Known as the culture capital of Australia, Melbourne is definitely a city with a lot of character. From the art and music scene, to the people, there is always something to do on any given day here. I stayed in Melbourne for the last part of my Australian journey when the funds were low. Luckily this fine city had more than enough things to offer a traveller like myself on a tight budget. With that, I give you my top cheap things to do in Melbourne on a budget.
1. Play at the ACMI
If you’re a tech nerd like myself, you’ll easily spend hours upon hours at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Located in the heart of the city at Fed Square, this FREE museum has everything from the evolution of television to fun and interactive touch screen toys. No matter what country you come from, I promise that you’ll enjoy this museum.
2. Hang at Federation Square
Every day there is always something new going on at Fed Square. During Melbourne Fashion week they held outdoor runway shows which are completely free to the public. It’s also a great spot to receive free goodies; I scored free tickets to Melbourne’s Comedy Festival just from simply strolling by the square.
3. Walk along the Yarra
This river runs right through the heart of city and is a big part of uniting people from all walks of life.
There are so many great art sculptures and installations along the way and if you do it closer to the end of the work day, you can catch all the rowing clubs go by in their dragon boats.
I definitely spent hours drooling over the hot topless men.
4. Bike you way around Melbourne
Instead of driving or relying on public transportation to get you around the city, opt for two wheels instead. Since Melbourne is generally flat, virtually anyone can get around the city no matter what your athletic ability is.
Hands down, Melbourne is one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve ever visited. You can find green bike lanes on virtually any street in any direction with a safe distance between you and traffic. There’s even a bike share scheme worth checking out.
5. Melbourne’s free tram
Melbourne has so many cool buildings and sculptures on every corner, it’s impossible to miss. So grab your camera and see where the Melbourne art scene takes you! I recommend hopping on the free tram that takes you through the central business district and all the way to the Docklands which has heaps of cool sculptures by the water.
6. The Music Scene in Melbourne
Brunswick is a great place to find local musicians. I highly recommend checking out Sydney Road which has about 4-5 bars within walking distance of each other and always features local live bands for free. Plus, they’ve got some of the best beer gardens you’ll ever experience. The Retreat and Brunswick Hotel are two of the best on the strip for live music.
7. Be Part of a Live Audience
Most television shows that tape in Melbourne offer free tickets to attend a live taping. I went to the 7pm Project and had a blast. One of the hosts Hughey came right out to the audience and joked with us between commercial breaks. *Insider Tip* They usually have free giveaways like movies passes for the most enthusiast audience members so bring your energy and volunteer yourself to answer trivia questions.
8. Eat Cheap in Melbourne
Eat fresh food for cheap at the Queen Victoria Markets. Located at the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria, this market has everything from food to souvenirs at completely affordable prices.
I’ve discovered that if you go an hour or so before they close, they bring all their prices down which keeps a traveller like me fed for an entire week on merely $20!
This video is very helpful for hunting out cheap food in Melbourne.
9. Picnic at St. Kilda
One of Melbourne’s only beaches (within reasonable transport travel) is St. Kilda. With heaps of grassy areas, it’s a great place to meet up with some friends and have a nice picnic outdoors by the water.
It’s also got a boardwalk and pier you can stroll along to take in the scenery.
Here’s a fun video from a day out in Melbourne’s St Kilda
10. Enjoy Some Serenity
There’s nothing like taking a stroll through the Botanical Gardens on a beautiful day. Also a great place to picnic, you’ll find all types of people hanging out here on any given day.
Travel tip: If you’re looking to save money when travelling to Melbourne take a look at hotels near the Melbourne airport. They are often much cheaper than those in the centre of the city and of course have easy access in and out of Melbourne. If you’re only in Melbourne for a few short days then this might be the best option for you.
Want more things to do in Melbourne on a budget?
Watch this awesome guide to 40 things to do in Melbourne