Exploring Melbourne on a Seriously Tight Budget

 

Budget travel is more about value for money and quality experiences than just going for the cheapest (and sometimes nastiest) options available.

It’s about getting the best experience out of the amount of money you do have.

 

After spending 3 months traveling through some of the wild places of the USA and Canada, and actively avoiding the cities, it still feels very strange to be living in a city again.

Even a city as stupendously cool as Melbourne.

 

One part of me is loving it: the wine bars, the galleries, exploring the graffiti-art laneways that Melbourne is famous for.  Another part of me is craving to be near a beach / mountain / forest in the middle of freaking nowhere.

 

 

Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Hosier Lane, Melbourne

 

Since I have been here I have had to save money for my trip to Europe in April. So how do you have a good time in Melbourne while on a crazy-small budget?

 

 

Catch The Latest Flicks For 7 Bucks at Kino

 

Postpone watching your favourite latest release movies to anytime on Monday at the wonderful art-house cinema, KINO on Collins St and you will pay only 7 dollars.

 

If you want to go to a popular session I would suggest booking your tickets in advance. We missed out on a showing of The Artist recently and regretted not booking in advance

 

Melbourne city lights:

Melbourne city lights: Flinders St Station and Federation Square across the Yarra.

 

Food, Glorious Food

 

Melbourne is all about the food. Go for some of these cheaper options but do try to treat yourself to at least one good restaurant while you are there.

 

Pay what you feel by an anonymous donation at Lentil as Anything vegan restaurant located inside the extraordinary Abbotsford Convent.

 

Eat your fill of curry, rice, and naan for $6.50 (all-you-can-eat)  at Om Vegetarian on Elizabeth St.

 

Get you Mexican fix with $6 tacos at Paco’s Tacos on Bourke St.

 

$4 pizza at Bimbo Deluxe on Brunswick St, Fitzroy  or Lucky Coq on Chapel St, Windsor.

 

The Carlton Hotel, Bourke St

The Carlton Hotel, Bourke St has $14 steak nights on Tuesdays!

Get out of the city

 

Dandenong Ranges: Walk the Eastern Loop Trail in Sherbrooke Forest

 

Instead of the traditional barbeque and Triple J Hottest 100 countdown on Australia Day, my friend and I headed to the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne and went hiking.

 

It has been my favourite day by far since I’ve been in Melbourne.

 

Hiking is a great option if you are in Melbourne on a budget and the Dandenong Ranges are both stunning and easily accessible. Take the train to Belgrave (end of the train line) and walk for 15mins to the start of the Eastern Loop Trail – 7.5 km – the trail is easy to moderate (there are a few hills but it’s so pretty you won’t even notice. Promise!)

 

Hiking the Sherbrooke Forest Trail in the Dandenong Ranges.

 

Get in Touch with Your Arty side

 

Melbourne’s art scene is thriving and there are so many galleries that you will have trouble knowing where to start!

 

An exhibition-crawl is great mid-week night out: enjoy some art and have a few free drinks to boot.

 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite wander through Chinatown to find a delicious meal for under $10. My favourite teriyaki chicken and miso soup meal is at Gigi’s on Swanston St – only $8.50 and you definitely won’t walk away hungry.

 

To find out which galleries are having exhibitions this week check out:

Broadsheet (see below), The Thousands or Art Almanac

 

Sidewalk chalk art.

A bit of a Splurge that won’t break the bank

 

Keep a Wednesday night free and head to the chic and classy Longroom on Collins St for $22 all-you-can-eat tapas.

Book ahead and don’t eat lunch – the food here is delicious and plentiful.

 

A Day at The Beach

 

If you want to hit the beach, it’s tempting to just head to St Kilda.

 

The Sandringham train line will take you straight to Brighton Beach and is only 20 minutes from Flinders Street Station. It’s generally less crowded.

Swim, take a picnic lunch, walk on the beach…bliss!

 

Brighton Beach, Melbourne

Brighton Beach, Melbourne

 

Have a Laugh

 

Melbourne’s cheap comedy nights make for a great night out.

For $12 you can see about 6 performers at  Softbelly Bar on Little Bourke St in the CBD  and Felix Bar in St Kilda.

 

Broadsheet Melbourne

 

No matter what your budget or interests, the online magazine Broadsheet Melbourne will help you to plan something awesome for every occasion.

 

Whether it’s a gallery opening, theatre production, restaurant or bar you are looking for Broadsheet is infinitely useful. The Broadsheet site has a great search function and they even have an iPhone app so you can plan you day and night en route.

 

 

If you have any other ideas for discovering Melbourne on a budget please share with my readers in the comments section below!

 

 

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