Melbourne is the capital of the state Victoria and the most populous with 4,4 million inhabitants, and is the second of Australia just after Sydney and double as much as the third Brisbane. It is considered as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but its size makes possible to find cheaper place and good deals. Some rankings claim that Melbourne is the 'most livable city in the world'. Now you can judge by yourself what this is worth...
Majority of the people would agree that Melbourne is the most, and maybe the only 'alternative' city in Australia. There are a lot of graffitis and nice projects going on. It is a well a place where 4 seasons can happen in one day, you leave in the morning with a beautiful sun only covered with a t-shirt, you will have to find a shelter against heavy rain at noon, and the evening will hesitate between autumn and spring.
Hitchhiking out of Melbourne is very doable, and getting to Sydney in a day, for example, is very possible. Check Hitchwiki.org for all the details!
You might hear some stories about backpacker serial killings that occurred about 30 years ago, which for many people in australia is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of hitchhiking, and because of this it is a common misconception that hitchhiking is illegal in Australia, which it isn't. Some others will say hitchhiking is not easy due to the current individualization of the Australian society and that people are just more afraid. Even so, because Aussies in general are pretty easy-going and friendly, hitchhiking is quite easy and a pleasure.
Melbourne Metro trains can be a bit tough to blackride, but it's totally doable once you figure out how - and really worth your while and definitely more ethical than going along with the company's extortional scheme of making you pay AUS$6 just for a card that then you have to top up with money to be allowed to ride!
In most stations (except central/major stations that have barriers with somebody guarding; find a blind spot to hop over the barrier or wait until the guard is distracted and walk through the wheelchair gates) you can just walk onto the platform and the train - perfect for just going between suburbs. Occasionally there's ticket inspectors on the trains, rather heavy-handed fellows and not especially polite. If you're not Ozzie, however, there's not really any way they can make you pay a fine - except if you live in Australia and give them your real address, but who would do that?! Don't show them proper ID, show them something with your name on it (like a credit card) and then give them a fake address. They might make you ring somebody to confirm that address (they tend to find entries such as "mum" in your phone; they can really be aggressive), but if you set up somebody who knows which fake address to give you'll be golden. Enjoy!
Regional V/Line trains have conductors that check myki cards and paper tickets on the train, and because of this blackriding is not so easy. However, there is a way to take vline trains with a full fare myki for $7. If you want to take a train to just say Traralgon for example, which normally costs about $20 offpeak and $30 peak full fare, just buy a new myki card and put $1 credit on it, touch on and jump on the train. When the conductor scans your myki card on the train, they don't care how much credit is on the card, they are just checking that the balance is not zero or negative, and that you have touched on. As long as there is some credit on the card there should be no problem. If the conductor comments on your low credit, just tell them you were running late for the train and didn't have time to top it up and that you will top it up when you get to your destination. When you do arrive, if there are security watching people touch off, just touch off as normal which will make the balance go to about -$13 if you traveled during offpeak period, or -$23 for peak, and then just throw the card away.
Just make sure the station you want to get off at is a station you can travel to with myki. The solid purple line on this V/Line Map is where you can go with a myki card.
It is possible to find hidden bush places to urban camp in Studley Park, and along Merri Creek or Yarra River. Be aware camping in these areas is probably not permitted by the council, but travelers and homeless do sometimes camp in those areas.
Lentil as Anything offers yummy vegan & vegetarian food at a number of locations around Melbourne (and one place in Sydney). The grub is by donation, so if you're skint you can eat for free. It's really worth supporting the effort though, they have too find a balance between too much and too less donation in order to survive.
China Town is usually cheaper than the rest of the town.
Food Not Bombs Melbourne serves vegan lunch and dinner on Mondays, and Dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Dumpster Diving in Melbourne is quite exceptional: Trashwiki.org
The Hari Krishna Temple at 197 Danks St, Albert Park has a free Sunday feast open to everybody. They also have a restaurant in the city on Swanstan St called 'Crossways' where they serve all-you-can-eat vegan lunch for about $6-7.
Free wifi shouldn't be too hard to find. Anyone has some spots?
- Federation Square
- City Library on Flinders Lane
You will have to wake up early, but Melbourne Underground offers a free 2h30-3h walking tour at 10h30am every day. It is on a donation base, and the guides are usually cool and give a nice overlook of the city.
Where to party?
Melbourne has a lot of underground and rooftops bars that you will not find without knowing. Try to ask around you or to look on internet to find nice places. But remember that alcool is expensive in Australia...
- Penguin Island. If you are ready to give a bit of money away, you can see several hundreds of penguins coming out in a few minutes of the sea at nightfall on Phillip Island. Costs probably more than AUS$20.
- The Great Ocean Road offers spectacular views of the seaside that you unfortunately will have to share with the thousands of tourists that come there every year.