Melbourne is known for being a fairly expensive city, particularly when travelling in on a budget. However, there are plenty of things to do in the country’s most cosmopolitan city while minding those dollars.
A big night on the tiles can be a sure-fire way to blow a week’s budget in a matter of hours, and Melbourne is loaded with countless bars that can lead to financial ruin for the thirsty traveller. However, the CBD also boasts a plethora of rooftop bars, which are excellent for a relaxed drink in the afternoon sun, with vistas of the cityscape thrown in free of charge.
Melbourne’s bustling Chinatown is a cracking spot during February’s Chinese New Year, and a real haven for those looking for a cheap meal. Take your own alcohol and gorge on inexpensive dumplings at one of the many restaurants, most of which are open late into the evening. If you’re not into Asian food then get yourself a Domino’s or Pizza Hut takeaway, with these expensive eats in the UK starting from as little as five bucks in Oz for a decent sized pizza.
The CBD is packed with plenty to keep the budget-conscious entertained. You can navigate it for free with the distinctive City Circle trams that loop around the centre, while those feeling active can hire a roadside bike with the first 30 minutes free.
Pedal along the laneways adorned with compelling graffiti artwork, where many a traveller has whiled away an afternoon, exploring and photographing their finds. Head to Federation Square to check out the galleries and events on offer, perhaps taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi while you’re there.
Free Wi-Fi is also available at the State Library of Victoria on Swanston Street if you need to catch up with the family, looking for a job, or just trying to meet up with your mates. A good place to hook up and go for a wander is the Queen Victoria Market, great for browsing and picking up inexpensive clothes, gifts and trinkets, with night markets throughout the summer and winter months.
Check out the events calendar to see what festivals are on in Melbourne while you’re there; such as White Night in February or October’s Melbourne Festival. Even a stroll down the main central streets on any given day will treat you to an abundance of musicians, street performers and artists.
Move south of the CBD over Princes Bridge and you’ll find the Royal Botanic Gardens, a sumptuous part of the city to get lost in and soak up some peace, sunshine, or a film during the summer months. Pay a visit to the Shrine of Remembrance, built to honour the people of Victoria who served and died in World War I, which also offers sweeping views from its highest vantage point.
Head further along St Kilda Road via the Grand Prix circuit around Albert Park Lake to reach the town of St Kilda; providing a laid back culture, and a beach, for kicking back and taking a dip. There’s also a resident colony of little penguins that occupy St Kilda’s breakwater, that can be visited free of charge.
If you have a set of wheels make sure you hit the Great Ocean Road and the renowned Twelve Apostles. While the Dandenong and Yarra ranges are both within touching distance of Melbourne, and well worth a visit.
If you’d prefer to stay closer to home though, get a cheap sack of goon and seek out the best place to enjoy the delights of this madness-inducing boxed wine