16 (Almost) Free Things To Do in Melbourne

melbourne free things

I spent 6 months in Melbourne for an internship. On my first day I was shocked when I bought ONE banana for almost €1.50 and I wondered how the hell I was going to make it in one of world’s most expensive cities to live in with a tight budget. But I soon learned there are enough free things to entertain you and live on the cheap without worrying and missing out too much.

  • Southgate Cinema hold free screenings every Tuesday. Upcoming movies include Grand Budapest Hotel and X-Men the Days of Future Past. You do need to book your seat ahead. Or how about open air screenings at Point Park in the Docklands? Films like Frozen and Skyfall screen from February on.
  • During summer the city unpacks and shows what they have and holds free entertainment and dancing events in the parks or at street festivals so keep an eye on those.
  • The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives in WWI. Climb to the steps of the shrine and enjoy the fine views across the city.
  • Rooftop bars are another way of enjoying great views while having a drink. Rooftop Bar & Cinema is a famous one, but try the lesser know and busy like the Red Hummingbird. If you are not attached to a 9 – 5 job go earlier and enjoy happy hour prices.
  • Lunch at Lentil as Anything. Now…it’s not really free but rather a pay as you feel and what you can according to your financial status. You won’t want to be stingy, so don’t think it will necessarily be a free lunch. See it as a break from your usual choice of home made lunch.
  • Pubs have often free BBQ on weekends and on Tuesday’s most food places offer dishes for $5 or 2 for 1 meals.

melbourne free things

  • If you want to save on food shopping then Queen Victoria Market is the place to be. Everything from fruit and vegetables, fresh produce and delicatessen. The market is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays which makes Tuesday the cheapest day to get your goods.
  • Federation Square is place to sit down and look at people, catch a game or film on the big screens or just check your social media There’s also a number of free events, such as live music and dance performances, and complimentary Wi-Fi is provided … what else do you want? The square also holds cultural festivals, event launches, exhibitions and various performances.
  • And while you are there and you are into movies hop into the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, an unique attraction in the city that gives you an insight in the world of the moving image.
  • The Royal Botanical Gardens are definitely a place to spend the day if you love nature or just want to be amazed. The gardens contain around 12,000 plant species and will keep you busy for a while.
  • The reading rooms at the State Library of Victoria and the building itself is well worth a visit. It makes it a great place to get some work done since Wi-Fi is free, but note that the network can be a bit slow sometimes due to high levels of use.

melbourne free things

  • Melbourne is known for its amazing street art scene. Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane (yup, the band have a street named after them) and Canada Lane in Carlton are the probably the biggest ones.
  • Venues like the Espy in St. Kilda hold free weekly gigs. Don’t expect big artists but they might as well be the next big thing from Oz.
  • The National Gallery of Victoria is the world’s first big gallery dedicated to Australian art, but it also holds international art and is a great place to spot some art.
  • The free tram are the best way to get around to lots of sightseeing. The City Circle Tram has services every 12 minutes and take you around the city’s top attractions. The free tram stops at places like Melbourne Aquarium, Parliament House and Federation Square.
  • And…apparently there is now a free tourist shuttle bus too with on-board commentary! It operates daily and stops at popular attractions like the Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown and Fed Square.

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  1. I love this! I bookmarked it for future reference. I love the idea of working in Australia for a year, but the expenses definitely scare me a little.

  2. Hi there! Great article. I thought the shuttle bus wasn’t new. It’s new that the CBD zone is free, though. Another thing that’s free is to see the little penguins at St KIlda Pier. Have you seen them? I still need to do it. How logn are you in Melbourne for?

  3. OMG! Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ll probably be going to Melbourne some time soon, and it is so great to know! I would love to see some Street Art or a Museum or.. so many things to do! With love,


  4. That’s great that you’ve found so many free and cheap ways to experience the city! I’m really trying to plan a trip to Australia, and the more money I can save the better! This post was super helpful. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Australia, though being considered as one of the most expensive country in the world seems to have a lot of free things in store in it. We had our freebies in Sydney and we enjoyed them. So much things to do that’s why we never did get bored. Love Australia!

  6. Great insider tips for making the most out of a city the street art sounds wonderful. I am not sure how well a foodie would get on with a banana costing 1.50 but if the quality is there in the food I could be quite happy they have the sunshine Lucy x

  7. Wat gaaf, ik zou ook dolgraag naar Australië gaan om daar stage te lopen .Helaas gaat dat niet lukken. Wel super goede tips, want een banaan voor €1,50 holy moly