Top Tips for Coordinating Parking and Flights at Melbourne Airport


When I tell you that coordinating your flight and parking arrangements is crucial to a hassle-free pre-flight experience, you’ll probably tell me, “Isn’t that a given?”.

Well, yes. If you think about it, it’s common sense to align your parking plans to your flight. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Between frantic rushes and last-minute flight changes, syncing your parking to your flight is easier said than done.

But no worries. In this post, we’ll share some practical tips to ensure your parking and flight plans go hand in hand, making your trip as smooth as possible. Let's get started!

Why Parking Onsite is Key to Effortless Flying

Before delving into tips for coordinating parking and flights, let’s first discuss one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make in terms of airport parking - parking onsite vs. offsite. Here’s why parking onsite is smarter:

  • Convenience: Park close to your terminal, grab your bags, and you’re at the check-in counters before you even know it. It's that easy!
  • No Last-Minute Scrambles: Forget about unreliable “on-demand” shuttle buses or worry about finding a taxi, especially during peak hours.
  • Time-Saving: Parking onsite means you’re already right there at the airport, cutting down travel time.
  • Peace of Mind: Onsite parking facilities offer 24/7 surveillance with CCTV and regular patrols, so you can relax and focus on your trip.
  • Easy Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs: Need to drop someone off or pick them up? Onsite parking allows for quick, convenient goodbyes and hellos right outside the terminal.
  • Heavy luggage? No worries: Onsite parking often means shorter walks to the terminal, making schlepping heavy bags a breeze.
  • Flexible Options: Whether you're after long-term parking for a big trip or just short-term parking for a quick getaway, we’ve got hourly and daily parking options for every need and budget.
  • Online Booking: Yes, you can now book airport parking online! If your flight schedule suddenly changes, amending or cancelling your booking only takes a few clicks too!
  • Grace Period for Online Bookings: We offer a 2-hour grace period for bookings of more than 4 hours and 15 minutes for shorter ones. That means more flexibility when your flight doesn’t leave as scheduled.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: If you have any questions or need help, our customer service team is here to help 24/7. Just press the help button situated on all car park entrances and exit points, and one of our friendly staff will assist you.

Tips for Coordinating Flight and Parking

Whether you're jetting off for a quick business trip or a long-awaited holiday, a little planning can go a long way. Here’s how to make sure your parking and flight arrangements are in sync:

1. Assess Your Parking Needs

To make sure you’re choosing the best parking option, you first need to assess your parking needs. Take into account factors like:

  • Duration of Your Trip: Consider whether you need short-term or long-term parking based on how long you'll be away. Short-term parking is ideal for quick drop-offs or pick-ups, while long-term parking offers better rates for extended trips.
  • Your Budget: How much are you willing to spend on parking? Compare parking rates to find the best option for your budget. Our Value Car Parks, for instance, provide a low-cost option at only $12 a day without sacrificing convenience.
  • Number of Passengers: Travelling with family or a group? You might need a parking spot closer to the terminals for easy coordination.
  • Travel Schedule: If you’re travelling during peak hours, parking as close to the terminals as possible or using a valet service reduces walking time and gets you to the check-in counters sooner.

2. Check Which Terminal You’re Flying From

Covering an area of almost 3,000 hectares, Melbourne Airport is one of the largest airports in Australia. It goes without saying that each terminal is a good distance from the other. That’s why knowing your terminal helps you pick the best airport car park, saving time, money, and stress.

If you’re travelling with Qantas, you’ll need to park closer to Terminal 1. For Virgin passengers, look for a car park with easy access to Terminal 3. Other domestic airlines like Rex and Jetstar fly out of Terminal 4, so make sure to park near there. And if you’re heading out of Australia, we also have Premium, Terminal, and Valet Parking options outside T2, the international terminal.

3. Know Your Melbourne Airport Parking Options

Knowing which parking option best suits your needs helps you plan your parking arrangements better. At Tullamarine, you’ll never run out of choices, whether you’re after low-cost options or premium valet services. Choose from:

  • Value Parking: With a daily rate of just $12, this is the go-to for budget-conscious travellers. It features open-air parking spaces with a free shuttle service that runs every 15 minutes, 24/7.
  • Terminal Parking: If you want to be just steps away from your check-in desk, our Terminal Car Parks are perfect. Plus, with free parking for the first 15 minutes, picking someone up or dropping them off is a breeze.
  • Valet Parking: This is perfect for those who prefer a touch of luxury and extra convenience or if you’re running tight on time. Just drop off your car, hand over your keys, and we’ll take care of parking for you.
  • Premium Parking: With direct access to Terminals 1, 2, and 3, and just 100m away from Terminal 4, our Premium Car Parks offer the best spots in the house. This proximity to the terminals makes for a swift entry and exit.
  • Business Parking: Tailored for business travellers flying Qantas, these parking spaces are located directly opposite Terminal 1. It’s perfect for quick business trips or if you need to the check-in counters faster.
  • Qantas Valet Parking: If you’re a Qantas passenger, you’ll never get a more luxurious pre-flight experience than this. Simply drive up, hand over your keys, and we’ll park your car for you. Plus, it’s got a dedicated check-in counter right at the heart of the Qantas domestic terminal (arrivals level). You can even enjoy our optional car cleaning service and earn Frequent Flyer points just for parking.

4. Check Shuttle Bus Timetables

Knowing the shuttle schedules lets you plan exactly when to arrive at the parking lot. This means you can catch the shuttle that gets you to your terminal right on time—not too early, and definitely not too late.

But if you park onsite at Tullamarine, you’ll never have to worry about it. Our free shuttle buses run every 15 minutes like clockwork, and the journey from the Value Car Park to the terminals takes about the same time, too. So, just arrive 15 to 30 minutes earlier than you’re supposed to and a shuttle bus will be available to take you to your designated terminal.

5. Study the Airport and Car Park Layout

While our car parks are equipped with signages leading you to where the terminal gates are, knowing exactly where to go shaves off precious minutes from your travel time.

Familiarity with the airport’s layout means you can head straight to your designated car park without circling around. Plus, it lets you plan the quickest route from your car to the terminal. No more wandering with heavy bags or getting lost in a sprawling lot.

And when you return, you’ll know exactly where to go to find your car. You won’t have to worry about searching through endless rows of cars, only to realise that you’re in the wrong car park.

So, make sure to check out our car park maps and airport maps for a seamless parking experience.

6. Keep an Eye Out for Real-Time Updates

Updates on traffic conditions, shuttle schedules, or any delays at the airport can affect how early you need to leave. That’s why keeping an eye on real-time updates ensures you're always one step ahead, making your journey to the airport as smooth as possible.

Here are some tips to help you stay in the loop:

  • Set Up Alerts: Sign up for notifications through your airline or the. These alerts can inform you about changes to your flight status or anything you need to know before boarding.
  • Check Social Media: We always post updates on social media. So make sure to connect with us or follow us on Facebook, Linkedin, X, and Instagram to keep yourself updated.
  • Use Traffic Apps: Apps like Google Maps or Waze offer real-time traffic information. They can help you decide the best time to leave for the airport and which routes to take.

7. Pre-Book Parking Online

Pre-booking your parking online is one of the best ways to make sure your flight and parking arrangements are in sync.

For one, you’ll know exactly which airport car park to head to—no more second-guessing which one has available spots. Plus, online parking rates are often cheaper than drive-up rates. You can even compare parking options before booking to make sure you’re getting the best rates that match your needs and budget.

Besides, if there are any last-minute changes to your flight, you can amend or cancel your booking with just a few clicks. We even offer an Overstay Guarantee, in case your travel plans change.

Here’s how to pre-book your parking online:

  1. Go to the Melbourne Airport parking page.
  2. Enter your entry and exit dates and times.
  3. Choose the terminal you’re heading out of.
  4. Pick your preferred parking option.
  5. Pay for your booking (we accept debit/credit cards and Google Pay).

After your booking is paid for, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a QR code. You’ll need that code when entering and exiting the car parks, so make sure to have that ready before pulling up at the airport.

So why wait? Book your parking online now and kick off your travel plans with one less thing to worry about. Enjoy peace of mind knowing your parking is sorted, so you can focus on the more exciting parts of your journey. Happy travels!