When we booked our flight to Melbourne, we were in high spirit. Then, the reality dawned on us. Australia is not cheap – accommodation cost that rivals Japan and our currency was in a slum. So I did what I always do, dig out all the money saving tips I can find for Melbourne travel. Here are the most recommended ways to save cost, and still, gets to enjoy Melbourne:
This post is a continuation to my long Melbourne Travel Guide. Check out the list of free things to do and getting around Melbourne in the travel guide.
1. TRAVEL DURING SHOULDER SEASON
This actually applies to most countries with four seasons – adequate amount of daylight, better weather, travel lighter than winter time. Do take Australian school holiday into consideration, since accommodations might get fully booked and price fluctuates due to the high demand.
2. COOK YOUR MEALS
Melbourne is no short of fresh produce and meat at a very cheap price. Though, please check with your accommodation if cooking is allowed. The easiest way to hustle up a delicious albeit fast meal is to chuck everything onto aluminum foil, fold it and put into an oven. Juices, wine and drinks can be picked up from the supermarkets, much cheaper than drinking in a restaurant.
3. LOOKOUT FOR ‘STEAK NIGHT’
For a country, where most of our beef comes from, we wouldn’t want to skip trying a decent steak in Australia. Save your dollar by going for restaurants on their Steak Night, when steaks are offered at a cheaper price than usual, less than AUD20. You might even get combo meals with drinks on these nights.
4. UTILIZE YOUR DISCOUNT CARDS OR BROCHURES
Mini Cards can be picked up from Melbourne Visitor Center or come enclosed with Myki Explorer Pack, offering discount, as much as 20% off entrance fee for attractions in Melbourne. Mini Cards are available online too and can be printed here.
5. SAVE ON MYKI
Myki has cap fares:
– AUD4.30 for 2 hours unlimited travel within Zone 1 & 2
– AUD8.60 for whole day unlimited travel within Zone 1 & 2
If you are venturing out of CBD using public transportation, try to fit them into same day. William Ricketts Sanctuary, Dandenong Range and Puffing Billy can be easily done within a day, so you will only spend AUD8.60 for the whole journey.
Likewise, Brighton Beach, St Kilda and Prahran can fit loosely into a day, with vacancy for other activities.
6. SAVE ON TOUR PACKAGES
Some tour operators offer discount when you book for 2 or more tours. Check on their websites, usually under ‘Promotion’ or ‘Offers’. It doesn’t hurt to ask them if they’re not listed.
Read on what is offered on the tour, especially if lunch (and what kind of lunch) is included in the package. Will there be free refreshments or tea? These are all the value-added we should look out for to maximize your comfort.
7. CHEAP EATS IN MELBOURNE
Forget about TimeOut Melbourne and Urbanlist. Their cheap eats are not really that cheap. Hence I dig into tripadvisors and personal blogs before I draw this list of cheap food available in Melbourne City, most are under AUD15 for a big portion and AUD10 that definitely can fill your stomach.
These are cheap food that I handpicked for below AUD15 with big portion, or AUD10 for decent amount:
- Hinoki Japanese Pantry
- The American Doughnut Kitchen
- Shanghai Street Dumpling & Mini Juicy Bun
- Juicy Bao 11.30am – 9.30pm
- Grill’D Burger
- Rocket Burgers & Fries
- Shandong Mama 11am – 9.30pm
- Tokui Sushi 9am – 7pm
- Switch Board Cafe
- Huxtaburger Fulham Place
- Pho Dzung City Noodle Shop
- Simpsons Burgers 11am – 9pm
- Sea on Quay
Fish and Chips are slightly more expensive but can easily be done under AUD15 too, if you’re not a big eater. Here is a list of well-rated and affordable fish and chips outlets in Melbourne:
- Tank Fish & Chipery (multiple locations)
- Hunky Dory Fish & Chips (multiple locations)
- Fish Tank (Brighton)
- Kiwi Fish and Chips (East Melbourne)
- Fish On High (a little far out)
8. HAVE PICNICS
At Puffing Billy, skip Emerald’s Miss Marple Teahouse and other average restaurants. Instead, head to the Lakeside and have a picnic with whatever goodies you have bought from CBD. May I suggest; Fruit juice, bread, bacon, ham, muffins and doughnuts?
9. GROUPON, ANYONE?
I know. Groupon sucked in Malaysia. But I had read about travelers using Groupon with great satisfaction. A reminder though, buy Groupon that fits your schedule, instead of making your schedule fit the Groupon you bought.
The better Groupon to buy are activities and meal groupons, although I will skip the lackluster buffets. Service groupons (hair salon, massages and facial treatment) are not recommended. They might turn you away, as you are not a potential customer to sign for up their year-long packages.
Read More about travel tips in my Melbourne Travel Guide.