centre.
From Sydney, the quickest route to Melbourne is the Hume Highway, which takes 10 hours of driving without any stops. This road is almost all dual-carriageway (freeway). The Princes Highway (National Route 1) goes along the coast and is less crowded. It takes longer with lower speed limits, hills and bends, and few opportunities to overtake. See Sydney to Melbourne by car for more information.
Adelaide is slightly closer than Sydney and can be reached in 9 hours. The coastal route is scenic but slower.
A direct journey from Brisbane takes 21 hours of driving and takes you further inland along the Newell Highway. This makes for an alternative to the standard Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne coastal route.
Bus services to Melbourne from out of state are provided by Firefly Express and Greyhound .
Bus services within Victoria are operated by V/Line, and operate from most major and many minor Victorian towns.
Melbourne can be reached from Devonport, Tasmania by car/passenger ferries run by Spirit of Tasmania . The journey takes 10 hours and runs every night (in both directions), departing at 9PM and arriving at 7AM. During the peak of summer, there are also day sailings (departing 9AM, arriving 7PM) on many days – check in advance.
Ticket prices depend on time of year and your sleeping accommodation. A seat (no bed) is the cheapest, starting (in off-peak season) from $108 for adults and $82 for children. Bear in mind, the seat is most uncomfortable, equivalent to a cinema seat. Cabins with bunk beds start from $187 adults, $97 children. Peak season costs are about 25% higher. Cars cost $59 all year round.
Melbourne is also served by several cruise ships throughout the year (mostly in the summer cruise season). Check operators for further details.
All passenger ships serving Melbourne arrive at and depart from Station Pier in Port Melbourne which is located a short distance from the CBD. For those without private transport, the 109 tram departs from the old railway station across the road from the Pier and goes right into the heart of Melbourne (continuing to Box Hill in the north-east of the city).
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