Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport (MEL) is one of the busiest in Australia and handles the bulk of domestic and international flights in and out of Victoria. Located just 20 kilometres from the central business district, you can waltz off the plane and be in the heart of Melbourne’s vibrant arts, cafe and entertainment scene in no time. Whether you’re visiting Melbourne as a tourist or returning home after a trip away, it’s important to know how to get from Melbourne Airport to the City efficiently.
In this guide, we’ll cover the quickest and easiest ways to travel between Melbourne Airport and the city.
Express bus from Melbourne Airport to the City
One of the easiest ways to travel from Melbourne Airport to the City is with the SkyBus. This is an express bus that runs from Tullamarine Airport to Southern Cross Station in the City and is one of the most popular options for tourists, particularly those staying in Melbourne’s CBD. The trip takes roughly 22 minutes – and because the SkyBus runs along the Tullamarine Freeway, there are few traffic disruptions.
If you need to travel in the opposite direction, the SkyBus also operates from Southern Cross Station to Melbourne Airport.
SkyBus operates its direct service between Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station seven days a week between 4 am and 1 am. No pre-booking is required, so you can simply turn up and hop on the next bus, which normally runs in 15-minute intervals.
Tickets can be purchased at the bright red SkyBus booths outside Melbourne Airport, or at the electronic kiosks in Southern Cross Station. You can also purchase tickets online. Prices start at just $19.95 for a one-way adult ticket and $4 for a child. You’ll save on the one-way fare by purchasing a return ticket, and there’s also a discount for seniors. The online prices are the same as tickets purchased in person, so the only advantage to buying online is convenience.
For many travellers, the SkyBus is often the best way to get from Melbourne Airport to the City. But if you’re travelling as a group, it may work out cheaper to take a taxi or rideshare into the City. And if you’ve got plenty of luggage, it may be a challenge getting your bags on and off the SkyBus.
Taxi from Melbourne Airport to the City
Taxis operate to and from Melbourne Airport, and you’ll find clearly-signed taxi ranks outside all the terminals. Lines move quickly, and there’s no need to pre-book a taxi.
Melbourne Airport has a $4.50 access fee for all taxi pick-ups, and there is no charge for drop-off. This fee is included in your final taxi fare.
The cost of a taxi from Melbourne Airport to the City is normally around $60 – $70, depending on traffic conditions and your final destination in the CBD. If you’re travelling as a group, a one-way taxi fare may be cheaper than booking individual SkyBus tickets. A taxi is also one of the best ways to travel from Melbourne Airport to the City if you’ve got plenty of luggage in tow.
Melbourne Airport rideshare pickup zone
Rideshare is a popular way to get from Melbourne Airport to the City. Major rideshare companies like Uber, Ola and DiDi operate services to and from Melbourne Airport. Depending on the number of travellers in your group, rideshare may be a cheaper option than taking a bus from Melbourne Airport to the City.
There are two dedicated rideshare pickup zones at Melbourne Airport. Passengers arriving at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 can proceed to the rideshare pickup zone on lane 3 in front of Terminal 2. Passengers arriving at Terminal 4 can proceed to the rideshare pickup zone on the ground floor of the T4 Car Park.
Uber from Melbourne Airport to the City
Uber operates its rideshare service to and from Melbourne Airport. Members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program can earn Qantas points on rides to and from eligible airports in Australia. Simply link your Uber account to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account and request an Uber via the Qantas app.
The cost of an Uber from Melbourne Airport to the City starts at around $50, but this can vary depending on the time of day and your final destination.
Ola from Melbourne Airport to the City
Ola, another major rideshare company, operates services to and from major airports in Australia, including Melbourne Airport. Taking an Ola from Melbourne Airport to the City will set you back around $50. But as with all rideshare apps, this cost is dependent on demand – you may incur a surcharge during busier periods.
Previously, passengers could earn Velocity Points when travelling with Ola. But after the end of the Ola and Velocity Frequent Flyer partnership in May 2023, there is currently no means of earning frequent flyer points with Ola.
Train from Melbourne Airport to the City
Currently, no train runs from Melbourne Airport to the City. But with the Melbourne Airport Rail project getting underway, visitors and locals can expect to travel from Melbourne Airport to the City by train in 2029.
If you’re flying into Melbourne Airport, there are plenty of transport options to get you to the City. With a bit of research and planning, you can determine the best way to travel between the airport and the City based on your individual needs.
Looking to make the most of your next flight out of Melbourne Airport? Check out our comparison of every lounge at Melbourne Airport so you know what to expect when departing from Tullamarine.
Tullamarine is the closer of the two major airports and handles most of Melbourne’s domestic and international flights. Tullamarine Airport is located approximately 20 kilometres from the City, while Avalon Airport is around 50 kilometres away.
Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport is located around 20 kilometres from the Melbourne City centre.
This depends entirely on your preferences. Solo travellers and couples who are travelling light may find that the SkyBus is the best way to travel from the airport, while groups and those with more luggage may find benefit in using a taxi or rideshare.
The cost of a rideshare service from Melbourne Airport to the City is usually around $50, but this varies depending on the time of day. During busy periods, there may be a surcharge. You can check the rideshare app ahead of time for a fare estimate.
There are plenty of hotels close to Melbourne Airport for passengers in transit or those who want to spend the night before an early flight. Members of a hotel loyalty program in Australia can explore the various brands on offer, including Parkroyal, Holiday Inn and ibis Budget.