How to Have a Long Weekend in Melbourne on a Shoestring
It’s not always easy to find free and cheap things to do in a city, but the vibrant culture of Melbourne makes it easy for visitors (and locals) to soak it all up without breaking the bank. So if you’re heading to Melbs for a long weekend, check out our top spots to visit on a budget.
A Day in the CBD
Our hack for a fun visit to Melbourne on a shoestring: spend a day wandering around the city. Get lost in graffiti-laden laneways. Grab a coffee and find a spot for a picnic by the river or in the Botanic Gardens. If you find yourself with less-than-perfect weather (it is Melbourne, after all), check out the National Gallery of Victoria or ACMI. They’re both free and fun for all ages.
For a good feed in the CBD: Young & Jackson
Affordable accommodation nearby: Royal Hotel by Nightcap Social
Nightly Penguin March
Photo from Shutterstock
Head to St Kilda Pier just before dusk to catch the local colony of Little Penguins make their way back to shore to their home at St Kilda Breakwater. Hot tip: weeknights are best to avoid crowds. No matter when you go, be sure to follow the guidelines to ensure penguin safety (mainly, keep your distance and no flash photography or torches).
Beer garden with a view: Brighton Beach Hotel
Affordable accommodation nearby: Nightcap at Sandringham Hotel
Another “Melbourne on a shoestring” hack: sculpture gardens. There are a few great ones just outside the city and it’s an affordable way to get a healthy dose of culture without the confines of being indoors all day.
McClelland Sculpture Park in Langwarrin will set you back $6 for a day pass, and The Sands by Nightcap Plus is just down the road in Carrum Downs.
The Heide Museum of Modern Art may have a $20 entrance fee, but the gardens and sculpture park surrounding the Museum are free to wander, so take your time and soak it up. Nightcap at Shoppingtown Hotel is less than a 10 min drive away with affordable accommodation.
Another cool spot: Montsalvat in Eltham. It’s Australia’s oldest artists colony and a true hidden gem in a beautiful green pocket outside of Melbourne. Entry is $14, but well worth it for the sprawling gardens, art gallery, old buildings and rich history. Nightcap at Shoppingtown strikes again with its super convenient location, only 15 minutes drive away.