Melbourne Airport (MEL) Guide
About Melbourne International Airport
Melbourne Airport is the second busiest airport in Australia, with more than 30 million passengers (and around 250,000 tonnes of freight) passing through the airport last year. The airport consists of four main terminals, with T2 the hub for international arrivals and departures and T1, T3 and T4 servicing domestic flights. 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. Click here for cheap flights to Melbourne.
What facilities are at Melbourne International Airport?
International travellers will find a good range of facilities and services at Melbourne Airport. From the moment you check-in, you’ll have plenty of things to do.
For international flights, airlines advise that you check-in three hours before departure. At Melbourne International Terminal (T2), you can check in on the first floor. If you are entering the airport at ground level, take the escalators or lift up to Level 1.
Each airline and class of travel has its own luggage restrictions (weight, size and quantity) so it’s always best to confirm with your airline about the requirements for your particular flight. Melbourne Airport has several luggage services for travellers such as baggage storage, luggage wrapping and dedicated check-in counters for oversize baggage.
Smartcarte is the luggage storage service, and is located in the International Terminal (T2) on the ground floor. Items such as bikes, prams and musical instrument cases can be stored here for short or long periods of time.
Protectabag luggage wrapping services are located alongside the check-in desks at T2 Departures. For oversize baggage at T2, you can drop off items on Level 1 between McDonalds and PJ O’Briens, and pick up items on the Ground Floor opposite carousel 6.
Is there a currency exchange?
You’ll find several Travelex Worldwide Money service desks throughout the International Terminal, or you can pre-purchase foreign currency, traveller cheques and more at Travel Money.
What are the other services and facilities?
Transport and terminal transfers
What’s the best way to get to and from Melbourne Airport?
Melbourne Airport is located around 23 kilometres northwest of the Melbourne CBD just beyond the outer suburb of Tullamarine. As the second-busiest airport in the country, it offers a good range of transport options, ticking off everything from ultra-low cost public transport to rockstar-style helicopter shuttle. The best way to travel to and from Melbourne Airport all depends what you’re looking for.
SkyBus: SkyBus is probably the most convenient option, running 24 hours a day between Melbourne Airport and the CBD, with pick-up/drop-off points at Terminals 1, 3 and 4. There’s a flat rate of $19 one-way, with departures every ten minutes except between the hours of 1am and 4am, when SkyBus departs every 30 minutes.
Taxi: Taxi services operate from the Ground Floor outside T1 Arrivals and between Terminals 2 and 3. A taxi from the airport to Melbourne City takes around 35 minutes and costs roughly $55-$65, though travel time and fares can vary. You can also pre-book a taxi to pick you up from the airport, and any pre-booked taxis will be waiting in the outdoor section of the At Terminal T123 car park. Note that an airport fee and any fees for tolls will be added on to your fare.
Rideshare: From Melbourne International Airport, Uber and other rideshare services such as Ola, Didi and GoCatch pick up from two locations: Lane 1 of the forecourt (for Qantas, International and Virgin Australia passengers) and Level 2 inside the T4 Ground Transport Hub (for Jetstar, TigerAir, Rex or AirNorth passengers).
Chauffeur/Door-to-door transfers: If you’ve prearranged an airport transfer with a private company, drivers will meet at the Chauffeur/Hire car meeting points within the airport. The fee will be arranged in advance, as there are no meters in these vehicles. There are no service desks for this kind of Melbourne Airport transport, so cars must be booked in advance.
Public Transport – Buses: One of the most economical ways to get to and from Melbourne airport is via the buses operated by Public Transport Victoria. There are several timetabled services from the T4 Ground Transport Hub: Bus Routes 478, 479, 482 will take you to Airport West and Sunbury, while 901 will take you to Broadmeadows Station, at which point you can switch to a train. These bus routes are myki ticketed services, with myki being the smart card for Victoria’s trains, trams and buses. You can buy a myki card from the SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport or on the buses themselves.
Regional and charter buses: If you’re touching down in Melbourne, then heading out to regional Victoria, you’ll be able to catch a coach to your destination. These charter services have pick-up and drop-off locations at Melbourne Airport.
Picking up and dropping off: Drivers who are dropping travellers off at the airport can do so via Departure Drive on Level 2 of the Terminal 1, 2 and 3 forecourt.
The International Terminal (T2) and other terminals also give drivers the option 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 waiting area is free for the first 20 minutes, with a small fee applied for waiting 40 minutes and again for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, drive-up rates apply.
Car rental: Renting a car is good idea if you’re planning on exploring more of Victoria once you touch down at Melbourne Airport. Here you’ll find the major car rental companies such as Avis, Budget and Hertz, located on the ground floor of the At Terminal T1 T2 T3 Car Park. Talk to your Flight Centre Travel Expert to find out which company has the best car hire deal for your travel needs.
Helicopter shuttle: And then there’s the rockstar option. Maybe you don’t like traffic. Maybe you need to get yourself to the Southern Highlands, stat. Whatever the reason, you can now transfer to or from the airport via helicopter shuttle. Microflite Helicopter Services offers transfers between Melbourne Airport, the CBD and several locations around Victoria.
Melbourne Airport parking: There’s a whole lot of choice when it comes to parking at Melbourne Airport, so you can select what best suits your budget, timeframe, and so on.
Value car parks – Budget, short-stay parking is a great choice for when you’re simply picking up or dropping off friends or relatives. There’s a $10 flat rate for 4 hours in the Value Short-Stay Car Park, which includes a free 24/7 shuttle that departs for terminals every ten minutes. (Note: Online booking is not available for this car park.) If you’re staying a little longer – taking off during school holidays, for example – the Value Car Park is ideal. You get access to the same shuttle bus as in Short-Stay, above, with bookings only available during Victorian school holidays. Disabled parking is available in the Value car parks.
Long Term car park – The Long Term car park is the most budget-friendly option, best suited to longer stays. Rates decrease the more days you’re away. There’s even a handy drop-off zone where you can let your family out and unload your baggage before you park. You’ll also be able to use the free 24/7 shuttle bus departing the car park every 5 minutes. Simply drive up on the day or book ahead for a cheaper rate online. Disabled parking is also available.
At Terminal car parks – Named for, you guessed it: car parking that’s at the terminals. If you’re travelling for business or you’re off on a short getaway and you want an option that’s quick and convenient, At Terminal parking might be just what you’re looking for. These car parks are the closest to the terminals, which means after parking you’ll be checking in within minutes. Being prepared comes in handy too, because you can book online for At Terminal car parks and the earlier you book, the more you save.
Premium parking – No matter which airline you’re travelling with, Premium T1 T2 T3 parking is a short 100m from the terminals, making this the quickest self-parking option at Melbourne Airport. Bays are located closest to the walkways, so you can be on your way in no time. Disabled parking is also available within Premium parking.
Valet parking – For the ultimate in 24/7 service, Valet parking allows you to simply drive up, and hand over your keys. There is no wait time, with an attendant always available. You can book online or simply drive up on the day. Melbourne Airport Valet is perfect for Qantas domestic or international flights, while Virgin Australia Premium is the best choice of you’re a Virgin Australia guest, giving you direct access to Virgin Australia at T3.
Melbourne Airport parking tip: If you need to contact customer service while you’re in the car parks, just use the ‘help’ intercoms located at the payment machines as well as entry and exit gates on each parking level.
How do I transfer between terminals?
All the terminals at Melbourne Airport are conveniently located in the one building, with the domestic terminals either side of the international terminal T2, within walking distance. T4 is a further 100 metre walk from T3.
What restaurants and bars are at Melbourne International Airport?
If you want to grab a quick bite, sit down for a meal or toast your impending holiday at Melbourne’s International Terminal, you have plenty of options to choose from. Highlights include Cafe Vue by Master Chef Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde fame, and the excellent choice of Australian and Spanish wines at Bar Pulpo.
Restaurants and bars at Melbourne International Terminal include:
- Air Bar & Lounge
- Bar Pulpo tapas
- Baxa noodle bar
- Cafe Vue Express
- Cafe Vue
- Hudsons Coffee
- Hungry Jack’s
- Little Sumo
- Muffin Break
- Pressed Juices
- Urban Provodore
- Villa & Hut Kafe
Shopping at Melbourne Airport?
The International Terminal at Melbourne Airport offers all the classic shopping experiences, such as duty free, books and magazines, as well as souvenirs and luggage. The terminal also has an impressive array of luxury brands across fashion and accessories.
Shops at Melbourne International Airport include:
What lounges are at Melbourne International Terminal?
Cathay Pacific Lounge
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge is open from 04:45-14:00 and 20:30-23:03 daily and accessed from Level 1, located below Gate 6. Guests can enjoy a selection of food and drink, Wi-Fi, showers and more. Business and first class passengers of Cathay Pacific and other Oneworld airlines have access, with unlimited access for Cathay Pacific’s Silver-level frequent flyers. Check with your Flight Centre Travel Expert if you have any queries regarding lounge access.
Qantas International Business Lounge
To reach the Qantas International Business lounge, take the escalators down to the lounge level. You’ll find the lounge below Gate 9. Talk to your Flight Centre Travel Agent about lounge access, because several reciprocal arrangements with other airlines and frequent flyer networks are in place. This lounge offers fresh, barista-made coffee all day, table service and fast Wi-Fi.
Qantas International First Lounge
The Qantas First Class Lounge at Melbourne International Terminal, located near Gates 9 and 11 offers everything you would expect from a premium lounge. You’ll know you’re in the First Class lounge with a la carte dining and table service, a Champagne menu, and complimentary 20-minute treatments from the in-lounge Aurora Day Spa. There’s a lot of natural light, floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of spaces to relax in comfort or catch up on some work in privacy.
Singapore Airlines (SilverKris) Lounge
Located opposite the Qantas Business Class Lounge, below Gate 9, this lounge is divided into two areas: one for First Class passengers and the other or Business Class passengers. The SilverKris lounge welcomes guests flying Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Philippine Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines. Check with your Flight Centre Travel Expert if you have any queries regarding access. Both lounges have a very premium feel, with plenty of powerpoint access for anyone wishing to work or charge devices.
Air New Zealand/United Airlines
The Air New Zealand (Star Alliance) lounge is located one level below the departure concourse. Just take the escalator down to the lounge area, after you pass the second duty-free shopping zone, near Gates 5/7. The Air New Zealand lounge at Melbourne Airport is open to business and first class passengers of Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines. Talk to your Flight Centre Travel Expert if you have any queries regarding lounge eligibility. Highlights of the Air New Zealand lounge include the all-day espresso bar, as well as the abundance of AC and USB power points.
The Emirates Lounge at Melbourne International Airport is located up the escalator, above Gate 15B. The lounge is open to both Business Class and First Class passengers travelling with Emirates. Emirates has arrangements with Qantas and a number of other airlines, so check with your Flight Centre Travel Expert about lounge eligibility. You can also purchase entry at the door if you’re travelling with Emirates or on an Emirates flight that is operated by Qantas.
Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge
Also upstairs, opposite the Emirates lounge, is the Etihad Airways First and Business Class lounge. Etihad welcomes all Business and First Class Etihad passengers, as well as select Virgin Australia passengers and more. Other Etihad passengers can also purchase lounge access at the door. The Etihad Airways lounge offers an a la carte dining service in addition to the plentiful buffet, as well as a separate VIP room that can be hired out for your exclusive use.
Marhaba Lounge (pay at the door)
Flying international economy class? You can still enjoy all the benefits of an airport lounge with the pay-at-the-door Marhaba Lounge located above Gate 9. The lounge is open from 6am until midnight every day, and entry is complimentary for Business Class passengers of Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Japan Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and XiamenAir. The lounge offers shower suites, barista coffee, a buffet and plenty of comfy chairs in which you can relax before your flight
Plaza Premium Lounge (pay at the door)
Passengers at Melbourne International Airport have a choice of two pay-as-you-go lounges, the other being the Plaza Premium Lounge which opened in 2018. Select travellers have automatic entry to this lounge but you can also purchase access at the door, no matter which airline you’re flying with or which class of ticket you have. Within the Plaza Premium Lounge at Melbourne Airport you can enjoy all-day bar and barista service, meals cooked to order in the afternoon, buffet dining, as well as plenty of AC and USB power points. There is a dining area as well as an area with comfortable seating, and entry costs $60 for up to two hours and $70 for up to three hours.
American Express Lounge (pay at the door)
Another lounge you can access at Melbourne Airport, regardless of which airline you’re flying with, is the American Express Lounge. While there are a dizzying number of cards which grant you complimentary access to the lounge (check with your Flight Centre Travel Expert on this one), you can also purchase entry even if you’re not an Amex card holder. The lounge gives you a very comfortable space in which to relax before your flight, with barista-made coffee, a dining area with tables and bench seating, an ever-changing array of food options, an all-day bar and plenty of power outlets (all Australian sockets).
What hotels are near Melbourne Airport?
Melbourne Airport is dotted with accommodation options for all manner of stay, from the convenient sleep before an early departure to the welcome, comfortable bed after a very late arrival. Here’s an introduction to just three of the hotels near Melbourne Airport. If you’d like to book, find a hotel here or contact your Flight Centre Travel Expert.
Parkroyal Melbourne Airport
You can’t get much closer to Melbourne International Airport than from the Parkroyal Melbourne, just a 60-second undercover walk across the sky bridge from the terminal. Perfect for late arrivals, early departures, or a convenient place to get a little business done, the Parkroyal Melbourne Airport offers 276 spacious guest rooms with city skyline, airport or mountain views. SkyBus Express bus service from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD operates every ten minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport
The Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport is just 400 metres from the airport itself, and only minutes away by hotel shuttle. If you’re enjoying a pre-flight drink at Vargas Bar in the Lobby, you’ll be able to check on the status of your flight at all times thanks to the live flight status screens displayed in the hotel. Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport also offers hotel rooms for day use only, if you want somewhere you can relax completely as you wait for a connecting flight.
About a 6-minute drive from Melbourne Airport, Mantra Tullamarine Hotel gives you all the amenities you’d expect from a modern business hotel with the addition of a limousine/town car service, express check-in, and a complimentary 24-hour roundtrip airport shuttle. There’s also 24-hour room service, and buffet breakfasts are available for a fee.