It’s not easy (but not uncommon) to start your Working Holiday with only a little money in your pocket. After finding accommodation, paying deposits or buying a car you will have little money left before finding a job. Not to stress, it is possible to enjoy your stay in Melbourne without throwing more money away. To appreciate the beauty and the excitement of the city without breaking the bank, here are some tips and places to go if you are in Melbourne on a budget.
Lentils as Anything
“Everyone deserves a place at the table”. With three locations in the city, St Kilda, Footscray and Abbotsford, the concept of Lentils as Anything is a unique, non-profit. The idea is simple – they offer a good vegan meal, in exchange for a donation. Our favorite is the Abbotsford location. Situated among beautiful green surroundings, you will enjoy time on the terrace as well as inside thanks to their delicious meals made with heart . This innovative dining concept is based on trust and volunteering – what you decide to pay at the end is entirely up to you.
Intrigued? We will explain how it works: enjoy your meal, or a cup of tea for example and then pay the price reflecting your experience. They also offer different ways to volunteer which we highly encourage if you’re going to be in Melbourne for a while. We also recommend a walk in the gardens,where you can greet the gardener currently nurturing the vegetable patch that provides the restaurant’s ingredients. It is a self-managed community where everyone is welcome, regardless of background and dine without prejudice!
Address: Abbotsford, 1/3 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067
This is an app which is perfect for backpackers new to Melbourne ready to make new friends, meet locals or try something new. The concept is simple – Meet Up is an app and website which allows you to participate in local activities while meeting people in your nearby community. You can either create a new group offering to share an activity you love or join an existing group to try something new. There are endless options from sport to photography, crafts to book clubs. The program is constantly changing but there is always a Meet Up of some kind happening in Melbourne such as strolls around the Street Art. It’s also a great way to practise language new languages or develop your English skills as you’ll meet with members from all over the world.
Free Yoga in St Kilda with The Fun Addicts
Offering the perfect way to relax regardless of the season, The Fun Addicts, offers you the opportunity to attend yoga classes for beginners, for FREE. Simply register below and enjoy free yoga every Sunday. It’s also a great way to meet other yoga fans as the groups can be up to 60 people. Remember to wear sunscreen and take along plenty water as although the St Kilda beachfront setting is beautiful, it can become super hot working out outdoors. Great opportunity if you are on a budget in Melbourne!
As a museum of extravagant modern art, the NGV regularly hosts multiple exhibitions, bringing together artists and exhibits from around the world. Best of all, admission to the general exhibition is free, and perfect if you are in Melbourne on a budget! For a fun night out, we also advise you to keep an eye for exhibition openings or end of season parties. These are usually celebrated at night, with a DJ set, drinks and dance performances in the midst of incredible works.
Address: NGV, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006
The Royal Botanic Garden
Cross the Yarra to explore the architecture of its ornate bridges and quays lined with busy bars and restaurants before taking the tram to the Royal Botanical garden. One of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world according to the Lonely Planet. As you explore, you will find a vast representation of not only Australian flora but also of New Zealand – from cactus to tropical forest, this garden has it all. All this combined with acres of lawns perfect for picnics. The gardens surround the Shrine of Remembrance, a monument honoring the soldiers of Victoria who fell during the battles of the Great War. As well as the beautiful plants you can also admire the views of the towering CBD skyscrapers. A great thing to visit if you are in Melbourne on a budget.
Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141
Queen Victoria Market
The most impressive and certainly the cheapest market in Melbourne. Although in Summer we’d also recommend visiting the South Yarra market, Queen Victoria market has existed since 1878 and once even housed a cemetery. There are the usual fresh produce ( often sold on Sundays at the end of the morning) meats and fish but as well as food trucks and souvenirs. On Wednesday evening, the market is surrounded by concerts, bars and take-out meals from around the world. These events take place during the summer from November to February until 10 p.m.
Website : qvm.com.au
The Flagstaff garden
This large park on the west of Melbourne is home to a wide variety of the Australian icon – Eucalyptus. Like all Australian parks, we spent a pleasant time doing yoga, having brunch and relaxing there. Note that in the evening, the park comes alive as the many inhabitants of the park wake up. Head to the park after sunset and you will find possum families bouncing around the branches of the trees.
The beaches of Melbourne are not the most impressive in comparison to other Australian cities. The most famous is the popular St Kilda beach that bustles with bars and backpackers but to get away from it all hop on the train (for a very modest price) to discover Brighton Beach. Here you will find the famous Bathing boxes, painted in vibrant colours and patterns. Don’t forget a photo with the most famous box, painted as the Australian flag! Enjoy the calm of this family beach from where you can admire the view of the city in the distance and its reflections on the water.
Although in Australia, Melbourne does not offer sunshine all year round. In fact, it is common to experience 4 seasons in one day, so you may find you will need additional clothes and we have the perfect (super cheap) solution. For the price of a tram ride, take a trip to Salvos (Salvation Army) or Vinnies! These “OppShop” (Opportunity Shop) are charity shops where a shirt or sweater will cost you less than 10 dollars among many other treasures waiting to be found. You can find essentials for your next road trip at a lower cost, items for a new flat such as bedding or cushions or even clothing for job interviews. They hide on Sydney Road among other more hipster and expensive vintage shops. Oppshops mean you get new clothes, while investing the few dollars you have in charity all while reusing clothing that would have ended up in landfill – fashion that doesn’t cost the earth, in more ways than one!
Forget just borrowing a book, Melbourne library is an essential place to visit due to its stunning architecture. It is also the perfect place to enjoy free WiFi to assist your work searches or plan the next part of your trip. As a tip, it is also the meeting place for beginners or advanced English lessons at low prices – join a few Facebook groups to learn more details of when the lessons take place.
Address: Melbourne Library, 328 Swanston St
What’s on Melbourne
With these tips, you have endless ideas to explore, exercise and eat in Melbourne on a budget. However, to discover every nook and cranny, we recommend the essential Melbourne night and daytime diary; “What’s On Melbourne.” They are essentially a Melbourne bible with new things to do posted everyday and the first place to publicise events and exhibitions taking place in the city.
Article written by Tiphaine Deraison