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Christina Guan
9 Free Sites and Activities in MelbourneAt first glance, Melbourne may seem like another expensive big city. However, there are many budget-friendly activities to keep visitors (and a traveling teacher) busy! All of the following places have free admission are were a ton of fun to visit. The City Circle Tram (Route 35): One of the greatest things about Melbourne is the city circle tram. Both locals and visitors can ride the city circle tram for free! It takes 55 minutes to ride the tram around the main parts of Melbourne. You can hop on and off as many times as you would like. The city circle tram also offers commentary along the way. This was the easiest way to get around the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne. The Parliament Building: The legislative council and assembly of Australia both meet in this building. Visitors can get a public tour during the week when Parliament is not sitting. Best of all, these tours are free of charge! Teacher tip: Make sure to show up at least 15 minutes prior to the tour to ensure a spot. Tours are limited to 25 people. The city circle tram stops right in front of Parliament. The Old Treasury Building: Located next door to the Parliament building, the Old Treasury Building hosts exhibits on the history of Australia and the Melbourne and Victoria Gold Rush. The exhibits are spread throughout the various historical rooms of the building. The State Library of Victoria: This library opened in 1856. Its most famous feature is the massive domed reading room. As well as the reading rooms and books, this library hosts various exhibits to explore. Plan to spend a couple of hours looking at all the neat features of the library. The Shrine of Remembrance: This war memorial was built to honor the men and women who served in all of the Australian wars. The shrine offers great views of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Inside are also a few exhibitions to view. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne: The Botanic Gardens are located next to the Shrine of Remembrance. These gardens provide a nice place to relax, have a picnic, or take a stroll. Entrance is free to the gardens. Make sure to check out the various lakes and gardens throughout the park. The National Gallery of Victoria: General entry to the National Gallery is free. This art museum hosts Asian, Australian, and other international artists. Notable artists displayed are Bernini, Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Renoir. The Carlton Gardens: The Carlton Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Victorian landscaped designed area is a great place to relax or take a walk. The area also includes the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Museum, and an Imax Cinema. The St. Kilda Penguins: Every day after sunset, the St. Kilda penguins waddle back to their homes on the rocky shores of the St. Kilda beach. Visitors can view the penguins by standing along the pier. Make sure to arrive early to ensure a good viewing spot. There are St. Kilda Earthcare volunteers who help monitor the crowds and answer any questions.