Must-Do Melbourne Activities for Every Budget



Just arrived in Melbourne? Australia’s cultural capital has so much to offer, and we’ve put together a list of the top things you can’t leave the city without doing. Whether you’re hoping to spend as little as possible, are looking for something to splurge on or have literally $0, there are plenty of must-do Melbourne activities for every budget.

CASH TO SPARE? SPLURGE ON A SHOW

Seeing a show is a fabulous experience in any city, but in Melbourne, there’s something that makes it extra magical. The city comes alive at night, and it’s fun to get dressed up, go out for a nice dinner and then head to one of Melbourne’s many state-of-the-art theatres.

This year, it’s all about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre – the thrilling official eighth story in the franchise. Her Majesty’s Theatre also hosts a number of shows throughout the year – check the theatre’s website to see what’s showing.

A great night out at the theatre can be expensive, but it’s worth every cent for an unforgettable experience that fills you with joy and wonder.

GOT A FEW DOLLARS? BEST CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE

 SPEND A DAY IN THE YARRA VALLEY

An hour away in the car or a little longer by train, you’ll find the Yarra Valley – a wine region as hip and happening as Melbourne. The cool climes of Victoria mean that this is the place to go if you love pinot noir, chardonnay or sparkling wine – and who doesn’t?!

Here, you can hop between dozens of wineries and enjoy free tastings. Visit the Blue Hills Berries and Cherries farm from November to April to pick your very own juicy Australian cherries. Check out the Buxton Trout and Salmon farm and be guaranteed to catch a juicy rainbow trout for your dinner. Get up close and personal with Australian platypuses and other adorable animals at the Healesville Sanctuary. However little or much you spend, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable day out in Yarra Valley.

PARTY WITH THE PHILLIP ISLAND PENGUINS!

Penguins galore! A two-hour drive from Melbourne or accessible by bus or ferry, Phillip Island is one of the most popular day trips from Melbourne.

Spend the day swimming or surfing at picturesque Woolamai Beach. Wander around boutiques and local markets and soak up the chilled atmosphere. At sunset, buy a ticket at Phillip Island Nature Parks to watch the famous Penguin Parade, where you can see a colony of little penguins return to land after a day at sea catching fish. Tickets start from $26.20, with options to bundle up if you’d like to check out other amazing attractions such as the Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

DISCOVER MELBOURNE BRUNCHES

You’ve probably heard how awesome Melbourne’s brunch are, and the rumours are true. You’ll find incredible smoothies, the richest and most elaborate egg dishes you can imagine, and an endless menu of foods you didn’t know could be eaten as a morning meal.

A Melbourne brunch is a must-do in the capital of culture. Check out world-famous French café Hardware Societe in the heart of the city. Venture out to the hip community of South Yarra and try Two Birds One Stone. If you’re willing to go a little further for your food fix, head to Legacy Camberwell.

FACE YOUR FEARS AT EUREKA SKYDECK

Want the ultimate view of Melbourne’s stunning skyline? Eureka Skydeck is the place to be! Take in the delights of Melbourne from 297 metres above street level. If you’re feeling brave, try The Edge experience – a clear-bottom platform extending from the top floor that allows you to feel as if you’re floating above this unforgettable city. Eureka Skydeck is also open at night, so you can watch the city completely lit up.

Concession tickets are currently priced at a low $16.50 and $21 for adults. YHA members also get a further 15% discount off this low price. Eureka Skydeck is loved by locals and travellers alike and is the perfect way to enjoy Melbourne for less than what your brunch cost you!

GOT $0? BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE

GAWK AT STREET ART

Everyone’s heard of Melbourne’s incredible street art scene, and we promise it lives up to the hype. Hosier Lane is the best place to check out Melbourne’s street art, but there are also many little nooks that get overlooked. Spend a morning wandering around the likes of Blender Lane, Tattersalls Lane, Centre Place, ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place to retrace the steps of unique artists who fell in love with Melbourne. The best part? It’s all totally free!

TAKE INSTAGRAM SHOTS AT BRIGHTON BATHING BOXES

The vibrant colours of the Brighton Bathing Boxes are not to be missed, and seeing them will cost you exactly $0. Nestled on Dendy Street Beach, they are 82 distinctive beach huts lining the foreshore of Brighton, an exclusive neighbourhood that’s still highly accessible from the CBD. A relic of the Victorian past, they were originally used for privacy while ladies changed into their swimwear.

There are extremely strict rules on who is allowed to own a beach hut, but for those lucky enough to, they are used to store fishing gear, deck chairs and shelter from the sun. For the rest of us, they are a one-of-a-kind Instagram opportunity. Don’t forget to get your photo outside Box 2, which is painted with the blue, red and white of the Australian flag!

ATTRACTION-HOP ON THE CITY CIRCLE TRAM

Route 35, also known as Melbourne’s famous City Circle tram, is the best possible way to see Melbourne for exactly $0! The tram has stops near many of Melbourne’s favourite attractions, such as the City Museum, Parliament House, Docklands, Federation Square, Melbourne Aquarium, Bourke St Mall and the Princess Theatre.

With trams coming every 30 minutes, you can spend the day hopping on and hopping off and wandering around this colourful city without spending a cent. Even staying on the tram and people-watching is a great use of your time! You’re bound to use this service at least once while you’re here – you may as well make a day out of it so you know the route like the back of your hand.

EXPLORE ST KILDA

You haven’t seen Melbourne until you’ve ventured to the beautiful seaside suburb of St Kilda, where you can have a perfect day without reaching for your wallet once. Soak up the sun on gorgeous St Kilda Beach or lounge around on the iconic pier. Wander around the endless boutiques and restaurants, and absorb yourself in the friendly seaside vibe. Keep an eye out for little penguins at the St Kilda Breakwater. On Sundays, you can peruse the famous Arts and Crafts Market and enjoy the artistic excellence of the locals. The shops and restaurants are awfully tempting, but if you’re on a strict budget, simply hanging out in St Kilda is a fabulous way to spend a lazy weekend.


YHA is the biggest budget accommodation network in Australia. With more than 70 hostels around the country, there is a YHA ready to welcome you wherever your wanderlust might lead.