Getting Around Melbourne: A local's guide to exploring the city

Whether you’re exploring the city’s busy CBD, vibrant inner suburbs, or taking a day trip to the coast, Melbourne offers a plethora of transport options to help you get around and experience the best of the city. If you’re a little overwhelmed at the choices available, look no further than this guide to getting around Melbourne like a local. 

Tram on Victoria St in Melbourne
Photo by Jeerap Th on Unsplash

Tram

Easily the most efficient and cost effective option to make your way through the melbourne CBD is on a tram. With tracks leading to the botanic gardens, the Melbourne Museum, and the Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne’s tram system is perfect for anyone looking to explore some of the best sights the city has to offer.

All the trams within the centre of the city, or the ‘Hoddle’s Grid’ are completely free to ride- no payment or myki card necessary. If you’re looking to head to Melbourne’s trendy inner suburbs such as Collingwood or Fitzroy, make sure you have a valid Myki card- a full day of travel will set you back $9.

Train

Train travel in Melbourne is ideal for longer trips to and from the city, connecting you to nearby suburbs, Brighton Beach, and the Dandenong Ranges. V-Line trains are also available to take you outside of metropolitan Melbourne to explore Greater Victoria.

You will also find five major train stations around the CBD known as the ‘city loop’, connecting you to various attractions within the city. Metropolitan trains run all night over the weekend (Friday and Saturday nights), making them a great travel option when exploring Melbourne’s famous nightlife. Valid Myki cards are needed for all train travel, with prices ranging from $4.50-9.00 daily for metropolitan trains, and anywhere from $10-$70 to travel to Regional Victoria.

Bus in Melbourne
Photo by Pat Whelen on Unsplash

Buses

While a less popular option for exploring the city, public buses can be a handy option when exploring Melbourne’s tramless suburbs, and are ideal for exploring the winding roads of the Dandenong Ranges. Myki cards are needed for all buses, with the same $9 full daily fare applying. 


Another way to bus through the city is to book a Hop-on-Hop-off tour bus. Taking you to various major stops throughout the CBD with informative commentary, the tour bus option provides a simple overview of Melbourne's history and major buildings. However, for a city known for its network of small laneways and hidden sights, a large tour bus is not the most comprehensive way to explore the unique character of the city. Tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off buses start at $35, making it a much pricier option than the free tram network, or metropolitan trains.

Boat

If you’re looking to see Melbourne from a different perspective, why not take in the views of the city skyline whilst cruising down the Yarra River? There are multiple options for sight-seeing river cruises, with prices varying from $10-$60. Ferries also operate throughout the Melbourne area, taking you to and from the CBD, St.Kilda, and Williamstown. While a longer and pricier option than other public transport, you’ll get to take in the sights of Port Phillip Bay, and stunning views of the City Skyline. 

Car

If you’re looking to explore the highlights of Greater Melbourne and Victoria, having your own car is an ideal option for those wanting to go off the beaten track, and at your own pace.

If you’re only wanting to explore the CBD however, a car could be more trouble than it’s worth. While the centre of Melbourne is easy to navigate, parking can be scarce and expensive. The city is also taking steps to become increasingly carless, such as blocking off roads for pedestrian access only. If you are planning on driving, make sure you’re up to the task of navigating hook turns and driving alongside trams!

Taxi in Melbourne
Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

Ride-share services/Taxis

Like most major cities, Melbourne offers a range of safe and reliable ride-share services, such as Uber, Didi, and Ola, as well as traditional taxi services. While the convenience of these services may be overshadowed by the free trams in the CBD, ride-shares are commonly used in the city’s inner suburbs for their door to door efficiency.

For travellers only wanting to explore one area outside of the free tram zone, the cost of splitting an Uber may be cheaper than public transport when the cost of a Myki card and travel fare is taken into consideration. 

Walking through Union Lane, Melbourne with a local Im Free Guide. Photo by Im Free Tours

Walking

Known for its hidden sights and intricate network of laneways, the best way to explore Melbourne’s unique character is on foot. As a carefully designed city, the Melbourne CBD is easy to navigate, with most of the city’s major highlights within a walkable distance from each other.

Pedestrian access is a priority in the CBD, with ample safe crossings, footpaths and wheelchair/pram ramps. Beautiful walking paths also stretch down to the Yarra River and Botanic Gardens, offering fresh air and scenic views.

To uncover the best parts of Melbourne on foot and see the city like a local, book a free walking tour at imfree.com.au/melbourne.

Green bicycle in Hosier Lane Melbourne
Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

Bike

Melbourne is slowly becoming a cycling-friendly city, with bike lanes increasingly being installed throughout the CBD. This means that while some spots are great to explore on wheels, other areas of the city may not be as compensating. Plan ahead and make sure you’re confident riding alongside trams.

For those wanting a more scenic route, beautiful bike paths can be found along the Yarra River, and down the beaches from St.Kilda. While Melbourne recently axed their bike share service, bikes can be privately hired from around $30 per day. 

As you can see from all of these options, Melburnians are often spoilt for choice when it comes to travelling through the city, with trams, trains, walking and cycling just some of the most popular ways to explore the beautiful Melbourne sights.

If you are still looking for more tailored information on the best ways to get around on your trip, why not ask a local? The team at I’m Free Tours are experts at helping you plan your city exploration, and will happily guide you on the best transport options for you - all while touring you around some of the best city sights and secrets! Book now at imfree.com.au/melbourne

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