Things to Do In Melbourne On A Budget

The 10 Best Cheap Things to See in Melbourne – Melbourne is affordable if you’re working. When I came to Melbourne I was on a budget that I wanted to stretch as much as possible to see as much of Australia as possible before running out of money. Below is my story about how I ended up in Melbourne and the free and fun things I found to do in the city!

Things to See in Melbourne

Melbourne Coffee Time

Things to See in Melbourne – Five months before my 25th birthday and the eureka moment, I realized what I wanted to do with my life still hadn’t happened. Having recently graduated, and with the university chapter of my life officially over, it was time to open up the next chapter of my life. I wasn’t sure where or how the next chapter should start, and when in doubt, travel! So that’s what I decided to do because I’ve never regretted the decision to travel and it’s a theme I would like woven into all the chapters of my life.

Melbourne Fountain

I had always wanted to go to Australia and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I applied for a one-year work holiday visa and bought a one-way ticket to the land down under. Voted the most livable city for the fifth year in a row, and beating my beloved Vienna by a mere 0.01%, is Melbourne.

Best Things to See in Melbourne Library


When I arrived at the airport I was lucky to have a great friend waiting for me with vegemite (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the taste of that) and Tim Tams (it didn’t take me any time to get used to those). Having moved to Melbourne, a relatively expensive city, without a job and with a minimal amount of savings remaining, I was extra conscious of seeing the city on a budget and finding as many free things to do in the city as possible. Thankfully, there are many things to do and see in Melbourne for the budget traveler. Below are 5 free things to do in Melbourne.

Melbourne Street Art

Things to See in Melbourne – Tour the City in Style – City Circle Tram
When first arriving in Melbourne I wanted to get a feel of the city, what it looked like, and where things were. If you want to do a tour of the city you can pay almost 30$ for the hop-on-hop-off bus or, for the budget-friendly cost of 0$, you can take the city circle tram.

It’s tram number 35 and does a loop around the city and it’s completely free! When you see something you like you can get off, walk around, then jump back on the next tram. This is a great way to explore the city. There is even a speaker on the tram that announces what major attractions are at the next stops.

Melbourne Star Wheel

Things to See in Melbourne Explore those Beautiful Beaches!
If you’re visiting Melbourne while the weather is nice, then a great free way to spend your time is to visit one of the many beautiful beaches. Swimming in the water, sunbathing on the beaches, enjoying the beautiful views, and walking along the docks are all free ways to spend a sunny day in the city.

St Kilda is a great area, close to the city center, and has a great beach and lots of cafes and restaurants. The picture below I took on one of my first days in Melbourne. It was not hot enough for swimming or sunbathing but was the perfect temperature for a walk along with one of the docks. I got a great view of the city skyline from this location!

St Kilda Melbourne Dock


The next beach I went to was Brighton Beach, home of the famous bathing boxes. This one’s a bit farther out of the city but is well worth the trip as it offers beautiful beaches, great walking trails, a great view of the city, and of course the bathing boxes! There are 82 boxes, each painted in different colors and themes, and have been in existence for over a hundred years. I went on a nice day and some owners were relaxing inside and outside their boxes so I got to take a look inside some of them. Each box sells, for the not so budget-friendly, price of a mere $260,000.

Bathing Boxes Melbourne

The location below I was in love with. From this vantage point, you can see Brighton Beach, the bathing boxes, and the city skyline.

Brighton Beach Melbourne

Get your Culture on at Free Museums.
Things to See in Melbourne – If you’re into art, or if you’re not and you’re just trying to get out of the rain like I was, a great and free place to check out is Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. The museum features an expansive collection of art ranging from ancient to contemporary. There are three levels and lots to see, I planned to only stay for an hour or so and ended up spending the whole afternoon there. A great way to spend a rainy or chilly afternoon in Melbourne!

National Gallery of Victoria MElborin

Things to See in Melbourne – Shrine of Remembrance
The shrine is one of Melbourne’s most recognizable monuments and was built in remembrance of the Australians that served and died in wars and peacekeeping efforts from World War One until the present day. I had to go twice because the first time, I ended up losing track of time while I was exploring the exhibition at the bottom level of the shrine. The exhibit is very well done and has many interesting stories and videos from battles and wars that Australia was involved in and stories of those who served. You can walk to the top of the shrine where you will get a beautiful, and free, view of Melbourne.

Discover Melbourne’s Street Art

Things to See in Melbourne – Melbourne city is filled with streets and alleyways that are decorated in diverse and colorful street art and murals done by local and visiting artists. The artwork is always changing so, what you see in one month, might be gone and replaced with something new the next month. If you want to know more about Melbourne’s street art and see some great pictures I took from a recent walk in the city check out my article Street Art Melbourne.

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