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Transport and Driving in Melbourne

Living in Melbourne offers various amenities to locals and foreign residents alike. However, you do need to come well prepared for expat life in Melbourne. The InterNations Guide introduces you to leisure, housing, healthcare, education, and transport in one of Australia’s most livable cities.
Transport and Driving in Melbourne

Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport is the city’s gateway to the world, and the airport welcomed over 33 million people travelling through it in 2015 International flights from several major airlines (e.g. Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, British Airways, and Virgin Australia) start and land at Terminal 2. There are direct connections to Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Manila, Shanghai, and Singapore, as well as several New Zealand airports.

Melbourne Airport is located in the district of Tullamarine, approximately 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the city center. With the airport shuttle bus, the SkyBus, it takes you about 25 minutes to reach South Cross Station in the middle of Melbourne. In August 2016, the fare for an adult one-way ticket was 19 AUD.

Public Transportation in Melbourne

Tourists, locals, and expats all profit from Melbourne's excellent public transport system.

The Melbourne metropolitan area has a fairly extensive transport network. The first public cable tram started operating as early as 1885. Nowadays, Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world with over 250 kilometers of track. There are 24 tram routes, 16 train lines, and over 300 bus lines in the Melbourne area. You can check the public transport information for your local area on Metlink Melbourne. Pay for your fares with myki, a reusable smart card, which replaced the older Metcards in late December 2012.

However, Melbourne also has one of the largest road networks in all of Australia — and with good reason. In the outer Metropolitan area and especially in rural Victoria, decent public transportation can be few and far between. Many residents are therefore dependent on their car. Before you move to Melbourne, you should check if you will need to have a car or rely on public transport alone. 

Driving in Melbourne, Victoria

If your access to Melbourne’s public transport network is not sufficient for commuting to work, sending your kids to school, going shopping, etc., you should seriously consider owning a car. However, driving in the state of Victoria requires a bit more than just remembering to use the left side of the road!

First of all, you should find out whether you need a local license:

  • If you have a temporary visa (as most typical expats do), you are allowed to drive in the state of Victoria with a valid International Driving Permit or a valid overseas license. The latter, however, needs either to be written in English or to be accompanied by a certified (!) English translation.
  • Holders of a permanent visa for Australia need to apply for a local license within three months.

In case that you have to apply for a local driving license, you also have to fulfill certain requirements:

  • You must have had an overseas license for three or more years after your 18th birthday.
  • Your overseas license must be either still valid or have expired within the last five years.
  • Before you can exchange your overseas license for a local one, you may need to take four different tests: a driving exam, an eyesight exam, a road law examination, and a hazard perception test.
  • Nationals of the following countries are exempt from testing: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man (for licenses first issued on or after 1 April 1991), Italy, Japan, Jersey, Luxembourg, Malta (for licenses first issued after 2 January 2004), the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.




We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Alain Nguyen

"It was easier getting to know other expatriates in Melbourne with this platform and to share our previous experiences in Australia. "

Samantha Greene

"I love the idea of going out with other expats here in Melbourne and exploring the nightlife this city has to offer. "

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