Getting to and from Melbourne Airport: What are the Options?
Melbourne Airport (or Tullamarine Airport as it’s also known) is about 23km northeast of the Melbourne CBD. And as anylocal will tell you, there is no real easy way to get there.
While construction of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link is set to commence in 2022, it is expected to take up to nine years to complete (and that’s if it stays on schedule, which is a pretty big if).
So, for those of us looking to catch a flight before 2031, let’s have a look at some of the best ways to get to and from Australia’s second-busiest airport.
The SkyBus is currently the main option for getting to and from Tullamarine Airport. It operates six services between the airport and various destinations including Melbourne CBD, Docklands and Southbank, St Kilda, Frankston and Melbourne’s western and eastern suburbs. There is also a hotel transfer service that will transfer you between Southern Cross Station in the city and select city accommodation providers at no additional charge.
The airport-CBD route runs 24/7 and generally takes between 20 and 40 minutes. However, because the buses move through the Melbourne CBD and take a major arterial route out of the city, the SkyBus can be subject to significant traffic holdups, so make sure you leave plenty of time to catch your flight.
The SkyBus is not a myki-ticketed service (myki is the smart card ticketing system used across Melbourne’s public transport system), so separate SkyBus tickets are required.Single adult tickets are around $20 (one way) from the CBD, with prices varying for peninsula and eastern and western suburb services. Tickets are available online or at the ticket booth at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station.
Family fares (for two adults and up to four children) are available for reasonable prices. However, for more than two adults from the city, the Skybus can quickly become uneconomical.
While public transport to and from the airport is an option, it is not a convenient or practical option.
Bus routes 478, 479 and 482 depart from the bus terminal outside Terminal 4. These routes go from the airport to Airport West Shopping Centre and Sunbury. From there, the 59 tram line or other bus routes can take you to the city.
The 901 bus from Terminal 4 will get you to Broadmeadows Station where you can catch a train to Flinders Street Station.
While public transport is definitely the cheapest option (costing less than $10 to get from the airport to the CBD), it is complicated and will take between 70 and 90 minutes to get to the city. There are no direct public transport routes to the city, with each route involving at least two buses or changing to a tram line or train line. The public bus stops near Terminal 4 can also be hard to find and there is little public transport information available at the airport.
It’s also worth noting that Melbourne’s public transport system runs on the myki smart card ticketing system. That means that you need to purchase a myki card before catching public transport, since tickets are not available for purchase on buses, trains or trams.
Taxi / Uber
Taxis from the CBD to the airport will generally cost between $55 and $65 (with this price including an airport fee and CityLink toll charge. In terms of airport-CBD ride length, a taxi or Uber should take around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.
While Uber or other ride-share apps will usually cost you less than a taxi, their prices can fluctuate significantly during times of high demand.
Driving – Melbourne Airport Car Parking
There are a range of Melbourne Airport car parking options. These include at terminal short-term parking, valet parking, and long-term parking.
The Tullamarine long-term parking options are generally expensive and often busy or even booked out, so booking ahead is highly recommended. The long-term car park is situated a short distance from the terminals, but there’s a free car park shuttle bus that comes every five minutes that will take you directly to all domestic and international terminals.
Driving – Other Airport Parking Companies
Other than the Melbourne Airport car parking options, there are a number of other long-term airport car parking options located around Tullamarine. In general, these will be significantly cheaper than the Tullamarine long-term parking options. Most nearby parking providers will offer a choice of indoor or outdoor parking, as well as providing a free shuttle bus service to the airport.
The high-quality parking providers will even offer a range of other services, including car washing and detailing and even expert mechanical repairs so you can have your car serviced while you’re away.
Driving – Hire Car
The final obvious option for getting to and from Melbourne Airport is by hire car. Getting a hire car for a day could end up being cheaper than a cab ride from the airport. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that parking in the Melbourne CBD is difficult and expensive, so this might not be the most practical option if you’re planning on staying in the city.