How far can your USD10 take you? In this series of blog posts, I’ve challenged some of the travel bloggers based in different corners of the globe to tell me what’s the best way to maximize USD10 as a tourist from where they currently are. Today, I’m featuring Melbourne, Australia submitted by Claire of Claire’s Footsteps.
Melbourne ain’t cheap. At least, that’s what they want you to think. With inflated drinks prices, accommodation fees through the roof and most restaurants costing over $25 for a simple meal; it’s easy to think that Melbourne on a budget is impossible.
But you can actually have an excellent day in Melbourne for 10 US dollars.
On less than 10 dollars you can transport yourself around the city, see some of the most famous attractions and even eat at a restaurant!
Firstly, you don’t have to pay for transport in central Melbourne. The trams in the city centre are free to use, and you can hop on and hop off as much as you like. There’s also a “30 minutes free” programme on the city bike rentals; and as long as you take under 30 minutes, you can ride the bikes from one spot to another completely free of charge.
Even though some of the museums of Melbourne do have hefty price tags, others are completely free to get into. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image offers an enthralling interactive exhibition of film and TV for free. Likewise, The Victoria Art Gallery doesn’t cost a cent to explore. It has some great Australian exhibitions, including some gorgeous Aboriginal art and lots of products from elsewhere in the world.
Once you’ve marvelled at the old-style art documented in the art gallery, it’s time to enjoy some of Melbourne’s outdoor art at the lanes. These little alleys have been adorned in graffiti and street art and showcase some of Australia’s finest contemporary artistic talent. They function as an outdoor art gallery and are, of course, free to peruse.
The Melbourne Markets are a wonderful spot to browse. Obviously, you won’t want to spend any money here, but the market culture and uniqueness of some of these products make it a fantastic spot to window shop – or however you’d call the market version! It’s also a great place to pick up some lunch. At the Melbourne markets, you can purchase hot street food for bargain prices; such as huge slices of pizza for under $4.
The State Library of Victoria is more than just a library, too. There’s a variety of history within the building, with exhibitions detailing the past tales of the city and state. And don’t miss snapping a picture of the La Trobe Reading room; with old style desks and lamps and balconies looking over studious Melbournians. The library also has some of the best free WiFi in Melbourne and a plethora of power sockets, in case you need to get online or recharge
your devices at any point during the day.
If the weather’s sunny, head to the beach area of St Kilda to stretch out on Melbourne’s beach. There’s a drum circle at St Kilda every Thursday, and nightly at sunset fairy penguins come in to the sanctuary area. Volunteers work there and will be more than happy to chat to you about fairy penguins in the area.
And what about dinner? Head to Lentil as Anything, a restaurant within St Kilda. Lentil as Anything operates on a pay as you wish basis, meaning that it is funded completely on donations. It serves up delicious vegetarian food in a kitschy atmosphere and is run completely by volunteers. If you are dining at Lentil as Anything, be sure to not take the mick; they obviously do need donations to come in to fund the restaurant. But the fact that they are staffed by volunteers and are a not for profit means that donations can be lower than what you’d pay at another restaurant.
And after dinner, there’s a variety of bars around Melbourne that won’t cost you a cent to get in. Sure, you won’t be able to actually buy any drinks at these bars, but many have a great atmosphere to absorb – some play live music and some are rooftop bars – that will give you a night to remember regardless.
If you’re looking for free accommodation in Melbourne, couch-surfing is a great option. There’s hundreds of hosts all over the city and in typical Aussie fashion, many will be very embracing and happily welcome you into their home. Just be sure to not use their home as just a place to crash and make sure you actually spend some time with them while they’re hosting you!
All photos are submitted by Claire. If you’re a blogger and would like to submit a guest post in this series, drop me an email at pinayflyinghigh(@)gmail(.)com