Melbourne is a wonderful place to visit if you are looking for a cheap getaway, so don’t let our big and bustling city make you feel like you can’t afford to spend time here. The city of Melbourne offers a great range of free attractions and activities to keep you entertained and busy while visiting!
So read on and check out our top ten best free things to do in Melbourne…
1. Grab a Tram. For some, just using a tram is an attraction in itself but Melbourne also offers the City Circle Tram, a free tourist tram which takes a 30 minutes trip around the city of Melbourne. With an on-board audio narration of the city’s history and highlights, this is a wonderful trip to get your bearings on the city. Not only is this is a great trip, the tram is also free and allows passengers to hop off and hop on as many times as you want! Free transport! The trams are easily recognisable as they are the older style and are burgundy and gold in colour.
2. Queen Victoria Market. This market is Victoria’s premier open-air market. Located on the corner of Victoria and Elizabeth Streets, set in a historic building and has been loved by Melbournians for around 130 years. Offering fresh produce and delis this is a wonderful stop on your tour. They offer tours in a range of different styles, but you can easily wander the market, taste the produce and have a chat with the friendly stall holders.
3. Royal Botanical Gardens Set on 36 hectares of picturesque, extensively landscaped gardens, the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are free to explore. Displaying more than 50,000 plants, offering year round tours is a very popular tourist attraction. So grab yourself a cool drink, a yummy snack and spend some time wandering the gardens, which can be enjoyed from 7am until sunset.
4. Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Known locally as ACMI, the iconic building held within Federation Square is dedicated to the moving image in all its forms from early cinema to the latest digital media. Free entry allows people to explore the permanent exhibition charting the journey of the moving image and, in particular, Australia’s engagement with screen culture as consumer and creator. Within Federation Square there is also free WiFi and a giant TV screen that can be enjoyed anytime of year.
5. The Bay Trail. If cycling is your thing, then the Bay Trail will deliver a range of trails that you can explore. Starting at historical St Kilda Pier and heads past Luna Park before dropping in at a bustling Acland to finish in Brighton, 6km or 40 minutes later. If you want to walk it will take around two hours. If you want more there’s another 69km of path to ride!
6. The State Library of Victoria. Need somewhere that has some peace and quiet? The State Library, located 328 Swanston Street, opposite Melbourne Central is the place for you. Offering free WiFi, Mr Tulk Café, guided tours and is an architectural delight, there is something for everyone. This is a must see destination in Melbourne!
7. RAAF Museum. Outside of the city in Point Cook is the historical RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Museum. Free entry and guided tours reveals to visitors one of Australia’s most important aviation stories, that of the second oldest air force in the world. Collections of memorabilia, military aircrafts and technology are all on display.
8. NGV. The NGV Collection of International and Australian art is always free to view. Located on St Road, Melbourne, the NGV was founded in 1861 and is Australia’s oldest public art gallery. This beautiful building offers a big collection of art and artefacts with everything from Egyptian and Roman antiquities and Asian art, through to Renaissance, Baroque and everything up to and including contemporary art.
9. St Kilda Pier and Beach. Take a walk along the beach and down St Kilda Pier for an authentic boardwalk experience. Take in views of Luna Park and the Bay, then wander up onto Acland Street for cakes and coffee, funky shops and on a Sunday, the hand craft Markets are open for all.
10. Laneway and Street Art Tours. There are many paid tours that can take you to see the street art and laneways of Melbourne, but this can be done for free! Simply grab a map and start walking. Try different laneways and admire the street art, and don’t forget to look up and spot some of the Laneways Commission art pieces.
*Image of Melbourne skyline looking towards Flinders Street Station via Shutterstock