Public transport guide to NPL Victoria grounds

Not everyone can drive to NPL games, so here is a guide to help those people get out to the grounds. Because this is a South blog, this guide does not include venues from the NPL2 division. In other words, this is mostly a page for me.

All routes start from the city, providing the most general and broadly applicable route. Remember also, that just because you managed to get to a ground via public transport, it doesn't mean that you'll be able to use the same method to get back.

If you're unsure about any information on this page, double check by going to the PTV website, and check for any maintenance works, which usually take place on weekends. 

Since so many NPL teams now play night fixtures, this year I've also noted which stations have protective services officers. I can't say that I've ever felt particularly unsafe on Melbourne's public transport system, even at night, but that won't be the case for everyone.

AVONDALE HEIGHTS - Reggio Calabria Club, Parkville
Wait and see.

BENTLEIGH GREENS - Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham - Long, and can be a pain in the arse, but at least there's options.
Located opposite the Moorabbin DFO, in theory this should be fairly easy to get to - but sadly the opposite holds true. This is the method that I have used, which gets you closer to the ground - so less walking - but which is not as good as the other option when it comes to frequency.
  • Catch the Frankston line out to Cheltenham Station. 
  • From there catch the 828 bus towards Berwick - the same bus stop services buses going in opposite directions, so be sure you ask the driver which direction they're going (using DFO or Moorabbin Airport as a reference helps). That's the easy part. 
  • Getting back is worse, especially on Friday nights. Though the buses do run late on Friday nights, they finish at about the end of a match (last bus roughly 10:38), making using buses for getting home a risky proposition. Weekends are a little better, but intervals are an hour apart - and buses may go past earlier than what is timetabled. 
  • Cheltenham Station and Oakleigh Station (if you use one of the methods below) have protective services officers.
As you can see, the ground is a fair way from Cheltenham Station. It's walkable, but you'd rather not, you know?

The following is a method that Rory Flanagan recommended on Twitter. I haven't tried it, but he swears by it. It requires a little more walking than my method, but benefits from better frequency and reliability.
  • Take either of the Pakenham or Cranbourne lines to Oakleigh Station.
  • Catch the 903 Smartbus towards Mordialloc.
  • Get off at Centre Dandenong Road and Warrigal Road, and walk east for about twenty minutes,
  • Unlike the 828 bus from option one, the Smartbus runs very late and at good frequencies, so there's no need to freak out if you miss the bus. 

BULLEEN LIONS - David Barro Stadium/Veneto Club - Manageable, even if I don't like it. 
Doubling back to Bulleen Road from the bus stop is a better option
than cutting through the Manningham Club car park.
This trip's main benefit is that the bus runs late, and that its route heads directly into the city on its return.

Catch the 905 Smartbus from the corner of Swanston Street and Lonsdale Street, getting off at Sandra Street and Thompsons Road. There are also buses that go past that area, but I find the 905's frequency and service is the best of the available routes.

From there, the best thing to do is to double back to the traffic lights, and walk up Bulleen Road on the footpath which eventually ends and becomes grass, until you see the Veneto Club and its car park. The David Barro Stadium is located behind the large Veneto Club pokie complex. I don't recommend coming up from the right hand side of Bulleen Road, because there is no pedestrian crossing to the left hand side.

Getting back is made irritating by the fact of there being no pedestrian crossing anywhere near the Veneto Club, a very congested car park with a single exit and impatient drivers looking to get out, as well people parking illegally outside on the grass reservation. The bus stop for the return to the city is on Thompsons Road across a set of lights from where the bus stop from the city is, and then a bit of a walk east. At least with it being a Smartbus, buses here run late and at half hourly intervals.\

DANDENONG THUNDER - George Andrews Reserve, South Dandenong. Excellent door-stop service.
George Andrews Reserve is one of the easiest NPL grounds to get to with public transport, though being out in Dandenong means it will be time consuming, so bring a friend or a book.

Take the Cranbourne/Pakenham line out to Dandenong Station. From there, catch the 901 Smartbus toward Frankston. The bus travels south down Hammond Road, before turning into Kirkham Road. Get off at the Trewin Street stop - if you've gone past the cemetery, you've gone too far.

Being a Smartbus service, the bus runs late at half intervals. Dandonong station is staffed by protective services officers.

GREEN GULLY - Green Gully Reserve, Keilor - No way home on Friday nights.
I've never taken public transport to Green Gully Reserve - I've always either been given a lift or driven to the ground myself. With Green Gully now playing its home games on Friday nights, public transport options to Green Gully Reserve are much worse than when they played on Saturdays. This is entirely down to there being no public transport options for the return journey.

In terms of getting to the ground, the most efficient public transport itinerary seems to be take the Watergardens or Sunbury line out to St Albans Station. From there, catch the 421 Watergardens Station bus, getting off at Green Gully Road and Driscolls Road. Walk north across Green Gully Road into the sporting precinct. There are some other slightly less convenient bus options for getting there - aka more walking - but that's the least of our concerns.

The last bus past Driscolls Road on a Friday night is at 9:53PM, well before the match is due to finish. So really, unless you're bumming a lift or planning on getting a cab from the ground, Green Gully Reserve is now a very poor public transport option.

HEIDELBERG UNITED - Olympic Village, Heidelberg West - Pretty good.
Depending on how early you get to the ground, and on whether the Bergers
open the Murray Road gate, you may have to walk around the back to the
main Catalina Street entrance at the north east of Olympic Village.
Olympic Village could be so much worse, but is actually pretty good to get to with public transport. My preferred method is the following:

Take the Epping Line to Preston Station, and from there catch the 903 Smartbus to Mordialloc, getting off at Northland Shopping Centre. Careful with crossing the road from Preston Station across to the bus stop.

With the bus now stopping at the front of the Northland shopping complex, all you have to do is walk east along Murray Road until you reach the ground, though you may have to walk around to the main gate at the back of the ground as the Bergers don't always open the turnstiles on Murray Road. The buses run late here, making getting back easy, and Preston station is a staffed station, with protective services officers.

Whichever option you choose to get here by, neither offers a pedestrian
friendly entrance to the ground without a large detour further west to a
designated pathway. Typical poor planning by people who only use cars.
HUME CITY - Broadmeadows Valley Park, Westmeadows -two options.

Lots of walking required option
The walk from the station sucks, there's ain't much to see and it's somehow almost all uphill in both directions.

Catch the Craigieburn train to Coolaroo Station, walk south down Pascoe Vale Road, turn right at Barry Road, then walk west for a few minutes. Try not to get killed crossing the road at the entrance to the ground.

This ground also goes by the names 'ABD Stadium' and 'John Ilhan Memorial Reserve'. If the marker on the map seems a bit off, once you get within sight of the grandstand you should have no have problem figuring out where you need to go.

Coolaroo station does have protective services officers deployed.

Bus option - haven't tried it, but may do so this year
Catch the Craigieburn train to Broadmeadows Station. Catch the route 541 to Roxburgh Park and get off at the Barry Road/Hazeldene Street stop, which is pretty much right outside the ground. The problem here is the bus intervals, which run to forty minutes. This is especially a problem with the return journey, as the first bus after the game comes past at 8:53PM - which may mean a mad dash to the exit - and a 9:34PM last bus, which will mean a long wait.

Cutting through the back streets looks tempting, but it also means
going through some very poorly lit residential areas.
KINGSTON CITY - The Grange Reserve, Clayton South - Lots of walking, late at night, on a Monday - you get the picture
This is one of my most hated public transport trips, made worse with Monday night games. PTV's journey planner offers several convoluted methods to get to the ground once you leave the train network, but walking is best.

First, you catch the Pakenham or Cranbourne lines out to Westall Station - that's the easy part. Then it's a nice 1.7 kilometre walk - first south-east down Rayhur Street, then south down Westall Road, then west along Osbourne Avenue until you get to the ground. You could go for a more winding path by cutting through the back streets, but it probably won't save you that much distance or time.

For the return trip, at least Westall station - a nice, modern station nowadays - has protective services officers.

MELBOURNE KNIGHTS - Knights Stadium, North Sunshine - No way home on Friday nights
Knights Stadium seems a little difficult to get to with public transport, but according to those who've made the effort, it's not as hard as it once was. But I've never taken public transport here, and it's not something I'd recommend, especially when Knights play their home games on Friday nights.

As with Green Gully Reserve, the bus you'd need to get you home finish well before the end of a Friday night match

The following is adapted from instructions on the Melbourne Knights website
  • The easiest route to Knights Stadium by public transport is to disembark at Sunshine Station and catch the 408 bus towards St. Albans.
  • Disembark at the corner of Simpson Street and Berkshire Road
  • Walk north a couple of blocks and approach the ground from either Henderson or Salisbury Streets.
  • As Knights play home games on Friday nights, you won't be able to use this method to get back. 

NORTHCOTE CITY - John Cain Memorial Park, Thornbury. Recommended.
John Cain Memorial Park is one of the best grounds to get to with public transport in the NPL.
  • From the bus stop on Lonsdale Street near the southern entrance to Melbourne Central, catch the 250 to La Trobe University.
  • Get off at Thornbury Road outside the National Bowls Centre/Darebin International Sports Centre
  • Walk north until you reach the ground.
The buses here run late and at half hour intervals, with the biggest issue being slightly inconvenient timing with regards the ends of a game. You can also catch the 250 from Rushall, Westgarth, or Dennis stations on the Hurstbridge line, but if you're coming from the city there's probably no real time saving to be had.

It's also possible to walk to this ground from Oakleigh
station, but that route seems a bit sketchier.
OAKLEIGH CANNONS - Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh - Highly recommended
Jack Edwards Reserve is among the easiest grounds in the NPL to get to and from using public transport. The only inconvenience is that games usually end too close to when the earliest train arrives, so you'll probably end up having a 25 minute wait at the station for the return journey.

To get there, take either of the Pakenham or Cranbourne lines to Huntingdale Station. Walk up Railway Avenue, past the indoor soccer complex, following the path naturally onto Parkside Avenue until you can see the brighter lights (if they're playing a night game, which they usually do).

Huntingdale Station is reasonably well lit, which makes getting back little problem. This station is listed as being one which is staffed by protective services officers.

PASCOE VALE - CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner - Not too bad, but some walking required
Instead of playing out of their true home ground of Hosken Reserve, Pascoe Vale play their senior matches at CB Smith Reserve in Fawkner.

The easiest way to get there is to take the Upfield line to Gowrie Station, and then walk east for about 10-15 minutes along Jukes Road until you reach the ground. Seeing as how Pascoe Vale usually plays its home games on Friday or Saturday nights, you should eventually find the ground courtesy of the venue's floodlights. I can't recall if Gowrie station has PSO deployment.

PORT MELBOURNE - SS Anderson Reserve, Port Melbourne - Highly recommended
The only annoying thing about this trip is having to go around the back of
the community garden in order to get to the entry on Plummer Street.
Sometimes known by the name JL Murphy Reserve (which I believe is the name for the entire sporting precinct), this is a very convenient option, for both Friday and Saturday night games.

Catch the Route 234 bus to Garden City from the corner of La Trobe and Queen Streets (or alternatively, at the Banana Alley vaults), getting off at the corner of Williamstown Road and Beacon Road.

While buses run late here, be aware that buses may sometimes leave a few minutes earlier than timetabled.

    SOUTH MELBOURNE - Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park - Full marks
    By far the most convenient of the NPL grounds to get to using public transport. Indeed, in some respects it's even better than catching a car there, at least on days when there's a big turnout, which admittedly doesn't happen very much these days.

    The best way to get to Lakeside is to catch any train to Southern Cross Station, and then from the corner of Spencer and Collins Streets, catch the Route 12 St Kilda tram, getting off at the top of Clarendon Street. Being an inner city tram service, there are no issues with getting back to the city.

    There's also the option of catching the Route 1 tram to South Melbourne Beach from Flinders Street Station, and walking south a couple of blocks down Moray Street or Clarendon Street.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This reminds me of my many days of playing lower grade cricket.

      As a fun exercise, I decided to rate all the grounds based on the following criteria.

      1. Surface of the outfield
      2. Quality of the wicket itself
      2. Car Park Access
      3. Proximity to our home ground
      4. Viewability for spectators (or when we were batting)
      5. Is a canteen available?
      6. Picturesque surrounds
      7. Chances of losing the ball (ground has no fence/ball gets lost in long grass or hit over fence)

      There were other factors but I cannot think of them off the top of the hat. I gave a vote for each factor that was deemed a pass mark.

      I think MY clubs ground may have won. It only failed on outfield quality.

      I will try and come up with a score for this years grounds. :)

      1. Sounds good, would be a nice permanent addition to the site.

    3. Point number 2 (the first one, Quality of wicket itself) removed, and Point 7 changed to cover from rain


      1. Plastic (no good)
      2. Car Park access either inside (long time to get out) or outside which is easier
      3. Proximity for most people is good because of freeway west and east (although Eastlink means a fee if you live in far south east)
      4. Excellent because of outer stand and its high elevation yet close to pitch situation
      5. Haven't eaten, but there is also the actual Veneto Club and another canteen behind the outer grand stand (feels like you are on a picnic!)
      6. A picnic feel because ground is adjacent to river. A lovely setting. But the Veneto club building is built right up to the fence for a third of the east side which takes away the aesthetics
      7. Available under outer grandstand only

      Overall rating? An 7 (would be an 8 except for damn plastic surface)

      Port Melbourne
      1. Always appears fine to me
      2. Not bad, but crowds are never big enough to test its limitations
      3. Can be difficult with Friday night games and city traffic. Especially for North Eastern and Eastern suburb supporters.
      4. Crap. No elevated positions
      5. Yes, and not bad
      6. Some nice trees but no Bulleen.
      7. Nearly none for away supporters

      Overall rating? 6 (views are rubbish)

      1. Currently ok (I think?)
      2. Northland provides adequate parking
      3. There is no freeway nearby. Other than that, its ok (lots of Greeks in Northern suburbs?)
      4. As I discovered this year, its SHIT for the Western side (where South supoprters congregate) because of unterraced hill. I would rather sit with Heidelberg fans on other side
      5. Very far away (unless they set up souvlaki stands for big games)
      6. Again, some nice trees, but that sad excuse for a running track. Yuck
      7. Plenty in both stands (especially Eastern)
      Only 6 (and thats only because of rivalry/history with Heidelberg)

      Melbourne Knights
      1. I get the feeling its never really good or really bad. Average (right?)
      2. Either inside (can take time to get out) or outside on streets. Never had any major problems (unlike NSL era where I lost a friend for 2 hours (long story)
      3. It is a bit far for many but the Ring Road alleviates that to some extent
      4. Terraced outer means a good view. Plus the grandstand of course if you want to venture into enemy territory
      5. Plenty of exotic Croatian food (although last time I got confused as it appeared they weer only serving big meals. Needs clarification)
      6. No
      7. Plenty, but in Home ground stand

      Give it a 7 (those terraces as a result of NSL legacy are a winner)

      1. Generally no good (I think?)
      2. Never had any problems but a newcomer can get lost trying to find a legal spot (like my friend last week!)
      3. Oakleigh is close to the predominant Greek demographic, and Monash is not far either
      4. The grandstand has great atmosphere, but the built it a ground level! What the hell?
      5. Canteen is good
      6. More trees. Nice (considering its a light industrial area)
      7. Some in Grandstand but if tested wouldn't cut the mustard for our crowds

      I give it a 8 (but downgrade to 7 if surface is no good)


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