The Melbourne Local was born in early 2012 after a relatively quick and painless labour. It was conceived by Marleena Forward, a filmmaker, writer and travel junkie (read ‘pauper’) who feeds her addiction by showing similarly penniless backpackers around her hometown.

If you’re new to an area, the best way to clue up is to ask a local. But if you’ve come here expecting reviews on five-star hotels or endless restaurant listings, you’ll be disappointed. The Melbourne Local is a budget guide focussed on uncovering and dissecting the city’s cultural heart, and its reviews are limited to personal recommendations only. You will also find events listings, photography and whatever else The Melbourne Local feels you should know about her hometown (especially the stuff you won’t find in the guidebooks).

Melbourne is an expensive city, but it can also be a generous one – if you know where to look.

So to all the backpackers, students, bums, tight-arses, anyone employed in the arts industry – this one’s for you.