15 Free Things to Do in Melbourne

by | Last updated Jun 14, 2023 | Discover Australia Now, Melbourne | 14 comments

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia after Sydney. Though it is fast catching up and could overtake it soon. Being large it is packed with lots of things to see and do. Some cost, but many are free. So if you are a local, or someone coming to visit Melbourne, here are some of the best free things to do in Melbourne.

 

How to Get Around Melbourne for Free

 

There are a number of free transport options to get you around Melbourne.

  1. Your legs – yep walking is free and a great way to get around Melbourne. Ensure you wear a good pair of walking shoes.
  2. Free Circle Tram that takes you around the edge of the city explaining some of the tourist sites of Melbourne. No ticket is required and you can hop on and off anytime.
  3. There is a free tram zone – see map here. It is the area within Flinders Street, Spring Street, La Trobe Street and Collins Street.

 

Where Will You Stay in Melbourne

 

Unfortunately, accommodation isn’t free in Melbourne, unless you have friends or family who will put you up. There are many accommodation options for all budgets. I use Booking.com for find the best details.

 

Best and Free Things to do in Melbourne

 

1. Clocks at Flinders Street Station

 

Meet family and friends or start your visit to Melbourne under the clocks at Flinders Street Station. It doesn’t cost you anything to see the clocks and the facade of this magnificent old train station. 

 

Facade of Flinders Street Station, Melbourne with lots of people crossing the road to and from the train station.

Meet at The Clocks at Flinders Street Station

 

2. Federation Square

 

People watch at Federation Square. Sit in Federation Square and watch the people go by. Sometimes there are events here to enjoy. See some Aboriginal Art at the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square.

 

3. Churches

 

Visit one of the many Churches in Melbourne including St Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican church located opposite Federation Square and diagonal to Flinders Street Station. Maybe sit inside and reflect and rest your feet – if you have been walking all day!

 

4. Royal Botanic Gardens

 

Roam around the Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens are only 2kms from the centre of Melbourne and are home to a collection of some 8,500 species of plants. Enjoy walking around the gardens and maybe have a picnic lunch and walk through Fitzroy Gardens to see the Fairy Garden and Cook’s Cottage.

 

Cooks Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne brought from England as a gift to Australia.

Cooks Cottage, Fitzroy Gardens

 

5. Avenue of Legends Walk

 

Across from Fitzroy Gardens is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). There is a cost to go on a tour, but it is free to walk around the MCG. Walk along the Avenue of Legends and see statues of famous Australian sports people, such as Shane Warne. Keep on walking to see the National Tennis Centre.

 

Shane Warne Statue outside the MCG.

Shane Warne Statue outside the MCG

 

6. Queen Victoria Market

 

Shop till you drop buying great bargains on clothes, knick knacks and food while strolling through the Queen Victoria Market. Open late on a Wednesday night.

 

7. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)

 

Stroll through the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to see some amazing art and exhibitions. Find out what is on at the NGV here.

 

8. Shrine of Remembrance

 

Pay your respects to the fallen and those who served in the wars at the Shrine of Remembrance. It is free to visit and to go inside. Walk through the rooms, go upstairs to gain incredible views of Melbourne city and visit the eternal flame.

 

The Flame in front of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne just after a war remembrance ceremony.

Visit the Shrine for free

Great Views from the top of The Shrine, Melbourne over Melbourne City.

Great free views from the top

9. Shopping Arcades

 

Check out the historic Shopping Arcades. Block Arcade, Royal Arcade, Degraves Street and Centre Place.

 

10. Laneways

 

Wander through Melbourne’s laneways for some amazing street art. Hozier Lane and AC/DC Lane are two not to miss.

 

AC/DC Lane sign in Melbourne where you find street art. Blue sign with AC/DC Lane written in white.

See the Street Art at AC/DC Lane

 

11. State Library

 

Visit the State Library and sit quietly in its massive reading room. Don’t forget to look up to see its magnificent Domed Roof.

 

12. Melbourne Town Hall

 

Take a tour of Melbourne Town Hall and discover its beautiful architecture and significance.

 

13. Carlton Gardens

 

Walk around Carlton Gardens and visit the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building.

 

14. Rooftop Bars

 

Enjoy the views over Melbourne from some of the rooftop bars. The views are free, but you may need to buy a drink or a meal to appreciate the view. Great to end a long day of walking in a rooftop bar to enjoy a beautiful sunset!

 

15. Southbank

 

Walk along Southbank, past the Crown Casino and ending at the Polly Woodside a three masted cargo vessel near South Wharf.

 

Polly Woodside 3 masted ship in Melbourne.

Polly Woodside sitting near South Wharf in Melbourne

 

Are You Ready to Discover Melbourne for Free?

 

These are the main things to do for free in Melbourne city. You can go further afield to places such as St Kilda which is 7km from Melbourne’s CBD. Here, stroll down St Kilda Pier keeping your eyes open for Penguins (usually at dusk) when they come back to shore. If the weather is warm, dip your toes or your body into the water for a swim in Port Phillip Bay. If you know of other free things to do in Melbourne, I’d love to add them to this list so please mention them in the comments.

 

READ MORE:

Things to See and Do in Melbourne
Day and Weekend Trips from Melbourne
Where to Stay in Melbourne

 

Visit Flinders Street Station and ride the Free Circle Tram are great free things to do in Melbourne.

14 Comments

  1. Gabby

    Melbourne looks interesting. I will add it to my bucket list.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Good. I hope you can cross Melbourne off your bucket list one day.

      Reply
  2. Elyse

    Absolutely love Melbourne, just hate the weather haha. Heaps of great ideas here, especially the Vic Market, always a great day out

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      The weather is not so great in winter but that’s why there is plenty of indoor ‘warm’ stuff to see and do.

      Reply
  3. Karlisha Alston

    Definitely bookmarking this to do list. Planning to go to Australia 2024! So excited

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Wonderful – you will love Australia and Melbourne.

      Reply
  4. Hannah F

    Definitely adding Melbourne to the travel bucket list! I think I’ll start by sampling those rooftop bars you mentioned 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Rooftop bars are rather popular. Great for relaxing, having a drink and looking at the view over Melbourne. I hope you can get to one one day.

      Reply
  5. Lindsey

    Bookmarking this for when I get to Australia! I love a nice botanic garden 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Botanic gardens are nice for many reasons. I’m glad you like them cause Melbourne’s is first class!

      Reply
  6. Planashleygo

    I would love to visit Melbourne someday. Do you also have a blog on the best restaurants in Melbourne?

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      No, not yet. But I can recommend Max on Hardware, 54-58 Hardware Lane. Great food and service.

      Reply
  7. Josy A

    I love this kind of post! I have heard that Melbourne has some of the most amazing food…so it is exciting to hear there is sooo much cool stuff to do for free. That’ll save me more money to spend on filling my belly. 😉

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      That’s right. Plenty of food on offer. I can recommend Max on Hardware on Hardware Lane.

      Reply

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Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Sign shaped like a big white wave with Sharyn McCullum On the Great Ocean Road.

G’Day! Sharyn here, an Aussie loving discovering Australia. Let me show you around so you can discover Australia too.  Read my story here.

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