Information on Tullamarine International Airport including public transport and driving directions.
If you're heading down under to Melbourne on holidays, then you'll be touching down at Melbourne Tullamarine International Airport which is about 22kms from the city center.
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is the country's 2nd busiest airport after Sydney Airport. The airport is named after the suburb, Tullamarine, in which it is located. It serves many international destinations including Europe, America, Asia and the South Pacific. The Melbourne - Sydney air route is one of the busiest in the world. In addition to all of this the airport has received numerous awards in recent years including the Airports Council International which ranked the airport in the top five of its category in 2008.
If you have booked a rental car then you will find the car rental offices on the ground floor of the Short Term Car Park (located opposite the main entrance of the terminal building), and the information desks in the Melbourne Airport domestic terminal. Once you have your car you can exit the airport and you will find yourself on the Tullamarine Freeway. Heading south on this route you will come across the Western Highway, turning west onto this route will bring you around to the city center.
If you are not getting a rental at the airport then you have a number of options to get out and into the city. The most direct way is to get a taxi which you can find outside the ground floor of any of the terminals. The fare from the airport into the city shouldn't cost more that AUS$40 to AUS$50. There is a AUS$2 taxi parking fee at the airport which any passenger picking up a taxi at the rank needs to pay.
You will also have the option of taking the Skybus which operates 24-7 and will take you into the central business district (Southern Cross bus terminal) and the major hotels. The bus leaves every 10-15 minutes during the day and 30-60 minutes during the night. The fare is AUS$14 (AUS$26 Return) for an adult, AUS$6 for a child and AUS$36 for a family ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children).
The bus is quicker to the city center than a taxi due to the use of bus lanes but if you are looking to get to a hotel outside the city center then a taxi is perhaps preferred.
Getting to Melbourne International Airport
If you are returning your car rental to the airport you can simply drive to the airport. The airport is found easily enough by heading out directly on the CityLink Tollway and then the Tullamarine Freeway, but you will need to purchase a CityLink pass to access the toll route. You can buy these before traveling on the citylink.com.au website. If you would prefer not paying any tolls you can head out to the airport by taking the Western Ring Road. Just head west along the Princes Highway and then look for a turn-off on the Western Ring Road. This road intersects with the Tullamarine Freeway which should take you the rest of the way to the airport.
To access Melbourne Airport via the Tullamarine Freeway, you may be required to obtain a CityLink pass. Passengers can also choose to travel toll-free to Melbourne Airport via the Western Ring Road. Rental car customers should discuss CityLink tolling options with your rental car company.
Of course you can pick-up a taxi and it will get you directly to the airport. If you are in the city center and you want to try to catch the Skybus Hotel Shuttle. The bus operates at different hours that it does at the airport, from the city you can catch the bus from 6am to 10pm (Mon to Fri) or 7:30am to 6:30pm on weekends.
What is at Melbourne International Airport
The airport has 4 terminals, all (except Terminal 4) are located within the same building; Terminal 1 (aka the North Terminal) is a domestic terminal that is host to both Quantas and Jetstar; Terminal 2 (aka the International Terminal) is located in between the rest of the terminals; Terminal 3 (aka the South Terminal) is a domestic terminal that is host to both Virgin Blue and REX Express; and Terminal 4 is a domestic terminal for Tiger Airways.
When you are flying into the airport you will come in through Arrivals which is on the ground floor of the terminal building. And when you are flying out you will find departures on the upper floor. While all (except Terminal 4) terminals are located within one building and within easy walking distance of each other, you will not be able to transfer between them after you have gone through the security of any given terminal.
When it comes to doing a little bit of last minute shopping you will not be left wanting in Melbourne Airport. In Terminal 2 in the departures section on the first level there are 3 Duty Free shops and there is 1 in arrivals. For chocolates you won't go far wrong with World of Chocolate (and how could you with a name like that); for Australians souvenirs, the Australian Way contains authentic Aboriginal products, soft Australian animal toys, along with a range of great kids gifts.
There are also a number of decent restaurants including a McDonald's, open 24/7 and is located in Terminal 3; PJ O'Brien's located between T2 and T3, perfect for some pub grub or a pint of Guinness; and of course there is the Air Bar & Lounge perfect for a quiet drink before a flight.
You will find all the facilities you would expect in a modern airport, such as baby changing facilities in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. You can find money changing services in both terminals 2 and 3. If you have any questions while you are in the airport you can find the Travelers' Information Service located on the ground floor of International Arrivals.
Reference: Mairead Foley writes for Novacarhire.com where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.