Cheap Melbourne: Tours and talks

You don’t need to be rich to enrich your mind. If you know where to look, there are plenty of affordable ways to hear from fascinating people and explore hidden corners of Melbourne

Photograph: Roberto Seba

There's no such thing as knowing everything about your city. So whether you're a tourist or you've lived here all your life, you'll want to know about these cheap (and in some cases, free) ways to learn new things in Melbourne. We've also got you covered for cheap eats, theatre tickets and shopping.

Cheap things to do in Melbourne


Free public lectures at the University of Melbourne

Instead of adding to your hefty student loans by enrolling in a degree, be enlightened by the University of Melbourne’s series of free, accessible lectures. One week you could be hearing from human rights lawyers; the next from scientists tackling antimatter in space. Book ahead, because they sell out fast.


Melbourne Visitor Shuttle

They say you never stop learning – and that applies to your understanding of your own city. Check the map and hop on at any of the shuttle’s 13 stops. Once you’re on, audio commentary will share stories behind some of the city’s best-known landmarks.


The Wheeler Centre

Founded in 2010 as part of Melbourne’s journey to become a UNESCO City of Literature, the Wheeler Centre hosts cheap and free talks from some of the world’s greatest thinkers, from politicians to novelists to podcast stars.


Birrarung Wilam River Walk

Immerse yourself in the art and culture of Kulin Nation. A Koorie Heritage Trust guide will lead you through Birrarung Marr – an important gathering place for the traditional owners of the land.


City Circle tram

You’ve seen these cute heritage trams rattling around the city – why not hop on? This free shuttle loops the CBD and Docklands, all the while playing an audio commentary that focuses on the history of Melbourne.


Ned Kelly Tour at the State Library of Victoria

Did you know that the State Library is home to Ned Kelly’s armour? Seeing it up close is just one drawcard of this free tour, which delves into Kelly’s divisive place in Australian identity and reveals other artefacts like the Jerilderie letter and eyewitness photographs from the Glenrowan siege.


Heidelberg School Artists Trail

Get to know the key figures of the Heidelberg School art movement in the green riverside bushland where they worked. This picturesque trail by the Yarra is punctuated by 12 signs depicting paintings by six artists including Arthur Stratton and Walter Withers.

More thrifty thrills in Melbourne

Cheap things to do in Melbourne

No money? No problem! We've pinched our pennies to bring you the ultimate guide on how to eat, drink and have a great time in Melbourne on a budget.

By: Time Out editors