Melbourne Girl’s top 5 dates under $50

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I’m thrilled to be teaming up with eharmony to bring you some fun, affordable date suggestions in Melbourne. My brief was to come up with a list of exciting and budget-friendly date ideas, outside of the typical, kind-of-boring and predictable options like coffee, drinks or dinner and a movie, which seem to be becoming more and more unaffordable to Aussie singles. Here are my top 5 awesome Melbourne dates under $50.

1. Luna Park

One of the best things about Luna Park Melbourne is that it’s free to enter so you can just browse around and take in the exciting atmosphere of Melbourne’s historic amusement park, which is located in St Kilda, on the beautiful foreshore of Port Phillip Bay.

We dined at the Luna Park Cafe, which is located inside Luna Park to the right once you walk through the iconic ‘Big Mouth’. It’s a great environment for getting to know each other; the service was fast and the food and beverage options were ample and satisfying. It’s relaxed ambience makes it the perfect first stop before you start walking around the amusements, but there are plenty of other catering options from fast food diners to popcorn and fairy floss booths if you’d prefer to grab a bite and walk around and chat, or challenge each other on one of the game attractions.

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The options for ride tickets or value pass at the ticket booth are ample. For our date, we opted for a single ride ticket each and a turn on the newest ride to land at Luna Park Melbourne, ‘The Power Surge’. It is the perfect action packed ride for the thrill seeker in all of us, and a fun way to put a spark in the date. An adrenaline junkie hit which is sure to get your heart racing!

I would also highly recommend ‘The Great Scenic Railway roller coaster’. At the time of our date it was undergoing routine track restoration, however it’s due to reopen at the end of July. The ride is a fun way to capture a magnificent view of the bay, the city and neighbouring suburbs of  Melbourne.

Date cost: 2 x Single Ride Tickets, Double Shot Latte, Chocolate Milkshake, Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich and Hot chips- all for $40.60

Date score: 8/10

2. Queen Victoria Night Markets

The Wednesday evening Winter Night Markets at Queen Vic Markets perfectly capture the essence of living in Melbourne. The markets are free to enter and offer a warm, relaxed environment that is a-buzz under glowing lights near the String Bean Alley end of the Queen Vic sheds.

The highlight of the Winter Night Market is the gourmet artisans and food vendors who line the boundary of the market’s temporary covered-in arena, set up to house the weekly festivities and keep visitors out of the cold.

With over 60 foodies serving up street food from across the globe, there’s a taste and flavour for everyone. There are live performing artists and local entertainers as well as a variety of jewellery, fashion, homewares and craft stalls for you to browse.

The queues for the food vendors are well worth the wait, so grab a bite to eat and a drink and head to one of the spacious dining areas, or sneak a spot on the timber benches next to the warming fire buckets and watch the crowd relish in the ‘laneways meets street party atmosphere.

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Running this winter until August 26, 5pm – 10pm every Wednesday night.

Date cost: Margherita Pizza, Soup & a Bun, Little Creatures Pale Ale, Pinot Noir- all for $38.50

Date score: 10/10

3. Sunday brunch supporting the community

What better way to get to know each other than a stroll around one of Melbourne’s most popular markets. Camberwell is located 10km east of the CBD and their Sunday Markets, run by the Rotary Club of Balwyn (RCB), is a mecca for second hand and handmade goods.

The Market is run to raise funds for a range of charities and through its 40 year history has raised nearly 9 million dollars for the community. Browse the 370 stalls like we did and you never know what common interest you might stumble into. Books, memorabilia and other old treasures can generate new discussion points to enjoy over brunch at the neighbouring Prospect Espresso.

The cafe, whilst modest in size is one of my favourites in Melbourne. With a buzzing and cosy atmosphere, we enjoyed a delicious brunch amongst a room of diners who have made Prospect their regular weekend pitstop, thanks to great coffee, great service and a simple, seasonal menu.

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Do yourself a favour and order one of their gourmet milkshakes, they team perfectly with their signature burgers and chips.

Date cost: 2 x Gold Coin Donations to enter the Markets , Coffee Oreo Milkshake, Breakfast Roll, Prospect Burger- all for $50.00

Date score: 9/10

4. Food truck and Yarra River stroll

Food Trucks are fast becoming the norm across Melbourne’s eclectic mix of charming suburbs, serving up a variety of cuisines and defining a new generation of ‘moveable’ dining in and around the city.

What better location to enjoy the Food Truck experience than at Federation Square. This iconic contemporary public space is the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine, especially on a Winter’s day. Fed Square is located on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Street in the CBD, across the road from Flinders Street Station. You’ll find the Mr Burger Food Truck tucked in the corner of St Paul’s Court, just near Time Out restaurant at the bottom of the amphitheatre.

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Serving a basic menu of four burgers (catering for carnivores and herbivores) as well as chips and drinks, Mr Burger keeps it simple with fresh ingredients and friendly, fast service. Grab your meals and then take your pick of one of many Fed Square locations to sit and eat and get to know each other whilst experiencing all the culture that the city of Melbourne has on offer.

Entry to Fed Square is free and they have very cool fold-up beach chairs set up this Winter for you to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the internationally recognised, contemporary world site. You and your date can also stroll down to the River Terrace and sit and watch the boats and rowers in action on the Yarra.

Fed Square is within walking distance of many major Melbourne attractions, so you can choose to extend your date beyond the Food Truck experience if things are progressing nicely and you’re not ready to say goodbyes after a couple of hours enjoying some get-to-know-each-other time over burgers.

Date cost: 2 x Mr Burgers, 2 x Small Chips, 2 x Boylans Drinks- all for $36.00

Date score: 8/10 (It would have been a 9, but minus 1 point for the occasional pesky seagull trying to share your chips!)

5. Wine and cheese tasting

Innocent Bystander is my favourite place to visit in the Yarra Valley. Located within an hours drive from Melbourne, the restaurant/wine bar/cellar door serves up an amazing range of in-house, Australian and International wines and a wonderful range of food for all times of the day including breakfast, share plates, hearty meals and hand-made sweets. It is also home to an artisan bakery, a wood-fired pizza oven and they even roast their own blends of coffee. A wealth of creative-cuisine talent under the one roof!

Their cellar door is a bar serving up Innocent Bystander and Giant Steps wines, with a great range of drops available for tasting for $10 per person (refundable upon any take home purchase of wines at the Cellar Door). We opted to do the wine tasting, finishing with a gourmet Cheese Plate which was served with a modish house-made apple paste, walnuts and a fresh baguette.

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One thing’s for sure, you can come back and experience a different date experience time after time, you don’t only have to opt for the cellar door experience like we did. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the staff are only too happy to suggest their menu favourites. Everyone (even the fussiest of customers) will find something they love to eat and drink.

Date cost: 2 x Wine Tastings, Three Cheese Tasting Plate- all for $48.00

Date cost: 9/10

By Emily Collie at Melbourne Girl

What are your favourite cheap and cheerful dates in Melbourne? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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