Melbourne Airport caters to over 30 million passengers a year, making it the second busiest in Australia. Unlike Sydney or Brisbane, both international and domestic airports are housed within Tullamarine’s four terminals. With T2 being the hub for international flights, domestic travellers will pass through T1, T3 or T4; Qantas arrives and departs from T1, T3 is reserved for Virgin Australia passengers, and all remaining airlines fly from T4. Plans are underway for a major redevelopment, with a third runway (running east-west) to open in 2023 and a fourth runway also a possibility.
You’ll find a great range of facilities at Melbourne’s domestic airport terminals, with plenty to keep you occupied before your flight.
For domestic flights, Melbourne Airport recommends arriving at least one hour before departure. Whether you’re flying from T1, T3 or T4, check-in is located on Level 1, a short escalator ride from each terminal’s bus stop on the ground floor.
If you’re being dropped off or arriving by taxi to T1 or T3, simply walk through the main entrance to check-in for your flight. But for T4 departures, drop off is located on level 1 of the car park. You’ll need to follow the signs and walk 5 minutes to the check-in counters.
Baggage allowances vary depending on airline, class of travel, and departure. It’s always best to confirm your particular flight’s luggage requirements with your airline or Flight Centre Travel Expert, especially for checked-in items.
Tullamarine also has a number of luggage services available. The aptly named ‘Protect-a-bag’ is the airport’s luggage wrapping facility. Domestic travellers should note that this service is located near the check-in desks at the international terminal (T2), directly across from Flight Centre. Although housed under the same roof, it’s wise to leave extra travel time if you need to walk between terminals.
If you’re venturing into the city between flights, or simply need a place to hold your bags, the airport offers Smartcarte storage services. Travellers can find Smartcarte at ground level of T2 and at the T4 car park.
If you’re transferring to an international flight, you will find many Travelex Worldwide Money service desks throughout T1 and T2 terminals. Alternatively, you can pre-purchase a travel money card or foreign currency at your local Travel Money Oz store.
Transport and terminal transfers
What’s the best way to get to and from Melbourne Airport?
Melbourne Airport – or Tullamarine, as it’s sometimes known – is located 23 kilometres northwest of the Melbourne city centre in the suburb of (you guessed it) Tullamarine. Currently there is no direct rail link to the airport from the city, which is a hot topic for Melbournians. That said, there are a number of different ways to travel to and from Melbourne Airport. From modest public bus routes and dedicated shuttle services to private-chauffeurs and rockstar-style helicopter rides, there are plenty of options.
Skybus: For convenience, it’s hard to beat Melbourne’s Skybus services. Running 24/7, you can travel express between domestic terminals and many locations around Melbourne, including the CBD, Southbank Docklands, St Kilda, and the Peninsula region. All Skybus shuttles depart every 10 minutes with the only exception being the half-hourly services that run between 1am and 4am. Best of all, the 45-minute ride only costs roughly $20.
Taxi: Although pricier than the Skybus, a direct taxi trip home might be what you need post-flight. A ride from the airport to the CBD takes around 30 minutes and costs approximately $60 (assuming you've missed Melbourne's infamous rush-hour traffic). Note that an airport fee and any fees for tolls will be added to your fare.
All three domestic terminals have conveniently located taxi ranks; ranks at T1 and T3 are found outside baggage claim at ground level, whereas T4 passengers will need to head across to Level 1 of the T4 transport hub. Alternatively, you can pre-book your taxi and have it collect you at the ‘AT Terminal 123’ car park.
Rideshare: If you’re using Uber or other rideshare apps such as Ola, Didi or GoCatch, you will be directed to one of two pick-up spots: if you're flying into T1 or T3, you'll be ushered to the first lane of the forecourt, whereas T4 passengers can head to Level 2 of the T4 Ground Transport Hub.
Chauffeur/Door-to-door transfers: Whether you’re travelling for business or just want your holiday to last right up until the moment you reach your front door, a private chauffeur is one of the best ways to reach your destination. Although there are no service desks at the airport, you can pre-arrange your door-to-door transfer before you leave. For domestic travellers, your driver will be waiting for you on the ground level of the T1 car park, level one of the T3 car park, or on level two of the T4 carpark.
Public Transport – Buses: One of the cheapest and most popular ways to get to and from Melbourne airport is via the buses operated by Public Transport Victoria. There are a total of four busway timetables that pass through the T4 bus interchange: routes 478, 479 and 482 will take you to Sunbury and Airport West, while the 901 SmartBus connects travellers to Broadmeadows. All four timetables fall under the myki ticketed services system - a pre-loaded, 'tap-on, tap-off' transport card that can be used across most of Melbourne's trams, trains, ferries and buses.
Regional and charter buses: There are many regional bus services to transport you around Victoria. Shuttles have pick-up/drop-off locations at Tullamarine travelling to and from Ballarat, Bendigo, Dandenong, Geelong, Gippsland, Shepparton and the Southern Riverina District. Tickets can be purchased inside airport terminals.
Car rental: Fancy driving down Great Ocean Road? Or perhaps cruising through the rolling, green countryside in Gippsland is more your style? Renting a car from Melbourne airport is a great way to escape the city and embark on the perfect road trip. All major car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget and Hertz, are located on the ground floor of the AT Terminal 123 car park. If you're ever unsure which car hire option is best for you, check in with your local Flight Centre Travel Expert before your trip.
Helicopter shuttle: Not a fan of buses? Or perhaps you just want to feel like a rockstar for a day? Or maybe you just really, really like flying. Whatever your reasons, the Microflite Helicopter services can take you through the skies to various regions in Victoria and Melbourne's CBD. What a way to announce your arrival!
Picking up and dropping off: If you’re dropping off friends or family at the airport, you can do so via Departure Drive on Level 2 of the Terminal 1,2,3 forecourt.
Melbourne Airport also gives drivers the chance to pick up passengers who are ready and waiting, by collecting them from the 1-minute pick-up zone. If you’re picking someone up and you need a little more time, there’s also a 10-minute pick-up zone and a 20-minute Wait Zone if you arrive early and your passenger is not ready. This Wait Zone is free for the first 20 minutes, although if your passengers keep you waiting, a small fee is applied for waiting 40 minutes and again for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, drive-up rates apply.
Melbourne Airport parking
Melbourne airport has a lot of choice when it comes to parking, catering to all budgets, baggage requirements and timeframes.
Value car parks: If you'd like to wave to your loved ones from the departure gate, or want to greet your guests without worrying about the car, parking at the airport's Value Short Stay car park is an ideal option. The car park has a $10 flat rate for periods under four hours, making it one of the airport's more budget-friendly car parks. A 24/7 shuttle departs from the car park to terminals every 10 minutes. If you’re jetting off on a family holiday, the Value Car Park also offers reduced rates for extended periods during the Victorian School Holidays. Please note, online bookings are not available.
Long Term car park: The aptly named Long Term Car Park is perfect if you're jetting off for a few days or weeks (and even months). Parking rates decrease the longer you're away. There’s also a convenient drop-off zone where your family can get out and unload their luggage before you find your park. What’s more, the Long Term car park has a 24/7 shuttle bus that leaves every five minutes. You can drive up to the Long Term car park on the day, or secure a cheaper rate by booking ahead of time.
At Terminal car parks: The At Terminal car park is, of course, right at the airport terminals. Unlike the Long Term or Value Car Parks, you can forget about the shuttle and walk straight to your check-in counter. You can also secure a cheaper rate by booking your spot online. Please note, there are two At Terminal car parks: the At Terminal 123 for Qantas, Virgin Australia and International travellers, and the At Terminal 4 reserved for all other airlines.
Premium parking: Available directly outside each terminal, the premium car park is the quickest self-parking option available at Melbourne airport. Bays are close to walkways, meaning you’ll be on your way in no time.
Valet parking: For the ultimate 24/7 parking, take advantage of the valet services located right outside T1, T2 and T3. T4 passengers can also take advantage of this deluxe service, with Terminal 4 just a short stroll from the T3 valet parking. You can book online or drive up on the day - both will guarantee you a spot.
How do I transfer between terminals?
Conveniently, Melbourne’s domestic and international airports are located in the same building. With Terminal 1 being a 10-minute walk from Terminal 4, transferring between flights is easy. If you do need assistance, contact any one of the airport staff.