Melbourne may be the most livable city in the world but it can cost you a small fortune to wine and dine the object of your affection.
Even the classic go-to movie date night has become an expensive outing, costing around $25 for an adult ticket, throw in a choc-top, a drink and we’ve reached a ludicrous 60 bucks.
Netflix on the couch or a fine dining experience at ‘Lentil As Anything’ may seem like your only options on a cash-strapped week but if you search around Melbourne offers plenty of romance on a tight budget.
This is your chance to surprise your date with your creativity, choose from the following 10 memorable ideas that are affordable for everyone.
Visit the National Gallery of Victoria
The go-to cultured date. You can’t go wrong with a gallery visit, especially with this Melbourne must-see. The National Gallery of Victoria is Melbourne’s most well known gallery hosting thousands of works from all disciplines, from throughout the ages. NGV offers a host of free exhibitions all year round, visit the newest exhibition Triennial which celebrates contemporary art from all over the world. With over 70,000 works in the gallery you will be occupied for hours.
Picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens
A picnic date will cost you next to nothing and is foolproof to getting you some brownie points for being cute af. The Royal Botanic Gardens is an icon of the city, containing sprawling lawns, beautiful lakes and an abundance of plants and wildlife. Pack some hand-made rolls and fruit, unwind and watch the world go by on one of most Melbourne’s picturesque lawns.
Too far from the city? Check out the list of picnic spots and gardens located around Victoria for your next picnic date.
Tour Melbourne’s Historical Observatory
Cost: $18 Concession, $24 Adult
Nothing says romance like a starry night sky. Book in for the guided ‘Starry Southern Skies’ tour of Melbourne’s historical observatory built in 1862, located within the Royal Botanic Gardens. Watch the dome roof open, revealing the southern sky and peer through the heritage telescopes at stars, constellations, planets and the moon. The two hour tour involves a sit down lecture on the history of the observatory and the celestial events of its past.
Visit the Melbourne Museum
Cost: Concession- Free, Adult $15
The Melbourne Museum guarantees an interesting date, with so many fascinating exhibitions to marvel at there won’t be any awkward silences. Check out the ‘Wild’ exhibition featuring over 600 animals from all over the world or the ‘Dinosaur Walk’ which displays the skeletons of 17 prehistoric dinosaurs. The museum also offers free lectures on a range of topics including science, animals and music.
Sit in on one of the University of Melbourne’s Free Lectures
The University of Melbourne is one of the best universities in the world and offers free weekly lectures to the public at their Parkville campus. Hear from the experts on contentious issues from climate change, public policy, health and astronomy. Book in for a lecture for a thought provoking evening.
Eureka Sky Deck- The Edge
Cost: $10 Concession , $12 Adult
Mix urban sight seeing with a rush and marvel at Melbourne city from a 360- degree birds eye view. Eureka Sky Deck is the highest vantage point in Australia located on the 88th floor in a protruding glass cube. The Eureka Sky Deck is an unforgettable experience, visit during the day and try and spot your house through the view-finder or go at night for romantic city lights.
Go on an Adventure
Outdoorsy adventurous types? Get your adrenaline pumping together, pack some snacks and head off for a day hike. Victoria has countless mountain ranges and hikes all over the state, including Wilsons Promontory, Dandenong Ranges, You Yangs and Macedon Ranges. Don’t drive for hours to get your nature fix, check out the best hiking trails in your area.
Learn to Salsa Dance
The Salsa Foundation offers free beginner classes on Wednesdays and Thursday in the CBD. Break the ice, learn something new together and have a good laugh at your own expense. This date will be plenty of fun and will no doubt provide you with some exotic new choreography when you’re next out on the D-floor.
Movies On The Cheap
Cost: All tickets Monday $11, all tickets Tuesday $12
An old fashioned movie date can be hard to go past but thankfully ‘Tight Ass Tuesday’ has emerged as a revelation for students and tightwads alike making an evening out at the flicks affordable once more.
Yarraville’s Art deco Sun Theatre offers $11 tickets on Monday’s and $12 Tuesday’s to moviegoers along with affordable snacks. This cinema caters to everyone, screening classics and new releases. The Sun Theatre is beautifully put together with vintage decor and a romantic feel perfect for a date.