Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

The Best Ways to Explore Melbourne on a Budget

Home > Melbourne > Free | Fun Things To Do |
by Deveta Patel (subscribe)
A freelance writer, sharing all my new discoveries with the world.
Published October 23rd 2011
Melbourne has so much to see and do. From a multitude of bars to countless restaurants and sight seeing spots, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring the city. But experiencing everything Melbourne has to offer can often have drastic effects on the bank balance and sometimes we need to start keeping to a budget. To discover Melbourne and save yourself some money along the way, take note of some of these handy tips for cheap and free things to do.

Look out for Happy Hour

Hundreds of bars in Melbourne have cheap drink deals. Visit to find out where all the happy hour deals are in and around the city. Some of the best places for happy hour include The Collection Bar, Bridge Road, Richmond, which offers $5 Heineken, $6 house wines and $9.50 cocktails from 4pm – 7pm Tuesday to Friday and 2pm – 7pm on Saturdays; The Blue Moon Bar on Russell Street, CBD, has different offers every night, including Ladies Night on Fridays, with $7 cocktails.

Enjoy a Free Activity
There's so much to do in Melbourne for free, whether it's visiting an exhibition at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, a relaxing day on one of Melbourne's beaches, exploring the State Library of Victoria or taking a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens; Melbourne can be enjoyed without spending a single dollar. The free city circle tram is a great way to explore the city, with an onboard commentary, you'll learn all about Melbourne on your way. Just look out for the number 35 tram circling the city, and get onboard at any of the stops en route.

Dining Out on a Budget?
Just like happy hour, there are plenty of restaurants offering meal deals at certain times. It often means dining out earlier than usual, but some of the discounts available make it worth while. Some of the best deals include Taco Bill half priced meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays at selected seating times and restaurants. At half price most of their meals are only around $10. For cheap pizza try The Deck, located above the Waterside Hotel, corner Flinders and Kings Street, CBD, for their $10 pizza and drink deal on Thursdays. The Deck also has a great roof top seating area, perfect for those hot summer nights.

7- $11 Movie Nights

If you're sick of paying around 20 bucks for a film, check out Monday listings at the Palace Kino Cinema, Collins Street, CBD, for $7 films. The cinema is slightly smaller than most, so they don't have the capacity to show every film, but it's always worth checking the listings for a cheap night at the movies. For everything that the Palace doesn't show, there's always $11 movie deals on Tuesdays in most Melbourne cinemas, including Hoyts, Melbourne Central and the Village Cinemas at the Crown Complex and Chapel Street.

The Entertainment Book

Visit The Entertainment Book and pay just $60 (price may increase from year to year) for a book of hundreds of vouchers for restaurants, cafes, accommodation and attractions all over the city. You'll easy make your $60 back after using just one or two of the vouchers. All the vouchers are valid for up to a year so if you get around to using them all, you'll save thousands of dollars on activities and eating out. Some of the best deals are 25% off dining at the Conservatory at the Crown, buy one get one free tickets to Melbourne Zoo and Aquarium and buy one get one free AFL tickets. There are hundreds of vouchers to choose from, catering for every type of personal taste from Asian and Indian food, to Italian and Australian cuisine.

Don't Miss the Deal

Websites like Scoopon, Groupon and Living Social have deals on everything from eating out and salon treatments to activities, holidays and shopping. Some attractions can be discounted over 70%. Most deals are only available to buy for 24 hours so you have to be quick, but the offers are usually valid to use for a few months to a year so it's best to grab it whilst you can.

Melbourne Markets

South Melbourne and Queen Victoria Markets are both vibrant places to enjoy a day out as well as cheap options to purchase your weekly food shop. Queen Victoria Market in particular is a cost effective way to stock up on your weekly vegetables, meat and seafood. There are also lots of other stalls selling other household items and essentials that can be a lot cheaper than supermarket alternatives. Whilst you're there be sure to try some of the surrounding cafes and eateries, most of which have outdoor seating options.

If you know of any other cheap or free places to explore in Melbourne please share your suggestions here.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  37
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Because Melbourne has something for everyone
Where: In and around Melbourne
Your Comment
Great tips, thanks for the post. I love buying deals for restaurants and activities too. There are sites such as buyii ( that list most of the deals you mentioned (livingsocial, scoopon etc). You do have to be patient and check regularly though (or subscribe if you don't mind plenty of spam). Many less popular deals are repeated for weeks, and good meal deals are hard to come by.

By the way, where did you take the photo of the kangaroos?
by Winnie (score: 2|111) 3286 days ago
More Melbourne articles
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles