Backpackers and art, maybe you don’t immediately put the two together. Maybe you think backpackers are all cheap drinks and getting burnt on the beach..well yer, you wouldn’t be wrong. But, here I am, living proof that budget backpackers also love art, and art in all forms.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are
most definitely probably a backpacker on a mean budget. That, or you’re interested how the other half live. I’ve ‘been there done that’ as it goes. I lived in Melbs for 6 months last year, wound up here for a further 3 weeks later in the year and would you believe it, I’M BACK! Melbourne must be doing something right ey?
Art can be expensive to see, a lot to get into a budget and maybe you just don’t know where to begin. Well, here is how I survive on a serioius budget, experience all that Melbourne’s art has to offer, have a social life AND save a fair bit of dollar to buy a car and travel the East Coast of Australia. Yerp, all in Melbourne.
So you want to experience Melbourne but not blow your tiny budget? (No pun intended..) You want to see all there is to see, but not spend your weeks rent whilst doing it. I’ve got you covered.
all most backpackers you wouldn’t say no to some new art, some free art to be exact. Basically, you wouldn’t say no to anything free, yes I’m being 100% honest, don’t judge me.
Art in Melbourne is major, it’s everywhere. From the handful of galleries to the street walls.
If you know me, you know one of my main loves is street art, I LOVE it. I can explore and wander around finding and delving into new and unseen art any day of the week.
Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane-
Hosier and Rutledge Lane are the famous spots for street art. A Mecca for anyone who wants to indulge in an array of vibrant colours, laneways and new and exciting art.
Hosier lane has new art every week, I love to wander there every now and again and discover a new piece or a new artist. Although you will probably always find a crowd of tourists doing exactly the same. You should also definitely stop in for a coffee at Good 2 Go, a not for profit charity. This amazing place helps those who have fallen on hard times, mentors and trains individuals in hospitality, with a drop in centre right in the same building for those who need help.
But there is more to street art than Hoser lane. Union Street is right in the city centre, surrounded by shops and cafes, but if you don’t look you could easily miss it.
Named after one of my all time favourite bands, I knew I’d love it before I even stepped foot there.
Situated right outside the famous Cherry Bar, yes another personal favourite of mine. If you fancy a fun night filled with great people and almost always live music in a proper rock venue, you’ve round your place.
Head out of the city just a little north to Fitzroy and enjoy a day exploring even more street art. Fitzroy, a quirky suburb filled with alternative shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Wander down Brunswick Street, take in the cool decor, and stumble across some sweet art.
An inner suburb only a walk away from the famous St Kilda, you only have to wander around to see the walls covered in street art.
Not a particulary famous or well known area for street art, but to me it’s these areas that make me stop and focus in on a wall and really inspire me. Basically, when I first moved there I carried my camera round with me just incase.
Now maybe street art isn’t your thing, maybe it is but you just want more art, like me. But you also can’t afford to splurge massive amounts for different exhibitions all the time. So here is a list of all the best free exhibitions and galleries in Melbourne.
The National Gallery of Victoria is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. Over my time here I have been to a variety of exhibitions and have always come away awestruck, motivated and moved.
My first exhibition I did pay for, but you know, even budget backpackers can afford to spend money, especially when it’s so worth it.
I saw the fascinating Andy Warhol and Ai WeiWei exhibition, I paid around $20-30 I don’t fully rememember. What I do remember is, I would have paid more.
As well as large exhibitions the NGV hosts a full range of FREE exhibitions. Yerp, that’s right, fully free, fully amazing exhibitions.
From Japanese art, to contemporary, to photography and more.
My recent absolute favourite being the exhibition on right now, the Festival of Photography. I spent yesterday wandering around all afternoon. William Eggleston’s portraits in particulary inspired me, it left me questioning everything. Most pieces ‘untitled’, which only made the exhibition all the more interesting. Who was in that portrait, what is their story?
The Anna Schwartz gallery is a uinique art space located on Flinders Lane, with free entry at any time. It opened in 1986 and is filled with contemporary art.
The State Library of Victoria-
When you think of a library you probably don’t think of art. But The State Library of Victoria is a hidden piece of art. Located in central Melbourne the state library was built in the late 1800’s, and is still the hub for local university students daily.
This exquisite building will wow you with it’s architecture, in partiuclar the famous dome reading room. Filled every day with busy students studying, the quiet environent allows you to really wander around and appreciate your surroundings, and yes, it’s free!
In every day life-
The thing I love about Melbourne, I think you can find art anywhere.
I hope this has been helpful and inspires you to get out there and explore all different types of art!
It shows you can still live on a budget and experience all Melbourne’s culture and art has to offer.
Where is your favourite place to explore art?
‘Til next time.