Tullamarine Airport is the main domestic and international airport in Melbourne, and it is outside of peak hour, about a 30 minute distance from the City centre. At the airport you will find hire car companies, taxis, limo hire and a Skybus service that can take you to the City.
The other airport for Melbourne is Avalon Airport which is much further away and west of the City (about 45 minutes to an hour) roughly halfway between Melbourne and Geelong.
Make sure you check which airport your flight is landing at to avoid any confusion.
If hiring a car – ask for an e-tag or day pass– as there a tollway leading to the city from Tullamarine which you need to pay.
There are literally thousands of hotels, motels, guest houses, and short term apartments in Melbourne scattered throughout the city, but the big hotels are mostly located in the city centre and in and around Southbank – where Crown Entertainment Complex (Casino) is located as well as scores of restaurants and the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Southbank is located beside the Yarra River, with a promenade walkway beside the river and outdoor cafes and restaurants. It is just a short walk over one of the bridges that cross the Yarra to the City business area, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, Melbourne Town Hall, Bourke Street Mall and other shopping areas, with Docklands not far away too.
If you find a hotel in Southbank or on Swanson St, Bourke St, Collins St, Flinders St or Lonsdale St – ALL are in the centre of the city and walking distance to each other. One of the ‘cute’ things about Melbourne is that some of these main streets have a second smaller sister street – as in Little Bourke St, Little Collins St, Little Lonsdale St and Flinders Lane. Small cafes in and around laneways add to the city’s unique atmosphere.
If you don’t feel like walking, catch a tram – It is a great way to see the city and take in the ambience. Trams are a real feature of Melbourne, and if you buy a MYKI CARD (ask at your hotel reception of at the Melbourne Visitors Centre at Federation Square or Bourke St Mall) this will allow you to travel on most trams, buses or trains for the day (some conditions apply). There is also a City Circle Tram just around the City centre, and a red City Tourist Shuttle bus – that travels past 13 of the main city tourist attractions.
If you are driving, remember that when trams stop to let out passengers, you also must stop too, and Melbourne also has what are called hook turn intersections in the city– where when making a right hand turn, the driver pulls to the far left of the street they are leaving, and then only turns into the street they are wishing to enter when the lights in that street turn green. Hook turns take time to get used to, and can be very confusing to drivers that are not familiar with them.
The city itself is divided into suburbs – each with their own name and they spread outwards to the west, north and east from the city centre, to the south to Port Phillip Bay, and around the Bay on both sides to the coastline and ocean.
A series of numbered Freeways and Highways also extend outwards in different directions from the city (west, east, north and south) with a ring road around the city (M80 Western Ring Rd). The Citylink Tunnel runs under the City itself to link the west to the east – making it easy to move around the city in different directions. Like all big cities, traffic can become an issue, but overall the city is well serviced by its road network and buses, taxis, train services and trams.
We hope you have a great time seeing Melbourne and getting to know the city.