Penny pinching? No judgements here!
If you’re looking for the ultimate tourist’s guide around Melbourne or you’re more into staying away from the crowds and learning about some local spots, you’ve come to the right place. From the city centre to the gems of the outer suburbs, this article has got you covered.
1.The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
This is Australia’s oldest public gallery and it’s an absolute beauty. Although not all exhibits are free, there is definitely enough to make visiting worth it. There is even a beautiful outdoor area where you can bring some lunch and have a picnic.
2.St Kilda Market
An iconic and incredibly beautiful part of Melbourne, a market set alongside the ocean, could it get any more scenic? There is so much do and see here including arts and craft stalls, food trucks and lots of street entertainment. The market runs every Sunday from 10am-4pm or 5pm daylight savings time.
After the market ends you could go for a walk along the St Kilda pier and catch the sunset or walk down towards Acland street and hit up one of the local ice cream shops for a free sample. This street is famous for its amazing restaurants, patisseries and street performers.
Melbourne is home to a bunch of unique and interesting museums, lots of these are free and are truly something to get excited about.
If you’re interested in learning something about Melbourne’s history, be sure to hit up one or more of the museums listed below:
-Victoria Police Museum. Learn about criminals of the past, including Ned Kelly and his gang. You can even attempt to lift one of the surprisingly heavy tools used to make his armour!
-Ian Potter Museum of Art (Owned by University of Melbourne)
Located on the university campus, this museum opened in 1972 and with no surprise has one of the largest collections of art in Victoria. If it’s sunny, you may fancy a walk around campus. It takes about an hour and along the way you may enjoy some of the architecture.
-RAAF Museum. RAAF Williams (The name of the air base) is rumoured to be the oldest military base in the world. This place is big and holds some pretty amazing things. If you’re interested in learning about Australia’s Wars and conflicts and getting to lay your eyes on some amazing and old aircraft, this is definitely your cup o’ tea. If you happen to be there Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday at 1pm you’ll also be lucky enough to witness a flying display of some of the aircraft.
4.Federation Square. There is ALWAYS something happening in fed square. Anything from an Espresso martini festival, cultural festivals, movies on the big screen or live music. Also located in Federation square is an information centre, here you can get your info on free walking tours around Melbourne run by volunteers and more info on seasonal activities. Check out www.whatsoninmelbourne.com.au for a calendar with all the Federation Square events listed.
5.Love a good market? Here is a list of some of the best in and around Melbourne:
-Abbotsford Supermarket. A small night market with various entertainment.
-Prahan market. Live entertainment, kids activities, face painting and great food!
-Caribbean Gardens Market. Although this place is around 24 kilometres out of the city, if you have a car it’s well worth the trek. Caribbean Gardens has everything from fresh produce and gifts, to live entertainment and activities such as mini golf and a jungle cruise boat ride. If you come at the right time you may also luck in with a free train ride around the grounds or a chairlift ride over the market.
–Rose Street Artist Market. A beautiful market with some amazingly talented artists.
-Queen Victoria Market. This place is famous, and old… over 125 years old. QV is huge and you could easily spend a whole day here. Free things include live entertainment and taste tests throughout. Although not free, you must try the Jam doughnuts from the little food truck out front, the old man behind the counter has been at it for years and they are the real deal!
–Queen Victoria Night Market (Summertime). Same place as above, but during the summer it transforms into a great place to come, hang out, browse and possibly enjoy some amazing food. They trade from 5.30pm-10pm as the “Suzuki Night Market”.
6.Be part of a studio audience. Depending on what TV shows you watch at home, you could be part of the audience! For free! Visit https://www.applausestore.com/au/ for tickets and locations around Melbourne.
7.St Pauls Cathedral. Something simple yet quite spectacular once you step inside. Light a candle for a loved one or sit and enjoy the silence (and the view).
8.Live music. Melbourne is truly blessed with an amazing music scene. Here’s a list of a few venues that are a great spot to sit and take it all in:
-Retreat Hotel, Brunswick
-Yarra Hotel, Abbotsford
-The Curtin, Carlton
-Prince of Wales Hotel, St Kilda
-The Reverence Hotel, Footscray
9.Melbourne has some amazing parks and gardens,
Pack a picnic and pick a park:
–Royal Botanic Garden. Try the free guided walk at 11am
–Fitzroy Gardens. Loads of free activities here, not just a garden
-Albert Park. Feel like a walk? This is the place. Beautiful and flat 5 kilometre walk around a lake with views of the city
–Pioneer Woman’s Memorial Garden. Super serene
–Birrarung Marr. Kids playground, Federation bells and aboriginal art
–Nortons Park. If you happen to be out checking out the Caribbean Market come here, beautiful park with lots of shady spots, picnic benches and toilets.
(These are just a few choices. A quick google search in your area and you’ll be sure to find a park near you!)
10.Mount Dandenong. A MUST see with amazing views, beautiful hikes and hidden gems. If you have a car and can travel the 49 kilometres out of the city centre, you will be sure not to regret it. There is so much you can do up there without spending a buck. Here’s a list of a few:
-The 1000 steps. Recommended for people who consider themselves physically fit. The view up the top is beautiful and the journey up there is just as pretty.
-Burkes Lookout. A 180 degree panorama of Melbourne. Spectacular views on a clear day. Don’t miss it!
-William Ricketts Sanctuary. Over 90 different sculptures all carved by the late William Ricketts depicting aboriginal people interacting with the earth. One promise that can be made is that you will never forget this place, it is truly inspiring. The sanctuary is completely free with an information centre where you can learn more about Ricketts and his life.
Dont forget Melbourne is renowned for it’s changeable weather, so don’t forget to be prepared for rain or shine…no matter what the weatherman says.
Happy exploring and enjoy Melbourne!
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