Whether you’re a newly arrived international student, have just moved interstate to study in Melbourne, or are a life-long Melbournian who’s never stepped too far off the beaten track, this post is for you.

Here are GSA’s top picks for getting to know the real Melbourne on a student budget.

  1.  Get to know Melbourne’s famous laneways with a self-guided walking tour.
    – Bonus: grab a drink at one of Melbourne’s hidden bars.
  2. Discover Victoria’s Indigenous culture at the Koorie Heritage Trust. Their weekly heritage walks around Birrarung Marr are a great way to learn about Melbourne’s first people.
  3. Share lunch with locals at Lentil As Anything, a pay-as-you-feel restaurant group where profits go towards providing food for those who can’t afford a meal. Their café at Abbotsford Convent is especially beautiful.
  4. Head to St Kilda Pier at sunset to watch the adorable Fairy Penguins come home for the night.
  5. Expand your horizons at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. Over 80% of their events are free – but booking is essential!
  6. Explore nature at some of GSA’s favourite spots close to campus.
  7. Learn about the ANZAC legend at the Shrine of Remembrance.
    – Bonus: head to the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day.
  8. Investigate the free community events at Library at The Dock – from Tai Chi to table tennis, there’s something for everyone.
  9. Forget St. Kilda and Brighton – check out Melbourne’s less-famous beaches like Williamstown Beach and Black Rock Beach.
  10. Wander the Queen Victoria Market for cheap food and free entertainment, or investigate the Rose St Artists Market for something a little different.
  11. Explore the Melbourne Museum and learn about everything from Victoria’s Indigenous heritage to dinosaurs in one day. If you can afford to, tack on a visit to the IMAX cinema – student discounts apply.
  12. Investigate your neighbourhood. Melbourne’s suburbs all have unique character and most have free or cheap activities with local character.
  13. Find a million things you don’t need and re-stock your wardrobe with your spare change at the Camberwell Sunday Market. (Entry is by gold coin charitable donation.)
  14. Alternatively, head to Chapel St in Prahran and Windsor, where there are more op-shops than you’ll ever have time for.
  15. Head to the hotbed of Australian theatrical history at the non-profit La Mama Theatre (just minutes from campus). Student tickets are around $15.

Did we miss anything? What are your top recommendations?

Comment below to let us know!