Melbourne is an astonishingly cosmopolitan city with everything from vintage clothes shops to food from every corner of the globe! With it being Australia’s most up and coming city, it can come with a hefty price tag to stay and travel! But it doesn’t have to drain your bank balance and I believe no one should miss out on the gem of the South East. So here are some free and affordable things to fill your days with!
DID SOMEONE SAY, FREE FOOD???
Lentil as anything
Free healthy food, with amazing live music just a bus ride from the city! Sounds too good to be true, right? Well believe it baby! There is a beautiful place called Lentil As Anything. Lentil’s is an eatery with the philosophy that everyone is welcome at the table. They serve vegetarian/vegan/gluten free food options, you grab a plate and pile on what you want and as much of it as you want.
There is a donation box at the front door where you either pay what you can, or pay what you think it deserves. Those who can afford, are asked to pay what they can for themselves as well as those who can’t afford to pay. The lines are coming out the door and the ceilings are hung with tree branches. Live music at the front will keep you entertained all night and if you fancy a jam, then just head on up. By the end of the night there were 6 people up there jamming on the guitar and singing away. The atmosphere is incredible. To round the evening off, a cup of coffee, which is included in whatever you decided to pay. Some cannot afford anything, but need to eat, and some appreciate the culture and philosophy that they will give what they can to cover the cost of those who can’t. It is wonderful. A travellers dream.
There are currently four locations to choose from, but we can hope to see more popping up in the future. So head on down, grab a plate and go crazy!
I would like to note here that even though we are travellers and will do anything to save a dollar. Please respect the philosophy and pay what you can. They provide a great service and every dollar helps. There are people out there more needing than backpackers!
The Queen Victoria Market opens its gates at certain times of the year when the sun starts to set and welcomes locals and travellers into a memorable night of food from around the world, fashion and live music. Of course it is free to enter, and you will find yourself wandering around for hours mooching through piles of vintage clothes and munching on a crocodile burger! But be warned, it is easy to spend lots of money here, even though individual items are not expensive, you can get a little spend-happy! So set yourself a budget, grab a few friends and you are guaranteed an awesome night!
The day market also opens 5 days a week! So be sure to head on down if you can’t catch the night markets for some fresh food and some cool souvenirs to send back home!
The Melbourne Museum
Even though entry to the museum isn’t free to everybody. It is free for students! So as long as you have a student ID card, you can get yourself in for days of truly enriching experiences. From dinosaur bones, to real human brains, The Melbourne Museum offers something for everyone! It is interactive, insightful and overwhelming. Featuring regular exhibitions which will be sure to stay with you forever and will be something worth tweeting about! Don’t worry if you don’t have a concession card, the entry is only $10 and is worth every single cent! I went for 2 days in a row, that’s how much I loved it! Better yet, a tram stops right outside! So you can save your legs for the hours of wandering which lies ahead of you!
Melbourne’s Street Art
If there is one thing which this city is famous for, it is it’s endless lain ways covered in extraordinary art work. Take a whole day and soak up the local culture. You will get lost in lane ways across the city and suburbs and you won’t be able to stop yourself from snapping away! This is something which cannot be missed by any traveller!
The National Gallery of Victoria attracts art lovers from all over the world. Situated on the south side of Melbourne, the NGV should be the first stop for all travellers with an interest in the arts. It’s exhibits are world class! I had the privilege of viewing the Monet collection they had on display in August 2013. Whilst the exhibits come with an entry fee, the gallery itself is open to the public without asking for a penny. So grab your beret and spend the morning browsing the different rooms and grab a bite to eat from any of the eateries there.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is totally mind twisting! It shall throw you back through the decades of TV, movies and music and leave you in an interactive bubble of discovery! With everything from world renowned exhibitions to creative workshops, the ACMI will tickle the senses of all film, music, comic and TV lovers!
CHEAP DAYS OUT
Melbourne is not the place you go for stunning white sand beaches, but if you are craving the crashing waves and tiny beach side shops, then get yourself to St Kilda. For the price of a tram ride, you can have a day of tanning and high quality coffee. (To get even cheaper tram tickets, grab yourself a Myki card, available at loads of locations across Melbourne)
It’s true, the heart and soul of Melbourne lies within its suburbs. If you are after endless thrift stores, mind blowing coffee and hours of strolling through old book shops and the best of Melbourne’s fashion shops, then Fitzroy is just a short walk from the CBD and an even shorter tram ride. If you thought the city offered unbelievable street art, then you haven’t seen anything yet! Local street artists thrive in this small suburb and the art is everywhere! Start on Brunswick Street, grab yourself a vietnamese pork roll from a local bakery and then head to Smith Street where you can release your inner hipster with beautiful vegan food and a hearty world famous long black.
What free attractions have I missed? Drop me a comment! 🙂