Looking for things to do in Melbourne before you leave?
I spent five months living in Melbourne on an Aussie WHV. With three weeks to go in what had been a mixed time in Melbourne, I was determined to leave the city on a high note! I made a list of the coolest things to do unique to Melbourne (or re-do) in my remaining time and set about getting as many ticked off as I could. Bear in mind I was working full-time up until my very last day in Melbourne so all the activities are things you can reasonably do on just evenings and weekends on a limited budget.
I finally went to a one-off event
– free if you want it to be!
You can join the Urban List or Broadsheet Melbourne newsletters to find out what is on while you’re in Melbourne. (Kudos to @alexandreatravels on Instagram for this tip.) Loads of these events are free so definitely worth taking a look no matter what your hobbies are.
Melbourne is known for being a city of culture with many events throughout the year so it was great to finally take advantage of this on my last week! Bonus in my case – we had a free work outing to a show at Melbourne Fashion Week which isn’t necessarily my cup of tea but it was fun to do something different.
A Day Trip In Greater Victoria
– the cost of petrol + activities if you wish
It is perfectly possible to do cheap day trips from Victoria, although it’s tricky if you’re a solo traveller like me as you’ll need to find friends to share a car with first.
There are so many awesome day trips in Victoria and it wasn’t possible for me to do them all on my budget, so I was super happy my colleagues and I took an overnight stay in the Yarra Valley, staying at a colleague’s parent’s airbnb. Famous for wineries, we sampled the local wines (aka got drunk) and went to the chocolate factory (aka stuffed our drunken faces with chocolate).
Note – the Yarra Valley wineries are usually free to experience, including samples. Perfect for those on a budget… except the designated driver, oops!
Go a Sports match
Lol just kidding, I didn’t do this! I know Melbourne’s the king city of sport in Australia, but I am not a sports fan. I did, however, watch guys run around playing Aussie rules on the oval that lay below my balcony a couple of times though. What a crazy life I lead.
But for those of you who are sports fans, whether that’s crickets or you wanna see what Aussie Rules is all about, you’ll certainly find yourself among friends in Melbourne
All the sports stadiums in Melbourne, including the famous MCG ‘coliseum’ cricket ground!
Check out Melbourne’s foodie scene
not free… definitely notttt free
From cheap eats in China Town to endless Brunch spots and some truly delicious fusions over on famous Chapel Street, your taste buds will be spoilt in Melbourne.
Eating out is something I’d been begrudgingly avoiding as this is NOT budget-friendly… I mean, okay, it was reasonable compared to the hourly wage I was earning, but I just knew how much further this money would go to in Java (which was my next destination). Still, I knew I’d regret living in Melbourne so long and not checking it out because munching on a butt-load of grub is one of my favourite past times.
On my last Sunday, I headed to Au79 with @haileehazlenut and she took what we lollingly call my ‘influencer’ photo. (To think a week later I would choose to leave Bali early because the instagram-intensive itineraries I kept spotting were just not my scene at all, haha.)
Yes I just put ‘lollingly’ and ‘influencer’ in the same sentence and it will be one of worst things I ever do.
Take a walk past the sights and street art in the CBD
Free unless you stop by Hopetoun Tea Rooms for cake. (Or Lord of the Fries if you’re a non-Aussie vegan who has so far lived their life without tasting dirty yet wholly satisfying vegan junk food.)
You’ll never have to walk too far to find street art in the CBD, but if you want to hit the best spots ASAP head to ACDC Lane and Hosier Lane.
Flinders Street Station is also worth checking out… or walk a little further out and explore the Botanic Gardens.
Take a day trip
Whether you’re going to take on the Great Ocean Road, one of the Australia’s most epic coastal drives, or visit one of Melbourne’s best day trips just an hour away from the big city, there is plenty to do in the greater Melbourne region and beyond.
Since I worked full-time in Melbourne, but only lived there for six months, day trips were the perfect way to see some of Victoria’s stunning natural scenery without breaking the bank (or taking time off). You never truly understand just how vast Australia truly is until you break away from the city!
Go to an art gallery
I usually speed walk through historical galleries unless my best mate is there to compare all the painted faces to people we used to know at school (sadly she lives in London and I ain’t seen her in a year though, booo). Thankfully, Melbourne has a lot of great contemporary exhibits to choose from.
I headed to the National Gallery of Victoria and saw the Escher exhibit. It was very cool, particularly as someone who first came across his work in a book about optical illusions when I was a kid and is still kinda taken with it. (I might not have been the coolest kid at school, okay? Ha.)
But you know the exhibits where you’re essentially walking through a giant installation? I totally recommend seeing what the NGV has coming up if you’re into this sort of thing too. What’s On: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/current/
Enjoy the Yarra River
Nice for a gentle stroll, a quick glance and a shrug while relaxing at the Botanic Gardens… or best yet, see it how a river is seen best. On a boat!
Best with a group of friends since you can split the cost, grab a picnic (and some prosecco if you’re being fancy), try Go Boat for a fun, sociable experience. https://goboatmelbourne.com.au/
ps; they offered me a free boat ride to celebrate my last week in Melbourne which I agreed due to their sustainable practises and … y’know, I wanted to be on a boat. They asked for nothing in return… including this blog post! But it was a lot of fun and they deserve to be shared. 🙂
See a beach or whatever
In my opinion, Melbourne’s beaches aren’t the world’s best (though I have just moved to Sydney where I’m admittedly super spoilt) but they do have a super friendly vibe.
If it’s the right time of year, head to St Kilda Beach at sunset when the penguins come out! In the day time, take a stroll down the pier or enjoy an ice cream while walking through the palm trees. Brighton is a little further along and is potentially the more photogenic option with its long row of colourful beach huts.
If you have car and time to make a day of it, head to Mornington Peninsula for legit gorgeous beaches and take a lovely walk around Cape Schanck for good measure.
Head to a rooftop bar
Melbourne also has a multitude of rooftop bars to choose from too. Perfect for alcohol lovers everywhere and many options from the trendy, chilled vibes at Satan or all-out great city views at Eureka Skydeck.
Sadly, I didn’t finish my time in Melbourne with this kinda flourish due to a strict budget… but I did catch this awesome sunset from my flat. Not a bad way to commemorate the end of my time in Melbourne, eh?
Hi, I’m Cassie, and I’ve been solo travelling the globe since May 2018. In this time, I’ve backpacked around Southeast Asia, Japan and The Balkans, alongside spending a year living in Australia. Currently isolating in New Zealand.