Queen Elizabeth Market in Melbourne

Top Free Attractions in Melbourne

By Levi Dance

February 4, 2024

Australia has, unfortunately, gained a reputation for being one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. Although this may be somewhat warranted, due to the country’s hearty currency, it does not mean that a holiday here will automatically translate into a file for bankruptcy. Quite the opposite! Not only is the country renowned as an outdoor lover’s paradise, it is also revered for being the epitome host of some amazing free-of-charge activities and attractions.

Planning to fly into Melbourne soon? Great! Don’t let anything ruin your plan, or your budget, and allow the city to WOW you with her near-infinite list of free things to see and do. Here’s just a taste of the complimentary activities this gorgeous city has on offer.

Enjoy your guilt-free holiday!

Get your culture fix

Museums are renowned money sappers the world over, yet you’ll be happy to know that in Melbourne, some of the most revered cultural centres are free for all to visit.

Victoria’s National Gallery is often touted as one of the most striking art spaces in the world, and showcases incredible artwork from both Australian and international artists including greats like Picasso and Van Gogh. The Blake Collection is particularly revered as are the temporary instalments which always seem to attract art aficionados all year long. The NGV is just one of those greats which never fail to impress. Whilst general entry to the gallery and to view the permanent collections is free, you will need to purchase a ticket for temporary exhibits. If you are an art lover, however, this is definitely lunch-money worth spending!

Likewise enticing is the Grainger Museum which you’ll find within the grounds of the Melbourne University. Percy Aldridge Grainger was a renowned American-Australian artist who dabbled exceptionally well in different artistic disciplines during his very colourful career. At times painter, musician, composer, sculptor and even fashion designer, Grainger still enjoys a somewhat cult-like following the world over four decades after his death, yet we’d urge you to visit his homonymous museum even if you’ve never actually heard of the highly eccentric man. Not only will you be entranced by his most colourful life stories but you will also be incredibly amazed at just how talented a single human being can really be!

Be a Royal for a day

OK, so you may not get the chance to dress like a Royal when visiting Melbourne, but you will certainly get the chance to visit a garden fit for a Royal. Close enough? The Royal Botanical Gardens are gorgeous at any time of the year yet when the flower beds are in full bloom during Spring, they really are beyond spectacular. It won’t cost you a cent to admire the thousands of flora species on show and the gardens also make an ideal picnic spot on a gloriously sunny day.

On Yer Bike!

It may only offer free 30 minutes rides at a time, yet Melbourne’s bike-share initiative is still a great way to get in a short & sweet round bicycle ride around town for almost no money at all. Although you do need to buy a daily subscription, it is still only $2.80 (which is less than a take-away coffee) so in effect…it’s as good as free! Combine this with free rides on the City Circle Tram and you could well get most of the city’s landmarks done and dusted without spending a single Aussie cent. Download this online map for more info on routes and running times.

The complimentary transport options in Melbourne do not end here. The superbly convenient Tourist Shuttle Bus is the ho-on-hop-off equivalent found in many cities the world over, yet in Melbourne it is absolutely free of charge. Use the bus to reach the NGV and other sites of interest, as well as to get to the southern hemisphere’s largest open-air market which, as it happens, is also free of entry charge!

Shop your heart out…or not!

Whilst the Queen Victoria Market is not exactly the best spot in town to head to, if you want to save some holiday pennies, it is still one of the city’s premier historic landmarks and an absolute must-see spot if it’s your first time in town.

If you can manage to not buy anything at all (good luck!) then it really is one of the city’s best free attractions of all.

This place of trade is over a century old and has been, over the years, a hub to swap goodies of all sorts…from animals, to fresh produce and even the dearly departed. Well, you see, the place was also a cemetery once upon a time. Nowadays, the markets are renowned for offering the freshest produce in Melbourne, so if you’re self catering on holidays or want to fill a picnic basket before heading to the Botanical Gardens, then this is the spot to visit. General goods like hand-made leather products, arts & crafts and various other essentials (like authentic UGG boots for example) complete this fantastic window-shopping day out in Melbourne.

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