Friday, March 4, 2011
Getting around Melbourne
Aside from walking, there are two great ways to see the sights in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) for free. You can either take the charming, maroon-colored (usually) City Circle Tram or the City Tourist Shuttle. The City Circle trams (Tram 35) go in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction within the CBD; it passes major tourist attractions. The trams run daily (except Christmas Day and Good Friday) approximately every 12 minutes starting at 10 am until 6 pm from Sunday to Wednesday; hours are extended on Thursday to Friday (10 am to 9 pm). There are tram stops along the following streets: Flinders St, Harbour Esplanade, Docklands drive, La Trobe St, Victoria St, Nicholson St, and Spring St.
The free Tourist Shuttle has a wider route around the CBD but only goes in an anti-clockwise direction. The buses operate daily (excluding Christmas Day) from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm and run every 30 minutes. On Labour Day and Anzac Day, the service operates every 30 minutes between 1 pm and 4:30 pm. There are 13 stops along the route and the complete trip takes approximately 1.5 hours. The key city destinations are:
Stop 1 – Arts Precinct
Stop 2 – Federation Square
Stop 3 – Sports Precinct
Stop 4 – Chinatown Precinct
Stop 5 – Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens
Stop 6 – Lygon Street Precinct
Stop 7 – University of Melbourne
Stop 8 – Queen Victoria Market
Stop 9 – Waterfront City, Docklands
Stop 10 – Docklands Stadium and Victoria Harbour
Stop 11 – William Street
Stop 12 – Southbank and Yarra River
Stop 13 – The Shrine and Royal Botanic Gardens
There is an informative on-board pre-taped commentary with additional information from the bus driver as you travel around Melbourne. You may choose to hop off at any of these stops, spend time exploring the place, then hop on the next shuttle bus.
Of course there are other means of getting around for a fee. Melbourne’s trams are very efficient and cover a lot of areas even outside of the CBD. And if you are up to it, there are bikes that can be rented. There are also horse-drawn carriages that many tourists find irresistible.