Australia, in general, is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Hence Melbourne is no exception and costs can pile up pretty quickly when doing things in Melbourne. Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world to visit for its art, culture, parks and sporting events and it has been named the world’s most livable city many times over for its quality of life.
With a bit of creative thinking and looking, things can be done in Melbourne Australia on the cheap. So, what free things to do in Melbourne can we find?
- Free things to do in Melbourne
- Visit the parks and gardens
- Free activities in Melbourne – City Circle Tram
- Things to do in Melbourne for free – walking tour in Melbourne
- Free things to do in the city of Melbourne: Have a BBQ!
- Shopping in Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Market
- Fun free things to do in Melbourne: visit the Melbourne beaches
- The St Kilda Pier for Little Penguins
- Visit the amazing Melbourne Street Art
- Koorie Heritage Trust
- The Ian Potter Center
- Melbourne for free – The State Library of Victoria
- Free comedy night on Mondays at the Spleen Bar
- Birrarung Marr
- Free things to do in Melbourne today – Walk, jog, cycle the Yarra River
- Free things to do in Melbourne: The Shrine of Remembrance
- Find a free trivia night in Melbourne
- Visit some amazing Melbourne Churches
- Free things to do in Melbourne: Southbank
- Free stuff to do in Melbourne – See street performers in Bourke St mall
- Join a scavenger hunt
- Old Treasury Building Melbourne
- Free places in Melbourne – Check out Albert Park
- The Australian Music Vault
- Free things to do in Melbourne CBD – Arts Center Melbourne
- Visit the NGV – free to do in Melbourne
- Free public transport in Melbourne
- Getting to Melbourne
- Getting around Melbourne
- Where to stay in Melbourne
Free things to do in Melbourne
Visiting Melbourne is an amazing experience but many visitors find costs adding up quickly. Overstretching your budget on your trip to Melbourne can quickly put a dent in your holiday plans but adding some of these brilliant free things to do in Melbourne to your Melbourne itinerary will make sure you have the best time without breaking the bank.
Visit the parks and gardens
Melbourne free activities include many green spaces and some right on the doorstep of the Melbourne CBD. Here we talk about 2 of the best parks in Melbourne. The Royal Botanical Gardens has something for everyone. There is an amazing Children’s Garden that contains water features, sculptures and a bamboo forest. To experience the flora of Australia there is a Forest Walk that showcases the trees, shrubs and flowers from all over Australia.
At the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne, you will find the Fairy Tree. The tree was one of the original trees planted over 300 years ago. From 1931-to 1942 Ola Cohen carved Fairies into the trunk.
Paid Option – cheap things to do in Melbourne: Ride the Garden Explorer at the Royal Botanical Gardens. What better way to discover this 38-hectare Royal Botanical Garden than a fun little bus? The small hop-on and off bus with live commentary takes you at a leisurely pace so you can enjoy this amazing green space with views of the gardens and the city skyline around for you
When asked why she stated, “I have carved in a tree in the Fitzroy Gardens for you, and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them, for they will understand how necessary it is to have a fairy sanctuary – a place that is sacred and safe as a home should be to all living creatures.”
The conservatory Melbourne has an amazing floral display that is open daily. Built 80 years ago it is one of Melbourne’s most popular free activities. Fitzroy Gardens with all its attractions is certainly one of the best parks in Melbourne.
Paid Option – cheap things to do in Melbourne: Cooks Cottage shipped all the way from England in the 1930s as a memorial to the man who discovered Australia. It’s not really known if Cook actually stayed in the cottage but it was certainly owned by his parents in the village of Great Ayton, Yorkshire, England.
Free activities in Melbourne – City Circle Tram
The City Circle tram service operates within Melbourne’s central business district. The service runs in a circular route passing major tourist attractions, such as The Parliament, Fitzroy Gardens, The Melbourne Star and more. The trams that ply this route run in both directions approximately every twelve minutes between 10 am and 6 pm Sunday to Wednesday.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday the hours are 10 am – 9 pm. The trams stop at Flinders Street > Harbour Esplanade > Docklands Drive > La Trobe Street > Victoria Street > Nicholson Street > Spring Street > Flinders Street. This is certainly a great way to see the heart of Melbourne.
Sit back, relax and see the sights of the city. Get off when you would like to explore or visit Melbourne attractions and get back on. It’s a mini Melbourne city tour. Melbourne free tram services run in the CBD area. Jump on jump off any tram in the Melbourne CBD for free. I would rate this one of the top free things to do in Melbourne. See the Melbourne Tram map here
Things to do in Melbourne for free – walking tour in Melbourne
Like many cities around the world, Melbourne has a free walking tour. The free tour of Melbourne runs every day at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm lasting around 3 hours. We have found the free walking tours worldwide are amazing as the guides work off tips.
While the tip is appreciated it is not mandatory. You will find the guides really put in and go the extra mile to entertain, they work hard for the tips on this Melbourne city tour. The Melbourne free walking tour leaves from the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria.
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Free things to do in the city of Melbourne: Have a BBQ!
Free bbq Melbourne? Yes, please! Free BBQs are located all around the city for you to throw a snag, chop or even a dim sim on the BBQ. Grab some bread and coleslaw, chuck a snag in some bread, add sauce and away you go! Two of the best sports in Melbourne for a bbq are Birrarung Marr and Docklands Park. Birrarung Marr is an amazing spot to get your bbq Melbourne on with the city skyline view rising straight up above you.
The free BBQs on the north bank of the Yarra offer great views of the city and the Botanical Gardens. The Docklands Park at Victoria Harbour features public art and the play journey interactive playground to keep the kids busy. We suggest catching the city tram to Docklands/Harbour Town to go ice skating, shopping or viewing the city from the Melbourne Star. Afterwards, have a bbq…what is more Australian than that?
Shopping in Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Market
Queen Vic Market is a place you can spend hours wandering around. It’s a full variety of markets selling meat, vegetables and all matter of various goods from homewares to luggage and souvenirs. The market covers 17 hectares which makes it the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. A doughnut van has been selling jam doughnuts from the same spot for the last 50 years. You must try one, they are amazing!
One of the fun things to do in Melbourne at night is visiting the Queen Vic night market in the winter months. The Queen Vic night market features food trucks and performers. A free 10-minute tour is available for first-time visitors. The tour runs 4 times a day, Tuesday through Sunday at 10 am,11 am,12 pm and 1 pm.
The Queen Vic market hours are varied but are as follows
|Days||Fresh produce||Specialty Shops|
|Tuesday||6 am – 2 pm||8 am – 2 pm|
|Thursday||6 am – 2 pm||8 am – 2 pm|
|Friday||6 am – 5 pm||8 am – 3 pm|
|Saturday||6 am -3 pm||8 am – 3 pm|
|Sunday||9 am – 4 pm||9 am – 4 pm|
Fun free things to do in Melbourne: visit the Melbourne beaches
Free Melbourne outdoor activities don’t get any better than visiting some of the amazing beaches on Port Phillip Bay. The most famous of Melbourne’s beaches are at St Kilda, 9 kilometres out of the city centre. You can access St Kilda by tram from the Melbourne CBD.
St Kilda beach features calm water as do all the Melbourne beaches. Sandy bottom shallow water makes this a safe and ideal swimming spot for families.
The waterfront Port Melbourne and South Melbourne beaches are closest to the CBD. The water-front Port Melbourne features playgrounds, beach tennis as well as walking and bicycle paths.
South Melbourne Beach is popular with families, sunbathers and swimmers. At South Melbourne beach you see people fishing and playing beach volleyball. Why not have some fish n’ chips at one of the South Melbourne Beach cafes while you are there?
Paid Option: St Kilda is home to the only fun park Melbourne has, Luna Park. Luna Park St Kilda is a throwback to yesteryear with the world’s oldest continually running Wooden Roller Coaster. There are many things to do in St Kilda while you are out this way.
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The St Kilda Pier for Little Penguins
The St Kilda Pier is great for a walk and views of Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay. At the end of St Kilda Pier lies a Penguin Colony. The penguins are best seen early morning and late at night.
Visit the amazing Melbourne Street Art
Once upon a time visiting street art or graffiti would have been an unusual thing to do in Melbourne, not anymore. Melbourne is world-famous for its street art. Places like Hosier Lane are known worldwide for their ever-changing street art.
Hosier Lane is an alive canvas for Melbourne artists. Places like AC/DC Lane and laneways off Flinders Lane between Russell Street and Swanston Street are all home to this form of artwork.
With the recent arrival of concrete bollards as a terrorist precaution, the Melbourne City Council has encouraged artists to paint these concrete barriers into artworks. The National Gallery of Victoria at St Kilda Road and Federation Square has many free exhibits to view.
From modern artworks to rotating displays throughout the year. The unknown famous artist Banksy has been to Melbourne. The Banksy Melbourne artworks can be found in AC/DC Lane. A number of the Banksy Melbourne stencils have been destroyed over the years with only 2 remaining.
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Koorie Heritage Trust
Australia is home to the oldest living civilisation in the world and at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square, you can discover this amazing culture for yourself. The Wurundjeri People are the Traditional Owners of the Land that Melbourne (Naarm) is located on and here you will find displays on how life was for the Wurundjeri people before it was colonised.
The Ian Potter Center
The Ian Potter Centre is an extension of the National Gallery of Victoria at Federation Square. This small campus of the NGV has free entry for all and features a selection of artworks for you to admire.
Melbourne for free – The State Library of Victoria
While many people would not put a library on their list of places to visit in Melbourne it has to be one of the best free things to do in Melbourne. Here you will find the original Ned Kelly armour as well as many displays, exhibitions and galleries.
If you are looking for free things to do in Melbourne with kids you will find storytime, yoga for kids workshops and other amazing things for them to do throughout the year.
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Free comedy night on Mondays at the Spleen Bar
Everyone loves a good laugh, right? Monday nights at the Spleen Bar are for you if you want a good night out. While the night is free, the entertainment and hospitality industries have done it hard over the last few years so we ask if you can have an extra drink and leave a little something if you love the show.
Visiting Melbourne with kids or just need somewhere for a 5-minute rest? Birrarung Marr is one of Melbourne’s newest green spaces and is located right near Fed Square.
Here you will also find artworks by local indigenous people with views of some of the most popular places in Melbourne. There is an upper and lower terrace that incorporates grassed sections as well as sandy sections.
Free things to do in Melbourne today – Walk, jog, cycle the Yarra River
The Yarra River like most rivers in cities around the world is the life of Melbourne. Join hundreds of people enjoying a stroll, run or cycle along the Yarra River during the morning, day or early evening. You can also find a patch of grass to sit on and watch the teams as they row up and down the river practising for their next competition.
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Free things to do in Melbourne: The Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road, Melbourne. This amazing memorial is all about remembering the soldiers who have defended Australia throughout all the conflicts this country has been involved in.
The Shrine has some amazing exhibits both physical and multimedia. The Galleries of Remembrance is amazing with its displays of over 800 uniforms, weapons and artifacts from the wars. The amazing Gallipoli landing multimedia show was both emotional and informative. The view from the top of the Shrine towards Melbourne is amazing. You can see the botanical gardens and the Governor Generals’ residence.
Find a free trivia night in Melbourne
Trivia is one of the hottest crazes right now and with the hospitality industry taking a heavy hit the last few years pubs and clubs all over Melbourne are hosting free trivia nights to get customers back in the doors. For only a couple of drinks with friends or to meet some new ones a trivia night in Melbourne is a great way to spend an evening.
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Visit some amazing Melbourne Churches
While many people won’t seek out churches unless they are in Europe some of the churches in Melbourne have taken inspiration from overseas and the interiors are stunning. Architecture lovers will find the outsides just as marvellous. St Paul’s Cathedral across from Flinders Street Station is one of the most popular and so is St Patrick’s.
Free things to do in Melbourne: Southbank
Southbank runs from the Princes Bridge near Flinders Street Station down to the Melbourne Convention Centre. You will often find street performers working this strip of the city. Southbank events both inside and outside are on all year round.
We all have to eat and Southbank restaurants in Melbourne are very popular places to eat day and night. Having a Southbank breakfast and watching the city come alive is very popular among locals and tourists.
Crown Casino Melbourne letting off their balls of fire into the air is one of the fun things to do in Melbourne at night.
Free stuff to do in Melbourne – See street performers in Bourke St mall
Bourke St Mall is also a hot spot for street musicians and artists in the Melbourne CBD. During the day and into the early evening you will find some amazing acts for free.
Join a scavenger hunt
This is one of the newest ways to discover things about a city you are visiting or even new sights for locals. A scavenger hunt is a great way to wander a city while learning all about it and Melbourne scavenger hunts are amazing.
Old Treasury Building Melbourne
Located in a stunning 19th Century building is the Old Treasury Building Museum. It holds an arrangement of Victorian and Melbourne history that will delight anyone who visits. This is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne.
Free places in Melbourne – Check out Albert Park
For sports lovers, a visit to Albert park and a walk around the track is a great way to experience the Grand Prix without the massive crowds! You can also walk around Albert Park Lake.
The Australian Music Vault
Located in the Melbourne Arts Centre this museum showcases the rise of the Australian Music scene with interactive displays as well as iconic items from some of the biggest names in Australian music. If you love a good Aussie rock song or a pub anthem this is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne.
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Free things to do in Melbourne CBD – Arts Center Melbourne
During the year you might be lucky enough to catch a free exhibition, concert, market or display at the Melbourne Arts Center. It always pays to have a look at their website to see what they are offering.
Visit the NGV – free to do in Melbourne
For art lovers, a visit to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) is a must. This amazing collection of artworks from all over the world is a great way to spend some time. the permanent exhibitions are free and so are some of the visiting exhibitions.
Free public transport in Melbourne
As you can tell they’re really is a wide range of free activities to do across the city of Melbourne. Did I mention that public transport within the Melbourne CBD is free to all as is the Wifi network? The Melbourne bike-share program like many worldwide allows one to rent a bike for a small price and return it to one of many docking stations across the city. Melbourne is a little different than most places in the fact by law you need to wear a bike helmet.
Bike helmets come standard with the bikes you are renting. For further information on what is happening in Melbourne, I would be constantly checking the following sites. Whats on Melbourne is a site run by the Government. Time out Melbourne is always a great resource for happening and upcoming events in the City.
You will find Melbourne a city of contrast from modern to classical, from busy streets and roads to quiet parks and gardens, from street art to Monet and Picasso in the museum from Michelin stars to street treats. There really is something for everyone with every budget. We hope this article has given you some ideas for free things to do in Melbourne.
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Getting to Melbourne
- Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia. Melbourne International Airport is 23 kilometres from the city centre.
- Melbourne is serviced by many international airlines and budget carriers Jetstar. Scoot and AirAsia just to name a few. You can check the prices of international flights to Australia with Kiwi flights. For domestic flights, check with Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
- There is no direct public transport link with Melbourne Airport.
- You can catch the Skybus or you can book an airport transfer in a private car
- You can book a rental car and have it waiting for you at Melbourne Airport.
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Getting around Melbourne
Myki is Melbourne’s ticketing system to travel on the city’s trains, trams, and buses. International and interstate visitors coming to Victoria can buy a Myki Explorer pack to see free stuff in Melbourne. The Myki pack combines a ready to use Myki card, visitor information and special offers for travellers. It’s a great option for visitors who choose to explore Melbourne and regional Victoria by public transport! You need to touch your Myki card on and off when you use the public transport system. Inside the Melbourne CBD, you can use the trams, which are free to get around on.
Where to stay in Melbourne
- Melbourne has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms
- Hostels in Melbourne can start from as little as $21 a night for a shared dorm room.
- Hotels in Melbourne generally start from around $100 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. Google states that 3-star averaging $113, 5-star averaging $314 for a night stay.
- You can compare and book your stay on Trip Advisor
If you are looking for more amazing and best places to visit in Victoria or more travel in Victoria destinations Explore Victoria has some more articles below for you to check out. If you have an idea, attraction or top spot feel free to leave us a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org