Someone in Melbourne is a genius. The city has a free hop on, hop off bus for Melbourne sightseeing. Actually, it’s called the City Circle Tram, and it is a fabulous, fun way to get around the Melb CBD where many of the city’s cool, popular attractions are.
The free tram looks something like a San Francisco cable car. It is vintage. It is cute like a cable car (both are red and yellow). The bell goes “ding, ding, ding” like a cable car. However, it doesn’t cost $5.00 like a ride in Frisco.
There is another palpable difference between Melbourne’s City Circle Tram and a San Francisco cable car. In Frisco, the people on the cable cars are tourists. Yet, in Melbourne, everyone uses this free ride: local businessmen, gals going shopping, families with babies and, of course, tourists.
For travelers, this free ride is indispensible for Melbourne sightseeing and for getting familiar with the Melb CBD. Each tram has a recording which points out popular attractions. Anyone can hop on and hop off and hop on, or just ride around all day.
City Circle Tram: Popular Attractions along the Route:
The map at the bottom of this page shows the route of the free tram. The letters on the Melb attractions correspond to red dots on the map. (To enlarge map again, hit Ctrl and Plus key.)
Museums and Cultural Centres
- Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre (P)
- NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre (G)
- Chinese Museum (R)
- Immigration Museum (I)
- Gold Treasury Museum (E)
- Victoria Police Museum (K)
- State Library of Victoria (A)
- Federation Square (H)
- Melbourne Observation Deck Rialto (J)
- Image ACMI: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (F)
- Old Melbourne Gaol (Q)
- State Parliament (C)
- Melbourne Aquarium (L)
- Etihad (Docklands) Stadium, sometimes called Telstra Dome (O)
- Queen Victoria Market (N) – It’s a bit of a walk.
- DFO – Direct Factory Outlet (M)
- Block Arcade (D)
Where to Catch City Center Trams
The trams run in the middle of the street; some run clockwise and some counterclockwise. The tram bus stop will be in the middle of the road on a median center divider. There are specially marked signs for the free tram. The trams follow these four streets:
- Flinders Street
- Harbour Esplanade
- La Trobe Street
- Spring Street
The free trams stop every 12 minutes. (Note: A vintage City Center Tram can also be green and yellow.) Click to find more info: Metlink Melbourne. Regular modern city trams are not free.
Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world, and it feeds into an extraordinary system of buses, subways and trains. This is mass transit at it’s best and should be an inspiration to all urban planners.