It's a big city, and a great one, but unfortunately for non-Melburnians this Australian wonder can leave you with little in your pocket. So what's the best way to see Melbourne (or as travellers have it to 'do' Melbourne) without breaking the bank?
The great and glorious city of Melbourne - and this is just the beginning! Image from Wikimedia Commons
Even as a local, I've been caught out countless times without a water bottle when the day turns suddenly hot or a jacket when the evening gets chilly. Make sure you pack what you need so you don't get stuck making some hasty and costly purchases during the day.
You can also consider packing a lunch, though if you know where to find them there are many cheep eateries in and around the city centre. Try Crossways, pick up some cheap sushi, grab some fruit and nibbles from Queen Victoria Market, or keep an eye out for the food trucks such as Mr Burger.
Transport Since the switch from paper to plastic transport tickets, you'll definitely need to get yourself a Myki if you want to get in and out of the CBD, or use the trains. This will set you back six dollars for the initial ticket, then you'll have to pre-load money on it to travel – it's a debit system. However, you can also take full advantage of the free City Circle tram which you can use as a way of getting from one place to another, or simply as a sightseeing vehicle in itself!
Destinations This is the big one! You've arrived in the city – where should you go?
If you're keen to shop, head to DFO or to Chapel Street for brand-name bargains. For vintage and retro finds, try Brunswick Street or Smith Street in Fitzroy, as well as the accompanying side-streets. For a shopping experience you can (literally) lose yourself in, just head to the CBD and walk down any colourfully-painted alley way you see – you'll soon find you've wound your way through most of Melbourne's hidden gems!
For tourists, you can't go past seeing a footy game at the MCG. Unfortunately it's off season now so you'll have to settle for the cricket, but that's just as pleasant during a hot Melbourne day! Federation Square is also a must-see, as is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) which is situated within Fed Square. While you're feeling arty, check out the National Gallery of Victoria, or head to the State Library of Victoria to admire both the collections and the architecture they're housed in. All of these galleries have free entry to at least the main exhibits.
Food lovers will rejoice at the sight of this gastronomically gregarious city – so many restaurants, so little time! Since you're on a budget it's probably best to avoid the allure of the five-star eateries and stick with Melbourne's laneway delights. You'll discover a new favourite and keep your money where it ought to be – in your pocket!
At the end of a big day, you'll probably just want to relax. Head to the Royal Botanic Gardens and lie down on one of the many expansive stretches of well-manicured grass and take a deep breath of floral air – Melbourne is your oyster!
Taking a walking tour is a great way to see the city but an activity rarely mentioned for those visiting Melbourne. Yes they can cost but for an intensive morning or afternoon walk, you could really get an idea of what the city is like that would take you much longer to find out yourself. Often those visiting many times still dont see that much of the laneways - you have to approach the city differently to most...