Free things to do in Melbourne

Melbourne is my second favourite city in Australia, after Sydney. Even though traveling within the cities in Australia can be expensive, there are a few free things to do and one can enjoy the city as much by doing these free things. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love free things? In this post, I am listing all the things one can do for free in Melbourne.

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About Melbourne

Melbourne is one of the largest and beautiful cities in Australia. It is the capital of the state Victoria. Known for its huge European influence, Melbourne is famous for its style and food.

How to get to Melbourne?

Flights

Melbourne has two airports, both domestic (Tullamarine and Avalon airports) and international (Tullamarine) airports.

  • International flights – There are international flights from anywhere around the World to Melbourne. The budgeted airlines are AirAsia and Scoot airlines from South East Asia.
  • Domestic flights – Melbourne is connected to most cities around Australia. Jetstar is the budgeted airline to fly between the cities domestically.

Driving

Melbourne is very well connected by road. But it is quite a distance to drive from the capital cities such as Sydney and Adelaide to Melbourne. The distance between Sydney and Melbourne is around 880 kilometres and takes 8 hours 30 minutes to drive. The route has toll roads and has spectacular spots where you can take a break and enjoy.

The distance between Adelaide and Melbourne is around 730 kilometres and the journey by road is about 8 hours. The route has toll roads and the cities are in different time zones.

Public transportation

  • Buses – Greyhound and Firefly express buses run between Sydney and Melbourne. The cost of the fare range between AUD 60 to AUD 250. But this is my least favourite option as the time for the bus journey is around 12 hours.
  • Trains – There are frequent trains run by TrainLink between Sydney (Central) and Melbourne (Southern Cross). The train journey is 11 hours and the cost is around AUD 75 to AUD 250.
  • Up to date information and prices can be found on the respective websites.

Free things to do in Melbourne

Melbourne is a vibrant city that caters for all. There are many things to do and it is the capital for arts and sports. The city focuses a lot of its sporting events and have some festivals or the other throughout the year.

For other things to do in Melbourne, read 9 things to do in Melbourne.

  • The main train station is the Flinders Street train station.
  • Up-to-date information about public transportation within Melbourne can be found on the PVT website.
  • MyKi transportation card is used to pay for the fare on public transports. The card can be topped up at any train station or at news agencies.
  • Tram numbers 35 and 70 are free trams that travel between city zones.

Walk around Yarra River

A walk around the Yarra River is extremely pretty. There is a walkway that goes around the Yarra River with lots of bridges to cross over.

  • Entry fee: Free.
  • Tram or Train station: Flinders Street station.
Yarra River Melbourne
Yarra River at night

Visit ACMI at Fed Square

Australia Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), located in the Federation Square, is a museum of screen culture. It has exhibitions and showcases celebrating television, films and gaming. The General entry into the museum is Free but they do have paid events.

  • Entry fee: Free for General entry.
  • Tram station: Federation Square station.
Melbourne ACMI
Exhibition at ACMI

Take pictures at Hosier Lane

Hosier lane is a lane in Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) dedicated to street art. It is so colourful and is a great spot for amazing pictures with the graffities. Every time I have visited Hosier lane, the street is filled with different street art. Every art painted changes and each artist overwrites the previous artist’s work. It is great to see the display of all the artists. Sometimes one can catch a glimpse of the artist painting as well. It is mind boggling to see these street art. It is the mecca of street art. The vibrant lanes filled with wall arts are a bliss. I have visited Hosier Lane many times and the lane has been different all the time. I have never seen the same art twice.

  • Entry fee: FREE.
  • Tram or train station: Hosier Lane is very close to Federation Square. The nearest tram station is Federation Square and the nearest train station is Flinders street station.
Haoiser Lane Melbourne

Visit Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial built to respect all the souls who have sacrificed their lives to protect this beautiful country during the World War I (WWI). According to Australian War Memorial website, around 60,000 Australians were killed during the WWI.

  • Entry fee: FREE.
  • Tram stop: The tram stop is known as Shrine of Remembrance and frequent trams run between Federation Square and Shrine of Remembrance.

Watch Penguins at St Kilda beach

One of the cutest and free things to do in Melbourne is to go watch the penguins at St Kilda beach. After a long day of fishing in the ocean, the small little penguins return home to their nest. It is a delight to go watch them. The best time is to go during the sunset as that is the time the penguins come to the shore.

Did you know that you can go watch these penguins at Phillip Island? Phillip Island is a one day trip from Melbourne.

  • Entry fee: Free.
  • Tram station: St Kilda beach.

Visit Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market is great to escape from the busy city life and enjoy the street food and the pubs and bars. All the local produce and the farmers sell their products at the Queen Victoria Market.

  • Entry fee: Free (pay only for what you buy).
  • Tram station: Queen Victoria Market.

Walk the 1000 steps

Created in 1900s, the 1000 steps is a steep walk in the Kokoda Track Memorial. It is to get a glimpse of exhaustion the soldiers felt following the Kokoda trail. The 5 kilometres walk is for people who are fit.

  • Entry fee: Free.
  • Tram station: Ferny Creek Avenue.
1000 Steps in Kokoda Memorial

See the colourful shacks at Brighton beach

The colourful shacks, also known as the Brighton bathing boxes are located on the Brighton beach of Victoria. Existing from the 1900s, there are 82 brightly coloured beach huts which are iconic and the most photographed.

  • Entry fee: Free.
  • Train station: Brighton beach train station.

Laze around Federation Square

A venue in the heart of the city is the Federation Square. Opposite to the Flinders street station, the Federation square is a place where public events and festivals are hosted.

  • Entry fee: Free.
  • Tram or train station: Flinders Street station.

Tram 35 and 70 for city exploration

The city zone trams (number 35 and 70) are a great way to explore the city. There is an ongoing commentary on the tram explaining the places and the things to do in the city.

The Tram Melbourne

Milky Way

During the winter season, one can see the Milky Way. The stars, dust and the night skies are absolutely stunning on a good clear night. Just a few kilometres from Melbourne city such as Great Ocean Road, you can find breath taking views of the Milky Way.

Are you visiting Melbourne during winter season? Read things to in Melbourne winters.

Milky Way

Safety for solo female travelers

Melbourne is very safe for solo female travelers. However, the city does experience some of the unwanted and uncalled situations especially if you are from a different race. Be cautious and know your surroundings at all times, especially when it is isolated and at nights.

Closing Notes

Melbourne is a lovely city and has many more things to do than just these that I have listed. The city has very good vibes and is lively on all the days. Do you have any other suggestion for free things? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking for tours and trips? Then definitely check out Viator.

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PIN for later reference - Free things to do in Melbourne
PIN for later reference – Free things to do in Melbourne

7 thoughts on “Free things to do in Melbourne”

  1. Gosh I wish I have had the opportunity to visit Melbourne, it looks so pretty there. Its nice to see there are a few free things to do when visiting since transportation and airfare to get there can get quite pricey. The street art in Hoiser Lane would definitely be my first stop as I love taking photos when on vacation as much as I can !!

    Reply
  2. We were sad to have our travel plans for Australia cancelled in 2020. Melbourne was definitely on the plans. We did not have specific activities picked. But this list of free things to do would certainly feed into any re-planning we do. We would certainly not miss a wander down Hosier Lane for the street art. Or miss a chance for penguins at St Kilda beach. Love the idea of the city trams for get a little more info about the city.

    Reply
  3. This is a great guide to free Melbourne. I’ve never been to Australia, so would love to visit. Hosier Lane is so vibrant and colourful and great for street art. I love penguins, so this would also be a must for me to see!

    Reply
  4. It’s great to know that there are so many things to do for free in Melbourne. It’s great as it is an expensive city and travel to Australia costs a lot. I would love to visit ACMI!

    Reply
  5. Since I enjoy art a lot, I love free art museums – so it’s great that there is at least one that offers free access to their permanent exhibit. Also, urban art is a great option, obviously. But I would probably spend the entire day on the beach awing at the penguins, anyway 😉 This is a great guide for people who have to travel on a budget.

    Reply
  6. Walking around the Yarra River and exploring the street art in the Hosier Lane were two of my fav things to do in Melbourne. Also, I was surprised that the public transportation within the city center (the free zone tram) was actually free of charge!

    Reply

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