The City Circle Tram in Melbourne is a boon to Melbourne visitors. The hop-on, hop-off free service operates daily along a rectangular city circuit passing a number of attractions in central Melbourne.
Hop On, Hop Off
Not only is travel completely free on the City Circle Tram but you get a running commentary on the places of interest along its route. You can get off the tram at any of its stops, so you can visit particular attractions at close hand, and catch the next one.
This "hop on, hop off" feature is similar to that of the Sydney Explorer buses except that the Explorer buses travel a longer circuit and you need to pay for a ticket.
The Melbourne City Circle Tram is scheduled to arrive at designated stops every 12 minutes or so from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and until 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The Melbourne City Circle Tram does not operate on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
The standard City Circle Tram is an old-fashioned "Heritage W class tram" with a distinctive maroon-brown color. Replacement or additional trams may be used on the route and be of another color altogether, but would be clearly marked "City Circle Tram."
City Circle Route
The Melbourne City Circle Tram travels a rectangular route along Flinders, Spring, and LaTrobe Sts, then Harbour Esplanade in Docklands—right around the Melbourne city center. From the western end of LaTrobe Street, it takes the rail spur into Docklands Drive to the Waterfront City area before doubling back to rejoin the rectangular route.
Best Things to See on the Tram Route
The Melbourne Tram, as locals call it, will take you close to or right by these key attractions.
Old Treasury Building - Now the city museum, The Old Treasury Building is one of the finest public buildings in Australia. It was built in the 1850s during the Victorian Gold Rush which is responsible for a spurt in Melbourne's growth.
Parliament House - The Parliament House, one of Melbourne's best-known landmarks, is open to the public on weekdays. Public tours are available of this grand building construction of which began in 1856 but remains incomplete. The building is on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Princess Theater - This 1500-seat theatre is in Melbourne's East End Theatre District and is the oldest continuous entertainment site in Australia. The Princess Theater, dating back to 1854, is listed by the National Trust of Australia and is on the Victorian Heritage Register. You can attend a world-class production of shows such as Cats, Mamma Mia!, The Producers, MATILDA The Musical and ONCE in this iconic and beautiful theater.
Docklands - Melbourne’s Waterfront City, the District Docklands, has dining, entertainment, and shopping. You can shop til you drop at major fashion outlets, sporting good stores, and specialty shops; featuring over 180 outlet stores. On Sundays, look for the District Makers Market. A favorite of visitors is the view from above on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel.