Victoria’s capital is well known for its culture, quirks, festivals, food and fantastic coffee. It’s also been named as the world’s most livable city an impressive four years in a row.
All this makes Melbourne the perfect place to park up your campervan or rental car and head out to explore this amazing city. If you are a first time visitor travelling through Melbourne on a budget, then don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be stuck for things to do.
Here is the essential backpacker guide to the best free things to do in Melbourne:
1. Free gigs galore
If there is one thing that Melbournians love (apart from coffee, great food and sport), it’s live music.
Melbourne is the live music capital of Australia and as a result, there are a number of places across the city to catch live gigs.
Cherry Bar on Flinders Lane, in the heart of the city is a renowned rock bar and offers free gigs during the week. Or if you are out by the beach try the Esplanade Hotel (or The Espy), an iconic Melbourne venue in St. Kilda’s.
Check out the Beat website for the most up-to-date free gigs across the city.
2. Free events by The City of Melbourne
Melbourne is home to some great festivals and events, many of which are free.
With events scheduled every month of the year, you can rest assured that there will be something happening in the city when you arrive.
From art and music to markets and films, there is something for everyone. Check out what’s coming up on the City of Melbourne website for more information on free events and festivals in the city.
3. Take a free ride on the City Circle Tram
A stay in Melbourne isn’t complete without a trip on the iconic city circle tram.
Look out for the burgundy and gold colored tram that circles the CBD and allows you to hop on to travel around the city in style. This tram is free, and with audio commentary identifying key landmarks, it’s ideal for getting to know the city when you first arrive.
4. Get out on the open road
If you are interested in heading out of the city, then the world famous Great Ocean Road is a must-see for all travellers.
Admittedly, this isn’t totally free as you will need pay for petrol, but if you have rented a car or hired a campervan from Melbourne then the Twelve Apostles is a sight not to be missed.
These iconic golden cliffs and crumbling pillars on Victoria’s coastline make for an excellent place to catch the sunrise or sunset – all of which of course won’t cost you a dollar.
5. Get lost in the lanes
Melbourne is famous for it’s winding alleyways, hidden galleries and secret shops. One of the best ways to explore these lanes is to, well, explore and just get lost.
Head to the Visitor Information centre in Federation square and pick up a free map.
6. Walk and Explore
Rain, hail or shine, “I’m Free Walking Tours in Melbourne” allows you to explore the city with a knowledgeable local – sharing the history, stories and secrets of the city. The tour passes by Federation Square, the Yarra River, Chinatown and more.
This three-hour tour is free and runs twice a day, so check out the website for the meeting point and look for guides wearing green t-shirts!
7. Visit the Queen Vic (Market)
The Queen Victoria Market is an iconic building in Melbourne, standing for over 130 years and is regularly listed as one of the cities top attractions.
It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours strolling around, experience local produce and soaking up the atmosphere.
How about you? Share your best free things to do in Melbourne, or tell us what you’re most excited about visiting.