Melbourne Airport is serviced by 27 international airlines. The airport is approximately 22 kilometres from the city – approximately 25 minutes drive.
Peak times for airfares are in the summer months – between November and January – and especially around Christmas. If you are planning a summer trip, book well in advance.
From London, you can fly direct to Melbourne – the journey takes around 20 hours. There are also indirect flights, making the journey longer but considerably less expensive. From North America, you can catch a direct flight to Melbourne, as well as a number of single-stop services. Excluding stopovers, flying time to Melbourne is around 20 hours from New York or Toronto, 18 hours from Vancouver, or 15 hours from Los Angeles. From New Zealand, there is a range of flights available to Melbourne, with those from Auckland taking approximately three-and-a-half hours.
Customs and immigration queues are generally short. The airport, which affords easy access to connecting interstate and international flights, has baggage lockers in the international terminal, around-the-clock foreign exchange counters, restaurants, bars, a children’s playground, information desks, major car rental companies and, for departing travellers, a refund booth to reclaim the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on some goods. There is also ample parking for private vehicles.
A departure tax of AUD$38 is charged on leaving the country but it is usually incorporated in your airline ticket. If in doubt, ask at the information desk.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger are the major domestic carriers and are housed within the main terminal at Melbourne Airport. Jetstar also flies from Avalon Airport near Geelong. The airlines operate regular services throughout the day from Australia’s major cities, with flights leaving every 15 minutes in busy periods.
For airline travel within Victoria you can choose from several regional airlines, such as Qantas Link and REX (Regional Express), which fly to Melbourne and larger regional centres including Mildura, Portland, Traralgon and Mount Hotham. Smaller airlines also operate out of these regional centres.