Melbourne :Public transport (metro trains, trams) is not free in Melbourne
(1). You have to pay to use the trams and trains. (I'm putting that first because I've seen a posting here that claims that they are free.)
Unfortunately the system (called MYKI) is not very tourist friendly. You need to buy a MYKI card (from a machine outside most train stations – they are NOT for sale on the trams - or from a 7-11 store) and then you need to top it up with money (at a station, or at a 7-11 store). Daft? Yes. Am I responsible for that? No.You cannot jump on a tram with cash and pay the driver.
The Rod Laver Arena [www.rodlaverarena.com.au
] is a pleasant 15/20 minute walk from Federation Square in the centre of Melbourne. If you are staying in the middle of Melbourne, then you'll know where Federation Square is (or ask your hotel). If you have to travel in to Federation Square, then get off the train or tram at Flinders Street.
Most, not all, trams go very close to Federation Square, and Flinders St station is underneath it. The web site also suggests public transport access as follows [www.rodlaverarena.com.au
If you are arriving by train, and the train goes through Richmond station, then it's probably just as easy to walk to Rod Laver from that station. Same distance, but it's not such a nice walk.
Travellers these days are used to expecting to check train/bus etc times using a phone/tablet interface and Google. This (I am told) works fine in all Australian capital cities.... but not Melbourne. Apparently the folk running the trains/buses etc do not release the timetable information in a form suitable for use in phone apps. So, don't depend on Google to be able to help you plan a journey within Melbourne.
]Hanging Rock :
The most important thing to read about the Hanging Rock concert is what the promoters (Frontier Touring) have got on their web site.
They have a LOT of good detailed information there. Note the stuff about car pooling, and also the (sadly sensible) advice about what happens if the show has to be cancelled due to weather or fire danger. For those who do not understand; this is Australia and 'fire danger' is a very very real and dangerous thing. “14 On Fire” is perhaps not the best name for a Tour in Australia. Re-visit the site from time to time before the show date (March 30th) as the information firms up, and quite possibly changes.
The site now has a good overview of the Concert site and layout, plus the Traffic Flow diagrams.
And now my bit...
Hanging Rock is a fairly remote place. Despite being only 80-ish KM from Melbourne it's not that easy to get to.
It's too far from anywhere to think about walking the 'last' bit.
Although the nearest town (Woodend) is served by trains, and Frontier Touring are running a shuttle service from Woodend to Hanging Rock, because the last train from Woodend back to Melbourne is at 9:35pm (ie while The Stones are still on stage) on a Sunday night I cannot advise anyone to travel to the show by train. You may be stranded in Woodend – which is quite a small place.
Fontier Touring have confirmed to me that there are NO plans to run extra/late trains back to Melbourne.
Coach operators are offering trips. See [www.melbourneonthemove.com.au
] for routes, prices, and pickup points. They seem to drop you at the venue pretty early (2pm in some cases) and firmly state that they leave 30 minutes after the show ends. I'd not like to be marooned at Hanging Rock.
If you have a car (eg a hire car) and are planning to drive to the venue, don't underestimate how long it will take. It's at least an hour's drive from central Melbourne, and there's a toll to pay if you take the main motorway Citylink at its southern end. You may be using a SatNav – reject any route that takes you from the city centre past Tullamarine airport (2).
Use the Calder Freeway (M79) towards Bendigo.
Obviously if you are staying somewhere south of the city – such as St Kilda which is very nice – then it will take longer.
If you are a Cricket Tragic and want to visit Rupertswood House – the Home Of The Ashes – then you actually do need to take the route past Tullamarine, and you go precisely past the entrance gates at a roundabout in the centre of Sunbury. There really is no other reason to take the route past Tullamarine from central Melbourne.
If you happen to fly in on the day, want to go straight to the venue, and hire a car at the airport (Tullamarine), then take the Sunbury exit from the airport. It's immediately after you leave the main car hire pickup area. Allow over 45 minutes to get to the venue, more if you are not used to driving on the left! Once you get to Sunbury, the main road to Bendigo is signposted.
If you are planning to drive to Hanging Rock, then when you book your tickets select the pre-paid parking option. Definitely. It will be cheaper and it will allow you to drive round the queue of people waiting to pay to get in. Or make sure you car pool with a total of 4 people – that gets free parking. There's no other parking available anywhere within (literally) miles, and cars illegally parked will be removed without mercy. Very very quickly. The lanes around the venue are very small and illegal parking could very very easily block them and cause chaos. This [goo.gl
] is Straw's Lane (the primary road to the entrance to the main car park).
Hanging Rock is very easy to find from the nearby motorway (Calder Freeway). It's well signposted all the time, and if previous shows are anything to go by, the show will be well signposted. The promoters have a good map on their web site showing the (well laid out) one way systems in place for before the show.
(I had some exchanges with the local Council, who licence the venue, about the less than great post-show directions after the Springsteen concerts. They said that they would tell the Promoters about it. In short, it's out in the countryside 80 KM from Melbourne, and the traffic was being sent all over the place. I knew the way (in the dark) as I've been there several times, but there were quite likely many lost people in that area for several hours.)
There are almost no lights anywhere away from the show area, so if you want to find your way to the bus, or your car, you are strongly advised to take a torch.
When we were at a show there last year, there were car parking marshals before the show getting all the cars in and lined up in nice rows. We saw none after the show, and within minutes there was emerging chaos. (By chance we'd been put about 15m from the main exit, so got to our car - a long walk through the chaos - and pretty much drove straight out.)
Assume mud if it has rained.
The show will be in a paddock to the East of the main rock [goo.gl
]. It's the big one that's bounded on the North by Colwells Rd, and on the East by Straw's Lane. Sadly, the stage usually goes in direct line between the audience and the Rock itself. The Sun will have set behind the Rock by the time The Stones come on stage. There's a nice diagram on the Frontier Touring web site.
Camping on site (Hanging Rock) is not allowed. But finding legal camping in the area is a good idea. But well away from the venue.
This is what Hanging Rock looks like (warning – big files, so don't click on the links if you don't have bandwidth)
and from the Rock
Mobile phone coverage may be an issue for some people. There's Telstra coverage, there's no Optus coverage.
Also remember that the telecommunications infrastructure is there for a population in the local area of less than 1000, and not the 18,000 who may be trying to use it. These systems, and mobile wireless Internet (etc), break down if the demand exceeds the planned usage levels.
After the show, to avoid the mass of people moving towards Melbourne, it's reasonable advice to 'head the other way' away from Melbourne, but it's necessarily restricted. The next place North from Woodend is Kyneton (really nice place, limited accommodation). After that there's a gap until you get to a bigger places like Castlemaine and Bendigo, about an hour's drive from Woodend. Heading towards Bendigo after the show is probably a good idea for some, but then anyone moving on from there to the next show in Brisbane then has a much longer a journey back to Melbourne airport.
The other places in the area (Macedon, Gisborne, Romsey, Lancefield, Sunbury) are all small towns with limited accommodation. Castlemaine is bigger. By far the best bet is to have accommodation in Melbourne and head back there.
Film Buffs should definitely watch 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' which is a film about events there on Valentine's Day 1900. The rock itself (which will NOT be accessible the day of the show) is a great place to climb - easy footpaths about half of the way then easy climb (clamber?) if you are fit - but definitely spooky. We were up there in November 2013, and came across two Koalas up a tree - not bad.Other Melbourne Stuff
Melbourne's primary airport is Tullamarine. There's no train from there to anywhere (shame!), and the easiest way to get into the City is by the very frequent SkyBus service ($15 each way). Something that's not well advertised is that included in your SkyBus ticket is a free shuttle from the city terminal (at Southern Cross station) to your central hotel. If you have a hotel in the city centre then there's no real need to splash out on a Taxi either at the airport, or at Southern Cross. Some pricey hotels do offer a pickup service from Tullamarine – check when you book.
There are always seriously dodgy people at Tullamarine offering you (usually out of the side of their mouth) special deals on transport into the city. IGNORE THEM. They are offering unlicenced, unregulated, probably uninsured and deeply dodgy deals. For transport, either Taxis or Skybus, leave the terminal as directed and pick it up outside from the well managed queues.
There are limited coaches/buses that go North from Tullamarine. If you know that you are going to stay in (eg) Bendigo, ask your accommodation provider if there's a recommended way to get there from Tullamarine. Your arrival may be well timed for a bus... or you may have missed that day's only link.
There was another popular band in the 1960's called The Beatles. At the Melbourne Arts Centre (second building south of the river from Federation Square) there's a very good free exhibition about their 1964 visit to Australia. It caused quite a stir – about 300,000 people turned up in Adelaide to see them out of a population of about 1,000,000. Unusually the exhibition has a lot of correspondence from the (then) Promoter's archives about the arrangements.Driving Between Shows.
I've seen postings where people write about hiring a car and driving between several of the venues. Unless you have experience of driving in Australia - where the distances are vast and there are huge long stretches of the route across the Nullarbor where there's nothing - it may not be the best idea. No people, no accommodation, no food, and no fuel. Places marked on a map turn out to be a single petrol station in the middle of nowhere. We drove from Perth to Melbourne last year and came across one such marked place where the petrol station was closed, and then had the worry about running out of fuel. Unprepared people sometimes don't do too well trying to cross the Nullarbor from Perth to Adelaide. In most cases the drive, even if achievable, will leave you drained and unable to enjoy the Stones!
Perth-Adelaide 3 days. Bad Idea.
Adelaide-Sydney 3 days. Bad Idea.
Sydney-Melbourne 3 days. Achievable.
Melbourne-Brisbane 3 days. Bad Idea.
This version dated 15th March 2014
(Yes, and if you repost this stuff somewhere else, at least have the decency to credit the source. Thanks).Footnotes
1 Pedantically there is a circular “tourist” route with an antique tram that is free.
2 The main reason for rejecting the Tullamarine route in favour of the Freeway is that there are several tight bottlenecks like this one [goo.gl
59+ Years a Fan