From 2011 to 2017, Melbourne has topped the list of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Most Liveable Cities in the World for 7 consecutive years. This diverse metropolis is the second largest city in Australia with an affluent middle class earning a median weekly income of AUD 1,542. With such a high standard of living, Melbourne is not exactly at the top of the list in terms of the most affordable places to visit.
However, the city may surprise you with its unique attractions that are not just a joy to behold but easy on the pockets as well. You can reach these destinations through affordable and convenient Melbourne tour packages, or you can have a pre-planned DIY tour of the city. Here are just some of the free and cheap attractions and things to do for you to consider.
Take Pictures at Hosier Lane
Practice your street photography by capturing Melbourne’s urban landscape, complete with stylised graffiti and colourful street art on Hosier Lane. Local and international artists have left their mark on this narrow street, with art spilling over to reach Rutledge Lane. After all that art appreciation, you can take a break at the many coffee shops and bars at the Centre Place, which is just a 5-minute walk from Hosier Lane.
Discover Art in Flinders Station
One of Melbourne’s most beloved buildings, the Flinders Station, was built in 1854. Its long history includes a record of being the busiest train station in the world in the 1920s, surpassing the Grand Central Station in New York and the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris.
While some of the station’s facilities like the ballroom and gymnasium have been abandoned over the years, Flinders Station is still full of life, with the underpass art gallery, renamed The Dirty Dozen, now being one of its attractions. Here, contemporary artists share their artworks with commuters and visitors, who are most welcome to view them for free.
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Stroll Down Fitzroy Gardens
With over 26 hectares to explore and a number of attractions to see, you could easily spend a day just strolling in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens. The entrance to the garden is actually free, but if you wish to enter the Cook’s Cottage attraction, you have to pay an extra AUD 6.20 (adult).
Aside from Cook’s Cottage, other attractions you can find within the park are the Conservatory, Fairies Tree, Stream and Fern Gully, Sinclair’s Cottage, Model Tudor Village, and the Mound and the Pond.
Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Built in 1848, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the country’s tallest church building. Outside the church, you’ll marvel at its pristine and well-kept grounds complete with a long water feature that cascades to a small waterfall. Inside, you can view the altar mosaics by William Wardel along with other religious and beautiful artefacts. With no entrance fees to worry about, it’s a great way to spend the day and get to know about Melbourne’s spiritual side.
Take a Break at Treasury Gardens
At just 5.8 hectares, it’s one of the city’s smaller public parks. That said, it’s still worth a visit with features such as the Robert Burns memorial, President John F Kennedy memorial, William Clarke statue, as well as an ornamental pond. As this is a public park, it’s a free treat for visitors.
Visit the Museum at Old Treasury Building
If you’re an architecture and history buff, you definitely must see Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building. Aside from being one of the finest 19th century buildings in the city, it houses a permanent exhibit dedicated to the history of Victoria. Entry to the building and museum is free of charge, though donations are welcome.
Shop at Camberwell Sunday Market
Instead of shopping for the usual keychain and shot glass souvenirs, why not find vintage treasures at the Camberwell Sunday Market instead? In this market, you’ll find old knick-knacks, toys, clothes, and other collectibles you can bring home. When you get hungry, there is quite a selection of food trucks that cater to hungry crowds. These offer more affordable and unique dishes for you to choose from.
Visiting Melbourne doesn’t have to be expensive with the right planning and preparation. Be smart about choosing the attractions that really interests you to save not just money but also valuable vacation time.