I can honestly say I know first hand what being a ‘skint’ backpacker means. It means spending all your time applying for jobs, eating free pasta & rice and drinking tea and coffee (if you stay at Nomads anyway), and if I’m lucky a packet of instant noodles. Hovering around the kitchen waiting for anything to be put on the free food shelves is one of the hobbies of a backpacker. Taking part in all the crazy backpacker games in the bar hoping to win bar tabs and prizes. And then there is that phone call no one ever wants to make back home to mum to ask for money. Luckily I only had to do that once within almost a year.
But hey, those times are over for me as I now have a sweet job working at reception. In the short 6 weeks I have been here in Melbourne without a job, I have already seen a lot. With all this spare time on my hands and my lack of funds, I had nothing better to do than to go out and find cheap and wallet friendly things to do around the city.
Free or Cheap Things To Do In Melbourne
1. Federation Square
At the top of my free things to do in Melbourne list. It is an architectural amazement. It opened in 2002 and is Melbourne’s number 1 (Victoria’s 2nd) tourist attraction. It’s home to dozens of cute cafe’s as well as lots of free shows and gigs throughout the year. With the Comedy festival in Melbourne, which takes place most years, Federation Square often hosts part of the festival like “The (Very) Big Laugh Out” which was held one year. This was a bunch of sideshows during the day all for FREE!
Yes it can be tiresome but it is the best way to explore Melbourne. There are far too many one way streets and sneaky alleyways around town for you to take any other mode of transport. And plus it’s both money saving and keeps your Gluteus Maximus in great shape. I can’t really complain about the weather in Melbourne either as it’s been sun-tastic!
3. Street Art
So you are walking down Flinders Street and you come to Hosier Lane. I’m sure all of you know that Melbourne has gained a bit of a reputation for having some pretty wicked street art. This is the street to start. I love everything to do with art… and I mean everything. Not all of it is graffiti art though, there are stencils, posters, stickers and paintings! Take your camera with two sets of batteries and memory cards because there is just so much amazing art everywhere, you will want to cut it out of the wall and take it home with you. Other street art lanes in the city include Union Lane, Melbourne Lane, Degraves Lane and Croft Alley. Check out our Top 5 Laneways here.
4. National Gallery of Victoria
You want more art? Located on St Kilda Road, approximately a 45 minute walk from All Nations Hostel, we have the National Gallery of Victoria. It is absolutely free but so stunning for art lovers. I don’t only love this place because it’s free, but also because of the people that work there. They are super friendly and so passionate and knowledgeable. The exhibitions change regularly, so I’m sure you’ll find one that suits your interests.
5. Have a picnic
Want to have a nice lunch or an early dinner outside? Why not have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens. If you’re going with a group of friends you can keep the costs nice and cheap by all bringing a few items with you. Now you can enjoy a lovely picnic for just a few dollars. While you’re eating you can enjoy the wonderful trees, plants and flowers.
Please remember that barbecues are not permitted in the Gardens. After you’ve enjoyed your yummy picnic you can visit the Shrine of Remembrance next to the Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s Victoria’s largest war memorial with a beautiful view over the city from the balcony. It’s open daily between 10am and 5pm.
6. Rent a Bike
If you are tired of walking around then why not rent a bike for only $3 for the day or $8 for the week and cycle around the city. The Melbourne Bike Share stations are a wicked way to see the city. There are over 600 bikes and 50 stations in the city and they are so easy to use. Just rock up to one, press start and follow the onscreen instructions. You have to pay by card as they take a $50 security deposit for the bike but don’t fret you get that money back provided you return your bike. You also must have a helmet to ride a bike in Melbourne. If you don’t have one you can hire one from the helmet kiosks near the Bike share stations. But where can I go with my bike? You can go anywhere except the highway. Cycle down the Yarra River, around the city or you can even go down to Port Melbourne or St Kilda Beach. Keep in mind the trams and cars, so please be careful if you decide to ride on the road. If you ride on the footpath then be careful of pedestrians.
I’m going to leave my current list of free and cheap things to do in Melbourne here so you can have a chance to go and see these things!