How to travel on a shoestring in Melbourne

I travelled like a cheapskate on tight budget during the one year when I pursued my masters in Melbourne and while backpacking around the east coast and outback of Australia in 2011. These tips are applicable mostly within Melbourne, but some of them are valid as well for Australia in general. I hope they could help you to see more and go further with your hard-earned money 🙂

1) Plan ahead

To me, failure to plan means planning to fail unless if you are both time- and funds-rich. But do not get me wrong, by planning and researching ahead, I do not mean leaving no flexibility and serendipitous surprises to your schedule.

2) Keep an eye on http://www.buyii.com.au/ before and during your trip.

Buyii compiles deals from various websites, saving your effort of visiting them one by one.

I made good use of the websites and deals to enrich my experience and broaden my horizon (tasting different cuisines, sightseeing, trying out new sports/hobbies, etc.) at discounted prices! To cite a few examples:-

At Melbourne:

–          Ocean kayaking at Port Melbourne

–          Watched musical show, Xanadu

Xanadu!

Xanadu!

–          Watched live comedy show

In the name of Melbourne International Comedy Festival...

In the name of Melbourne International Comedy Festival…

–          Tried Mexican meal

My mexican comida! :)

My mexican comida! 🙂

–          Multiple entry pass to City Bath

At Sydney:

–          Harbor cruise + buffet lunch

While sipping her champagne on the cruise,  my travel buddy found something must-snap :p

While sipping her champagne on the cruise, my travel buddy found something must-snap :p

–          Dinner at a fancy dress restaurant

At Tharen's

At Tharen’s

3) Budget meal: Crossways restaurant

AUD 5.50 (when I last visited on March 5th 2012 as student) for an all-you-can-eat vegetarian lunch at the Melbourne CBD=good value for money and it’s really hard to come by!

crossways restaurant melbourne

main + drink + dessert

main + drink + dessert

4) Budget meal: keeping a watchful eye on brochures and pamphlets!

Like what we did! :)

Like what we did! 🙂

5) Budget accommodation: Malaysian Hall

This is good news for Malaysian only 🙂 2 Halls available: 1 in Melbourne and another 1 in Sydney.

For a twin share room charging at AUD 12/day/pax (last check at the time of writing), it’s really a deal. Do apply early to avoid disappointment. Please also take the following into consideration before placing your booking or making decision:-

a) The hall only allows stay up to a maximum of 5 days under normal circumstances.

b) The hall requires one-off service charge of AUD 15/pax. So if you are only staying for a day or two, it is probably not so much of a deal anymore. Remember to do your calculation.

c) You have to share bathrooms with others.

d) No cooking is allowed.

e) The Hall in Melbourne is some distances away from CBD. Do factor in your transport fee.

6) Budget day tours

a) Half-tix Melbourne: Although selling show tickets mainly, Half-tix also has collaboration with leading tour providers such as Gray Line and Great Sights. When I last booked my tours from them in August 2011, I got to enjoy up to 50% off for day tours in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. It was 20% off for tours held in other cities. Just remember to book at least 1 day in advance.

Half-tix Melbourne

Half-tix Melbourne

b) The University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association: No, you need not be a postgraduate student to join the day trips 🙂 I did comparison of the prices before: trips organized by GSA are cheaper compared to the commercial tours by up to 40%. The bad news is that the trips do not depart every day. But if your travel dates coincide with the trips’, give it a try!

7) Cheaper movie tickets

Feel like squeezing in a movie session to your schedule? If you do not mind visiting the beautiful Parkville campus of University of Melbourne (so that you do not have to pay for postage), you could pre-purchase the movie vouchers from the Uni Store which is located at the basement level of Union House. 

*Updates*

8) The cheapest flight ticket
You wouldn’t know if the airfare you are paying is the cheapest for your travel date, unless you do the comparison 🙂 Do make use of webjet to compare and book all major airlines.

Enjoy OZ, mate! 😉

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