Moving to Australia

Free Activities & Things To Do in Melbourne

Melbourne is known for its intimate laneways where you can get lost in your own fascination. The street art alone is worth the expedition. But there’s so much more to Melbourne. It’s an artistic paradise, a coffee lover’s happy place and a hipster’s nirvana.

We’re going to tell you about some of the many free activities Melbourne has to offer. If you’re trying to choose where to live, study or holiday, make sure you give plenty of thought to Melbourne.

Free activities Melbourne locals love

  • National Gallery of Victoria – Art is everywhere in Melbourne and at the NGV, you’ll find 70,000 works across sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, decorative arts, textiles and Indigenous pieces.
  • Comedy gigs – Melbourne’s comedy culture The Highlander Bar hosts short stand-up shows and open mic spots on Tuesday nights.
  • State Library of Victoria – Take a library tour, view the free exhibitions, sit in on lectures or watch movie screenings. There’s always something cool, fun and interesting happening.
  • Walk through Melbourne homes – Well, display homes, that is. Display villages give you the opportunity to wander through brand new, furnished and staged homes before they sell. As a visitor, you get to see what a typical (new) Melbourne home is like.
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Free things to do in Melbourne that involve Australia as a nation

  • Tour Parliament House – You can join a public tour when Parliament is not sitting and learn how the state is governed, or take an architecture tour if you have a special interest in building design. If you are short on time, a 20-minute Express tour may be more to your liking.
  • Visit the Shrine of Remembrance – Pay your respects to fallen Australians who served in war and peacekeeping operations. The poignant permanent exhibitions are very moving. View the Gallery of Medals and discover the stories of defence personnel serving in recent conflicts.
  • Indigenous culture – At the Koorie Heritage Trust, you can see stunning artworks by Indigenous artists and view historic artefacts such as boomerangs, canoes, eel traps, carved emu eggs and so much more. There’s also a collection of photography, oral history recordings and a reference library for those who want to learn more about the history of the Koorie peoples.

Explore free art spaces in Melbourne

  • Mailbox Art Space – An alternative public art space up a staircase at 141-143 Flinders Lane, Mailbox is the smallest art gallery in Melbourne. Enjoy the regular rotation of exhibits that file in and out of the popular venue.
  • Explore public art – The City of Melbourne is extremely proud of its public art. Once a work has been submitted, it becomes a part of the city’s collection which now numbers more than 8,000. You can visit the City Gallery in Melbourne Town Hall or go and visit the permanent public art installations out in the city. Kids will adore the quirky 2-metre high bronze frog in Queen Victoria Gardens and adults will enjoy ‘Fruition’, a steel sculpture resembling two oversized seed pods. There’s the repeated motif work ‘Island Wave’ near Queen Victoria Market and ‘The Public Purse’, a beautiful purse fashioned out of stainless steel and calca red granite at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street Mall.
  • Street art – Melbourne is possibly Australia’s biggest fan of graffiti; the art form is warmly embraced around the city for the way it contributes to its vibrant urban personality. Famous around the world, the street art draws international visitors, keen to see what’s on trend here. Check out these street art locations.

Get out in the sunshine in Melbourne

  • St Kilda Foreshore – It could be any number of places around the world with its long pier and Edwardian building at the end of it. Fly a kite along the beach or look back at the city skyline and add to your Instagram feed. Play cricket or throw a frisbee on the sand or go for a swim. You may even be lucky to see the little fairy penguins waddling to their nests at dusk.
  • Enjoy the Gardens Fitzroy Gardens is like an adventure land to explore at leisure. Don’t miss the Model Tudor Village, a sweet gift to Melbourne from Lambeth, England to thank the city for its food parcels in World War II. Wind your way through and spot the attractions: the rotunda used for wedding photos; Cook’s Cottage built by Captain James Cook’s parents; fern gully with its ornamental ponds and ferns; Fairies Tree, a 300-year-old red gum tree with quaint, artistic carvings; and The Conservatory, a glasshouse that hosts ornamental horticultural displays. And that doesn’t even begin to list everything you can do in the Gardens.
  • Federation Bells – On the Lower Birrarung Walkway on the Yarra River, there are 39 bronze bells and they play at 8am, 12.30pm and 5pm. You can even play the bells if you have a smidge of musical talent!

More free stuff to do in Melbourne

  • Ride the free tram – Hop on the maroon, green and gold City Circle tram (no. 35) in the CBD and hop off on one of the many stops. It runs every 12 minutes and you can stay on it if you like to get an idea of the lay of the land in the city or visit an attraction. You’ll hear an audio commentary pointing out different landmarks.
  • Go to the markets – The Queen Victoria Markets are famous for their gourmet foods and specialty shopping stalls. Wander around and revel in the sights, sounds and smells.
  • Tour Melbourne Town Hall – Explore the hall’s architecture and learn about its significance to the community. Visit the portico where the Beatles waved to the teeming masses.
  • Jewish Holocaust Centre – A solemn journey through one of the darkest periods in human history.
  • RAAF Museum – At 1pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, one of the Museum’s heritage aircraft goes up for a display flight. It could be the Tiger Moth, the Mustang, the CT4A or another vintage aircraft.
  • Old Treasury Building – Go behind the scenes at the Old Treasury, home to the original gold vaults from the 1860s gold rush. See the multimedia exhibition, walk through the former home of the caretaker and his wife and eight children between 1916 and 1928 and learn about notorious Melbourne criminals.
  • Melbourne cathedrals – Pay a visit to one of the city’s glorious old cathedrals: Pauls, St. Patrick’s, St. Michael’s and St. Peter’s.


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