Melbourne is rightly known as the worlds most liveable city, winning the title year in and year out, and rightly so, this city is amazing. But it comes at a price, a very steep price, being ranked as the seventh most expensive city to live in in the world; seriously I’m still shocked by how much I have to pay out for food and drink here, a little part of me cries out when I hand over a $50 and get a few small dollars change. But, is it worth it? Hell yes. Melbourne is amazing and really deserves a visit from everyone, but your leisure time in the city doesn’t have to come at a cost, there’s plenty to do here without breaking a sweat every time you open your wallet.
Here are my top five (and one for luck) free things to do in the worlds favourite city:
1. Museums and Galleries
Melbourne is well known for its sport and culture, dotted around the city lie museums and galleries which are just begging to be visited, from the National Gallery of Victoria (worth a visit just for the stained glass) to the smaller less well known galleries that line the streets. You can spend a many a rainy day exploring these beautiful buildings and their grounds without even paying a cent, what can be better than that?!
2. Shrine of Remembrance
This is my favourite spot in the city, The Shrine of Remembrance stands tall over Melbourne and looks down on the beautiful cityscape, you can climb the stairs up to the shrine and take in the view or you can head up to the viewing area where Melbourne looks its finest. I’ve been in rain, in shine and as the sun was setting; there’s no weather that this gorgeous city can’t look beautiful in.
3. Laneways Street Art walk
You don’t need to go to a museum or gallery to get your art-fix, Melbourne is a living, breathing work of art, with many of its laneways covered in street art, an ever changing array of colours and intricate designs; from the well known Hosier Lane to the smaller alleys dotted around the city, you can do your own walking tour by picking up a map from the tourist centre in Fed-Square, it’s really easy to immerse yourself head first in what makes Melbourne so colourful, oh, just one thing, don’t forget to always look up.
4. Beaches and gardens
It’s a little well known fact that when it comes to beaches, Melbourne, well, Melbourne hasn’t got the best of them. None of them scream ‘Australia’ in fact, I’d say that they slightly whisper ‘Claction’, but the water is nice for swimming since there are no waves and the grassy verges and sandy banks are wonderful to chill out on and while away your day, completely free of charge. Aside from the beaches, Melbourne has something quite spectacular to offer, gardens, pretty much everywhere where you can walk amongst beautiful flowers, taking refuge from the heat under shady trees or join in on one of the many yoga or laughing clubs which fill the parks. (Please also note, if you do want a really beautiful beach, hop in your car and drive either towards the Morlington Peninsula or towards The Great Ocean Road – an hour away, you won’t be disappointed).
5. Market hop
Melbourne plays host to some really wonderful markets dotted around the city, you can spend your day heading to the Victoria Market where you can spend hours wondering in and out of the stalls, this is especially good if you go on a Sunday evening just before close and grab yourself some food based bargains, alternatively, there’s it’s smaller sibling the South Melbourne market which is a personal favourite of mine. It’s small enough that it’s not intimidating and it offers some of the best food around the area, make sure that if you go you save a little bit of money for the dumplings, they’re world famous. However, where ever you’re based in the city there’s bound to be a market near you.
And one more for luck….
6. Loop the city on the City circle tram
Okay, I’m going to be honest here, I’ve only done this once, when I accidentally stepped onto the tram hungover and expected to get home, this isn’t your average tram journey. For the first thing, the tram has a dark mahogany shell which takes your mind back to yesteryear in Melbourne, you board the tram, grab a seat and get whisked around the city loop for free, with a handy voice over telling you all about the city whilst you meander around it. It’s completely free and a great way to see the city if you’re tired of walking.
Your stay in Melbourne doesn’t need to cost a fortune, you can have some of the best experiences without even having to pay a cent, which considering Melbourne offers amazing coffee and outstanding world cuisine it’s worth saving money where you can.
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Have you ever been to Melbourne? What were your favourite things to do for free in the city? Let me know below, you can also find me over on Twitter and Instagram for travel related photos and short, snappy updates.