The population of Melbourne is roughly 4.07 million inhabitants and with so many people, providing entertainment to suit everyone can be challenging. With such a vast range of preferences across this large population, my aim within this post will be to provide an interesting selection of activities that can meet everyone on a common ground, that being price conscious activities.
I've looked at a variety of tourist style activities that can be done around the city of Melbourne. Whether you live in the city or happen to be travelling there over the next couple of weeks for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, be sure to see what you can do to entertain yourself. The following activities should hopefully provide you with some exciting ways to see and enjoy the city of Melbourne.
1) Melbourne Greeter Service
Our first activity is a tour of Melbourne. This is a free 2 – 4 hour tour that is guided by a volunteer on behalf of the city of Melbourne. To embark on this tour, you will first need to visit the Melbourne Visitors Centre to stock up on free maps and guides. There is also free Internet access here, so make sure you get all those emails sent before hand. The centre is on the corner of Federation Square closest to Flinder street railway station. The tour guide is called the Melbourne Greeter Service, which will take you around a host of Melbourne sightseeing locations, all for free. Be sure to call up and book in advance to avoid disappointment. The number is (03) 9658 9658.
The tour is available in eight languages – English, Swedish German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
2) Shrine of Remembrance
Built in 1934, this shrine was inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the tomb of King Mausolus at Halicarnassus. At the time of its origin, the tomb was built in a Greek city, where Turkey is now situated. The shrine is located on St. Kilda road / Birdwood avenue in South Yarra. There are plenty of things to see besides the shrine such as two exhibition galleries, a medals gallery, the Crypt and the Sanctuary. Definitely worth a visit while you're there is the balcony, which gives you a 360 view over Melbourne city and free guided tours.
3) St. Kilda Penguins
You can see one of the smallest penguin breeds in the world, within their natural habitat all for free. Roughly the size of a school ruler standing at around 30cm tall, you can find them just before dusk. They will be swimming back to their homes near the end of the pier after a day out at sea fishing. Head down to the breakwater rocks where you will be able to witness them returning home, socialising with each other and entering their nests. There are a few rules such as, do not use flash photography, under no circumstances take dogs and especially do not feed or try to touch the penguins. Of course, it goes without saying, please do no litter either as this may kill the penguins.
4) Federation Square
If you have a few hours to kill, but are not too sure what to do to distract yourself, head down to Federation Square. You will find the square opposite Flinders Street railway station, which is also near the Melbourne Visitor Centre. Melbourne seems to always be hosting a festival or entertainment event at some point during the year, with Federation Square being the popular place for all this activity. As mentioned on their website, Fed Square hosts roughly 2000 events per year, with most of them being free to attend. These can range from catching the current sport on big screen, like the Ashes cricket or previously they’ve had Oprah Winfrey being introduced on her Down Under tour.
5) Fitzroy Gardens
One of the more popular attractions within Melbourne is the Fitzroy Gardens, which is also home to the beloved Conservatory. Here you will find a typically Spanish styled glass building from the 1930’s featuring beautiful flower displays that are changed 5 times per year. Also within, you will find a miniature Tudor village, Captain Cooks cottage, children’s playground, ponds, fountains and statues. Also starting from the Conservatory, you can go on a free-guided tour around the park and it can take up to one and a half hours. The tour is held every Wednesday at 12:30 and no advance booking is needed. One other area of interest may be the free shows for children, which are held through the summer months, which you can check out here.
So if you are planning on travelling to Melbourne next month for the Melbourne Carnival Cup, but want to fill up some extra time with activities, feel free to try any of the zero-cost activities above. This selection, however, is not just suitable for people visiting Melbourne, but also appropriate for residents to enjoy too. Try something different, get outdoors and explore the city. Don't be shy to share your own experiences below in the comments section if you wish to add anything else to this article.