Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city, and number one when it comes to culture, food and things to do. But at first glance it can appear pricy. If you don’t know how to navigate the city in a budget conscious way, this can be the case. But if you are a smart budget traveler or a backpacker, there are ways to enjoy Melbourne and find great things to do, cheaply. Here are some tips for doing Melbourne on a budget.
With so many budget airlines flying, getting to Melbourne has never been cheaper. You will need to book in advance, and be flexible about times and dates, but for this you will be rewarded with really low fares. So shop around and remember to be careful with low budget airline extra fees for bags and even odd taxes that go on top of their low fares.
A Hostel is a budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed in a dormitory style room with other guests. They are the perfect backpacker accommodation because they understand and are welcoming of your type of guest. Many of the facilities that you might have to pay extra for in a hotel like some meals, lockers and Wi-fi are usually free or included in the price of accommodations.
When you want to get around town, Melbourne has the perfect transportation and it’s free. Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone, runs in a huge loop past Flinders Street and Federation Square to Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Central Station and the waterfront at Docklands. If you want to go other places, there are more trams that have modest fees. Outside the Central Business District (CBD), trips are charged based on distance which amounts to no more than $8 on a weekdays, or $6 on weekends and holidays. If you are traveling in a group, Uber or a local taxi app service might even be cheaper.
You Hungry Yet:
Here you have several options, with the first being Melbourne’s famous, local food trucks. These mobile restaurants offer delicious versions of every type of food from New Orleans Gumbo to Tacos, and all within your budget. Here are a few more low cost eating options:
Kaprica/Pizza – No credit cards accepted and no fancy frills, just honest traditional pizzas made with quality ingredients. Diners sit at close tables in a small concrete and painted brick space.
- Lee Bakery/Vietnamese – Banh mi costs less than $5. Order similarly low-priced traditional pork loaf, or roast pork or tofu banh mi. Grab your order and away you go.
Tahini / Israeli/Vegetarian – This little diamond on Ruckers Hill has an all-veg menu that includes health-helping smoothies (with ingredients like hemp protein, acai and bee pollen). The non-liquid menu is Israeli street food, including pita pockets, falafel, and a few salads and roast veg dishes.
Don Don /Japanese – You’ll have to battle for a table because this is a favourite haunt of students and city-workers alike. It may be better to get your thinly sliced beef on rice to takeaway and head across the street to the State Library lawns. Try the Sukiyaki don. Its cheap and good.
See the Town
Sightseeing in Melbourne is absolutely free and there are many great places to check out. There are always great shows and free activities going on at Fed Square. If you’re interested in film. Visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Just across from the Shrine of Remembrance dedicated to Australia’s wars is the Royal Botanic Gardens. You can also see the city from up high for free. Roof tops bars dot the city from Swanston Street’s Rooftop Bar & Cinema to Madame Brussels at the other end of Bourke Street. Or, take a stroll along the Yarra River and get up close and personal with Melbourne’s Southgate Bridge.
Melbourne does not have to be pricy. You only have to know where to go, to make your trip there low budget and fantastic.