Melbourne is a traveler’s paradise. A vibrant city filled with culture, art, history, and areas of outstanding natural beauty, there are few places as perfect for exploring as here.
If you are on a budget, there is plenty you can do for free. No need to dig in to your savings to enjoy yourself.
For those of you who will be flying into Melbourne Airport, reaching the city by public transport is super easy. This makes it an ideal destination for those without a car. In fact, public transport is the best way to get around Melbourne.
Reaching Melbourne CBD from Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport takes just 25 to 30 minutes on the SkyBus, making it the perfect base for those flying into Melbourne for a weekend getaway, business trip, or just for pure convenience.
Here are some amazing things to do for free in Melbourne less than 60 minutes away from the hotel.
St Kilda is only a 30-minute drive south of Melbourne airport. Take in the coastal scenery as you walk along the beach or burn some energy by hiring one of the many sets of rollerblades or bikes on the foreshore.
You’ll find plenty of shops and cafes in the area, if you’re willing to spend a little more. At the heart of St Kilda, you’ll find the iconic Luna Park, which has been operating since 1912.
Carlton Gardens is a World Heritage Site that you just can’t afford to miss on your trip to Melbourne. Just 25 mins from Melbourne Airport, these gardens are part of the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum. Unlike Melbourne Museum, however, entry to the park is free.
Take a break from the busy city streets and enjoy a walk in majestic green scenery. You can even bring your bike and cycle through the gardens, or enjoy a game of tennis with a friend.
Unbelievable City Views
Melbourne has a huge number of rooftop bars that come with amazing views. But, as this is all about free things to do in Melbourne, visiting a rooftop bar means buying a drink… not free.
One place you will get away without buying a drink is the SkyDeck at Eureka Tower. Head up 935 feet to the 88th floor for stunning panoramic views of Melbourne City.
The observation deck is the highest in the entire Southern Hemisphere, guaranteeing spectacular views day and night.
Reaching the SkyDeck at Eureka tower takes just 50 minutes from Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport by public transport. The best time to visit is at dusk. As the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon, Melbourne City is cast in a pinkish-gold light. Watch as the city lights start to twinkle into action and enjoy soaking up the sights of the world below.
Make the Most of Melbourne’s Markets
Melbourne is a market lovers paradise. Whether you are looking for gourmet dishes, second hand treasures, handmade crafts, local fresh produce, and unique works of art, you will find them in Melbourne.
No visit to the city would be complete without at least spending a few hours browsing the Queen Victoria Market. Here, you will find over 600 traders in the southern hemispheres largest open-air market.
Throughout the Winter, Queen Victoria Market puts on the winter night market. From shopping to food and entertainment bars, it’s all here.
Another great market to check out is the Camberwell Market. Stock up on unique treasures and vintage items at this fantastic flea market. If art is more your thing, the Rose Street Artists Market is the perfect place to check out Melbourne’s talented art scene.
Day or night, summer or winter, Melbourne’s markets are always alive. And the best part is, they are completely free to enter. Reaching the Queen Victoria Market takes just 25 to 30 minutes on the SkyBus from Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport.
Woodlands Historic Park
Located just a few kilometres north of Melbourne airport, Woodlands Historic Park is your first stop into Australia’s vast wilderness. The park saw its first settlers in the 1840s and is still home to the ‘homestead’, an 1840s prefabricated timber home brought to Australia all the way from Britain.
The park itself offers amazing picnic spots among the spectacular River Red Gums. You’ll find plenty of barbecues, tables, and toilets in the area.
Woodlands Historic Park is home to numerous tracks and trails; perfect for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. The Murrup Gurrong Yan (aka Spiritual Creek Walk) is a 2.5km trail that should not be missed.
Make your way to Gellibrand Hill and explore the million year old granite boulders. The area offers a 360 view of the city, the bay, and Melbourne airport; a great spot to relax and watch as aeroplanes come and go.
Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre
The Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre offers you a glimpse back in time to before British colonisation. Located in Federation Square, you can go from Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport to the cultural centre in just 45 minutes.
Learn more about the Wurundjeri People. Take a look at their culture, beliefs and ways of life. Koorie history is definitely something that will captivate your mind. Everything from how they lived to unique works of art can be found here.
Throughout the year, works of art from both established and new aboriginal artists can be seen. Entry into the koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre is absolutely free and should be on your list of free things to do in Melbourne.
Enjoy the Royal Botanic Gardens
Dating back to 1857, Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens cover 38 hectares of stunning outdoor space. Just a stone’s throw from Melbourne CBD, the gardens are a perfect place for the whole family.
Enjoy an early morning lakeside walk. Admire the beauty of tens of thousands of flowers, plants and trees. During the summer months, kids will love playing in the artificial creek. The perfect place to cool off from the heat of the day.
If you are interested in learning more about the plants, the local wildlife and the history of the royal botanic Gardens, sign up for a free guided tour. Typically, late afternoon is when fitness fanatics flock to the gardens to work out.
To make the most of your free day out in Melbourne, why not pack up a picnic and enjoy an outdoor lunch surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the city.
One final thing to note is that throughout the year, events and festivals are held at the gardens. Many of these are free, so it’s well worth checking the Royal Botanic Gardens official website for event dates and times.
Melbourne Town Hall
Okay. We hear you! What could possibly be exciting about visiting a Town Hall? Well… If you are a fan of ABBA or the Beatles, you can stand on the portico where they once stood waving to their fans.
But it’s much more than a place to walk in the footsteps of your musical icons. Go behind the scenes and explore the many different chambers. Grab a sneak peek of the grand organ that was installed in 1929. And take in a free comedy show or concert which are held at certain times throughout the year.
If you really want to dig deeper into the history of Melbourne Town Hall, you can book yourself onto a free Town Hall tour. This guided tour walks you through the history of the building while showing you many of the private spaces the public typically can’t enter.
Reaching Melbourne Town Hall from Melbourne Airport takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes on the sky bus and tram. Located near to the other free things to do in Melbourne on this list, you can add it on to your itinerary to build the perfect day out.
Other Free Things to do in Melbourne
While the above free activities are definitely well worth checking out, here are a few more to add to your list.
- Enjoy an online walking tour of Melbourne’s early urban history in Collingwood, Clifton Hill, and Abbotsford.
- Head to the Shrine of Remembrance and pay your respects to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in world war 1.
- Check out Melbourne City icons including Federation Square, Flinders Street Railway station, Nicholas Building and Block Arcade.
- Check out the state library of Victoria and spend an afternoon reading a good book and exploring the ornate inner structure of this architectural wonder.
- Ride a tram in Melbourne City as part of the Melbourne Free Tram Zone. Jump on board the city circle tram and make your way to the Docklands waterfront. ‘W Class’ trams offer you a historical ride on wooden chairs with leather and brass hand straps.
It doesn’t matter if you are traveling alone, for business or with the family. There are always lots of fantastic free things to do in Melbourne for everyone.
And the best part is that all of the attractions featured on this list can be reached in less than 60 minutes via public transport. Making Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport the perfect base for your next holiday in the city.