How much fun can you have for $10 these days? Quite a lot if you know where to find it. From cheap breakfasts and tasty Asian eats to free outdoor adventures, here’s the lowdown on the loose-change high life.
One dollar dumplings, million dollar views
The recently opened Red Piggy offers excellent sweeping views of Swanston Street with one of the cheapest nights out in town. Head down between 5 and 7pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays and not only can you get dumplings for the low low price of one dollar each, but a selected range of their zestiest cocktails will only set you back nine dollars. That’s a sweet little snack, a drink and the stunning Melbourne skyline for $10 on the dot.
Tasty Asian eats
Yearning for delicious, budget Bangkok street food? Save on the airfare by heading to South Wharf’s BangPop, which does Thai hawker-style dishes at good prices. Especially on Tuesdays, when Pad Thai is only $9.90.
What about a plate of plump, steaming dumplings? You’ll get change from a tenner at Shanghai Dumpling House. Or if Thai is more your thing, head to Soi 38 to try one of their delicious Bangkok noodle soups for $10. Their location is also a talking point – they’re hidden away in the ground floor of a carpark.
In the mood for Malaysian? Feast on fried tofu, nasi lemak or a filling rendang roll at Bababoi for $10. Badabing, badaboom, you got yourself a bargain, because with big lunches like these you won’t need much dinner.
Visit the Australian Music Vault
Like fresh-pressed vinyl, the Australian Music Vault has the scent of something new and exciting, as it only opened in December. This free, immersive exhibition celebrates contemporary homegrown music, and includes iconic objects from the Australian Performing Arts Collection. It’s got the stamp of approval from the likes of Archie Roach and Kylie, so you know it’s dope.
Take a Bao
Wonderbao can stop hunger pangs fast for just a few dollars each – most things on the menu range from $2.70 to $5.20 a pop. Their classic steamed buns are filled with satisfying flavours like barbecue pork. They also do gua bao – little pockets stuffed with yummy things including crispy eggplant. Plus, new takes on the Chinese snack: bao burgers, an egg-and-bacon breakfast bao, and ice-cream bao.
Breakfast at Bombini Buzz
Time your Vault visit around daily happy hour or Live and Local Friday drink specials next door at Bombini Buzz. Or start the day right with breakfast treat for under $10 – like a fresh cream cheese bagel from Glick’s or a packed bacon and egg roll complete with swiss cheese and hollondaise. Bonus: there’s a sweet riverside view of the city, including a close-up of Princes Bridge.
Espresso Martinis at Melbourne Public
You’ll feel sophisticated at op-shop prices with a $10 cocktail in hand. Try an espresso martini at Melbourne Public during their extra-long 4-7pm weekday happy hour. There’s also midweek margaritas at Hello José, or head to Hightail in Docklands on Wednesday night for free trivia and an excellent happy hour running until 6.30pm.
Take dip at Carlton Baths
For just $5.80, spend an hour or a day at Carlton Baths’ outdoor pool. Kids entry is a mere $3.50, and under-fives – who will love playing in the new toddler pools – are free! You’ll still have change from a tenner for coffee at the beautiful, bustling Italian-style Brunetti Carlton cafe nearby.
$10 pizzas at Fatto Bar & Cantina
With yummy, crispy $10 pizzas and $5 Peronis, this casual Italian hits the spot rather than your wallet. Sit on Fatto Bar & Cantina’s riverside terrace and enjoy the fabulously free city view, including St Paul’s and Flinders Street Station. Even if you’re not decked out in Prada and Bulgari you’ll feel like a million dollars!
Happy hour at Father’s Office
This CBD bar has one of the best happy hours in town, hands down. Quality spirits: $7. Decent vino: $5. Schooners of beer and cider: $6. Plus, they have rather tasty bar snacks including $8 serves of chicken wings and arancini balls, all day, every day. It gets better: Father’s Office happy hour is on 5-7pm and 8-10pm Monday-Saturday, and from 11am Sunday. Thanks, Dad, you’re the best!
Explore the city with Melbourne Bike Share
Whether you’re a local without wheels or a visitor wanting to get around easily, Melbourne Bike Share is for you. Look for the racks of blue bikes around town and get yourself a day pass for $3 or $8 for a week. Hit the Capital City Trail, which takes in Melbourne highlights such as the Zoo, Southbank and Royal Botanic Gardens. Or follow the Yarra River to the bay along the Main Yarra Trail.