Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

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Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Jetting off for a holiday is awesome. But logistically and financially, not so much. If you find yourself studying or working in Melbourne soon, this list on the cheapest, fastest and 'best of both worlds' ways to get to and from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport will be of help to you. These are ways that I have personally tried and ascertain to be reliable.
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

For departures
Before getting to Melbourne Airport, remember to find out which terminal you are departing from. As a quick guide:

Terminal 1 - Qantas/ Jetstar domestic flights
Terminal 2 - International flights
Terminal 3 - Virgin Australia & REX domestic flights
Terminal 4 - Tiger Airways domestic flights

Note: Jetstar domestic flights flying in and out of Melbourne Airport will be relocated to Terminal 4 from 10 November 2015. This does not apply to JQ1-JQ399 which will continue to operate from Terminal 2.

Note: Terminal 4 is very far to walk from the taxi/bus pick-up point, possibly because Terminal 4 was still under construction when I was there. I am not sure if it is already completed now, or if the walking distance will be shortened when it is completed. Allocate at least 15 minutes to walk to your check-in counter.


Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

1. Public Transport (via Broadmeadows)

I certainly wasn't privy or receptive to this method in the beginning because just looking at the journey I have to make just puts me off. But if you are a student on budget, you will be glad to know taking the Skybus or taxi aren't the only options to getting to the Tullamarine. It is especially value-for-money for students enjoying the student concession in Melbourne to take this option.

How to go from Flinders Street Railway Station?
1. Take the train towards Cragieburn to Broadmeadows station. (32 minutes)
2. Exit Broadmeadows station and you will see a huge board as pictured above.
3. Take Bus 901 that says Frankston/ Melbourne Airport. (30 minutes)

Duration needed from Flinders Street Railway Station?
> 1 hour 30 minutes (incl. buffer time)
If you check the timings properly on the journey planner of the PTV website, you might even be able to there under 1 hour 15 minutes. In my experience, the buses in Melbourne have been pretty punctual (+/- 5 minutes), especially for high frequency buses. Trains are usually on-the-dot.

How much does this method costs?
Adult full fare, 2-hour fare, Zone 1+2: AUD3.76 
Concession, 2-hour fare, Zone 1+2: AUD1.88

Is this method very troublesome?
It will definitely take more time. You will be subjected to more uncertainties in catching the bus/ train, but if you are not running short on time, this method will be the most cost-effective. If you have a lot of luggage, it can be rather troublesome to load it up and down the trains. But if you only have a small luggage and a carry-on backpack, it should be very manageable. The bus 901 is spacious as it is meant to ferry passengers to and from the airport.

No wifi except at Flinders Railway Station.

Alternatively, check the PTV website.

Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

2. Skybus

The most obvious option for you to get from the airport into the city is the Skybus, with advertisements and directions at the kerbside of Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. If you're going to the airport, you board the Skybus at the bus terminal at Southern Cross Station.

How do I use the Skybus to get to my accommodation?
Most people are not staying at a hostel/hotel near Southern Cross Station. If you had to buy a Myki and try to navigate to your location, or to take a taxi, it would be counterproductive to take the Skybus. The next thing you need to check is the participating hotels of the free hotel bus transfer service offered by Skybus. All of them are within the CBD, Southbank, Docklands, North Melbourne, Carlton, and Fitzroy. Choose the hotel bus transfer that is, hopefully, within walking distance to your hotel.

How much does this method costs?
Adult, one-way: AUD18
Family (1 adult + up to 4 children), one-way: AUD25
Family (2 adults + up to 4 children), one-way: AUD41

If you have to get from Southern Cross to your accommodation by public transport, additional costs:
Adult full fare, 2-hour fare, Zone 1+2: AUD3.76 
Concession, 2-hour fare, Zone 1+2: AUD1.88

There is wifi onboard the Skybus and it works.

Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport
Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

Cheapest, Fastest, 'Best of Both Worlds' Ways to Get to/from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

3. Flag-down cabs versus Uber

I have tried both, but in different directions - flag-down from Melbourne airport to the city, and Uber from North Melbourne to the airport. Which is better?! Before using Uber, I was apprehensive about its reliability especially when I don't want to take my chances for catching planes. I asked around, and thereafter I used Uber again with zero issues. So I say yes to Uber. Note that there will be a jam on the highway into the city if you're landing in the morning (many red-eye flights coming in from wherever). The duration of the journey is approximately 45 minutes with a jam, and 30 minutes without.

What is the difference in costs for flag-down cabs versus Uber?
I don't have a flat-out point by point comparison since there are many different factors.

- Quoted flag-down cab rate, for a journey of 20km: AUD90
*Not sure if cab driver was trolling me

- Flag-down cab rate, for a journey of 27km: AUD60
*From airport to South Melbourne

- Uber cab rate, for a journey of 20km: AUD42
*I forgot to turn off 20% gratuity tip amount, so actual fare should be AUD34

Shameless plug:
If you have never used Uber before, you can get an additional AUD10 off by using my promo code: WDF42 (go to Promotions and input this).

I only tried Uber twice in Melbourne, but it is quite obvious that Uber is the cheaper choice especially if you get to share the ride with a few others - but note that your luggage may not all fit the trunk. It is surely the most comfortable option since you get the pick-up directly from your location. For budget travelers, I will still recommend the public transport route as it will help save quite a bit in the long-run.

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