So you've been to Federation Square, Crown Casino, Docklands and taken a trip on a Melbourne tram. Some of the best ways to learn about and explore the intricacies of the city and its culture are those you'll find off the beaten tourist track.
I'm amazed it was free!
Trek the Noojee Trestle Bridge Rail Trail for a step back in time to surround yourself with history and discover the hidden treasures that lie beyond the road.
Be a part of the local audience in one of the many television shows produced in Melbourne. For example, Millionaire Hot Seat and The Project are free of charge but be sure to check the websites and email well ahead, as the seats fill fast.
Take a trip to the open air Queen Victoria Market. With its old world design and heritage, you don't need to spend a cent to enjoy this iconic market's history, although you will likely be tempted by the exotic and tasty produce and bargain merchandise the many shops and stalls offer.
For the price of a cup of coffee
Are you Feline lonely? Then visit Australia's first cat café! Soak up the 'catmosphere' in this conceptual cat'fe (the puns are endless…) while hanging out with affectionate felines sitting next to you or if you're lucky, on your lap. For cat lovers, there is possibly no better way to spend a relaxing holiday afternoon than with these 11 rescue cats just waiting for your attention.
The small price of a 45 minute bus fare from the city's CBD buys you a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne. Once there, there is no cost of entry and because of the Melbourne's notoriously rainy climate, you will find some of the most luscious and distinctive native flora the country has to offer. The gardens are open from 9am to 5pm daily.
Or for just a little more…
Try one of Laneway learning's fun and cheap classes on a wacky range of topics. Originally operating only in the lanes of Melbourne (hence the name) the popularity and novelty factor has meant that they have now been able to expand into cafés and bars. Check the website for upcoming details which may offer exciting classes in the diverse areas of drawing, chess, hair styling and cookery. Reserve your place well in advance because the most popular classes do tend to fill very quickly.
If it takes your fancy you could learn how to dance 1980s style and frankly, you know you want to right? Whether you think you're hip to be square or solid gold, you will probably giggle your way through the whole groovy class!
Would you like to play a game? Consider escapism to the max in a room at Strike by joining one of many likeminded people or create your own team with friends and family. From perplexing puzzles to spy hunts, crime scene investigations and trapping interactive scenes there are a number of games you can play. Choose your poison, wisely.
Find your artistic creative style by participating in a sketch crawl of the city. On a guided tour, you will be taken to a variety of walking and drawing sights to inspire your inner artist.
But you saved a lot of money on your accommodation so why not splash out?
Do it literally by having supper with the sharks. Working your way from stingrays while you eat your entrée to leopard and white spotted sharks during your main meal this is a feast you won't forget. But remember, even though the water may only come up to your knees, those rays do like to be fed so if something falls out of your prawn cocktail, don't bother trying to pick it up off the floor. Oh, and apparently stingrays are also known to like a good cuddle.
Or if you are up for a road trip, hire a car and visit Werribee Open Range Zoo. From roaring lions to (overly) friendly rhinos and gorillas who just want to hang out with you for afternoon tea, this zoo has some special attentive treats in store. Visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo to book your expedition!
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