Travelling the world on a budget

20 Free Things to do in Melbourne

06/02/2019

 

Melbourne is up there with one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. I found it to be quite small for a city as in, all of the sites and go to places were in walking distance of each other.

By the time we reached Melbourne (the last leg of our 5 months of travelling), I was broke – and I mean BROKE – my daily budget was about $5! So this FREE guide to the city is as accurate as it gets.

Although I hardly spent a penny during my weeks stay, I still absolutely loved it!

(Myself and my boyfriend spent our last remaining $10 on a glass of wine – to share…that’s how much of a budget we were on).

Read on for the TOP 10 free things to do in Melbourne:

1. Graffiti tour

Melbourne is renowned for its graffiti and art scene. Pretty much every one of the laneways is covered top to bottom in graffiti and colourful murals.

The graffiti is all pretty impressive and is dotted all over the city but, it is constantly being painted over with new art, so you may not be able to find the piece you’re looking for.

 

2. Wander the lanes and arcades

These laneways are full of all sorts – from food stores to quirky gift shops, fancy chocolatiers to sushi bars, they’ve got it all.

My favourite laneway, and right in the heart of the city, is Degraves Street (a lot of the chocolate gift shops along this street have free samples!!)

 

3. Watch the world go by at Federation Square

Slap bang right in the centre of the city, this arts and culture hub is THE place to be if, like me, you love people watching. Not in a creepy way, just sitting, soaking up the sun and watching the world go by.

 

4. Beach day in St Kilda

Take a break from the bustling city and head out to St Kilda, about a 20 min tram ride South of Melbourne. The sea here is pretty shallow, so perfect for taking a dip and cooling off.

 

5. Penguin watching, St Kilda

At sunset, if you head down to the end of St Kilda pier, (you’ll see the crowd of people tiptoeing around and signalling to shhhh) you should be able to spot the population of little penguins that live in the rocks.

They are said to be sited all year round, so fingers crossed you get lucky and spot one! They’re SUPER CUTE.

TOP TIP: Look through the slats of the pier beneath your feet – we found them hiding here.

 

6. Chill at Birrarung Marr park

Although this park is located right in the centre of the city, lying here makes you feel like you’ve escaped the hustling atmosphere – it’s a very peaceful, quiet green space in Melbourne.

 

7. Ride the free inner city tram

This is a life saver…Melbourne has a Free Tram zone that operates within the inner city. You can tour around all day, hopping on and off as you please without spending a penny…a-mazing.

 

8. Explore State Library Victoria

Ok, I am not advising to go and read in the library to save money and kill time – although feel free to do so – I have included this spot as the interior is really impressive as far as libraries go…

Just go and take a look for yourself – make sure to go up to the top floor for the best view.

 

9. Window shopping in the CBD

The CBD is full of high-street and high-end stores (as you can imagine) which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to save money but, sometimes a touch of window shopping is essential. There are a load of outlet stores too if you do get tempted.

Plus, the H&M is in such a cool, fancy building!

 

10. Food samples at Queen Victoria Night Market

The food here is very over-priced in my opinion so, AVOID if you’re on a budget. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go along to soak up the atmosphere, browse the stores and try some free samples on offer.

I went here on one of my last night in Melbs. Myself and my boyfriend were so peckish but had about $5 to our names, so we ended up chatting to these other English travellers and eating their left-over halloumi sticks…classy right!

 

11. Stroll along the River Yarra

Who needs to cruise along it, when you can walk beside it!? Along the way, there are a couple of patches of grass to take a break and watch the world go by.

 

12. Grab a free Doughnut Time (if it’s your birthday)

This deal does only apply if it’s your birthday (so sorry if it isn’t) buuuuuut, I thought it would be good to let you know because these doughnuts are the best in the world!

The stand is located on Degraves Street…so tempting…

 

13. Check out the sculptures of Sandridge Bridge

Not only does this bridge have super cool wire style sculptures on it, but it also represents a celebration of Australian history. Each glass panel represents a community of more than 1000 people to celebrate the origins, growth and diversity of modern Victoria.

 

14. Spot all of the sculptures across the city

There are a load of sculptures dotted around, so why not take an afternoon to try and spot them all.

Here is a list of some to look out for: The Public Purse, Matthew Flinders memorial, Architectural Fragment (outside of the library) and the wooden wombat.

 

15. Watch the sunset at St Kilda pier

As you can see in the photograph above, the St Kilda sunset is stunning! Take a seat on the edge of the pier, dangle your legs over the water and enjoy the view (watch out for penguins though!)

 

16. Take a snap of the iconic Lunar Park entrance

It costs to go in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stand outside and pose for a photo in front of the huge clown face. It’s such a cool, old-fashioned looking entrance to a theme park – love it!

 

17. Admire the Royal Botanic Gardens

You’ll find this oasis right in the centre of Melbourne, just across the river from Federation Square. It’s a pretty touristy spot, but worth a visit one afternoon for a little stroll amongst the 8,500 plant species.

 

18. Check out the heart of the city – Flinders Street Station

This one is hard to miss as its right in the centre and absolutely huge! With a status of being the busiest suburban railway station in the southern hemisphere, you can imagine the crowds surrounding it – yup, it’s super busy!

 

19. Explore the hipster suburb of Fitzroy

Fitzroy is dubbed as Melbourne’s bohemium, hipster suburb. It’s full of eclectic gift shops, vintage stores and independent cafes. It’s the place to go for a good night out in a beer garden or cool restaurant.

If you’re heading here, check out Brunswick Street and Gertrude Street.

 

20. Find the best view of the city’s skyline

I found that the top spots to see the city’s skyline is either from one of the bridges over the Yarra River or from the beach at St Kilda.

Let me know if you find any better!

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In case you’re wondering about where I stayed in Melbourne:
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W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

Flinders Backpackers

On a whole, this is a pretty bog standard hostel. Basic rooms with basic facilities and a lot of stairs buuuut, it is located slap bang in the centre of the city (about a 2 min walk from Flinders Railway Station) and it has a pretty good atmosphere with group meals and quiz nights for all of you solo travellers out there.

C O S T: from $35 per night 

 

Have you been to Melbourne?

I’d love to know what your highlights were and if you have any more FREE things to do?

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