Melbourne on a Budget

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Hey everyone, so some of you might have known that I went over to Melbourne and Sydney for about 2 weeks, and also some maybe asking: how does this fella travel so much? Is he super rich or what?

The Answer is: NO, I'm not rich but I'm a budget traveler/backpacker.

So starting up with this post, how much do you need for a 2 week trip in Aussie? I spent about RM4k (about $1,000 USD) for everything inclusive of flights and accommodation.

First up, get a travel buddy so you can save costs! 

Secondly, You need to plan early and thoroughly to get the best prices and maximize your trip. 


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I booked my flight tickets from AirAsia and Jetstar pretty early with the following itinerary:

AirAsia: KL - Melb
Jetstar: Melb - Sydney
Airasia: Sydney - KL

It costed about RM1,300 for all, which is quite a fair price to pay I would say. If you're more hardworking, I heard you can get it all for about RM900 - RM1,000.

As for this post, I'll be talking about Melbourne!

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So first stop, Melbourne City! We stayed for 6 days and was lucky enough to crash at my cousin, David at his house somewhere near the Melbourne Zoo. So yay! we saved on accommodation already! If you don't have any friends in that city itself, you can always check out where you can crash at a hosts place for free. Of course you would need to be smart and make sure you choose a credible host for yourself.

Other accommodations you can check out is such as which gives you pretty affordable hostels (approx RM50-RM80 per night) or you can always try airbnb if you would like a quieter retreat.

Expenditure of accommodation: A nice bottle of sparkling for the cousin:)

Transport in Melbourne

As for heading to the airport and back, I used a cab to my cousin's place, which cost about $40 AUD per way. Since Eileen and I were sharing the cab fare, so it was pretty okay at $20 AUD per person/way, as the train from the airport to the city would cost $18 AUD

So for the days in Melbourne, first thing you would need to know of is their transport system. Melbourne uses a card called Myki (like a touch n go card). It costs $6 AUD and it can be used for all public transport such as their Trains, Trams and Buses. I really think its much easier to use it than buying tickets at every station. One more good thing about it is that it has a maximum charge of $7.50 on weekdays and $6 on weekends if I'm not mistaken.

Buses and trains are easily available at the outer parts of the city, and their tram network is pretty intense. But on the bright side, Trams within the main city area is FOC! So plan your journey properly to reap the full benefit of this

Cost for transport:
$40 AUD Cab Fare
$40 AUD Myki

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Train stations

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A smile is worth a million words

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Free tram zone

Things to do in Melbourne

1) First up on my list is to join the free walking tour

This happens daily where there'll be a guide waiting for you at the Melbourne State Library of Victoria. Why is this at the top of my list? Because you're not obliged to pay anything, but you can leave a tip to the guide at the end of the tour based on how much you can afford/how good you think the tour is.

One great thing to start off with this tour is that you can get all the history of Melbourne, and get a glimpse of what other things you would like to see there! The guides are very friendly and you can throw them any questions that you have about Melbourne.

There are 2 sessions per day at 10.30am and 2.30pm, and you can get more info here:

Cost: I tipped $10 AUD

If you're wondering what you'll get, here is a glimpse of what places we visited during the walking tour:

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The meetup point

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RMIT (which is all over the city)

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Parliament house

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The Former Melbourne Magistrate's Court

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The old Melbourne Jail

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The Carlton Gardens

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If you're lucky you'll catch some photoshoots

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Spring is coming!

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The Royal Exhibition Building

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The Royal Arcade

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The Princess Theatre

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Who's the Gaylord??

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Hosier Lane

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Pretty Grafitti

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Artist in action

That's pretty alot for a day, which I think is really worth it to start with this tour

2) The State Library of Victoria

For a more intellectual side, entrance to this library is free, and you can check out the many good books there are. Also from level 2 - 5, you can see the amazing books and artifacts of the past in Melbourne's history which is pretty cool

Cost: Free

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That's how pretty the library is

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Art on display

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Old Artifacts

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The Giant Key for the book of imagination

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Old sketches

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The old books

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Chilling outside the library

3) The Shrine of Remembrance & Royal Botanic Gardens

Another free site to visit, it is a pretty moving place as it is a memorial for the brave men and women who died during World War 1. As for the Royal Botanic Gardens, there are plenty of plant species to be seen, and definitely is a great place for a picnic

Cost: Free

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The Shrine of Remembrance

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The eternal flame?

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Poppy garden

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Another part of the memorial

4) Melbourne National Museum

I admit I'm a person that enjoys culture and history, so hitting up a museum is a must! This museum is pretty affordable as it is only $14 AUD per adult. This museum showcases 4 main exhibits, which are:

The First People (A story about the aborigines)
The Melbourne Story (How Melbourne came to where it is today)
The Human Body (All about man and what we know)
Wildlife, Dinosaurs & The Earth

I would suggest a minimum of 2-3 hours here, but if you wanna absorb more, take your time at this museum

Cost: $14 AUD

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The First People:
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The Melbourne Story:
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The dinosaur walk

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5) Melbourne Bathing Boxes
This is one of Melbourne's most famous touristy spots. All you would need to do is get on a train to Brighton beach, upon reaching the station, turn right and head all the way to the end! Spend your day away looking at the gorgeous bathing boxes, and the sunset at the beach.

Do remember to bring your own food there, as its a suburb and there's only a hotdog/ice cream truck over there.

Cost: Free

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One of my favourites!

6) South Warf - DFO
This is the best place to get the best shopping deals. There are plenty of brands available there, and they go at really good prices. For example, I bought quicksilver shorts & surf pants for $20 AUD each (About RM60) which is such a small figure compared to purchasing here at RM250 per pair. Eileen got a nice leather jacket for $50 AUD

Cost: $40 AUD for 2 surf shorts 

You: Shopping at your expense

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What to eat at Melbourne with a tight budget?
Melbourne is the hip-est city you can find in Australia. There are cafes nearly everywhere! But they don't really come cheap for a budget traveler. So you would needa plan it out

First things first: BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE. This is essential as tap water is drinkable, and you would pay a good $2-3 for a bottle of water at shops/supermarkets. This will allow you to save a lot on drinks.

For breakfast, Stop by Coles or Woolsworth for some of their fresh bakes. You can get 2 pizza buns for $2 Aud or probably 2 big muffins at $3

And for better eats, you can try out the small breakfast cafe's in Melbourne which will cost about $7 per meal

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Freshly baked fruit bread with ricotta berries and honey and a hot cup of latte 
*pic credit to Eileen

For lunch: Cafe hopping is a must at Melbourne as it is part of their culture. So i think this is the best time to try out their cafe's as shops in general close at 6pm. One thing for sure, their coffee is WAYYYYY better than the ones you drink over here. Prepare a budget of $20 per meal and it also depends on what you're drinking.

But of course we did opt out for cheaper eats for about $10 per meal as well such as Hungry Jacks, Lord of the Fries, etc. 

(Btw, Another tip is that you can also fill up a survey for Hungry Jacks when you purchase a meal from them and you can get a free cheeseburger with your next purchase)

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A hidden cafe, Krimper
*located at: 20 Guildford Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

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Interior of the cafe

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Cyclist welcomed

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A nice fresh latte ($4.5)

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Lamb Shoulder $21

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Can't remember what is this that Chris had

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Smoke Duck Salad ($24)

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Eileen's friend, Chris

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Short Stop donuts! To die for! (About $10 with coffee)
*located at: 12 Sutherland St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

For Dinner: Most of the time, I would linger around sushi roll shops, as they would be clearing off their stock, and it goes pretty cheap. You can get 3 Maki's for about $5-6 AUD after 7pm. Believe me it is pretty filling and they have plenty of variety such as smoked salmon, tuna, etc

And as for the random nights that we would like better food, We would head to some of the back lanes where the food is slightly cheaper, but still has a deli ambiance

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Sushi rolls
*pic credit to Shoot First Eat Later

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Fish & chips somewhere near Hosier Lane

So total up for food, I spent an approximate of:
Breakfast: $4 x 6 days - $24
Lunch: $15 x 6 days - $90
Dinner: $15 x 5 days - $75

Total cost: $189 AUD 

Extra Activities

If you have some extra cash, I guess what you can do is to take a tour to Melbourne's most iconic view, The Great Ocean Road ($100 AUD). But as for me, I wanted to do something different, as since Eileen hasn't seen snow, we decided to go for another type of tour.

Mt Buller was the mountain we went up to! The price was $100 AUD including the usage of lifts at the mountain. If you don't have your own winter jacket, pants and boots, you can rent them for about $40 AUD. We also got 2 toboggans foc inclusive in the package (this is actually for kids but we didn't mind haha)

This requires a full day, Which the bus ride will start about 7.30am (3 hours) and you'll be at Mt buller till 4pm.

Total cost: $140 AUD

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The sky lifts

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Riding our first sky lift

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The north sky express

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Creating Snow angel

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Making snowmans

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Being asian

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It's good to be a kid

All in all, here is the total of what I spent for Melbourne

RM1,300 Flights

Total Melbourne Budget spent: $453 Total (RM1,323 - 2.92 exchange rate)

$40 Cab Fare
$40 Myki
$14 Museum
$40 DFO
$189 Food
$140 Mt buller

Total up including flights would be RM2,623 (or RM2,323 if you don't include my flight transit from Melb - Sydney)

So if you're thinking, its hard to travel? You can pretty much do it with any budget, and if you can do it for less compared to me if you decide cheaper eats, I would guess RM2,000 would be more than enough! 

Also there are plenty of other free attractions around Melbourne, so you wouldn't need to spend that much money on it

So what are you waiting for? plan your trip now! Do shoot me any questions if you have

Check out my continuation of my 
Sydney Post here:

Check out my other budget travel posts here: