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10 Things To Do In Melbourne That Won't Cost A Single Cent

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Myra Mahyuddin  •  Feb 28, 2016

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So you already know that 2017 is a good year to visit Australia (if you haven’t read it yet, these 9 reasons will seriously give you a travel itch). It’s time to plan a trip and we have our eyes set on one of the world's most livable cities: Melbourne!
Melbourne_Main
Credit: Travel & Lifestyle Melbourne offers so much to do, see and experience BUT this Victorian capital also ranks as the sixth most expensive city in the world. It can be a difficult place to enjoy yourself cheaply... unless you’ve got this list of 10 free things to do, in which case it's totes easy!
Credit: Giphy  [If you're heading to Sydney, there are 10 free things to do too!]

1. Join free guided tours

Get a lowdown on what makes Melbourne what it is - for free! So, put on your walking shoes and experience the sights and sounds of Melbourne without spending a penny:
Melbourne Free Walking Tour
Melbourne_WalkingTour
Credit: I’m Free Walking Tours The knowledgeable guides from I’m Free Tours Melbourne will give you a crash course on the city’s history. The tour also covers things to see and do, the lane ways, art, cafe culture and hidden bars so you can experience Melbourne like a local. #HHWT Tip: Tour starts at 10:30am and 2:30pm daily, and you don’t need to book a spot. The rendezvous point is in front of the Sir Redmond Barry Statue at the State Library of Victoria. Look out for bright green “I’m Free” T-shirts.
Parliament of Victoria Tour
Credit: wulanguritno on Instagram On the days when the Parliament isn’t sitting, you can get free guided tours of this prestigious establishment. These 20 - 45 minutes tours run at 9:30am, 10:30 am, 11:30am, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm and 4:00pm on weekdays (excluding public holidays). Address: Spring St, East Melbourne Opening Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm Website: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au
State Library of Victoria Tour
Melbourne_StateLibraryofVic
Credit: State Library of Victoria I know, I know… visiting a library isn’t exactly what people do on holiday but the State Library of Victoria’s gorgeous architecture and beautiful heritage interiors is a sight not to be missed. Held daily from 2pm - 3pm (except public holidays), the tour takes you inside the architecturally stunning La Trobe Reading Room. Address: 328 Swanston Street Opening Hours: 10:00am - 9:00pm (Mon - Thur), 10:00am - 6:00pm (Fri - Sun) Website: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/
Melbourne Town Hall Tour
Melbourne_Town_Hall
Credit: Melbourne Fresh Daily  Sit in the Lord Mayor’s chair, take in the majesty of the Council Chamber, and see the largest grand romantic organ in the southern hemisphere as you tour one of the city's oldest landmarks. #HHWT Tip: Bookings are essential and need to be made at least one day in advance by calling (03) 9658 9658. Address: 100 Swanston Street Opening Hours: 10:00am - 9:00pm (Mon - Thur), 10:00am - 6:00pm (Fri - Sun) Website: http://www.melbournetownhall.com.au/

2. See penguins waddle back to their nests in St Kilda

Melbourne_Penguins
Credit: Evolve Tours Bet you didn’t know there are penguins in St Kilda! Best of all, you can see them for free! The St Kilda Breakwater is home to the smallest species of penguin called Eudyptula minor, and you can see them swim and waddle back to their nests among the rocks of the breakwater at sunset, all year round.

3. Breathe fresh air at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Located in the heart of Melbourne's city centre, the Royal Botanic Garden is an oasis with over 50,000 plants. Pack some lunch before heading here, as it’s easy to find a quiet picnic spot amongst its 36 acres of colourful blooms and lush greenery.
Melbourne_BotanicGardens
Credit: Melbourne Daily #HHWT Tip:  Check out the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden where kids can play, explore, splash, hide and dig! Address: Birdwood Avenue Opening Hours: 7:30am to sunset Website: http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne

4. Hop on a bike and enjoy a spin around Melbourne

Melbourne_BikeShare
Credit: Melbourne Bike Share  Melbourne is a cycling-friendly city with dedicated bike tracks. While there’s a holding deposit to rent a bike from Melbourne Bike Share, the first 30 minutes are free. You could technically break your journey into a series of short hops, picking up and dropping off bikes at different kiosks all over town.

5. See the city onboard the iconic City Circle Tram

The City Circle Tram is a free and easy way to get around central Melbourne without breaking a sweat. Just wait at any tram stop along the City Circle Tram route. The tram has audio commentary and stops at almost all the major hot spots such as the City Museum, Parliament House, Docklands, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium and the Princess Theatre.
Melbourne_CityTram
Credit: Visit Melbourne #HHWT Tip: Some trams, including the City Circle Tram, aren’t stroller friendly so it’s advisable to fold the stroller and carry your child. Download the tramTracker app - it tells you what kind of tram is coming your way. 

6. Live the beach life at St Kilda

When you’re ready to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city, make your way to breezy St Kilda beach to witness a different kind of buzz. Wander along the seafront promenade…
Melbourne_StKilda
Credit: Ares Nguyen … snap a photo in front of Luna Park’s iconic grin…
Melbourne_LunaPark
Credit: Luna Park Melbourne … and drool over the old-school European cake shops on Acland Street.
Melbourne_Desserts
Credit: Alpha

7. Go gallery hopping

Here’s something that could make art aficionados skip with joy: Melbourne has a thriving arts scene, with more than 100 galleries dotting the city! Temporary exhibitions tend to incur a fee, but many permanent collections can be seen for free.
Melbourne_NGV
Credit: Mel365  The National Gallery of Victoria boasts an impressive collection with big names like Picasso Monet and Rembrandt. Address: 180 St Kilda Road Opening Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Website: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/
Melbourne_ACMI
Credit: By Bidgee (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons The Ian Potter Centre, just up the road in Federation Square, houses Australian artworks ranging from the colonial period to the present day. While you’re at Federation Square, pop by the  Australian Centre for the Moving Image  for an interactive history of film and TV. Address: Federation Square, Flinders Street Opening Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Website: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/visit/ & https://www.acmi.net.au/
Melbourne_ACCA
Credit: Arch Daily  Still not sated? The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art on Southbank is where you’ll get to see contemporary artworks by local and international artists. Address: 111 Sturt Street, Southbank Opening Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm (Tuesday - Friday) & 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Weekends & Public Holidays) Website: https://www.accaonline.org.au/

8. Learn yoga or Tai Chi at Federation Square

Credit: Giphy Need to strettcchh or feel zen after all that sightseeing? The Atrium at Federation Square offers free Tai Chi classes every Tuesday from 7:30am - 8:30am. After an hour of this, we reckon you’ll feel refreshed, rejuvenated and energised to explore the city again! Tuesday is also when there’s a free yoga class at The Atrium. Running from 1:15pm - 2:00pm, these classes can help you to touch your toes in no time. #HHWT Tip: Newcomers are required to arrive 15 minutes early to register and bring your own mats for yoga. Address: Corner Swanston St & Flinders St Website: http://fedsquare.com/

9. Wander along artsy alleyways

 You probably won’t find Banksy’s work here, but Melbourne’s alleyways are notorious for its street art. With so many nooks and crannies to discover, keep your eyes peeled for surprises. Head to these locations to see some of the city's best street art: 
Hosier and Rutledge Lane, opposite Federation Square
Hosier Lane
Credit: LT Photography
Caledonian Lane, off Little Bourke Street
Caledonian Lane
Credit: Geoff Wilson
Union Lane, off Bourke Street Mall
Melbourne_UnionLane
Credit: Angie & James Do Stuff And these others:
  • Rear of 280 Queen Street in Finlay Avenue
  • 21 Degraves Street
  • Corner of Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley
  • 122 Palmerston Street, Carlton
  • Centre Place, between Collins Street and Flinders Lane

10. Get caffeinated and learn more about coffee at the same time

Credit: Giphy It’s only apt that Australia’s unofficial coffee capital offers free “cupping” sessions for coffee aficionados. This is where you learn about coffee by sniffing and tasting it and so on. Check out Melbourne Cupping Sessions to find out which cafes are serving free tasting sessions when. And there you have it, some of the things you can do in Melbourne that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Enjoy!