If you’ve caught a tram in the city recently, you may have been told “you are now entering the free tram zone”. Launched on January 1, the free tram zone allows you to travel between Docklands and Spring Street, Federation Square and the Queen Victoria Market without paying a single cent.

This got us wondering: if you no longer have to fork out $7.52 for a daily zone one, what else could you spend it on?


This Hare Krishna restaurant is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Frequented by students and inner-city office workers alike, just $7.50 will get you all the vegan-friendly, wheat and gluten-free food you can eat. Satay vegetables, crispy papadums and fragrant curries with rice will get you started, but save room for dessert: apple crumbles, raisin halava and berry sago puddings are on regular rotation.

Level 1 & 2, 123 Swanston Street

Here, everything on the menu is under five dollars. Find perfectly fluffy barbeque pork bao ($2.20) and your choice of gua bao ($4.20). Find a dollar on the floor and you can get yourself a carton of Yeo’s iced tea ($1.60), too.

19–37 A’Beckett Street

Borek Shop
Instead of trying to fill up on samples at the Queen Vic, just visit the amazing women behind the Borek Shop. Made fresh on the premises, a warm, golden wonderland of pastry, cheese and spinach will set you back just $3, leaving enough change for a nearby Market Lane Coffee.

Shop 95, Deli Hall
Queen Victoria Market


Bohemian Melbourne
Celebrating the creativity and culture that Melbourne’s built on, Bohemian Melbourne looks at the people who went against convention to create the city we love. It’s accompanied by a free summer program of live music, films, tours and talks that give you bang for not a single buck.

Keith Murdoch Gallery
State Library Victoria
Open until February 22.

Nikon-Walkley Finalists
Capturing the biggest headlines across the globe, it’s impossible not to be moved by the Nikon-Walkley photojournalism finalists. Featuring Andrew Quilty’s winning piece, Baby Burn Victim in Boost Hospital, this eye-opening look at the world won’t cost you a cent.

Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
State Library
Open until February 8.

Mambo: 30 Years of Shelf Indulgence
Remember when everybody was wearing Mambo? The iconic Australian brand has just turned 30 years old and to celebrate, NGV Studio presents the largest collection of Mambo works ever assembled. The free exhibition includes original artworks and developmental pieces that have never been seen before.

Ground Level, NGV Studio
NGV Australia
Open until February 22.


Adelphi Pool Party
If you’ve ever wandered down Flinders Lane you may have noticed the Adelphi Hotel’s iconic swimming pool. Located on the hotel’s rooftop with one of the best views in the city, its glass bottom overlooks the street and any passers by. This summer, the hotel is hosting pool parties every Sunday. Entry is free and drinks start at $5.

Adelphi Hotel
187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Every Sunday until March 29.

Courtyard Cantina
As part of its ongoing festival series, North South Feast West, the Immigration Museum’s courtyard is transforming into a cantina every Friday night. Food from the likes of Señor BBQ and Trailer Made will set you back a few dollars but it’s free to enter and dance to DJ sets by CC:DISCO and Wax’O Paradiso’s Edd Fisher.

Immigration Museum
400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Every Friday night in February.