If you’re new to Melbourne, one of the best ways to get to know the city is by tram. Melbourne is home to Australia’s only tram network, which is also the largest urban network in the world. Trams service not only the city but also the inner suburbs, so ‘tramming it’ is a great way to explore Melbourne’s different neighbourhoods.
Here are three of my favourite tram routes to get you started:
Jump on tram 86 on Elizabeth Street, near the GPO. You’ll travel past Parliament House, then up past the Carlton Gardens, which house the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. Next you’ll travel along Gerturde Street, home to many boutique shops and restaurants, and Smith Street, a great spot for cheap shopping with its many factory outlets. Finally you’ll pass through Westgarth (look out for the lovely cinema) and up the hill to High Street in Northcote, famed for its great live music venues. Here I recommend finishing the trip — although if you’re curious you can continue all the way to the RMIT university campus. Tramming from the CBD to Northcote takes about 25 minutes on average.
The Number 96: East Brunswick — St Kilda Beach
This route links CERES Environment Park in East Brunswick with St Kilda Beach, via the CBD. The tram runs down Nicholson Street in Fitzroy, then through Carlton, once again passing the Carlton Garden. In the CBD, you’ll travel along Bourke Street, then south along Spencer Street, passing Southern Cross Station. From here you’ll pass through South Melbourne and Albert Park before arriving in St Kilda Beach, a popular hangout for backpackers and locals alike.
Hop on the number 19 on Elizabeth Street outside Flinders Street Station. You’ll travel north along Elizabeth Street past the Queen Victoria Market, then you’ll turn up Royal Parade, which will take you past the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the University of Melbourne, the Melbourne Zoo and Princes Park. Finally you’ll hit Sydney Road, which runs through Brunswick and Coburg. This area is full of Middle Eastern shops and restaurants, plus some great bars and cafes. The trip from Flinders Street Station to Brunswick takes about 25 minutes.
With the ‘myki’ ticketing system, you can ‘hop-on-hop-off’ trams, trains and buses as many times as you like. For more info about tickets, timetables and routes, visit Public Transport Victoria.