Do You Need A Car In Melbourne?

Like any major city, for some, the thought of having to travel around in unfamiliar territory can be overwhelming. The city of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, Australia is no exception to this. For those who have never visited Melbourne, the thought of trekking through this large city can be overwhelming.

Being the second largest city in Australia, Melbourne has a population of approximately 5.1 million people. It is a city that is ever-growing and ever-changing, which can add to a feeling of uncertainty for some travellers.

However, despite its size, Melbourne is known for being an incredibly accessible and easily navigated city. For the most part, visitors to the city tend to base themselves in the city’s centre, as this is where the majority of hotels, shopping, restaurants, theatres, and other tourist attractions are.

For those that are visiting Melbourne, Australia from either a domestic or international location, you do not need to have a car or rent a car. If you choose to stay within the business and central core of Melbourne, then there is an abundance of restaurants, museums, theatres, stores, and more within very close proximity.

Because of how fantastic the options for public transit are, as well as the smooth layout in the city centre for visitors and domestic citizens alike, many folks often wonder if there is a necessity to bring or rent a car while in Melbourne.

Very consistently to large cities like New York City and Manhattan, Melbourne is laid out in a grid-style pattern. This makes it very simple to get around, follow street signs, etc., as most streets come to the standard right angle. The public transportation options are also a major highlight for the city, as there is the opportunity to take a train or tram, a bus, a taxi, or even a bicycle.

Even if one wishes to travel to a different location, one out of the usual walking distance, then there are multiple options in terms of public transit. One can easily order a taxi, take the train or tram, take a short bus ride, or even rent a public bicycle. This sort of trip is a perfect way to see the entirety of central Melbourne, and all the area has to offer.

However, for those who are planning on moving to Melbourne or currently do reside there, it is generally recommended to own a personal vehicle. Many folks agree that owning a car is a lifesaver when it comes to reoccurring travel across the city – whether for work or leisure.

Many feel that while the amount of public transport is excellent, constantly having to rely on it is not. Others will point out that having to travel by taxi services can rack up a large cost. So, unless you plan to live near your place of work, a supermarket, etc., a car is a nice thing to have.

Can I Drive In Melbourne With A NSW License?

If you are someone who is planning on visiting Melbourne from a part of New South Wales (NSW), for a period of 6 months or less, then you are certainly able to use your NSW license. During the timeframe of 6 months or less, one does not need to convert their license.

Melbourne, being part of Victoria, permits people to use their interstate driver’s license or learner’s permit. It’s important to ensure that your license is valid and showcases all of your current information – bearing in mind that the same road rules will apply.

However, for people who are planning on moving to Melbourne or visiting for a timeframe that is longer than 6 months, it is necessary to have your license converted to a Victorian one.

How Much Is Public Transport In Melbourne?

There are many options for public transportation in Melbourne and each comes with its own set of prices. In terms of the very famous trams, that take visitors throughout the city centre attractions and the inner suburban areas, the cost is free (on certain days) to $4.50 per trip.

The trains, which are commonly used by those travelling from the suburbs to the inner-city areas, also cost $4.50 per trip and can take travellers much longer distances. Also sitting at the same price of $4.50 per trip are the public buses that are available.

In terms of the V/Line trains and coaches, that often bring those that are day-tripping from Melbourne to different parts of Victoria, the cost can be anywhere from $4.50 to around $35 per trip (depending on the distance and destination).

In terms of taxi services throughout the city, the basic fee is often around $4.20, with the kilometre price being set at around $1.60. It’s also worth noting that a standing fee (like at the airport) is around $34 per hour. Lastly, hiring a bike can cost anywhere from $25-$55 per day/overnight.

How Bad Is The Traffic In Melbourne?

Melbourne has become known over the last decade for having moments of tight traffic congestion. Much of this has to do with the times that are considered rush hour, which has an abundance to do with folks travelling to school, work, etc.

The known worst times of day for vehicular travel in Melbourne are between 6:30 am to 9:30 am and 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. There are also certain areas in the central business district of Melbourne that can become very congested – specifically the areas around Kings Way, Queens Road, and Lonsdale Street.

Can You Take A Bike On A Train In Melbourne?

Fortunately for those wishing to bring their bike along with them onto a train, bikes are able to be carried onto any metropolitan train for free. It’s worth mentioning that you can’t board a train at the first door of the first carriage, as this is always a designated priority area for anyone who has a mobility issue or impairment.

It’s requested that passengers with bikes keep the doorways and walking room as clear as possible, out of courtesy towards all other passengers.


We have travelled to many great places around Australia and hope to share our travel tips, hacks, and adventures with you. So come with us as we explore the great down under!

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