5 things to do in and around Melbourne on a student budget

Since I’m a student myself I know that money is limited and only staying at home is boring. Of course, our assignments take a lot of time but there should be still time to enjoy our life from time to time 🙂

Therefore, my new blog post is about 5 things to do in and around Melbourne on a student budget.

I guess everyone has seen at least once a photo with an overview of the city taken from somewhere above. Most possibly the photo was taken from the Eureka Sky Ddeck.  This came into my mind when I thought about typical tourist attractions in Melbourne.

I’ve been there years and years ago and was sure it is quite pricey. Therefore, I was going to suggest you some cheaper alternatives like rooftop bars. By that time I hadn’t checked the price for Eureka Sky Deck but when I did I realised it is not too expensive. $15 with concession is affordable and quite worth the view. If you can’t afford it, just do it my way: get to know someone who rents/owns an apartment in the tower, get invited and you can enjoy the view for free 🙂


Other alternatives are rooftop bars, which are mostly free and while enjoying the view you can also have a beer or nice glass of wine. The bars with the best views (in my opinion) are “Naked in the Sky” in Fitzroy as well as the Imperial Hotel and Transit Cocktail Lounge in the CBD.

Do you like live music? Then Melbourne is the perfect place to be. The city is famous for its festivals and gigs and also for students with a tight budget suitable since there are always free events.

My favourite place is the Reverence Hotel in Footscray, which hosts acts of every kind of music. It is not always free but for $10 or so you can listen to some good national and international gigs. A plus is definitely the affordable Mexican food they offer. You can even get vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free options and it is super delicious.

The Night Cat in Fitzroy is another great venue, which is usually free and offers a diverse line-up from jazz to funk to reggae.

In the buzzy and popular suburb of Brunswick you can find the Retreat Hotel or Brunswick Hotel where gigs are usually free. I just went there last Saturday and it was great.


If you want to get away from the city and experience a breathtaking sunrise or sunset head to the Great Ocean Road. There are several tour operators that offer tours for around $100 and more. You can also get there by V/Line coach services.

However, the cheapest and funniest way is to get a group of friends together and rent a car for around $40 a day (Europe Car). It is a two hour drive to Torquay where the Great Ocean Road starts and the scenery is really pretty.

If you want to stay overnight grab the camping gear and stay in one of the several camping sites along the road. There are many beautiful hiking routes if you don’t mind to be active 🙂

Another beautiful getaway is Phillip Island south of Melbourne. Again, there are tour operators which offer (pricy) tours. But you can rent a car with friends and in around two hours you arrive at beautiful Phillip Island.

No need to stay in one of the expensive hotels, it is very easy to explore Phillip Island in one day. There are great and easy hiking treks, which guide you through the beautiful nature. And the best thing is it is for free! You can spend several hours without spending any money.

There is a Koala Observation Centre, Churchill Island and other things to do which all cost money. Just cross all things from the list you can see somewhere else and only nature and the Penguin Parade remain. The latter is a must and quite worth the $25 (no need to buy the ‘Penguin Plus’ ticket). Watching the penguins wandering around the Boardwalk to find their mates is amazing and super cute 🙂

Most of you will think everyone should know Queen Victoria Market and has been there at least once. However, last week I spoke to a friend who has been living here since more than 3 years and has never been there.

I can highly recommend to go there and even if you don’t want to buy anything, the atmosphere is great and you can spend hours by wandering around. Are you always after a good bargain for food? Head to QVM and eat fresh food for cheap. Handy tip: If you go one hour before they close you will get even cheaper food since all the hawkers bring their prices down.


Enjoyed this? You might like to discover more of inner Melbourne and explore the laneways.

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