There is no doubt that when it comes to Australian travel, two cities stand out as the most popular destinations in Australia: Sydney and Melbourne. While Australia is known for its relatively high living cost, it doesn't mean you can't explore places in Australia on a budget.
This time, Claire from Claire's Footsteps will share how to explore Melbourne on a budget while making the most of your time in the capital city of Victoria.
So, what are some affordable activities to explore a day in Melbourne on a budget? Let's find out!
Best Things to Do in Melbourne on a Budget
Melbourne is a favorite city for nearly all travelers to Australia. But a common complaint, especially from those backpacking in Australia, is that the city (and the country, when it comes to it!) is expensive.
But let me tell you, in Melbourne, it is actually very easy to not spend much money.
I actually made about $10 USD (around $14 AUD) last two weeks – but that was extreme budget traveling. It is still very feasible to enjoy the city while only spending $10 USD.
Explore Melbourne City Center
Firstly, Melbourne has the amazing advantage of having free trams in the center. That means you can use these as much as you want with no cost.
It does cost a little to use the trams outside of the CBD (although it is still cheap!), so if you are extreme budgeting try to keep your activities within the free tram zones.
There are tons of attractions that you can see for free in Melbourne’s CBD. These include:
- The State Library of Victoria: Not many people think of Melbourne’s library when they are counting off the best things to do in the city, but the state library of Victoria is a great budget-friendly attraction. It contains the beautiful Latrobe Reading Room which is a must-see, as well as several free exhibitions about Melbourne and Victoria.
- Art Gallery of Victoria: it is completely free to enter and explore this art gallery, which has exhibitions of local, Australian, Aboriginal and international art.
- The AMCI
- Street Art Self Guided Tour: there is loads of street art around Melbourne; it’s famous for it, infact. A self guided street art tour will take you around the highlights, including Hoiser Lane. If you have some extra budget to spare, you can also join this Melbourne walking tour.
- Federation Square: Housing the AMCI, Fed Square is a great place to people watch and join in some of the events that frequently happen throughout the summer.
- Flinders Street Station: A beautiful station, this is one of the must-visit places in Melbourne, even if it’s just to glance at the unique exterior, which has some east-Asian influences (there is actually an urban myth that it was intended for Mumbai!). It is home to some really intriguing stories – it was the first station in Australia and by 1926 was the busiest station in the world. Some people even say it’s haunted!
So, you’ve got the tram to a few places, seen a day’s worth of sites, and you still haven’t spent any money.
Enjoy Meals at Om Vegetarian
With that amount of sightseeing, I do recommend that you eat something, even if you only have $14 AUD. This is where Om Vegetarian comes in.
Situated on Elizabeth Street, they offer All You Can Eat Thaali for just $7.50 – half of your daily budget.
You’ll get vegetable curry and lentil curry with basmati rice and fresh naan bread. And you can eat as much as you want. During my super skint days in Melbourne, I went there at about 1-2 pm, ate and ate and ate, and could only manage a snack later in the evening. Not the healthiest way to eat, but sometimes you’ve gotta do it.
Visit St. Kilda
So, you’re fed and you still have $7.50 with you. I’d recommend heading to the beachside suburb of St Kilda, which will cost you around $3.
St Kilda is the home of more free attractions, including the beach, a spot to watch penguins come in at night and a weekly drum circle. And you’ve still got $4!
Stop by the Pay-as-You-Feel Restaurant
You could have another meal if you desire at Lentil is Anything, a pay as you feel restaurant, of which a branch is in St Kilda.
However, I would advise that unless you literally do not have the money to give a bit more. Lentil as Anything is a wonderful operation but it only works if the people who can pay are generous!
If you’re still full or want to commit to the $14 AUD a day challenge, grab a snack, an ice cream or a coffee and watch the sunset from St Kilda. You’ve just enjoyed a day in Melbourne on just $10 USD!
Contributor: Claire from Claire's Footsteps
Claire is an eco-traveler and overland adventurer. She explores the world slowly, one country at a time, and is as sustainable as possible in the process. She writes about sustainable tourism, cultural awareness and publishes overland itineraries on her blog. She has spent a lot of time in Australia and China, although she is originally from the UK and currently living in Mexico.
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