Melbourne – on foot and for free

Melbourne for free
The very colourful Docklands in Melbourne

Between housesits we find ourselves in elegant Melbourne. So what to do? We have been here before, and the credit cards still bear the scars. So this time we are playing it differently.

We have a neat little pad in the trendy Docklands and have decided to explore on foot and see what we can find without breaking the bank. A trip to Federation Square’s fantastic tourist information bureau proves a huge success. We come away with some fab little walking maps of Melbourne.

Melbourne for free
Cow up a tree by John Kelly in Docklands, Melbourne

First walk on our agenda is “On the Waterfront”. We follow the Yarra River home to the Docklands, back and forth over bridges. I give James a running commentary, from my map. It should have been a loop walk, but the lure of all the art along the promenade back to the Docklands is more interesting to us.

Melbourne for free
Captain Cook’s Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. This cottage owned by James Cook’s parents was shipped from England. Whether James Cook ever lived in it though…..

Next day,  we do “A walk in the park”. On our way to Treasury Gardens we take in some of the “dramatic street art” (posh for graffiti) along Hosier Lane. Now not wanting to sound a grumpy old woman, but art really?  Fast forward to beautiful Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens, much more our cup of coffee.

Melbourne for free
The magical Fairies’ Tree in Fitzroy Gardens.

Final walk, “Arcades and Lanes” James leads the way. No commentary sadly because that would involve reading glasses and I am told any cheek and I will be denied my morning coffee. No cheek it is. This is where Melbourne really shines, I love the elegant arcades and hole in the wall coffee shops. And yes I get my coffee, gorgeous barista and great coffee!

Melbourne for free
The elegant Block Arcade in Melbourne
Melbourne for free
Another “couple of grey hairs” having tea in the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade, Melbourne

We still have some time so a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria beckons. I had thought I might pop in and see the Dior exhibition, but a lengthy queue dissuades me. We haven’t been here before and we both enjoy it, I am especially taken with all the beautiful china and furniture.

Melbourne for free
Oh, a photo of home snuck in by mistake. Sadly not, a photo of my favourite piece of furniture in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Melbourne for free
I remember seeing this chap when he was visiting GOMA in Brisbane!

To us Melbourne is a city of hidden little nooks and crannies and the best way to find them is on foot. This is not a conclusive list of free stuff in Melbourne by any stretch, but it shows a champagne time can be had on a sparkling wine budget.

Top tips for Melbourne for free

The central area of Melbourne is a Free Tram Zone. Take a ride on the number 35 tram to get your bearings as it has a running commentary.

We fond a stylish little apartment in the Docklands on AirBnB for under $100 a night, which we thought was a steal.

Go to the fantastic tourist information bureau beneath Federation Square. Full of brochures (we left a few) and helpful staff.

Go for a walk in the many beautiful gardens. The botanical gardens are an absolute must see!

Melbourne for free
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria, Melbourne