Australia is by no means the cheapest destination to travel to. But you can still have fun without breaking the bank.
So if you are taking a trip to Melbourne, and want to stick to a budget, we have just what you need.
Here are our top 16 activities that won’t cost you a cent.
1. Watch the sunset on St Kilda Beach
St Kilda beach is the perfect place to watch the sun go down while sipping on a nice cold beer (or goon sack). While we were staying at X Base St Kilda, a huge group of us bought a box of wine (goon) and went down to the beach. You can get goon for as little as $8 AUD for 4 litres.
2. Visit street art in CBD
Hosier Lane (and nearby streets) is where it’s at to take in Melbourne’s incredible street art scene for free. Don’t forget your camera!
3. Stroll along the river at Southbank and watch the fire show
It’s lovely to take a stroll alongside the Yarra River in Southbank at any time of the day. However, it’s great to see the difference at dusk, when all the lights come on. Every night, outside the Crown Casino, there is a fire show on the hour from 9pm – midnight. The display is best to see from the other side of the river and features bursts of flame being released from eight high towers.
4. Visit the penguins at St Kilda Pier
Penguins in Australia? We queried it too. But they’re very real! A ‘little penguin’ colony (yes that is their official name), gather in the rocks at the end of St Kilda pier year-round. Photos are permitted without flash, and remember to be respectful of these fascinating creatures.
5. Spend the day at Blackrock beach
Blackrock beach is quite far from the Central Business District but is worth heading to for a day trip. Take a picnic and sunbathe the day away or grab some fish and chips from the Cerberus Beach House window.
6. Spend hours roaming around the National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited museum. And the best part? Other than special exhibitions, entry is free! You could spend hours roaming the incredible floors. NGV is open from 10am – 5pm every day.
7. Have a wander around Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. It offers something for most of your shopping wants, from fresh produce to clothes, souvenirs and street food. Check out their website for information on opening times and their seasonal night market.
8. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens & Shrine of Remembrance
The botanical gardens are the perfect place for a casual afternoon stroll, featuring almost 50,000 individual plants. The Shrine of Remembrance, located opposite the gardens, is one of the largest war memorials in Australia which was built to honour those who served in World War I.
9. Go on a bike ride
There are plenty of routes you could take on a bike ride. Cycle to the beach, one of the many Melbourne parks or down St Kilda promenade. If you don’t have access to a bike, there are rental services like Melbourne bike share that allow you to unlock bikes with your phone.
10. Spend the day at St Kilda Beach and watch the kite surfers
St Kilda beach is also great to go to for the day. Take a book or watch the many kite surfers from the shore.
11. Check online for free festivals
Melbourne hosts many free events throughout the year. The Night Noodle Markets in November were one of our favourites. Keep an eye out on the city of Melbourne ‘What’s On’ website, searching by ‘free events’ in the category section. Alternatively, VisitMelbourne also has a great list of event inspiration.
12. Mooch around the State Library of Victoria
State Library Victoria was established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, making it Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. Join one of the daily free tours at 10:45am –11:15am or have an explore on your own. You can even play a game of chess! The library’s opening hours are Monday – Thursday 10am – 9pm, Friday – Sunday 10am – 6pm.
13. Hop on and off the tram in the free tram zone
Spend a day in Melbourne CBD without paying a cent on transport. Here is the Free Tram Zone map from the Public Transport Victoria website.
14. Walk along Newquay Promenade
Wander down the Newquay Promenade in Docklands to admire yachts, and watch the locals try their hand at fishing. If you fancy a spot of window shopping, head to The District Docklands mall nearby.
15. Visit Prahran market
Prahran is known as the food lovers’ market. If you’re as much of a foodie as we are, you’ll love browsing the stalls of fresh produce and unique hard-to-find items.
16. Brighton Beach Huts
Brighton Beach is home to the insanely Instagrammable Brighton Beach Huts. Each hut is painted with a different design from funky colours to flags. They’re only a stone throw away from the waters edge so visiting them is an excuse to spend the day on the beach.