Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Australian dollar is doing overseas
visitors to the country a massive favor.
Make the most of its falling value by
enjoying the best of Melbourne on the cheap.
At the moment, $25 converts to about AU$35, and while
that's not a stack of cash, there are plenty of free and inexpensive
amusements to keep the average visitor very busy when in town.
A bit of cash
should be preloaded onto a myki card (the prepaid ticket used on public
transport), but that leaves plenty left over.
Here's how to make the most of
the city on a budget-friendly weekend.
Saturday: Downtown and the Beach Spend Saturday morning exploring the
Central Business District.
A lap on the free City Circle tram to will provide
a sense of place, and stops at main attractions.
Many of the big galleries are
free, including the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and the Australian Centre
for the Moving Image (ACMI), both of which are located in Federation Square.
Historic Queen Victoria Market is on the city's northern edge and,
alongside sections and shops selling souvenirs, homewares and clothing, there
is an amazing fresh food section.
Load up on $3 böreks (flaky pastry filled
with meat and cheese), fresh fruit and jam donuts ($5.50 for 5), then take a
picnic to one of the lush gardens.
Carlton Gardens is a few minutes' walk
away, or a quick tram ride will deliver hungry bellies to the Royal Botanic
Gardens (pictured) for lunch in the sunshine.
Walk it off afterwards on The
Tan, Melbourne's popular path that circles the gardens, Kings Domain and
passes along the Yarra River.
Another tram ride of about 20 minutes will deliver visitors to the bayside
suburb of St Kilda for a swim at the beach.
Once refreshed, stroll around Luna
Park (unfortunately, the rides are probably out of the budget) and down Acland
Street with its European cake shops, whose displays ensure mouths will
water.
On Fitzroy Street, The Banff is a popular, rustic restaurant with
pasta, pizzas and other assorted dishes on the menu for less than $10.
Back in the city, get a great view at Rooftop Bar and have a drink (pints
are about $10); the space also hosts an outdoor cinema in summer.
Night times
can be tight times for those on a budget, but Federation Square often has free
movies, music or some sort of community festival on a Saturday evening.
Sunday: Music and Shopping Sleep in on Sunday (Melburnians aren't
renowned for waking early on the weekend) before heading to Fitzroy, a popular
village-style neighborhood in the inner north, where there's the chance to
wander around the shops, check out the street art, and visit the Rose Street
Artists' Market.
The always-pumping Bimbo Deluxe has $4 pizzas, $4 deluxe
dogs and $4.50 beers all day on Sunday.
Stop in at some point to fuel up.
Melbourne is known for its live music, and there are numerous venues where
bands often play for free.
One of the best known is The Retreat, an old-school
local pub in the nearby suburb on Brunswick.
Usually the music kicks off at
about 5 p.m.— sometimes in the beer garden—and on Sunday nights, starting
at 7:30 p.m.
there's Soul Sunday, with Melbourne's best soul bands and
DJs.
When hunger strikes, head to local Kao Thai, a cheap and cheerful
restaurant, where a bowl of wonton and noodle soup costs about $9.
Carrie Hutchinson lives in Melbourne and covers the city for Travel +
Leisure.
On a budget? We can take you through Melbourne on just $25 a
day.
Read on for details.

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