Melbourne’s reputation is impossible to excel. This cosmopolitan city is known for its culture, filled with museums and street art to admire during your walks through the center. Its numerous restaurants and cafés are what gives the city the charm of a European capital, with the bonus of Australian culture. All in all, it is amazing to live in Melbourne. This article is meant to provide you with a list of good deals that will help you reduce your expenses in Melbourne without missing out on its treasures.
Melbourne Travel tips #1 – Transport
In Melbourne, it is very easy to move around. The simplest way is to get yourself a Myki card and to either get a subscription or recharge it according to your needs. This will allow you to use both the trains, trams and buses, so if you plan on using Melbourne’s public transport a lot, you might want to consider getting a weekly instead of a daily pass.
Information on the Myki card: www.ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki
There is also the Free-Tram-Zone (35 city circle), which includes the entire CBD and if you are lucky, you will find a guide in one of the trams, who will supply you with facts about Australia’s second largest city throughout your “travel”.
Information on the Free-Tram-Zone in Melbourne: www.ptv.vic.gov.au/route/view/1112
If you want to avoid public transport, is also fairly easy to move around by foot, which is most probably the best way to visit every corner of the city.
Melbourne Travel tips #2 – Free WiFi
You will have access to free WiFi on the Federation Square (though it tends not to work well when there are too many people, the connection is better towards the top of the square). At the State Library of Victoria, you will also find free WiFi, with the bonus of a magnificent library: www.slv.vic.gov.au
Of course you will find free wifi in the coffee shops in the city or MacDonalds, Hungry Jacks etc…
Melbourne Travel tips #3 – Hospitality
Melbourne does not lack in variety when it comes to hospitality, and knows how to appeal to everybody’s taste buds, satisfying all needs. Up for Asian cuisine? Head to Chinatown. More in the mood for a real pizza? Meet up at Lygoon Street, where you will have a hard time choosing from the multitude of Italian restaurants. Otherwise, there is always the possibility of staying in central Melbourne to eat on the go.
- The Carlton: a classy place, cool and with a good reputation. During the week they have cheap offers: Monday night: Parma & Pot $15 / Tuesday night: Steak Dinner $14 / Thursday lunch: Parma & Pot $15 / Sunday: 12pm – 1am, New York Cats Burger Bar, burgers from $12. www.thecarlton.com.au/the-food
- Lentil As Anything: a restaurant in St Kilda or Abbortsford, where you pay however much you want after enjoying your meal! lentilasanything.com
- Movida: Very nice tapas bar. movida.com.au
- Hungry Jacks: the app “shake and win” allows you to win free drinks or burgers from time to time, without having to buy anything else. It’s a free app all you need to spend is two minutes of your time (the limit is one “shake” per day) and if you do end up eating there, make sure to keep your receipt in order to participate in the pool on their website (using your ticket number), and you will get a free burger next time… It obviously works everywhere in Melbourne.
Melbourne Travel tips #4 – Going Out
Bars, rooftops, clubs… Melbourne has more than enough options when it comes to nightlife. I especially recommend Spice Market, which is a cheap option for girls on Thursday nights. The club lets you dive into a subdued atmosphere with luxurious decor and charts music. Every Thursday night, the entry fee is $10 and girls additionally receive 5 tickets for free drinks if they arrive before 10pm!! Very profitable.
To all lovers of 80s music, you will find happiness at Perseverance, a club located in a district called Fitzroy. Guaranteed good vibes!
You must have a drink at the harbor during sunset. There are tons of happy hours and it’s a good possibility to get to know Australians, who come here after work, while admiring the view!
Madame Brussels Bar: Super cool rooftop bar, lots of nice cocktails! www.madamebrussels.com
Melbourne Travel tips #5 – Culture
Visit the City
Free guided trips: Every day at 10:30am or 2:30pm – Meeting point at the Sir Redmond Barry statue opposite of the Library, the guide will be wearing a green shirt. The tour takes between two and three hours and you don’t have to book it beforehand.
Free tours are available at the visitor center. You can have a guide for four people (options in your native language), who visits whatever he likes or whatever you wish to see. The only condition: make a reservation a couple of days in advance and of course call to cancel if you cannot make it!
Simply stroll through the streets of Melbourne and look out for street art, musicians and other performers, there really are a lot of good artists.
Australian Center of Moving Image: At Federation Square. The ACMI is a free museum, which is quite playful and interactive, evoking the digital culture (evolution of cinema, of television, etc)
The National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda Rd is a free museum, that also exhibits various expositions from different periods.
The Ian Potter Centre is a free museum, that portrays the aboriginal culture through paintings, photographs…
Le Viral-Happiness, a type of association of street culture and circus (juggling, performances) that organizes workshops every Sunday, setting it up in a different park every time. There is a fire spectacle as soon as night falls.
Melbourne Gaol: before visiting the old prison, go to the visitor center to get a Guide of Melbourne. There are reductions inside the pamphlet, offering you up to 20% off the ticket. Make sure you have enough vouchers for everyone!
Melbourne Travel tips #6 – Shopping
Prices in supermarkets are pretty similar to those in Europe. In order to save money while grocery shopping, it is best to keep track of the sales, they have a lot of them at Coles!
You can also go to Queen Victoria Market, one of the biggest markets on the southern hemisphere, filled with high quality products for reasonable prices. Don’t forget to stop by towards the end of the market; that’s when fruit, vegetables, meat and fish are a lot cheaper!
At Abbortsford on Victoria St at five mall there is a vegetable shop next to Aldi called Saigon Village, if you go there between 5 and 5:30pm, you will be able to find entire bags of vegetable for no more than $1!!
The Twilight Market in St Kilda during summer (December, January, February) is a night market, where you will find small jewelry stands, clothes, food… Entertainment is provided by musicians, fire eaters and other artists, giving off a happy and hippy vibe. When the market comes to an end around 10:30pm and you haven’t had dinner, go to the food stands, the prices will be reduced.
Melbourne Travel tips #7 – Other
In order to have a great view of Melbourne for free, go to the bathroom of the Sofitel! (25 Collins Street)
You will get 10$ for free if you sign up at the casino (for free). 5$ to use at the cash machines, 5$ at the tables!
Look for a parking lot during the day next to Harbour Town, where the spots are not too expensive (5-7$). Also the free tram zone ends in Harbour Town, which lets you discover the CBD by tram (fast, about 10 minutes).
Evans Street, South Melbourne, free parking throughout the entire day in this street (attention: at the end of the road it’s 2P). And by foot along the tram tracks, it’s between 15 and 20 minutes to Yarra River and to Southbank (bars, restaurants, Crown Casino).
RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)
If you wish to work at a pub or restaurant, you will have to get your RSA. We recommend doing it at RSA Melbourne (60$).
Here is the link to sign up: Complete Hospitality Training
Due to the current pandemic, the majority of the current classes remains via the Virtual Classroom environment.
Melbourne is a very diverse city, everybody finds their place here.
- The ever-changing weather, they say you can experience 4 seasons in one day in Melbourne!
- And that’s it!!
Thank you to Adeline and all the backpackers on social media who participated in creating this article.
Updated on 30/09/2019 – Initially published 02/01/18