The Best $5 You’ll Ever Spend on a Cultural Visit to Melbourne

Travel Tips — By rebeccakinsella on October 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

How Cheap Is Cheap?

After living overseas for two years, I found Melbourne a little pricey on my recent return. And when the novelty of the pink-plastic notes wore off, I realised that despite narrowly avoiding a recession in the GFC, it’s pretty  hard to get change from a fiver here.

So, when NileGuide challenged their local experts to find something cultural and fulfilling to do in their city for $5 or less, I knew it would be tricky.

Surprisingly, there are still a few things that you can still buy for under $5 in Melbourne:  a Sunday Saver ($3.10) for unlimited train, tram and bus travel; a flat-white coffee ($3.20) on Degraves Street ; or for an informative read, a copy of the Big Issue ($5.00, with half donated to charity).

The Best $5 You’ll Ever Spend

There are loads of free museums and events going on in the city, but to really experience Melbourne’s culture on the cheap, you need to head beyond the CBD.

Take a wander down the laneways, explore our markets and visit the lesser-known attractions –  like Cook’s Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens.

The Low-Down

The last time I visited Cook’s Cottage was on a grade 2 excursion. I was 7 years old, with pigtails, olden-days dress up and my lunch wrapped in brown paper and string. My excursion today was a little different.

This weekend was unofficially the first weekend of Spring, and Fitzroy Gardens provided the perfect place to for me thaw out after one of our chilliest winters ever.

Capatin Cook and the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1775. Cook’s Cottage is the home of Captain James Cook’s parents. It was built in Yorkshire, England in 1755 and transported to Melbourne in 1933 – it’s the only 18th Century building in Melbourne.

As a child I remembered being enchanted by stories of European explorers discovering our country, and going back as an adult I could reflect on the beauty of the English garden and the significance of Cook’s Cottage as the oldest building in Australia.

Located in East Melbourne, Cook’s Cottage is open from 9am-5pm daily. Entry is $4.50 for an adult, $2.20 for a child or $2.70 for a student or concession – bargain!

Now You Do It

Take a picnic or join one of the free guided walking tours of the gardens taking place every Wednesday at 12.30pm. You can also see the Fairies’ Tree carved by Ola Cohn (pictured below), a model Tudor Village, Sinclair’s Cottage, and various statues and fountains throughout the gardens.

What to Do With Leftover Change

If you’re a student or concession card holder you’ll have enough loose change to unwind with an English Breakfast tea in the garden’s Pavilion Cafe.

All photos by psd on Flickr