Making Do in Melbourne
A visit to Australia, as acknowledged in a previous piece titled, ‘How to Travel to Australia on a Budget’, can be pricey. But you can cut back on costs.
Hunting for bargain airfare is a priority, for starters, and that might mean traveling during non-peak seasons – spring and fall, in this case. Just as important, however, is choosing a specific region or city to visit. Australia is nearly as big as the continental United States, so as tempting as it may seem to go there and visit several different places, it’s essentially like planning to go to the U.S. and travel between New York and Los Angeles – or visiting Europe and roping in London and Moscow. It’s a nice idea, but it means covering enough area that the trip can become very expensive. So, again, it might be best (from a budget perspective) to focus on one place in particular. In this piece, we’re following through on that idea with a specific look at Melbourne, the coastal capital of Victoria and as good a place as any to focus your Australian getaway.
How To Get Around Melbourne
To get around in Melbourne, public transport is your best bet. In fact, you can navigate central Melbourne for free via the City Circle Tram. It’s route 35, and all you have to do is find the local loading spots. The Melbourne Circle Line runs a different route but is free as well. We also recommend that you buy the myki Explorer Pack, a $15 card that gives you unlimited use of Melbourne’s public transport for one whole day. It even comes with handy maps and a souvenir wallet, which makes it a pretty good deal overall. This pack can be purchased at SkyBus terminals and PTV Hubs and should more or less solve your transit needs, at least within the city.
Where To Find Affordable Accommodations
Melbourne has a range of affordable accommodations in the form of hostels and Airbnb properties. Hub Hostel and Landing Pads Brunswick are great options, as both are conveniently located on the outskirts of the city center. More importantly, they offer competitive pricing and a host of handy amenities. Renting an Airbnb property is a money-saving alternative, too, and is a great way to meet locals and stay in real residential neighborhoods, though of course you never know exactly what you’re going to find listed on the platform on any given day.
What to do
If the goal is to stick to a budget, you can actually find plenty to do for free in Melbourne. You can, for instance, partake in local culture by visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria, RAAF Museum, the Parliament House, and the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Center. You can check out a bunch of flora and fauna in the Royal Botanic Gardens, go window shopping at the Royal and Block Arcades, and play at the Games Lab, all without depleting your wallet too much.
One thing you must experience – even at an added cost – is Melbourne’s sporting culture. The city is thought of by many as something of a sporting capital of the planet. It hosts several world-class sporting events, including the Australian Open, the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup, which is perhaps the grandest event of them all. The Cup is a horse racing event that officially marks a national holiday, such that people celebrate it all over the country. Those who attend in Melbourne dress for the occasion and make a sort of festival out of it. Others watch from afar and bet on the action, trying their luck for as little as $5 to get a stake in the action. Granted, to enjoy any of these events you need to be in Melbourne at the right time, but between them all – as well as regular competitions at places like the Melbourne Cricket Grounds – you should get a taste for this vital aspect of the local culture.
Where To Find Cheap Eats
Some places to check out for affordable meals in Melbourne include Lentil As Anything and its “pay as you feel” system in St. Kilda and Abbotsford, Huxtaburger and its under-$10 offerings on Collins Street, and Oasis Bakery and its food-for-value Lebanese cuisine in Murrumbeena. Other options are 1090 Burger (with its signature $10 umami burger), To’s Bakery ($6 bahn mi), Wings of Glory ($1 wings on Wing-It Wednesdays), and Kalimera Souvlaki Art ($9 pork souvlaki dish). And these suggestions are just a start; ask around and the locals will lead you!
Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the most out of your Melbourne sojourn. But if you plan ahead, explore what your destination has to offer, and discover what you can in advance, you’ll be well positioned to enjoy the experience. The above, however, should be a nice sneak peek and a glimpse of how to make the most of this unique city on a traveler’s budget.