First up: Getting a Train into Melbourne’s CBD/City
Melbourne is our hometown, and we live in the inner North-Western Suburbs. If you are staying outside of Melbourne’s CBD, rest assured, it is easy to get into the bustling city. Firstly, find the nearest station and navigate your way to Platform 1. Platform 1 is almost always the platform for city-bound trains. If not, most inner/outer suburb stations are easy to navigate. We have a fairly basic train system here in Greater Melbourne, in which each Metro line goes into a central city-based hub – Flinders Street Station. Mind you, this system can be VERY frustrating for those who live here, although it reduces the chances of you getting lost among endless amounts of platforms if you are unfamiliar with the city – something you may be more likely to experience in countries such as Japan.
Buses and Trams
Trams (sighs heavily), I highly recommend not using this service outside of the central city if you are pressed for time during your travels, and/or if you are staying in the outer suburbs. However, trams are great if you want to get to Fitzroy or Carlton -which are some of the best neighbouring suburbs to central Melbourne. Trams are also great for reducing walking distance when in the CBD, where there is a free tram zone.
On a side note: To get to the famous Lygon Street restaurant region of Carlton from the CBD, jump on the Number 1 or 6 tram that travels up and down Swanston Street, and get off at stop 112 Elgin Street/Lygon Street. Otherwise, click on the Public Transport Victoria link below and use the Journey Planner function, in which you can browse multiple routes. To get to Fitzroy from the CBD, hop on the Number 11 tram that travels up and down Collins Street, and navigate to your stop using Public Transport Victoria.
Buses are great for connecting suburbs to one another, and for locals to navigate through their own neighbourhood, and trams are great for short trips, however, try and avoid these services as a sole means of getting into the central city area. Instead, I recommend getting an Uber to your nearest train station. This is particularly helpful if your bus/tram trip does not provide an efficient connection for nearby train stations. Uber is fairly well priced in Melbourne, and it will make your night that tad bit easier and stress-free.
Download the PTV App and Use ‘Journey Planner’
For timetables and the PTV ‘Journey Planner’ function, head to: Public Transport Victoria. I recommend downloading the free Public Transport Victoria (PTV) app on your phone and/or tablet. Trust me, this will make your travels a lot easier! Basically, it allows you to input an exact address, a specific train station, a bus or tram stop, a general region, or even a landmark as your desired destination, and the website/app will outline the best way to get there. One major benefit to using the app is that it will pick up your “Current Location,” which is useful for those of you still learning your way around.
But Cora, you may ask, what if the journey the app specifies is super long and has three changes? Here is what I recommend that you do:
- Navigate to the ‘Journey Preferences’ tab as shown in the screenshot below. You can adjust your walking speed, which if you set to ‘fast’, may make other options available. The app usually caps the walking time at 10 minutes, but you can also adjust this. Of course, allow extra time! I cannot stress this enough. Even if your speed is set to ‘average’ or ‘normal’, the app usually underestimates the time needed to get there. Within the ‘Journey Preferences’ settings, you can also set your desired transport modes. For example, sometimes I know I only want to travel by train, but every time I use Journey Planner, it will only show me tram trips – even if the app recognises that the train is an efficient option. So, if I adjust what mode of transport I wish to use in the app, it will only give me options using that mode (i.e, train). You can save your adjustments as default settings for future use.
- If your journey is lengthy, inefficient or just way too stressful, again, I recommend getting an Uber to the nearest train station, or directly to your destination.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below. Wishing you happy, and (hopefully, if you follow this guide) easy travels!