Good news for all travel bugs eyeing a trip to Melbourne – Melbourne city is now more accessible and tourist-friendly than ever! Now you can hop on and off trams around the Melbourne CBD hassle-free and completely free of charge.
Starting 1 January 2015, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has introduced a Free Tram Zone that covers most of the Melbourne CBD and some of the surrounding areas, including Queen Victoria Market and Docklands. Tourists and visitors are able to travel around the city and to key attractions on Melbourne’s iconic trams for free.
One of the key routes on the newly introduced free grid runs down to Victoria Harbour, Docklands. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or just want to feel the sea breeze in your hair, Docklands is the perfect place to spend the weekend. The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel stands majestically over a mix of shops, cafes and hip bars, and allows you to experience Melbourne from a bird’s eye view. You can enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree views stretching as far as Yarra Valley and Arthurs Seat. Docklands is also a haven for snap-happy tourists no matter the time or season. Stroll along the harbour bridge and take in a stunning waterfront view of blue skies, the sunrise or sunset, all set against a backdrop of the city.
On the opposite side of the city, Federation Square is the culture hub of the city and is home to two art and design centres – ACMI and NGV. The square boasts over 2,000 events a year, from music performances to cultural festivals. Most notably, the annual Fiesta Malaysia, or the Malaysian cultural festival, is held on May 9th this year. You can plan your trip to coincide with the festival and join your fellow Malaysians in celebrating your love for Malaysia, Melbourne style.
If you can’t decide on your itinerary for the day, the friendly staff at Federation Square’s Visitor Information Centre will be more than happy to assist you in making the most of your Melbourne trip. You can even book flights, accommodation and sightseeing tours at the centre so you can leave the planning in the hands of the experienced staff and browse the in-house souvenir store for a memento of Melbourne to bring back home.
Attractions outside the Free Tram Zone will be made more accessible by the capping of the maximum daily fares for zone 1 and zone 2 at zone 1 rates. You can explore attractions in the middle and outer suburbs of Melbourne such as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, or take a ride on the century-old steam train, Puffing Billy in Dandenong at no additional cost.
The new changes bring with it a new wave of benefits for students. While the Free Tram Zone only covers universities within the CBD, international students have more reason to be excited with another move that could make the commute more affordable. PTV has introduced the iUSEpass initiative, a three year trial that allows international students to purchase and use a half-price annual myki pass. The pass is valid on travel across trams, trains and buses.
For more information on the Free Tram Zone, please go to http://ptv.vic.gov.au. And to know more about Melbourne’s attractions, visit www.visitmelbourne.com or engage on social media using #visitmelb on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.