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.
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Use public transportation
Melbourne has an excellent public transportation system, including trains, trams, and buses.
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 is a very walkable and bike-friendly city, with many paths and trails for exploring.
Taste the food
The city 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
- 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.
Options for Going Out
Bars, rooftops, clubs… Melbourne has more than enough options when it comes to nightlife. We 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
Culture & attractions
Plan ahead and book in advance: Some of the top attractions in Melbourne such as the Eureka Skydeck, the Melbourne Museum and the Royal Botanic Garden can get crowded so it’s better to book your tickets in advance.
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 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.
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!
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.
Do some 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! 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.
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.
Shop for clothes
Melbourne is known for its diverse and unique shopping options, with a variety of places to shop for clothes. Here are a few options to consider:
- Melbourne Central: This large shopping center in the city center features a wide range of popular fashion brands as well as department stores like Myer, David Jones and Target.
- Chapel Street: This trendy street in the suburb of Prahran is home to many independent boutiques and designer stores, offering a mix of local and international fashion brands.
- Emporium Melbourne: This high-end shopping center features a variety of luxury fashion brands and designer stores, as well as a range of high-end department stores like Harrolds and David Jones.
- The Block Arcade: This historic shopping arcade in the city center features a mix of high-end and independent boutiques, as well as vintage and retro clothing stores.
- Brunswick Street: This street in the suburb of Fitzroy is known for its bohemian and alternative fashion stores, offering a mix of vintage, retro and indie clothing.
- For the price of a tram ride, take a trip to Salvos (Salvation Army) or Vinnies! These “OppShop” 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!
Where to park ?
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).
Get your certificates to start working
RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)
Since the pandemic, you can get your RSA Victoria in classes or online.
Conclusion about Melbourne
Melbourne is a very diverse city, everybody finds their place here.
- Be prepared for changing weather: Melbourne’s weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to bring a jacket or umbrella, as it can rain unexpectedly.
- And that’s it!!