Have you ever dreamt of going on vacation and not spending a cent? It can be done and we are here to show you how.
It feels so good when you know you can go to a place, have so much fun and discover that you never spent anything and you are in Melbourne with kids too. We never thought it was possible when I first started to travel around the world but we know that as much as we enjoy luxury family travel, it is often the things that are FREE that can be the most fun. With our travels, we have spent so much money and saved so little at times and that wears thin. By the end of the day, we were straining our bank accounts and limiting our adventures and who wants that? Things have however changed. I discovered that fun doesn’t really mean always spending money.
Fun is the experience you have without really buying it.
In fact, fun is not bought but it is often FREE.
From our experience, allow us to take you through Melbourne, FOR FREE.
Here are the things you can do with kids for free with kids in Melbourne:
1. Melbourne Street Art Walk
Grab a FREE map at the Information Booth in Bourke Street Mall, don your walking shoes, and grab your camera.
We took a walk along the self-guided laneways of Melbourne and really loved the experience. There is graffiti art in every corner of these laneways. It was like taking a walk through a jungle of breathless living creatures. We actually felt like the humans and plants were real since they were neatly painted on the walls, seemingly by the best artists the region could offer. Being a FREE self-guided street walk, we found it to be very affordable because we spent nothing; other than the quick snacks or drink breaks we grabbed as we enjoyed the feel of being in such an art jungle. The most amazing thing about these lanes is that you are never sure of what to expect on your next turn. Will it be some artwork about hunger? Or maybe it will be something that touches on unity? You just never know. That is the beauty of unpredictability. You will love it!
Just make sure that you mark your starting point and know how to maneuver your way through these commissioned lanes to the end for an ultimate experience. We suggest starting at one corner of the city and weaving your way in the same direction.
2. Melbourne Markets
Just like any big city, Melbourne has a good number of markets that you might want to hop in and out of. We love markets and visit them all around the world, so we decided we needed to check out the Melbourne Markets too. There are night markets, day markets, and weekend markets. There are also lots of free food tasting in these markets. You get to taste cheese, olives, dips, and spreads. Queen Victoria Market is our favorite because there are so many things to taste for free. We tried wine, liqueurs, cheeses, dips, meats, olives and more – all FREE!
We love the fact that there is also FREE entertainment from unicyclists and singers, and the shopping sprees seem more relaxed. There is so much to buy in this and many other markets within Melbourne. You might also want to try visiting Victoria Market Seafood Area for some fresh seafood, book a guided tour of Melbourne Market – A wholesale Market or head down to Queen Victoria Market for an endless experience. By the way, we discovered that Queen Victoria Market is a day and Night Market and one of the largest open-air market in the region.
3. Melbourne Central Clock
One of the first things you will notice when you visit Melbourne Central Shopping Centre is the huge clock that attracts hundreds of onlookers every hour. It is a unique clock that entertains shoppers for FREE after every one hour. Part of it gently opens up by sliding down, revealing a group of birds wiggling to the tunes of some sweet melody created by two performers at the center. Once the display is over, you have to wait again for the next hour for another display.
We felt like this was a good concept by those who came up with the idea since it tends to make shoppers develop a spirit that is relaxed and attitudes that are warm as they are hit by the therapeutic effects of listening to some cool melody that is, accompanied by a priceless display of art. We loved it!
4. Stroll Along Southbank
The Southbank is the far bank of the Yarra River in the city center of Melbourne. Here the fountain is not far away from the CBD, giving everyone an opportunity of easily getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and unwinding in a place where water and fun are compatible. Providing enough space for family picnics seems to us as a genius idea by those who spearheaded the creation of this “fountain park”.
You might want to take a stroll along the river banks and experience a cool breeze that seems to blow off every stress from your mind and stress from your shoulders. There are also lovely floating bars and restaurants and often rowing teams passing by.
From sunset, the flames also burst into the sky toward the Crown Casino end of Southbank – again more FREE entertainment. Alas, the night we went it rained!
5. Federation Square
Numerous exhibitions always take place in Federation Square and the surrounding area. A number of them are always FREE, meaning you get to keep your hands away from your wallet most times.
The FREE exhibition we visited here is Screen Worlds and it was a perfect place for kids and adults of all ages.
When you get to this place, you will be able to walk in and out of exhibition by artists, filmmakers, musicians and the likes, so choose which exhibition you wish to partake in. If you are lucky, all these will come in many varieties, meaning that you don’t have to walk from one exhibition to another almost similar exhibition and in the process get bored with it. This is a place where both adults and kids feel like there is something for each person in your family. At some point during your tour, you might want to pull some deck chairs, get comfortable and enjoy some screen time. Fed TV has screens that are mounted outside to allow anyone and everyone an opportunity to experience Australia through short clips.
6. Pancake Parlour
This is the talk of Melbourne town because you can get FREE pancakes with a voucher in the Information Booklet. Ask anyone about pancakes and they will direct you to Pancake Parlour just off Bourke Street Mall. We have always loved the ambiance in this place and there is also a FREE giant chess set and a FREE illusion mirror too.
We understand that there are people who have more preference for certain sections of this restaurant than others and for us, we love the comfy booths. We thought they were yummy. Anyway, this is the home of pancakes, and as you will notice, variety comes in numbers. So you better get ready to try something different or stick to what you are used to.
There is nothing as sweet as having a free meal after a free tour. We even received vouchers for FREE hot drinks on our next visit!
7. Melbourne Walks And Picnic Sites
You should take time out and relax and visit the lesser known areas of the city. Whether it is a discovery walk through Chinatown, the laneways, or beautiful gardens and parks of Melbourne, take time to explore when you visit the amazing city. Walking is FREE and good for your health too. The parks and gardens are so beautiful and offer a serene environment for bonding as a family. You also get to meet different people and make amazing friendships. There are days when events are organized in these gardens. The good things are that mostly they are always FREE. In such cases, you get a chance to have fun without paying a cent for it. Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Garden are just but some of the few gardens you might want to visit with your kids.
8. Free City Trams
Melbourne has a FREE city circle tram services that run through the city’s major tourist attraction sites within the CBD. Visitors are able to spot iconic structures and experience the feeling of living in this beautiful city. The tram ride is very crucial since it gives you a clue about the places you should visit during your stay in Melbourne. During this free tour, you will be able to spot the Federation Square, Parliament House, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Aquarium and many other eye-catching structures and places.
What we love about the trams is there is a mix of rattly old ones, to modern sleek trams – it is pot-luck which one will arrive next.
9. St. Kilda Beach
If it is summer, then you probably know that you need to hit the beach and the easiest way is to use public transport. Since St. Kilda is one of the very famous beaches in Melbourne with a beehive of activities and beautiful things to be seen, I’d suggest to head here. There are lots of activities that go on at St. Kilda Beach too, but even if it is a cooler day, it is still worth a visit. You get to see and admire kite surfers and rollerbladers as they have fun in or by the waters. Of course, the sand and beach are FREE, so there is no time limit here for these activities.
The Docklands is not one place but a whole modern area so you can go on a self-guided walking tour of Docklands and spend hours in this region of the city. We took this as an academic tour to help my son understand the history of this region better. After our tour, we were able to understand why this is one of the busiest ports in the region and also a classy place to wine, dine, stay, play or live. It actually took us over an hour to walk from one end to the other. We loved the fact that there are FREE play areas for smaller kids too. Therefore, as a family, you can make the tour more interesting by making random stops and in these playgrounds and have some nice family bonding time.
Whatever you decide to do in Melbourne, we’d suggest you check out a few of these FREE activities. It is even easier if you stay in a central location like we did with Swanston Hotel Grand Mercure.
Questions and Comments
- Did you love our list?
- If you have been to Melbourne, do you have any addition?
- Please feel free to share with us and our readers below.