By Laura Green
Melbourne is often considered the cultural centre of the nation, and with a city so busy, you don’t want to blow your budget. Here’s summary on how to spend a cheap day in the city centre.
The CBD is arguably the most vibrant area of the city, so catch a tram in and you’ll find yourself amongst a plethora of sightseeing opportunities.
Begin with the iconic clocks beneath Flinders Street Station then start walking across to Federation Square to explore an array of coffee shops and galleries. It’s also ideal to head to the visitor information centre and see if you can catch some seasonal events.
The most notable attractions are the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the Ian Potter Centre, one part of the National Gallery of Victoria.
ACMI is a centre dedicated to the history of film. The huge collection of modern and historic memorabilia, and the insane contraptions which give you just the slightest – but coolest – insight into the world of film-making leave you in awe.
Next door is the Ian Potter Centre, where you can have your fill of indigenous and non-indigenous Australian art. Luminous, finishing on the 21st of August, is a breathtaking exhibition featuring the country’s best watercolour artworks, and was my favourite of the exhibitions.
The fashion-obsessed can view a display of Henry Talbot’s 1960’s fashion photography or a multitude of other pieces and collections peppered throughout the building.
On the opposite corner, you’ll find St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, filled with astounding stained-glass windows, and breathtaking architecture. The foundation was laid in 1880, and the towering spires were finished in 1933, completing the huge project. The long wait is worth it, and a visit into the interior will leave visitors in admiration of the immense dedication required to complete it.
Following this, you might walk take a walk past the river, along Princes Bridge to the National Gallery of Victoria’s International Gallery. This building contains a plethora of artworks, from intricately woven bamboo sculptures to the French impressionists’ dreamy landscapes.
If you’d rather see another side of Melbourne, drop by the visitor centre and grab the “Arcades and Lanes” walking tour, found online here. Otherwise, let your whims take you where you please.
Walking through lanes like Swanston Street, graffiti alleyways, and the Globe Arcade presents an array of arty boutiques, indie music stores, and mouth-wateringly aromatic cafes filled with the scents of rich Melbourne coffee and all the unique dishes you can eat.
From there you can make your way to China Town for lunch, or over to Melbourne Central Shopping Centre for a quick shop and a view of the famous Shot Tower, which features a free museum inside.
If all the walking has you exhausted, I would recommend catching a tram to Brunswick or Fitzroy for a chill city vibe and delicious coffee.
Brunswick was built by the working class, resulting in a hippy vibe. It’s brimming with artsy apartments, kooky boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife and music scene. As an alternative hit up Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for retro fashion and loads of delicious food. My café of choice is definitely Vegie Bar.
This list isn’t exhaustive, however, and Melbourne is the perfect city to get lost in, so get wandering!