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Here's How To Visit Melbourne Without Emptying Your Bank Account

Dream the impossible dream.

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Everyone knows that Melbourne is damn cool. But sadly, it can also be pretty expensive, unless you know some handy tips and tricks.

Instagram: @melbourneiloveyou

Here's your guide to having an inexpensive weekend in one of Australia's best cities.

All prices in this post are listed in Australian dollars.

Getty Images / Gyan Yankovich

Jetstar and Tigerair have the cheapest flights to Melbourne, with return prices from capital cities ranging from around $120 to $350.

Keep your eyes on social media pages and airline newsletters for deals and sales.

Getty Images / Gyan Yankovich

Airbnb is often the cheapest accommodation option in Melbourne.

The average private room on Airbnb in Melbourne on a Saturday night will set you back $88, or $138 will get you the run of an entire home. We say share a room for around $43, because Melbourne is a city that never sleeps.

The Nunnery is a great option if you'd prefer the backpacker vibe.

Instagram: @thoughtful_traveler

This Fitzroy backpackers is a cut above, in a hip(ster) and happening part of town and within walking distance of the CBD. As well as private and shared rooms in the main building, there's a gorgeous private guesthouse. A spot in a shared dorm starts at $35, you can get a single for $95, or a twin for $130 if you're travelling with a buddy.

Space Hotel is another great place to check out if you're on a budget.

A fancy backpackers-meet-budget-boutique-hotel, Space is smack bang in the city centre, and comes with lots of little extras like free Wi-Fi in the lobby, flat screen TVs, and iPod docking stations. There's a mix of private and shared accommodation to suit different budgets – for example, a single with a shared bathroom is $114, or a spot in a four-person dorm is $50. And did we mention the rooftop hot tub?!

Getty Images / Gyan Yankovich

Melbourne's breakfasts are famous for damn good reason, and they don't always cost a heap.

Instagram: @jimmysburgers

Grab a classic carby snack from Mile End Bagels for $6.50. The double bacon, cream cheese, and maple syrup drizzle will set you back $14.

Or you can grab one of the best croissants outside of Paris from Lune. A traditional is $5.50, a pain au chocolat is $6.

And when it comes to lunch there are even more affordable options around town.

Instagram: @vegiebar

If you're in the CBD, it's dumpling time! Head to ShanDong Mama for speedy service, generous serving sizes, and seriously good dumplings. $13 to $20 (max) per serve.

Melbourne is home to a huge Greek community, so this list has to include a souva. Head to one of celeb chef George Calombaris's Jimmy Grants restaurants for the small but perfectly formed Mr Papadopoulos lamb (and chips) souva, for $12.50.

Awesome day or night, Vegie Bar is an institution with vegos and meat eaters alike. It's always bustling, with tasty vegetarian pastas, pizzas, stir fries, salads, raw desserts, and more, all under $20.

Dinner is often the most expensive meal of the day so it's important to know where to go for cheap, good food.

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Head to Richmond's Victoria street, otherwise known as Little Saigon. BYO and grab a piping hot bowl of pho for around a tenner. You can't beat I Love Pho.

Or for some of the most ah-mazing Thai food in a stunning setting, head just off Victoria street to Jinda Thai where mains are approx $18.

Italian more your thing? Pellegrini's Espresso Bar on Bourke street is as authentic as they come. Grab a counter perch and stuff yourself with no-frills but delicious homemade pasta for under $20. And don't forget to have one of their famous watermelon granitas.

And of course, you can't go to Melbourne without hitting a bar or two.

Instagram: @sophiemcgrathpr

Top off your CBD safari with $10 cocktails at the vibrant, African-themed Glamp on Saturday night. Beer lovers would be wise to head to Munich Brahaus between 4 and 6pm for $5 craft beers, $5 haus wines, $5 haus spirits, $5 selected cocktails, and $1 wings. Or do as the beautiful people will be doing this summer and sip on $10 Aperol Spritzes at POW Kitchen in St Kilda.

Getty Images / Gyan Yankovich

In Melbourne, it's all about the myki.

Instagram: @cristy

Melbourne is super easy to get around on foot, but trams are the public transport of choice. Grab a myki Visitor Value Pack, which costs $14 (full fare) and includes $8 myki money for travel (you’ll need to top up on Sunday).

Getty Images / Gyan Yankovich

Have a picnic by the water.

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Head to the Queen Vic, Prahran, or South Melbourne Market and stock up on fresh produce (like 3 dips for $10 at Prahran Market!), then get your picnic on at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The food you'll have to pay for, but the sunshine and beauty is totally free. Make like the locals do, and don't leave without stretching your legs with a scenic lap of the Tan track.

Book a seat at the outdoor cinema.

Instagram: @rooftopcinema

Rooftop Cinema runs from December through to April, and tickets are $22. The city skyline from one of Melbourne's best rooftops is even more epic than the mix of cult flicks and brand new hits.

Or go penguin spotting in St Kilda.

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Check out the palm-lined esplanade and excellent people watching in St Kilda for zero dollars. At night, you can even spot itty bitty penguins among the rocks of the breakwater. Free, but priceless.

Wander the city's laneways, taking in the much-snapped street art on Hosier lane.

Instagram: @florencealexandra

Or head to Fitzroy for more al fresco art and a bohemian vibe. Free.

Spend some time strolling through the markets and exploring the state library.

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Bookish types will love soaking up the vibes at the State Library's beautiful Domed Reading Room, while window shopping for arts and crafts at the Rose St Artists' Market is a perfect Saturday or Sunday activity. Both 100% free.

And head to the National Gallery of Victoria for an afternoon, enjoying everything it has to offer.

Instagram: @laurenbartonart

Pop on your art appreciation hat and head to the NGV. Entry to the international collections is free, with reasonable prices for exhibitions. Entry to the current must-see David Hockney exhibition is a steal at $26 (on until 13 March).