Melbourne’s efficient train system covers city and suburban destinations. Flinders Street Station, on the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets, is the hub of Melbourne’s train system, and all metropolitan trains begin or end their journey there. The city’s famous trams travel along most of Melbourne’s major thoroughfares, extending out to about 15 kilometers into the suburbs. Visitors can also use the burgundy and gold City Circle Tram, which does a free 30-minute circuit around the city centre, linking major attractions and other transport routes. Melbourne’s bus network links with trains and trams, as well as services destinations overlooked by either train or tram.
Melbourne’s trams and light rail service give the city a distinctive character and provide a scenic way to explore the city and inner suburbs like Richmond, St Kilda and South Yarra. Traveling along most of Melbourne’s major thoroughfares, trams run down the centre of the road, stopping at every CBD intersection and then every two or three blocks once in the suburbs.
Services run regularly from 5am until midnight Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 11pm Sundays. On weekends and public holidays, services are reduced. Many tram services link up to bus and train routes so you can negotiate your way to most places in Melbourne within a short walk from a train, tram or bus.
Passengers can board trams at signposted stops on the side of the road and from central islands in the CBD. These spots often have a map with route numbers and times – the route number is displayed at the front of the tram. To catch a tram, signal to the driver with a raised hand and climb on board, either through the front, middle or rear doors. Although motorists are prohibited from passing trams that are stationary at stops, always look left to see if there are any vehicles approaching.
Tickets, called Metcards, can be pre-purchased from premium train stations and stores displaying a Metcard sign, via the Metcard Helpline (1800 652 313)or from the online MetShop and are interchangeable for use on all metropolitan public transport.
City Circle Tram
The distinctive burgundy and gold City Circle tram provides a free and convenient way to move around the city and passes a number of sights and attractions including NewQuay dining and entertainment precinct. Running along Flinders Street, Harbour Esplanade, La Trobe Street and Spring Street, the journey takes nearly 50 minutes, although it can be used as a hop on, hop off service.
Other ways of getting around include taxis, which are numerous and easy to spot (they are all eye-catching yellow), boat (an abundance of vessels cruise up and down the Yarra River, traveling to destinations like Williamstown) and cycling (Melbourne has an extensive trail and road network). Laid out in an elementary grid pattern, the city centre is easy to navigate on foot, while a multitude of tour operators makes sightseeing in Melbourne a breeze.