Public transport guide to NPL Victoria grounds

This guide was originally established under the haughty premise that there was at least a niche audience out there who might want to get out to the various NPL grounds by public transport. 

As of December 2019 I have disowned that notion, and so this is now purely a guide for me, a South fan travelling to South games, and thus tailored to South's 2020 senior men's fixture. If other South fans find it useful, good luck to them.

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.

ALTONA MAGIC - Paisley Park Soccer Complex, Altona North - Issues with frequency and return journeys. I drive here.
This would have been so much easier had Paisley station not been closed over 30 yeas ago, but it was. Even without that, Altona Magic playing their games on Saturday nights also makes things more irritating than they should be.

Catch the Werribee line to Newport station. From there, catch the 432 bus to Yarraville - don't worry the name, the bus actually goes through Altona North first - and get off at the corner of Mason and Mills streets. Walk south down Mills Street for about ten minutes until you get to Paisley Park. For the return journey using this option, the options for getting back to Newport on a Saturday night suck - there's an 8:46 and a 9:31, and that's it.

AVONDALE - Reggio Calabria Club, Parkville - OK if you like trams and a little bit of walking
Your best bet is to catch the Upfield line to Royal Park, then change to the route 58 tram towards West Brunswick, getting off at stop 29, then walking west along Brunswick Road for a little bit. You also have the option of just catching the 58 tram directly from the city.

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.

South's game this year away against the Greens at Kingston Heath is in the final round, and thus on a Sunday. Because it is on a Sunday, the frequency of the 828 is abysmal - just one bus every hour.
  • 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.
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.
DANDENONG CITY - Frank Holohan Soccer Complex, Endeavour Hills - Don't bother
Don't bother. Don't bother. Don't bother.

We're playing Dandenong City on a Saturday night this year at an earlier time slot than usual, which happens to fall on Orthodox Easter Saturday. Nevertheless, the game is still at a ground that's in the middle of nowhere, so don't bother. Get a lift.

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 hour intervals. Dandonong station is staffed by protective services officers.

EASTERN LIONS - Gardiners Creek Reserve, Burwood - Long tram journey.
Eastern Lions are playing on Saturday afternoons, and that's about the best thing you can say for them in terms of getting to their ground.

Catch the route 75 to Vermont South from Flinders Street. After a journey of about 50 minutes, get off at Stop 59 - Somers Street/Burwood Highway, then walk south, east, and south until you get to the ground.

One of our readers suggests the following as a quicker route.

"For the Eastern Lions game it is quicker if you take the train to Holmesglen Station on the Glen Waverley Line. From there it is a 10 minute ride on the 903 Smartbus to Altona getting off at the Haig St and Warrigal Rd. Then it is a 5 minute walk right down Haig St (be careful crossing Warrigal Rd) and left at Morton Rd, ground will be visible on the right hand side

GREEN GULLY - Green Gully Reserve, Keilor - No way home on Friday nights. Don't bother.
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. Just don't bother.

HEIDELBERG UNITED - Olympic Village, Heidelberg West - Pretty good, but lots of unnecessary walking.
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 Northland shopping complex, all you have to do is walk east along Murray Road until you reach the ground, though you will probably have to walk around to the main gate at the back of the ground on Catalina Street as the Bergers rarely open the turnstiles on Murray Road - even after the game. The buses run late here, making getting back easy, and Preston station is a staffed station, with protective services officers.
HUME CITY - Broadmeadows Valley Park, Westmeadows - two workable but unsatisfactory options. This season's game kicks here off at 5:30, but neither of the two options available is any better for the earlier kickoff.

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.

Coolaroo station does have protective services officers deployed.

Bus option - haven't tried it, but may do so one day
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 7:35, and the one after that at 8:12.

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 route you'd need to use in order for you to get home finishes well before the end of a Friday night match. Having become accustomed to using the route 408 bus for other reasons, the disappointment of it is an experience I have become all too familiar with. Don't bother.

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.

PORT MELBOURNE - SS Anderson Reserve, Port Melbourne - Highly recommended
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.

    ST ALBANS - Churchill Reserve, St Albans - Seemingly pretty good.
    For this ground one of our readers has suggested the following. I've only ever driven to this ground in the past, but this seems like a good itinerary, with the 419 bus having good Sunday frequencies.

    "It's best to catch a train to St Albans Station on the Watergardens/Sunbury Line. From there catch the 419 Bus towards Watergardens Station getting off at Fox Street. Going left down Fox Street the ground will be visible after a short 2-3 minute walk. 

    7 comments:

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    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. :)

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

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

      Bulleen

      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)

      Heidelberg
      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)

      Oakleigh
      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)

      ReplyDelete
    4. I saw this yesterday and dedicated dedicated today's lunch hour to adding more. LOL

      Plenty of gaps especially as to Quality of surface. My canteen ratings are also vague. You could add your input. I couldn't do Avondale, Dand City, nor Altona Magic as I have not been there. Perhaps I can finalise this some time next season.

      Green Gully
      1.
      2. Not bad. Very close to ground, but might get caught at lights with a big crowd.
      3. A long trip for many people. But Freeway from both South and East assists.
      4. Not great. Behind goals blocked. Outer area is elevated but no terracing. Western side is strange. Getting the best view depends on where other’s stand, as well as the obtrusive poles and low elevation.
      5. Yes, and I have been satisfied thus far (Kranski)
      6. Hmmm
      7. Very limited!!
      A 6
      Bentleigh
      1.
      2. Good enough but again, a big crowd can have you waiting at lights upon departure
      3. A long trip for many people with NO freeway to speed things along
      4. Can stand anywhere, but not much elevation and outer grandstand has poles!
      5. Yes, but apparently overrated souvlakia! LOL I have found them at the very least reasonable
      6. Nice trees behind the goals but situated near some ugly large wholesalers (or is it retailers?)
      7. There is some on both sides, which is adeqaute for the crowds in NPL
      A 6
      Kingston
      1.
      2. Not good. Lucky they do not get big crowds
      3. Again a long trip, ESPECIALLY for a Monday night, with no freeway nearby
      4. No good, some elevation on one side
      5. Yes. Only ever ordered whiskies in cold winter!
      6. The UFO is nearby!! A BONUS point
      7. Virtually none
      A 6 (ONLY for UFO!)
      Hume
      1. Always appears excellent
      2. Appears sufficient but always seems to have narrow exists that holds you up
      3. Far away again and freeway not close enough to reduce travel time
      4. A nice grandstand but everything else at ground level
      5. Yes, and indoors as well
      6. Personally, I do not mind can’t remember too much
      7. Only in grandstand but a wind may still drench some people

      A 6

      Northcote
      1. Always appears patchy
      2. Bigger crowds you need to park on street. Not the greatest
      3. One of the more centrally located grounds, but no freeway nearby to reduce travel time.
      4. A great old style grandstand. And some elevated areas around ground with no obstruction. This is set to improve with the new upgrade
      5. I have only ever purchased stuff from the mobile stall near outer entrance.
      6. I enjoy the inner north
      7. The grandstand provides it.
      An 8. My favourite ground

      Pascoe Vale
      1. A minus point for the slope!!
      2. Adequate but need to park on street at times
      3. Again a bit far especially with no freeway and the ground positioned in a cul de sac
      4. Like Hume but Grandstand not as good.
      5. Canteen available and indoors. Don’t recall any special food though
      6. Pretty bland. Just suburbia
      7. Like Hume but perhaps more cover from rain
      A low 6
      Dand Thunder
      1
      2. Very limited!!
      3. A long trip again for many. Although Eastlink (TOLLS!) is nearby
      4. Not good, Their grandstand appears to nearly be ground level!
      5. Yes, but is it covered? Can’t recall quality level
      6. Nothing spectacular
      No
      A low 5

      ReplyDelete
    5. For the Eastern Lions game it is quicker if you take the train to Holmesglen Station on the Glen Waverley Line. From there it is a 10 minute ride on the 903 Smartbus to Altona getting off at the stop Haig St/Warrigal Rd. Then it is a 5 minute walk right down Haig St (be careful crossing Warrigal Rd) and left at Morton Rd, ground will be visble on the right hand side

      ReplyDelete
    6. For the St Albans game its best to catch a train to St Albans Station. From there catch the 419 Bus towards Watergardens Station getting off at the stop Fox Street. Going left down Fox Street the ground will be visible after a short 2-3 minute walk. Getting home on the friday night. There is a bus which runs late on that night as well

      ReplyDelete

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    We've had a lot of fun over the years with my freewheeling comments policy, but all good things must come to an end. Therefore I will no longer be approving comments that contain personal abuse of any sort.

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