Getting There & Around – Australian Grand Prix

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Advice on getting to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix & getting around in the city during race weekend, including the best ways to get to the Albert Park street circuit.

The 2017 Australian Grand Prix takes place on March 24-26. Click here to reserve a hotel in Melbourne.

Melbourne’s main airport, Tullamarine (MEL), has a wide range of international connections, with many large international carriers offering regular flights to the city. We’ve detailed hubs, airlines, average flight times and the expected costs to help you plan your trip.

Flights from Europe

  • Major European hubs: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam.
  • Major airlines flying to Australia from Europe: Qantas, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates
  • Flight times: the combined flight/transit time with at least one stop en route in either the Middle East or Asia is a minimum of 24 hours. You’ll also lose around 10 hours due to the time difference.
  • Average return economy fare cost in March: £750-1000 GBP / €1000-1200 EUR.

Flights from North America

  • Major North American hubs: Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Dallas
  • Major airlines flying to Australia from North America: Qantas, United Airlines , Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia
  • Flight times: Direct flights from the West Coast of the USA take around 14-15 hours.  Flights with a stop-over have a combined time in excess of 20 hours. In March, Melbourne is 15-18 hours ahead of US time.
  • Average return economy fare cost in March: $1500-2000 USD

Flights from Asia

  • Major Asian Hubs: Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Bangkok
  • Major airlines flying to Australia from Asia: Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways
  • Budget airlines: AirAsia, Jetstar.
  • Flight times: Around 8-10 hours from most Asian hubs to Melbourne.
  • Average return economy fare cost in March: $800 USD for major carrier / $500 USD for budget carrier.

Domestic Air Travel

There are a plenty of daily flights betweem the main Australian cities, both with full service carrier Qantas and budget carriers such as Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger Air. Expect to pay a minimum of $100 AUD and a maximum of around $400 to get to Melbourne via a budget carrier from most Australian capital cities (Adelaide and Sydney will be the cheapest, Perth the most expensive). Be sure to get a flight to the main Tullamarine airport (MEL) rather than Avalon (AVV), which is a considerable distance further from the city.

Interstate Trains & Buses

  • Trains connect all the capital cities in Australia and are a good choice if you have some extra time to see more of the countryside. The Sydney-Melbourne train ride takes around 12 hours – daytime and overnight services are available. A seat can be purchased for around $125 AUD, whilst a bed on an overnight train costs in excess of $200 AUD. More information on Sydney-Melbourne trains can be found here.
  • There are also regular bus services between major Australian cities for budget-conscious fans. A one-way ticket from Sydney to Melbourne costs around $60-80 AUD and the trip takes 10 hours – day and overnight service are available. Firefly is a reputable bus company with services between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

Getting to the track

The easiest way to get to the Albert Park circuit from the city center is to take a tram. Services are frequent on Grand Prix weekend and FREE for F1 fans. Be prepared for crowded public transport when you are leaving the circuit, particularly on race day.

  • St Kilda Road GP Shuttle services run between the city centre and St Kilda, stopping at the circuit along the way. In the centre, trams leave from outside Flinders Street train station on Swanston Street (opposite Federation Square) at 1-2 minute intervals during peak times and are best for accessing the circuit via gates 5, 8, 9 and 10. These trams terminate at St Kilda and then return to the city centre, so are also suitable for fans staying near the beach.
  • Light Rail GP Express trams head to gates 1 and 2 from Spencer Street (corner of Collins Street) every 1-3 minutes at peak times throughout the weekend.
  • From the same location on the corner of Spencer Street and Collins Street, Clarendon Street GP Express trams head to gates 3 and 4 at 1-5 minute intervals during peak times over the weekend.

Airport > City

Melbourne’s main airport, Tullamarine, is located approximately 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) NW of the city centre. There is no direct rail connection between the airport and the city centre, and public transport is indirect and time consuming. The best way to get to the centre is via shuttle bus or taxi. Sky Bus runs every 10 minutes throughout the day and night, with one way fares from the airport to the city currently costing around $18 AUD. Taxis from the airport to the city costs around $40-50 AUD and travelling time is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

Melbourne Taxis

The bright yellow taxis in Melbourne are plentiful and well regulated. Fares are increased when you are travelling late at night, if you wish to pay with a car or have 5 or more passengers. Expect to pay around $20 AUD for a taxi between the circuit and the city centre or approximately $15 AUD for routes between the circuit and St Kilda.

Taking public transport in Melbourne

Melbourne has an extensive public transport network consisting of trains, trams and buses. In the city centre, the main train station for suburban services is Flinders Street Station, on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets. It is possible to catch either a FREE train or tram from Flinders Street Station to the circuit on race days and stewards are on hand to guide lost F1 fans in the right direction. There’s also an extensive free CBD tram zone in the center of the city.

To travel on public transport in Melbourne, you will need to purchase a ‘myki’ card. This is a reusable smart card which can be both purchased and topped up at a variety of locations including via machines at train stations and tram stops and at 7-eleven stores. Each time you get on and off public transport, you need to swipe the reader to record your journey. Click here for more information on public transport in Melbourne and to view maps of the network.

Hire a Car

If you are staying in the city for the Grand Prix and not planning to go further afield, you won’t benefit from hiring a car –  public transport and taxis will be more effective. Driving to the track each day is not a good idea, as parking and local road access is  severely restricted during the event. If you get the opportunity to spend more time in Australia, hiring a car to see more of the country can be a great option. A mid-size car will cost around $80 AUD per day including insurance and petrol is relatively cheap by international standards at around $1.30 AUD per litre.

Bicycle Rental

Melbourne has an extensive bicycle rental scheme. If you are in town for the Grand Prix, you can purchase either a daily or weekly subscription to the service, with prices starting from as little as $2.70 AUD per day. Just don’t forget to wear a helmet – it’s the law in Australia. Helmets can be purchased for just $5 AUD from a variety of convenience stores in the city. More details on renting bikes is here.

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March 12, 2017

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Useful travel information to help you start planning your trip to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

March 11, 2017

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What to do away from the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne. The best off-track activities, including where to eat, drink, shop and go out.

February 4, 2017

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How much will a weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne set you back? Read our budget planner to find out!

December 14, 2016

Getting There & Around – Australian Grand Prix

Advice on getting to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix & getting around in the city during race weekend, including the best ways to get to the Albert Park street circuit.

November 26, 2016

Accommodation – 2017 Australian Grand Prix

From budget to luxury, we’ve chosen the best F1-friendly accommodation in Melbourne with easy access to Albert Park for the 2017 Australian Grand Prix on March 23-26.

November 21, 2016

Tickets – 2017 Australian Grand Prix

Your guide to buying tickets for the 2017 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 23-26.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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