Free Parking & Public Transport at Melbourne Airport

neil on 09/08/2012 at 9:00 am, filed under Travel

Melbourne finds itself at the hub of great airline deals such as the recent $10 fares to Sydney. To further minimize excess costs, travellers utilize different payment methods, Jetstar pricematching, bring food on the plane, and pack everything into a carry-on bag. The hardest expense to  minimize is transportation to Melbourne Airport.

Your choices:

  • Skybus ($17/ow, $28 return) – Runs 24 hours a day, takes 20 minutes from Southern Cross Station.
  • Taxi  (~$60/ow from city) – Same as above.
  • Private buses  ($15-$20 (e.g. Starbus) o/w.) Takes 1 hour from city/city suburbs.
  • Park yourself – ($29/day (airport), $19/day at  nearby private car park, e.g. Andrew’s Airport Parking) Airport parking is the easiest option.
  • Public buses– From city, $5.54/ow. ~1 hour From Gladstone Park Shopping Centre $2.26. ~5 minutes. (There is only 1 public bus that goes from the city to the airport and only runs once a day (don’t even try). There are other lines that run to the airport but you will need to catch them in the outer suburbs. The easiest route utilizing public transport from the city would be to take a train out to Broadmeadows station then catch the 901 bus to the airport.)

There is one last method that I tried out on a recent trip to Sydney. According to this map via reddit, you can park your car for free in and around Gladstone Park Shopping Centre. The centre is about a 5 minute bus ride from the airport and serves the 478, 479 and 901 bus. The 901 bus runs the most frequent.  Drive at your leisure, park the car, 1 minute walk to bus stop, catch bus to airport.


1. Park for free at Gladstone Park Shopping Centre or surrounding streets. There are no restrictions on either.

2. Walk 1-2 minutes to the bus stop on Mickleham Road.

3. Take the 901 bus to Melbourne Airport. The bus runs every 15 minutes during the day and at later intervals at night/early morning.

4.  The bus ride should take around 5 minutes and the airport will be the first stop.

5.  The bus will drop you off outside Terminal 4 (Tiger).

5.  Walk to your terminal. Terminal 4: 2 min, Terminal 3: 5 min, Terminal 1: 12 min.

If you are traveling with another person or group, drop them all of at the airport with the bags. Drive back to Gladstone Park Shopping Centre, park, and take the bus back to the airport. Want to get a cheap meal? Grab some food for the plane at Woolworths, located in the shopping centre.


If you don’t possess a MYKI card you will need to purchase one for $6. The card allows you to travel on trams, trains, and buses in Melbourne. So if you are taking the train to Broadmeadows, you will need a MYKI. If you are just taking a bus, then you can just purchase your fare on board without having to purchase a MYKI.

Airport parking prices vary and tend to get cheaper the longer you park. For the purposes of this post, a daily rate was used.

Depending on the route you drive to the Airport / Gladstone Shopping Centre, you may incur tolls using Citilink. You can avoid these by using local roads.


  1. … You DO need to leave your car in Gladstone Park though.

    09/08/2012 @ 5:26 pm
  2. Michael:

    For those without a car or who aren’t willing to park their car at Gladstone Park, you’re able to catch a train to Broadmeadows (Craigieburn Line) and catch the 901 bus from there.

    09/08/2012 @ 6:48 pm
  3. You can book online with Airportbus Eastside and the Fare from Ringwood is $22. Travel time approx 1.5 hrs. The 901 takes almost 3.5 hours.
    The Fare from / to Box Hill is similar and a little more to Lilydale and Knox.
    The 901 does not go to the city so comparing it as you have with Starbus and others is not really helpful.

    11/08/2012 @ 3:49 pm
    • neil:

      Geoff, as stated in the post, for public transportation from the city you would need to take the train from Southern Cross to Broadmeadows then take the 901 to the airport.

      According to ptv, it takes 1 hour 50 minutes to get to the airport from Ringwood by train. Train to Southern Cross, Train to Broadmeadows, and then 901. $5.54 vs. $22. 1 hour 50 vs 1 hour 30.

      That said, from Ringwood, it may be worth using your service (or something similar) as you’d be depending on 2 trains and bus. With the punctuality of our public transport it could take more than 1 hour 50 minutes. You could also just drive to Gladstone Shopping Centre and take the 901 bus. I think that’s the easiest option especially if you are traveling with others.

      11/08/2012 @ 7:47 pm
  4. jeff:

    Melbourne Airport Childcare center apparently has free unlimited parking as well

    23/08/2012 @ 4:23 pm
    • neil:

      Interesting. I wouldn’t want to take parking spaces away from child care staff/parents. They are open business hours so wouldn’t it be suspicious if there was a car parked in there after hours?

      23/08/2012 @ 4:46 pm
  5. Thanks for the clear information with photos. This way, we travellers will know our way in the airport. Sometimes airports can be confusing due to its enormous land area.

    08/10/2012 @ 9:32 am
  6. Airportbus Eastside also offers home pickups and drop offs to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

    Full details including costs and areas serviced are on the website.

    As a guide a home pick up or drop off (if booked on the web) is $55 for pick ups in the Maroondah and Knox Municipality and slight more for other areas.
    Discounts apply for more than one person travelling together.

    08/10/2012 @ 7:40 pm
  7. It’s a great option when you consider the amount you would have to pay a taxi etc if you had to get public transport to the airport. You also have the convenience of driving straight there and having the car there awaiting your return.

    08/10/2012 @ 9:40 pm
  8. Reading Comprehension Strategies:

    I recently visited Melbourne and I was pleased to find a number of quality transportation services. I think public transportation system in Melbourne can compete with the best in the world.

    19/10/2012 @ 7:23 pm
  9. melvin:

    How long can one park in Gladstone Shopping Centre? 2 weeks? without the shopping management towing your car away?

    14/11/2012 @ 5:35 pm
    • neil:

      I think parking in the shopping centre for 2 weeks might be a bit suspicious. In that case, I would just park in nearby residential streets.

      15/11/2012 @ 10:27 am
  10. melvin:

    How long can you park in the streets without your car being towed away by council?

    30/11/2012 @ 5:02 pm
    • neil:

      Not sure. I don’t think there is a time limit. I imagine there are people who don’t use their cars too often or park in the same spot. Someone would have to report your car to council as an abandoned car. It would probably have to look like an abandoned car. I’d think they would have to put a sticker/warning saying this was reported as abandoned etc. I mean whats to say it’s not a neighbours car.

      For a couple of weeks, I’d think you’d be fine. Perhaps a few months may not be a good idea. I can’t find any information from the Hume council but it may be similar to the Yarra Council which states they will put a warning if the car is unregistered and after 30 days they will tow it. Assuming a car is registered, then nothing will happen.

      01/12/2012 @ 9:40 am
  11. SUE:

    We put our friend on Airportbus Eastside last week. they called right on time to my Bayswater address at 6.50am and arrived at the Airport at 8:15am.

    For $55 you couldn’t beat it.
    2 weeks ago my son caught Airportbus Eastside from the Ringwood stop and they departed the Ringwood Stop at 12.30pm and arrived at the airport at 1.45pm. The cost was $22

    01/12/2012 @ 12:44 pm
  12. Eric:

    Awesome hack! I am going to have to try this next week when I go to Sydney for 3 days. I think I will get in after the last bus, but a taxi back to my car should only be $10, and that will be quicker than doing a parking shuttle :)

    Thanks also for the excellent detailed instructions and photos. Brilliant.

    09/04/2013 @ 9:05 pm
  13. peter:

    This is a great way to save a lot of money. We had to fly on a Sunday morning and there was no public transport available from Melbourne Centre. We parked our car for 8 days in the neighbourhood and walked the 4 kms in about 50 mins (we have no myki and did no want to pay a taxi).

    For those who do not have the time or condition to walk so long: Park your car much closer at the airport (about 1 km!) at Melrose Drive (e.g. 412 – still normal neighbourhood without any parking signs). This is the closest way you get for free to the airport!

    07/07/2013 @ 2:04 pm
  14. Sydney Airport Transfer:

    thanks neil,very helpful info with photo

    24/11/2013 @ 9:55 pm
  15. Keith:


    Anyone park for more then a month before ? I plan to park my car there for 5 weeks on my year end holiday. It cost $260 to park at the airport parking cheapest. Can’t use Alpha which would charge $188 because we arrive back at 1.00 am, they only open from 5am-11pm, by far they are the cheapest I can find.

    Though of getting a friend to drop us off and hiring a car from airport to get back on arrival but the car hire wants to charge $145 minimum because of after hours service. I use to just park at long term parking and don’t mind paying up till $150 but $260 is way too high.

    I am driving a company car so not too worry if it gets stolen but it would be very inconvenience if I found that out at 1.30 am. Not sure if the council has the right to tow it away because the car is registered ? also not sure if the car would start after 5 weeks ? maybe disconnect the battery before I go ?

    Any suggestions ?


    27/11/2013 @ 7:26 am
    • neil:

      I don’t think you’ll have issues starting the car after 5 weeks.

      As for leaving the car there for 5 weeks, I guess that’s dependent on someone reporting it as abandoned. That usually involves the council putting a sticker on the car, checking to see if it’s stolen etc. It’s a long process.

      If the car looks normal and not stolen, I wouldn’t think there is an issue. Definitely don’t park it in the shopping centre for 5 weeks though, find a nearby street.

      Let us know how you go.

      27/11/2013 @ 8:41 am
  16. Keith:

    Not the shopping centre, was thinking of parking on the service road next to Mikeleham main road. There are more cars passing and more people so it should be safer too, just don’t want the inconvenience of the car gone missing at 1.30am.

    Yeah, I believe the process of council checking should take some time and also if they do check the registration they would contact the company I work for and they would send me an email. I have written to Hume council yesterday pretending someone park their car in front of my house for too long and asking for my rights for it to remove, didn’t mention the street name or anything. Let’s see what their response is?

    Fingercross my plan would work.

    27/11/2013 @ 10:10 am
  17. Ben:

    I’m a little confused being from the country and not used to public transport… And just want to confirm if I’m right. I need to get from the airport to the CBD. Would I just catch the 901 bus from the airport and get off at Broadmeadows, then catch a train to Southern Cross?

    02/12/2013 @ 9:40 pm
  18. Mark:

    In Prague, some clever farmers living near the Airport let you park on their land and bring you with their cars to the Airport for just a fraction of the cost of any commercial parking.
    On your return you call them and they pick you up. Some have 50 cars parking which makes for a nice income esp. for retired people. Has anybody heard about something similar in Melbourne?
    e.g. Bulla just 5 minutes from the airport.

    06/03/2014 @ 1:31 pm
  19. nostril:

    Just did this very trick the other day, worked an absolute treat. Since the upgrade k the terminal road lanes, the 901 now stops right out the front of Terminal 1, saving the five minute walk.

    12/03/2014 @ 10:40 pm
  20. Tim:

    I heard they are cracking down on this now. A friend of mine said there were people getting their tyres clamped. Can anyone else confirm?

    09/09/2014 @ 4:18 pm
  21. Alan Laz:

    Tim, that’s an open ended question: where are people allegedly getting their tyres clamped? Not for legally parking in the unrestricted side streets of Gladstone Park (the suburb)! The Gladstone Park Hotel and the shopping centre both have large car parks which are not patrolled so no clamping there either. Are you trolling?
    If you’re feeling guilty for parking at Gladstone Park shopping centre you could always buy a few things at the Champions IGA there, it’s an abandoned Franklins so a decently sized and set up local IGA.

    16/12/2014 @ 5:56 pm
  22. Chris Emmerson:

    Just used Carhood ( last week when I flew from Melbourne to Sydney for 4 days. Pretty cool concept, you park for free then rent your car out to others whilst you travel. I managed to earn $40 renting my Mazda 3 out :). They also cleaned the car before I returned which was awesome. Definitely recommend this service.

    16/03/2015 @ 4:27 pm
    • Interesting. Might have to try this out.

      16/03/2015 @ 9:02 pm
      • Seriously, when I saw the ad on google saying free airport parking I was in disbelief. After arriving back from Darwin as I frequent this destination for family visits, I took the gamble and gave these fellas a whirl… I shit you not, it was free! Got a swanky limo shuttle car too, I think they use another service acting on their behalf? Cant be sure but I received some money in my bank account too which they were a little late on paying but who’s complaining? Got a cleaner car, free parking, limo and made money?
        You gotta tell someone about this gotta give these guys a leg up or something cause it’s the idea of a lifetime I reckon. Guy I dealt with is Christian Shaffer, one of the owners.

        17/04/2015 @ 3:46 am
  23. sakinah parks:

    I am looking to travel next month from Melbourne to Auckland and need to park for 9 days is there still free parking available? has this changed I am trying to cut transportation cost during my month long travel.

    28/07/2017 @ 3:06 pm
    • Seems alright still. If you look on Google Maps Streetview it is showing no signs about parking on the roads surrounding the shopping centre. Streetview was updated Sept 2016.

      28/07/2017 @ 3:46 pm

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