weekend in melbourne
Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures and is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Source: Muhammad Farooq/AFP

White sandy beaches. A thriving art scene. Coffee culture. A weekend in Melbourne promises all three — and more.

International students can find a great range of offerings in the former capital city of Australia. Apart from being home to top-notch universities such as RMIT and the University of Melbourne, the city is a melting pot of cultures where students from all over the globe come to earn a world-class education while enjoying the endless leisure activities the bustling city offers. 

And there are many. From surfing on Bondi Beach to browsing around Queen Vic Market, Melbourne offers something for everyone regardless of their interests. The city brims with seemingly endless opportunities for self-discovery and exploration. 

If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Melbourne, here’s the perfect budget-friendly guide for students to explore Melbourne at little to zero cost: 

Take a stab at Melbourne culture 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fed Square (@fed.square)

Melbourne is a city that is always filled with life. Vibrant, creative and multicultural, there is plenty to be explored and all are likely to be good. But some are better than good.

If it’s your first time in the city, below are some places that serve as great starting points for a weekend in Melbourne:  

  • Federation Square: Also known as ‘The People’s Square,” this is a venue for arts, culture and public events. Aptly so, Australians gather here for festivals, art exhibitions and even free films on big screens. While you are here, check out Koorie Heritage Trust and ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) – more about these spots below. 
  • Hosier Lane: Located opposite Fed Square and within a walkable distance from the Central Business District (CBD), Hosier Lane is well-known for its colourful, graffiti-covered walls. Check out this full list of places that have excellent street art too. 

If you’re interested to learn more about Melbourne’s street art history, read more here

weekend in melbourne

Melbourne is home to more than 100 art galleries, ranging from large public galleries to smaller independent commercial galleries and artist-run spaces. Source: William West/AFP

Visit galleries and museums 

If street art isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of galleries and museums that host impressive art installations. In fact, the city houses more than 100 art galleries, ranging from large public galleries to smaller independent commercial galleries and artist-run spaces. You could literally spend the entire weekend exploring these museums — and still have more to see. 

These are among some of the more popular art spaces you have to visit during your weekend in Melbourne: 

  • NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) International: Considered Australia’s oldest and most popular art museum, NGV International is also an award-winning gallery thanks to its diverse permanent collection of more than 75,000 works. Since its inception in 1861, the gallery’s collection has come to reflect a diversity of cultural identities and artistic practices. This includes the rich history and development of Australian, Indigenous and international art, design and architecture. 
  • Koorie Heritage Trust: Founded with the mission of raising awareness and appreciation for Koorie culture, Koorie Heritage Trust consists of three gallery spaces that showcase Indigenous art and culture of Australia, in hopes of bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. 
  • ACMI: Home to Australia’s largest moving image collection, ACMI brings together cinemas, student labs and educational spaces, a media preservation lab and a hospitality offering from local chef, Karen Martini. The centre hosts a variety of workshops, exhibitions, film programmes as well as online experiences for all ages. Check out what’s on now. 

    weekend in melbourne

    St. Kilda is a great place to unwind and a great place to set out for a beautiful sunset over Melbourne’s skyline. Source: William West/AFP

Reconnect with nature 

Melbourne isn’t just a bustling city, it also has plenty of green lungs for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle:

  • Kokoda Track Memorial Walk: This is the best place to go if you’re looking to get lost in nature. While the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is known for its challenge of steep trails, there are Guided Walk Tours as alternatives if you’re looking for a slow stroll. If you’re feeling a bit more athletic, try out the 1,000 steps
  • St. Kilda Foreshore: A great place to set out for a sunset. St. Kilda Beach is among the more popular beaches in the city with a pier that’s a local spot for fishing or a romantic stroll. 

As you’ve read, Melbourne awaits you with new and exciting experiences to try. We hope this comprehensive guide for a weekend in Melbourne helps with your weekend plans. Happy exploring! Read here for the cheapest Australian cities for international students. 

Watch this video below for more budget ideas on what to do while you’re there: