The next time you are in the city and short on cash, you won’t need to worry about having an amazing time. To start with, you can jump around the inner-city and see the majority of attractions on the FREE tram zone. This goes from Flinders Street station to Southern Cross station and covers a lot of ground. And it is completely free.
Here are some great ways you can make the most of Melbourne without breaking the budget. Just remember, when exploring Melbourne city, remember to pack an umbrella and a few extra layers. While this city has endless culture and amazing attractions, it has notoriously bad weather for Australia. If you see sunshine in the morning, it could still rain that afternoon. The locals learn to love the four seasons in the one, and you will too once you realise just what’s on offer in Melbourne.
The State Library
Located in the heart of the city, right opposite Melbourne Central on Swanston Street, the State Library is a picturesque building. On the inside, there are endless books and multiple exhibitions to enjoy. You can spend hours browsing the different rooms and soaking up the literary atmosphere. There are also a few games rooms to enjoy a spot of chess. You can even play giant chess outside the entrance!
The National Gallery
Right in the arts precinct near Flinders Street Station, the National Gallery of Victoria is open with free entry for certain exhibitions. Artwork here is featured from the ancient Egyptian times to modern day European art. There is always something interesting on at the National Gallery and well work a visit. Make sure you take a few photos in front of the featured water wall at the entry – you can’t miss it!
Ride the City Circle Tram
This historic tram takes you around Melbourne city with information about different spots and landmarks. You will recognise the tram with it’s antique look and you can jump on board at any time. This is a great way to see the sites and learn some history about Melbourne too.
Walk along Birrarung Mar
When you walk down the steps at Federation Square, you enter the banks of the Yarra river known as Birrarung Mar. Here there is always some interesting artwork on display and interesting information sites to read. Birrarung Mar is the Aboriginal phrase for “mist on the river” and this place holds significance for the traditional custodians of the land. It is a beautiful place to soak up some of Melbourne’s Aboriginal history.
Head to Hosier Lane
Tucked away right near Flinders Street Station, Hosier Lane is a quiet alleyway with some of the most impressive street art and graffiti you will ever see. This laneway allows artists to paint images that have political, cultural, and social meaning. The artwork changes very rapidly so you will always get a unique experience here. Be sure to take plenty of photos as the artwork that catches you eye could be gone the next day.
Photograph the architecture
Melbourne, for a relatively young city on the world scale, has some amazingly impressive buildings. Make sure your phone or camera is charged up before heading out into the city for the day because you will want plenty of happy snaps. Some notable buildings to get some photos of include St Paul’s Cathedral near Flinders Street, everything around Federation Square, the University of Melbourne, the Block Arcade, and around the Arts Centre. Be sure to take a selfie in front of the famous Flinders Street train station clock tower, too!
Visit the Shrine of Remembrance
At the upper end of St Kilda road, the Shrine of Remembrance pays homage to the soldiers of many wars that Australians have been part of. Originally built in 1934 to commemorate the lives of the fallen in World War One, the Shrine also acknowledges wars since, such as WWII, the Vietnam War, and the soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. There are a few steps to climb at the Shrine, but the views will be entirely worth it. Here you get sweeping views of Melbourne city, all the way down to Lonsdale Street.
Enjoy the sunshine at Federation Square
This lovely main square was built in 2000 to commemorate the federation of the Australian British colonies and is now a major Melbourne attraction. The square has a lot happening, with bustling cafes and moving images on a large screen overlooking the square. There are plenty of places to pull up a pew for free here, with sun chairs conventionality placed around umbrellas. This means you and your friends can chill out and rest your feet in between all the sight seeing around Melbourne.
Wander through the Botanic Gardens
The Melbourne Botanic Gardens are a true wonder in Melbourne city. It won’t feel at all like you’re in a city once you wander through the gates into these endlessly large gardens. There are so many plants and trees to see, plenty of spaces to sit down and relax, and beautiful green spaces to enjoy a picnic. There are different sections throughout the gardens, including Children’s Garden with a family friendly water feature. As well as this, there is a 3.8 kilometre walking or running track. These gardens arguably top the list of fun things to do in Melbourne.
See Captain Cook’s Cottage
At the Fitzroy Gardens is a small structure called Captain Cook’s Cottage. This is a tribute to Captain Cook, the commander of the First Fleet that sailed to Australia back in 1788 all the way from Britain. This cottage was originally constructed in 1755 in the English town of Yorkshire, by Captain Cook’s parents. It was bought out to Australia by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934, literally packed brick by brick to make the journey across.
The Koorie Heritage Trust
The Indigenous history of Melbourne is just as interesting to learn about as colonial history. Long before the Brits arrived in Australia, the Aboriginal people had been inhabiting the land for 60,000 years. Find out some of this interesting history at the Koorie Heritage Trust, which teaches you about the Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land around Melbourne.
Walk along the St Kilda esplanade
One of the most picturesque points in Melbourne, St Kilda brings the city to the sea in a stunning way. Enjoy a stroll along St Kilda beach with easy access just by catching the number 96 tram. Make sure you check out the pier and take a selfie at the end. You get exceptional views of St Kilda, the iconic Luna Park, and the city skyline from here.
All in all, there is a plethora of free things to do in Melbourne. This list isn’t even extensive and you will certainly come across other things that are low in expenses but high in experiences around Melbourne. The best way to find out the free things around Melbourne is to experience this fine city for yourself. Whatever you end up doing around Melbourne and whatever the bipolar weather decides to do that day, you are guaranteed to have an amazing time.