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Tours of Melbourne

To get an overview of the City, you might want to start with a tour of Melbourne. And because this city is so awesome, many of them are for free!

Melbourne Tourism organised a free City Circle tram (No 35) which is also called the City Circle tram, and as the name already states, it circles the city. Hop on at Flinders Street/Federation Square and see where the tram takes you. It’s one of the greatest attraction in the CBD! The City Circle tram runs every 12 minutes from 10 am to 6pm from Sundays to Wednesdays and from 10am to 9pm Thursdays, to Saturdays. Alternatively there is also a free Tourist Bus departing from the same spot. The free tourist bus is a bit a longer tour and also includes the Docklands, the MCG/Botanic gardens and goes more into details. One round trip with the bus is about 90 minutes and it departs every 30 minutes. 

If you do not feel like sitting through your tour you could go for a free walking tour of Melbourne. “I’m free” walking tours originated in Sydney by students showing of their city – which now also operates in Melbourne. The Students offer their services for free, though appreciate a good tip for the nice guide after a brilliant 3 hours in the city. Their slogan: “Join us in Melbourne EVERYDAY rain, hail or shine in front of The State Library of Victoria!”. Tours are always from 10:30 - 13:30 and 14:30 - 17:30 and starting point is at the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria. No need to book just turn up and look for your guide in a bright green T-shirt.


Laneways

Often missed by tourists, the laneways are the hidden treasure of Melbourne. They are versatile and hide many bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques in them. You can spend hours getting lost in them, without spending a cent - but seeing a lot.

Street Art

Melbourne is known for its famous street art, which include stencils, paste-ups and murals. There are even Street Art Walking Tours, and the city is proud of its urban and hip vibe. On many walls, street art is allowed, though tagging is officially illegal. The best places to check out the artworks of many graffiti artists are:

  • Hosier and Rutledge Lane, opposite Federation Square
  • Caledonian Lane, off Little Bourke Street
  • Union Lane, off Bourke Street Mall
  • Rear of 280 Queen Street in Finlay Alley
  • 21 Degraves Street
  • Cnr Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley 
  • 122 Palmerston Street, Carlton
  • Centre Place, between Collins Street and Flinders Lane
  • Croft Alley in China town, Between Swanston and Russell St

Here is a map of the Street Art in Melbourne

Melbourne Central

Melbourne Central suits many purposes. First of all, it is a train station with connections both to Flinders Street and Southern Cross railway stations. Though there is much more to it – as the Slogan sais: Shop, Eat, Drink & Play. It is a shopping centre with restaurants, bars, food court, many shops and boutiques but also a cinema in it. Many parts of Melbourne Central are just like any other shopping centres, though there are some little hidden gems in it.

  • The Little Library is a perfect place for bookworms on a budget. Anyone can come and swap, share or take a book here. People are encouraged to take a book to read and in return it is requested that they leave one in its place. But i suppose, you can also just read it and bring it back again.
  • Coop’s Shot Tower is an old shot tower from 1888 and was saved from demolition when the shopping mall was built. It is now a Victorian Heritage listed building and houses a free museum in it. To access it, go through the R. M. Williams store.

Federation Square

Federation Square, also Fed Square, is a artistic and creative hot spot of Melbourne and not to be missed. It hosts over 2000 events a year, which include cultural festivals, event launches, exhibitions, performances, forums, films, concerts, and fashion shows – most of which are free.

Originally not very appreciated by Melbournians and criticised as being ugly unpractical, grew over time fonder to local’s harts. The cafés or restaurants, the ambience of multicultural Melbourne and the galleries and museums are the things which make Federation Square really great. You can also visit one of the galleries or museums, including Ian Potter Centre or the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) – which are both for free and on Sundays you can find a Book Market on and around the Square too.

There is always some sort of an events held on Federation Square. In fact, it has become a Melbourne thing to do, to watch major sport events on the big screen. Wander around the corner and enjoy the Yarra River. Check out the views from St Pauls Cathedral steps – surely one of the best views of Melbourne!


Museums and Exhibitions

National Gallery of Victoria

Opened in 1861 it is Australia’s oldest art gallery. NGV is a brilliant place to spend a day with exceptional art and great exhibitions. It is definitely one of Australia’s best galleries and even better is that the entry is free to the official gallery. Definitely worth to spend a rainy day in the NGV!


The Arts Centre

Just next to the National Gallery is the Art Centre – so the whole area is called the Art district and is just opposite of the Botanic Garden. It is also one of the most recognisable landmarks around Melbourne and is a place of world class. There are multiple theatres and art spaces and galleries in the Arts Centre, and is one of the leading places to see performing arts live. So if you feel like Ballet or other national or international act – this is the place to go!


ACMI

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, or ACMI, is a interactive museum dedicated to the moving image in all its forms. That includes film, video gaming, new media and much more. It even has a cinema were underground and foreign films are played often. Entry is free to the museum part, though entrance fees apply for exhibitions and cinema screenings.


MCG

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or also called MCG or “the G”, is the holly place for all Melbournian sports fanatic. It is the tenth largest sports stadium and during summer it is home of cricket, and in winter it houses the AFL (Australian Football League). Both are very popular in Melbourne, and if you are lucky enough . check out one of the matches.

During the day they offer MCG tours and you can also find the National Sports Museum there. Both are not the cheapest to visit at each $20 entry fee for adults, or a combo package deal for $30 for both together.


Other Museums in Melbourne:

  • Immigration museum— Located on Flinders Street, explore the moving stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Australia. Entrance fee $ 10 for adults
  • Police Museum— Also located on Flinders Street, see over 150 years of stories and displays of crime, justice, courage, forensic techniques and examples of how police are making Victoria a safer place to live. Free exhibition
  • Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail), 377 Russel St (between La Trobe St and Victoria St), (http://www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au/) . daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm. A 1900s era gaol (jail) that held many famous criminals of the era (including Ned Kelly). The tour is self guiding, although there are often interpretive guides scattered throughout. Could be a little scary for younger kids. $23, concession $18, kids $12.
  • Melbourne Aquarium – It is dedicated to the Southern Ocean and Antarctic Sea. With a 360 degree Oceanarium which houses giant sharks and stingrays and also currently a sea horse exhibition, it is a popular tourist attraction. Adults pay $35, Children $21.50 and Concession $29.
  • Melbourne Museum— It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere and home to seven main galleries, a children's gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level.


Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Shrine of Remembrance


World class gardens! Actually those city greens are 5 parks in one: coming from Federation Square, first part is Alexandra Park, where you can find a walk along the Yarra and several rowing club houses along the river, Second part of the is the Queen Victoria Gardens, then a major part of the greens is the Shrine of Remembrance and last but not least, you can find the Royal Botanic Gardens with a lake and a walk around the lake.

The incredible landscaped Botanic Gardens are impressive to people of all ages. One of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions with more than 1.5 million visitors each year! On a sunny Melbourne day it's just sensational to stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens. And the gardens are massive! To explore them in full takes many hours. Features 10,000 plants from all around the world! Includes The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden which is extremely popular, as well as a Tropical Hothouse. Enjoy one of the guided walks! The Royal Botanic Gardens also has two cafes. Open every day of the year from 7.30am to sunset!

The Shrine of Resemblance is a memorial for all the men and women who sacrificed their lifes in war and peacekeeping. It is Melbourne's most iconic landmark, where Victorians have been coming in honour since 1934. Free guided tours take place daily at 11am and 2pm, and Ray of Light ceremonies take place daily, every half an hour from 10.30am.

China Town

Melbourne’s Chinatown is on little Bourke Street and is one of the longest continued Chinese settlement in the world. It was established during the gold rush times in 1851 when Chinese prospectors came to Australia in search of wealth and gold. Nowadays it is a great place for a good bit of far eastern cuisine with Dumplings, Peking Ducks and the Dim Sim, which was invented in this very Chinese precinct by William Wing Young.

Little hint: Every third Friday of the month, Heffernan Lane will be packed with Asian fragrances and little market stalls selling dumpling, noodles, cakes and souvenirs. If you stay until night falls, you can see the little market light up and become a shiny and twinkling night market.



 


Has Melbourne got too much to offer? Confused what to do and where to go?


Just open the overview with clicking onto the picture to the left or lick here

 

Oh and how could I forget.... the thing every budget traveler wants:


Free Wi-Fi List

McDonald's South Melbourne Cnr City Rd & Clarendon St, SOUTH MELBOURNE, VIC 3205

McDonald's St Kilda Acland St & The Esplanade, ST KILDA, VIC 3182

Republica 10-18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, VIC 3182

Za\' Ba 92b Acland St, St Kilda, VIC 3182

Parlour Cafe 102 Barkly Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182

McDonald’s (all Maccas do have free WiFi, though here is a list where some are)

11-15 Elizabeth St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
470 Collins St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
24-28 Collins St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
406 Bourke St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
341-345 Bourke St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
275 Swanston Street, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000
501-503 Elizabeth St, MELBOURNE, VIC 3000

Federation Square Corner Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Elephant and Wheelbarrow 94-96 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Boulangerie de France 247 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

e55 Cafe & Bar 55 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Horse Bazaar bar 397 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Also: Any Library in Melbourne has got free Wi-Fi for Library members, and membership is free!