By Plane -- Qantas (tel. 13 13 13 in Australia; www.qantas.com.au) and Virgin Australia (tel. 13 67 89 in Australia; www.virginaustralia.com.au) both fly to Melbourne from all state capitals and some regional centers. Qantas’s discount arm, Jetstar (tel. 13 15 38 in Australia; www.jetstar.com.au) flies to and from Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Hamilton Island, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, and various other cities around the country. Jetstar also flies between Avalon Airport, about a 50-minute drive outside Melbourne’s city center, and Sydney and Brisbane. Low-cost carrier Tigerair (tel. 03/9335 3033; www.tigerairways.com) has its hub in Melbourne, and from there flies to Sydney, Hobart, Perth, Alice Springs, Cairns, Brisbane, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland, and several other cities.
Melbourne Airport’s international and domestic terminals (www.melair.com.au) are under one roof at Tullamarine, 22 km (14 miles) northwest of the city center (often referred to as Tullamarine Airport). Construction is underway for an additional domestic terminal, which will be home to Tigerair and Jetstar. It is expected to be completed by mid-2015. Travelers’information desks are on the ground floor of both the international and domestic terminals, open from 6am until the last flight. The international terminal has snack bars, a restaurant, currency-exchange facilities, and duty-free shops. ATMs are available at both terminals. Showers are on the first floor of the international area. Baggage carts are free in the international baggage claim hall but cost A$4 in the parking lot, departure lounge, or domestic terminal. Baggage storage is available in the international terminal and costs from A$12 to A$25 per day, depending on size. The storage desk is open from 5am to 12:30am daily, and you need photo ID. There are three airport hotels: Parkroyal Melbourne Airport (tel. 03/8347 2000), Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport (tel. 03/9933 5111), and Ibis Budget Melbourne Airport (tel. 03/8336 1811), all within 5 minutes’walk of the terminals.
Avis (tel. 13 63 33 in Australia, or 03/9338 1800), Budget (tel. 13 27 27 in Australia or 039241 6366), Europcar (tel. 1300/131 390 in Australia or 03/9241 6800), Hertz (tel. 13 30 39 in Australia or 03/9338 4044), Thrifty (tel. 1300/367 227 in Australia or 03/9241 6100) and Redspot (tel. 1300/668 810 in Australia or 02/8303 2222) all have airport rental desks. The Tullamarine freeway to and from the airport joins with the CityLink, an electronic toll-way system. Drivers need a CityLink pass. Check with your car-rental company.
The distinctive red Skybus (tel. 03/9600 1711; www.skybus.com.au) runs between the airport and Melbourne’s Southern Cross station in Spencer Street every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day and every 30 to 60 minutes overnight, 24 hours a day, every day. Buy tickets from Skybus desks outside the baggage claim areas or at the information desk in the international terminal. A free Skybus hotel shuttle will pick you up at your hotel to connect with the larger airport-bound bus at Southern Cross railway station in the city center, but you must book this. It operates from 6am to 10:30pm weekdays and 7:30am to 5:30pm weekends. One-way tickets cost A$17 for adults, and A$28 gets you a two-way journey. Kids aged 4 to 14 cost A$6.50 each way. Family tickets cost A$24 to A$38A for up to six people or A$40 to A$65 round-trip. The trip takes about 20 minutes from the airport to Southern Cross station, but allow longer for your return journey.
Sita Coaches (tel. 03/9689 7999; www.sitacoaches.com.au) operates a transfer service to Avalon Airport for Jetstar flights. One-way fares from Avalon Airport are A$22 for adults and A$10 for children 4 to 14 to Southern Cross station, more to other CBD locations and other suburbs.
A taxi to the city center takes about 30 minutes and costs around A$55.
By Train -- Interstate trains arrive at Southern Cross Railway Station, Spencer, and Little Collins streets (5 blocks from Swanston St., in the city center). You may often hear locals refer to it as Spencer Street Station. Taxis and buses connect with the city.
The Sydney–Melbourne XPT travels between Australia’s two largest cities daily; trip time is 11 hours. For more information, contact NSW Trainlink (tel. 13 22 32 in Australia; www.nswtrainlink.info). V/Line (tel. 13 61 96 in Australia or 03/9697 2076; www.vline.com.au) services also connect Melbourne with country Victoria destinations and other capital cities.
By Bus -- Several bus companies connect Melbourne with other capitals and regional areas of Victoria. Among the biggest are Greyhound Australia (tel. 1300/473 946 in Australia, or 03/9642 8562; www.greyhound.com.au). Coaches serve Melbourne’s Transit Centre, 58 Franklin St., two blocks north of the Southern Cross Railway station on Spencer Street. Trams and taxis serve the station; V/Line buses (tel. 13 61 96 in Australia; www.vline.com.au), which travel all over Victoria, depart from the Spencer Street Coach Terminal.
By Car -- You can drive from Sydney to Melbourne along the Hume Highway (a straight trip of about 9 1/2 hr.). Another route is along the coastal Princes Highway, for which you will need a minimum of 2 days, with stops. For information on all aspects of road travel in Victoria, contact the Royal Automotive Club of Victoria (tel. 13 13 29 in Australia or 03/8792 4006; www.racv.com.au).