When you visitSan Francisco, you have to pay for the opportunity to take a ride on that city’s historic tram line. When you visit Melbourne, you can ride on the iconic City Circleline for free. Used by locals and tourists alike, there couldn’t be a better way to see the highlights of downtown Melbourne.
The Melbourne tram line has a long and distinguished history. It started running in 1885 and by the early 20th century offered extensive electric tram services to many of Melbourne’s major suburbs. Over the years, the entire Melbourne railway system underwent major changes, but one thing everyone agreed on was that the inner city tram line was too good to need replacement.
The City Circle tram takes passengers past virtually all of the best historic sites and shopping districts inMelbourne. Not made just for sightseeing, it makes frequent stops along the way. A “hop-on, hop-off” service, if you want to stop and have a look around anywhere along the line, all you have to do is “hop off” and explore at your leisure until you’re ready to “hop on” again and see something new.
The name “City Circle” is a little misleading because the tram actually takes a square route. Depending on where you pick it up and whether or not you travel clockwise or counter-clockwise, you will see the highlights of 4 of Melbourne’s main streets.Flinders Streetis home to Melbourne’s historic Flinders Street Station, still the main railway station in Melbourne and still located inside its beautiful 19th century façade. On Spring Street, you might want to “hop off” and visit the historic Old Treasury Building or you may just want to snap a few photos before moving on to La Trobe Street and visit the State Library.
As you proceed, you’ll see much more than just historic buildings. In fact, the City Circle Tram takes in some of the most fashionable shopping districts in Melbourne. The Harbour Esplanade in Docklands is Melbourne’s newest tourist and shopping district. A formerly vibrant loading dock district on the Yarra River, Docklands was all but abandoned when larger container ships replaced smaller cargo ships. Today, Docklands has been resurrected and is home to some of Melbourne’s best galleries, museums, shops and restaurants. You will definitely want to “hop off” and spend some time exploring Docklands.
Whether you choose the city centre for your Melbourne accommodation or not, put the City Circle tram at the top of your tick list of Melbourne attractions. Even if you just “hop on” and take the full circuit, you will have plenty of photo opportunities and there is even a free tour guide aboard. Make sure you come back again, though, and “hop off” at various locations along the route. Then explore Melbourne on foot or aboard Melbourne’s other free transportation line, the new City Tourist Shuttle bus.