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Essential Apps for Tourists in Melbourne

9 Free & Essential Apps for Tourists in Melbourne

If you are planning or heading to Melbourne soon, then you come to a right place. I have compiled all of the useful apps during my several trips (and several years of stay) to Melbourne.

My past encounters with Melbourne were not only as a tourist, but I also had the chance to live as a student and a professional back in the day.

Note: I have personally tried and used these apps and find it useful and convenient to navigate around the city of Melbourne.

Google Maps

You probably already got this app on your phone, if not, now is a good chance to load it to your smartphone.

Compared to where I am from (Indonesia), the Google Maps app in Melbourne is supercharged on the public transportation section. It can detect the location of a certain bus, tram, or train on your map. Not just detecting it, it can pinpoint the moving location of it.

The day of ‘hoping the bus arrived according to the timetable’ has long gone, with Google Maps you can see visually the location of a bus on the map.

The other advantage of having this map, due to the vast interconnected of the trams, buses and trains networks in Melbourne, the map would be able to determine which route is the quickest and most convenient from your location.

I find the apps to be extra useful during a vacation trip to Melbourne, but oh boy how it drained my battery too.

13 Cabs

Google Play Download

App Store Download

“Why not just use Uber?” that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when you see this. Hold your horses, there is a good reason why I recommend a taxi app.

This is more cater towards a group of travelers traveling with babies and children.

You see, Victoria state(Australia in general, though each state can have different rules & regulation) implied a strict rule regarding children’s travel. They must travel using a car seat / child strainer / booster (depending on their age and weight) when they travel on cars.

Melbourne Taxi in front of Melbourne's Parliament building
Credit: eGuideTravel

But taxis are exempted from this rule, babies and children can travel freely without using any car seats or some sort. As is stated here.

I find this app handy when you are traveling with kids. Because you are liable for several hundreds of dollars of fine if you do not comply with the car seat rule.

13 Cabs it’s just one of the major taxi service providers in Melbourne, if you can’t find a taxi during peak hours, try some of their competitors too:


Google Play Download

App Store Download

This is probably the closest super app you can get in Australia. Uber in Australia is popular not just from its ride-hailing service. They also do food delivery, Uber eats.

Credit – Image by Ivan Radic

But in article, I will mainly write about their ride services.

If you are not traveling with kids or babies, this can be your go-to app to get around in Melbourne. According to Uber is the most popular choice when it comes to ride-hailing in Melbourne

Usually, within minutes you can get picked up by a nearby vehicle.

Though Uber also has its competitors as well. Here are the alternatives to ride-hailing in Melbourne.

Do note, that some of the apps above may require you to have a local Australian number.


Google Play Download

App Store Download

I still remember using this app back in 201 on my iPhone 4. This app goes way back. I still used the app on my last trip for a holiday in 2024.

Even though the same information is available in Google Maps or PTV, the simplicity of the apps is the reason why I use the app often.

TramTracker App Screenshot

It’s so simple, it automatically detects the closest tram stop based on your GPS location and informs you when will the next 3 trams arrive at your stop.

Better yet, as I like to take my kids with a stroller around Melbourne, it shows when the “low floor” or “wheelchair friendly” trams are arriving. It is so handy, it can give me a better decision on the spot whether to take the tram or another option of transportation.


Google Play Download

App Store Download

PTV stands for Public Transport Victoria, the official apps for the whole Victoria’s public transportation, as it consists of trams, buses, trains and also V-Line trains.

Back in the day this app used to show the timetable for all of the public transportation networks, but today they have revamped the app to allow you to top up your Myki using NFC on your phone.

Myki is the all-in-one payment card for all of the transportation in Victoria (not just in Melbourne, but it extends across cities outside Melbourne too, but within Victoria state).

Before this app, we Melbournians used to do top-ups at convenience stores or at some tram stops (only the busy ones in CBD), or using a buggy online top-up method from a website that required you to tap in first before the fund is being credited (If your card doesn’t have the fund or the first tap-in you won’t be credited, crazy right?) – well those days are gone now

Nowadays almost all modern phones have a NFC reader built-in, though you will need to use a credit card to top up the Myki card.

myOptus – For Your Prepaid SIM Card or eSIM

Google Play Download

App Store Download

If you are buying a pre-paid card in Australia, then the myOptus app is considered essential.

I believe it is the only way for you to activate your number is through the app.

Recently, it also added the feature to buy and install eSim digitally through the app. With this, you will not need a physical SIM card installed on your phone. Or wait for the arrival of the physical SIM card.

Optus is not the only mobile phone carrier in Australia, the other major ones are Telstra and Vodafone (there are other smaller ones too).

Those major mobile phone carriers are 5G ready, so if your phone allows a 5G connection you should be able to use their 5G services there.

Generally, Optus will have the most internet quota compared to the others, based on my experience.


Google Play Download

App Store Download

It’s the official Australian Post app.

Australian Post is the only choice of logistic service in Australia, from sending goods to sending eCommerce items they cover it all.

It was back in 2019 that I just realised you can register a “Parcel Locker” anywhere in Australia to deliver your goods into.

As tourists, we do not have a fixed address, and this will limit us from buying things online. So this app is very useful for this purpose.

It is accessible 24/7 too, and it is all automated. Upon finishing the delivery they will give you a QR code for the machine to scan and the door to your package will be automatically open.

Last time I checked, you needed to collect the package within 48 hours of delivery. If it remains uncollected, then they will send the goods to the respective post office. Collection in a post office usually requires some kind of ID.

This is useful if you are staying where it doesn’t allow you to receive any postal goods. You are required to input an Australian Mobile Number to complete the registration though.

I did mine years back using a prepaid number and my account is still active today, so you just need to do this once.

TRS – Tourist Refund Scheme

Google Play Download

App Store Download

Did you know you can get a GST refund in Australia? Well you can.

Basically, you can get a 10% off refunded to you, provided make the same purchase on the same ABN (Australian Business Number) and above $300, receipts are combinable.

For example Cotton On, Rubi Shoes and Typo are under the Cotton On Group and operating on the same ABN, if you compiled the receipt you can claim a GST refund.

Especially if you make a lot of purchases these apps will make the officer’s job much easier and simpler.

I had the experience of seeing other tourist being rejected for their refund for not using the app properly or not knowing about the app, it happened right in front of my eyes.

For more information on the GST refund, I suggest you learn further in the source here.

Weather Apps

Well it’s native on your phone right?

I live in a tropical country, we don’t use weather apps that often because it is never accurate in predicting rain and also it’s warm all year long.

Melbourne is known as a “4-season-a-day” city, which means you can experience a full-fledged year-long season in a day. It’s quite well known for it.

So weather forecast is essential to determine your outfit for the day.

Should you wear shorts, or just a thin layer jacket? Take a look at the weather app first before deciding

It’s All From My Personal Experience and Best of All it’s All Free

These are all of the apps I had personally used during frequent trips holiday and travel to Melbourne.

I even put all apps in one group on my iPhone and labeled it as “Australia”, ready to load for my next holiday trip there.

Though some of these apps may apply not just to Melbourne, but throughout Australia as well.

I hope you find this article useful, and do share in the comment below if you find any other app that will help other travelers.

If you like my guide here, checkout my other posts as well.

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