Australia

Living in Melbourne | Your Guide to Australia’s Most Livable City

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Are you considering studying abroad in Australia? After all, it’s the third most popular destination in the world for international students looking to learn English. While there are plenty of cities in Australia to explore, living in Melbourne is an excellent choice for students!

From its unbeatable educational system to excellent job opportunities, Melbourne is the ideal destination for international students. Furthermore, the city is full of attractions and areas that will make you fall in love upon arrival.

So, if Melbourne is the city on your radar, here is your complete guide, full of tips and advice, to enjoy living in this beautiful Aussie city.

Lifestyle in Melbourne

Melbourne city during sunset

Not only is Melbourne the second largest city in Australia, but it has also been listed in The Economist as the most liveable city in the world.Newcomers will take pleasure in the city’s multiple options for public transport and the number of job opportunities. From elite schools to relatively low crime rates, there’s no wonder why foreigners who visit choose to stay permanently. As the capital city of the state of Victoria, Melbourne has dozens of attractions, landmarks, and forms of entertainment.

Melbourne is home to over 5 million citizens, with over 30% of its population born overseas. The city is rich in multiculturalism, where over 100 different languages are spoken among residents. The city happily welcomes foreigners from all over the world, so you will fit right in!

From services to real estate, Melbourne offers an unparalleled premium lifestyle. The government of Victoria is strong and stable, which makes way to Melbourne’s reliable infrastructure and affordable healthcare.

Melbourne Weather

people playing beach volleyball

After learning the climate of Australia, you’ll discover that Melbourne has very moderate weather. While the city receives all four seasons throughout the year, the temperatures still allow you to enjoy the outdoors year-round.

In the summer, the hottest day can reach up to 25°C (77°F). During the winter, the lowest average temperature is 14°C (57°F).

Despite all these averages, be sure to prepare for all weather extremities. The weather here changes frequently, so much that locals call Melbourne the “city of four seasons in one day”!

Cost of Living in Melbourne

people walking through a market in Melbourne

Living in Melbourne is considerably cheaper than Sydney, another large, metropolitan city in Australia. Still, as a busy capital city, prices of rentals and transport can be quite expensive.

The average person living in Melbourne may spend close to 1600 AUD per month, factoring in accommodation and other general expenses.

This number may seem high, but once you take into account the average salary in Melbourne, which is 554 AUD a week, you’ll see that the cost of living in Melbourne evens out. The key is moderation and wise spending, which we will discuss next.

How to Save in Melbourne

1. Choose Accommodation Carefully

One of the best ways to save money when living in Melbourne is to choose your accommodation carefully. Venture around the city to visit and compare the neighborhoods and housing options. Make a list of everything that fits your lifestyle within your budget.

2. Open a Bank Account

With your Student Visa or Work And Holiday Visa, you can open bank accounts in Australia with no interest fees. Once you’re in Melbourne, visit a bank to open an account. You can choose to have a savings account, in which you can deposit extra money over time to build into savings.

3. Shop in Local Markets

Shopping locally is a great way to save money. Here, you can get food and products from markets at lower prices. A few markets in Melbourne, including AldiWoolworths, and Coles are where you can take advantage of seasonal discounts and promotions.

4. Find an Alternative to Taking Taxis

When you come to live in Melbourne, you will realize that taking a taxi each day can become quite expensive. Luckily, the city has a reliable public transport system.Use buses and trains to get around the city. Also, consider walking or biking to close locations.

5. Get a Roommate

Living in Melbourne with a roommate is another way to save on costs. By sharing an apartment with a friend or another international student, you can split the rent and utility expenses.

Work in Melbourne

barista working in a cafe in Melbourne

If you still have difficulty saving or sticking to a budget, having a job can help bring in that additional money to cover expenses. As a metropolitan city and tourist attraction, Melbourne has plenty of job opportunities. Take a look at some of the most demanded jobs for international students living in Melbourne:

  • Barista- 19.37 AUD
  • Waiter- 16. 27 AUD
  • Bartender- $ 27.65 AUD
  • Delivery- 26.39 AUD
  • Kitchen Assistant- 18.56 AUD

Keep in mind, these are just average hourly incomes associated with the positions. There is always the possibility to earn tips if you’re in the service industry. Also, there are more job options and opportunities available in Melbourne, but these can get you started!

Requirements to Work in Melbourne

Have a Visa

To live in Melbourne, even if for a season, you will need a visa for Australia. There are a few types of visas that allow you to work during your stay, the most common being the Student Visa and theWork And Holiday Visa.

The Student Visa allows you to live in Melbourne for a period of 3 months to 5 years, depending on the length of your courses or college studies. With this visa, you can work 20 hours during the school semester and 40 hours or more (full-time) during the holidays.

The Work And Holiday Visa allows you to live and work in Melbourne for up to one year, with the possibility of an extension. You can work full time or divide your time between study and work with this visa.

English Proficiency

Although not mandatory, it is an important skill. Since English is the official language of Australia, knowing English is beneficial for your job search in Melbourne and makes way for better job opportunities.<

If you want to improve your level of English, we offer plenty of English courses to take while living in Melbourne. We’ll talk more about this in a later section.

You Must be of Legal Age

Unlike other requirements, this one is non-negotiable. You will not be able to work in Australia on a visa if you’re not at least 18 years old.

Apply for a TFN or ABN

In Australia, a TFN (Tax File Number) is a government-assigned number that certifies you as a taxpayer in the countryIndividuals who plan to work freelance or contractor jobs will also need the ABN (Australian Business Number).

Consider Opening a Bank Account

This is another recommendation that, although not mandatory, is beneficial. Most employers in Australia pay their employees through direct deposit of a bank account.

Tips for Finding a Job in Melbourne

It is normal to feel nervous about working in a new country. Here are some tips to assist you in your job search.

Apply Through Temp Agencies

While living in Melbourne, you can apply for jobs through temporary work agencies. These agencies function as intermediaries between companies and people who want to find work. The positions are generally short-term, but employers more than likely decide to keep you on if you prove to be a good fit for the company.

Australian temp agencies, including WorkaboutMLKA RecruitmentTravelers at Work, and The Job Shop, post many jobs in Melbourne. Check them out and choose the one that best suits your skills.

Check Social Media Platforms

Social networks are not only for posting photos. Many jobs and employers use their business profiles as a place for job postings. When it comes to finding work in Melbourne and other cities in Australia, social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can become great allies.

Of all the social networks, Linkedln is specifically for job opportunities. If you create a LinkedIn profile, you have access to searching for all job offers in Melbourne on the platform.

Use Job Board Websites

In addition to social networks, job board websites are an excellent resource for finding work in Melbourne. Some of the most recommended platforms include SEEK<Indeed, GumtreeAdzuna, and Working Australia.

Network with People You Know

Don’t hesitate to ask your friends, students, or university faculty for help in getting a job in Melbourne. Many of them may know of open positions where they work, or can formally introduce you to an employer!

Have Confidence

Last but not least, show you have what it takes to get the job in which you are applying. Be prepared for your interviews and dress for success. Confidence is the one quality that can leave a lasting impression with employers and make you outshine other candidates.

Melbourne Accommodation and Transport

public transport in Melbourne

Living in Melbourne has its perks in terms of accommodation and transport options. Keep reading to learn more about each.

Types of Accommodation in Melbourne

There are three accommodations options for international students and foreign workers in Melbourne: homestay, student residencies, and apartment rentals.

Homestay is when you live with a host family that is local to the country. These agreements are usually through universities and are great for international students who want to immerse themselves in the language and culture of the country. Homestays generally cost between >150 AUD and 200 AUD per week.

Student residences are on-campus housing options provided by the university. The average cost of a student residency can range from 250 AUD to 350 AUD per week. Although expensive, it includes dining plans, utilities, and other school necessities, making it the most convenient option for students.

Apartment rentals can cost about 300 AUD per week. If you share with a roommate, the cost of rent and utilities will be cut in half, helping to save money. This is the most independent living style and most preferred option for individuals who plan to stay in Melbourne after graduating from college.

Of course, each one has its peculiarities, so it’s up to you to choose the one that best suits your style and your budget.

Tips for Finding Accommodation in Melbourne

We highly recommend that you wait to search for accommodation after arriving in Melbourne. This will help you avoid rental scam ads online, as well as see the place in person to make sure the look and amenities are what is said. You can stay in a hostel for the first few days while searching for accommodation. Hostels in Melbourne are very affordable and a great way to meet other travelers.

Transport in Melbourne

While living in Melbourne, you will discover the most common means of transport are trams, trains, and buses.The tram network is connected to the main streets and is the fastest method of getting around the city. You can also take buses, which have lines throughout all the main areas and suburbs of Melbourne. Trains, on the other hand, are ideal for getting out of the city and taking an excursion around the state.

Now that you know the means of transport available in Melbourne, we will explain how you will have to pay.

How to Pay for Melbourne Transport

In Melbourne, you can pay the fares of public transport through a Myki Card.

The Myki Card is a rechargeable smartcard that you use to pay for and travel on the tram, train, and bus. You can purchase it in shops, at train stations, at the airport, and at some tram stops. Also, as a student, you can get a discount on the Myki Card, depending on the course you are taking.

Best Areas to Live in Melbourne

townhouses in Melbourne neighborhood

Central

Melbourne’s downtown area, also known as Central Business District (CBD), is one of the most popular areas in the city. CBD is one of the most sought after areas to live in, having several neighborhoods including Fitzroy, Brunswick, North Melbourne, South Yarra, and St. Kilda.

Rental prices are higher downtown, incomparison to other neighborhoods. The advantage, however, is the convenience of Melbourne’s transport service in this area. There is also a variety of cafes, local markets, restaurants, parks, and other attractions in CBD to enjoy.

Eastern

The eastern side of Melbourne is also popular. >A bit further from central Melbourne, rentals here are a bit cheaper. Neighborhoods in this sector of the city, also known as the Suburbs, are Camberwell, Malvern, Ashburton, Caufield, Prahran, and Kew.

The atmosphere of eastern Melbourne is known to be very calm and welcoming. Here, there are plenty of green areas and bike-trails to take to the CBD and other neighborhoods.

H3- Western

If you prefer to be closer to the CBD without the high cost, West Melbourne is an option. This area is considered the most residential neighborhood of Melbourne, with increasing developments such as shopping centers and parks. The suburbs here include Wyndham, Melton, and Brimbank.

Northern

Last but not least, there is the northern side of Melbourne. This area is in proximity to the CBD, as well as schools, shopping, and dining. Residents here enjoy walking to shops and cafes, as well as the convenience of numerous public transport options. Suburbs in this sector of the city include Tullamarine, Coburg, Fitzroy, and Collingwood.

Things to do in Melbourne

shopping mall in Australia

One thing we can assure you is that you will never get bored in Melbourne. There is an activity or place for every type of person here to enjoy.

Sports and Activities

If you’re a sports lover, Australian football and rugby are very popular here, where matches take place throughout the year.

Also, people who enjoy cultural activities will immediately fall in love with Melbourne. The city provides plenty of concerts, plays, and art exhibitions to see and experience.

Melbourne Gastronomy

Do you love trying new foods? Throughout the city, there is a wide variety of cafes and restaurants with exquisite entrees to try. You can check out the downtown pubs to experience the social scenes or wine and dine at a popular beachside restaurant for a fantastic ocean view. Speaking of wine, Melbourne is about an hour’s drive from Yarra Valley, where you can tour its impressive vineyards and wineries.

Beaches and Nightlife in Melbourne

We can’t forget about the nightlife here. Melbourne is a city that never sleeps, and the bars and clubs are proof of that. 

For some sand and sun, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy in Melbourne as well. St. Kilda Beach, Brighton Beach, and Elwood Beach are among the few within a 30-minute drive where you can spend a fun day surfing or relax on the shore.

Places to Visit in Melbourne

Brighton Bathing Boxes in Melbourne

In Melbourne, there is much to see and do. Take a look at our selection of Melbourne’s must-sees:

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria is one of the most famous gardens in Australia and the world. Take a tour here to encounter exotic plants from five different continents, all chosen for their aesthetic, scientific, and educational contributions.

St. Kilda Beach

St. Kilda Beach is another fantastic place to visit. Located in the St. Kilda neighborhood, a quick drive from the downtown area, this popular beach is where locals take part in water sports and recreational activities.

Brighton Bathing Boxes

Located on Brighton Beach, these colorful houses are one of the signatures of the city. These structures were built over a century ago along the maritime landscape, where they continue to stand out thanks to their distinctive decorations. The bathing boxes are samples of Victorian architecture that can be found throughout the city.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station is the headquarters of Melbourne’s railways and subways. Being more than 150 years old, this station has become a common meeting spot for locals.

Australian Centre for the Moving Images

This museum and educational center preserves of all kinds of audiovisual materials developed in Australia and other countries. Through fun and interactive exhibits, visitors can learn and experience the preserved materials, making the center a great place for group outing activities.

These are only a few of many places to see and visit in the city. Read our article on places to see in Melbourne to visit once you move here!

Study in Melbourne | Available Courses

woman studying in a cafe

English Courses

With English courses, you can learn and improve your English, at your own pace. These classes run from a minimum of three months and up to a maximum of two years. So, if you plan on living in Melbourne for an extended period, these courses are ideal for you.

Intensive English Courses

If you will be living in Melbourne for a shorter period and want to learn English, the Intensive English courses are ideal. They usually last between two weeks and three months. These programs help you with the core aspects of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking comprehension.

Preparation for Official Exams

If you already speak English well and would like a certificate to prove it, official exam preparation programs are for you. These aim to prepare you to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge exams, all of which certify English proficiency and are accepted by top universities.

Vocational (VET) Courses

Vocational courses or VET courses are specialized programs in various job fields. Here, you can acquire in-class training and skills that prepare you to enter the job industry immediately after completion of the course. You can choose from a wide variety of vocational courses. Check out a few options below:

Come to Melbourne with GrowPro Experience

Now that you have the complete guide to Melbourne, it’s time to start organizing your trip! Our GrowPro Experience team has helped hundreds of people move to Australia, and we will help you too!

Check out the programs and activities we offer in AustraliaYou can filter the search for options in Melbourne and choose your ideal experience. Our Experience Managers will advise you on the courses that best suit your needs, as well as help you with obtaining your visa for Australia.

Also, once in Melbourne, we’ll bring you to our Welcome Session! Here, our Experience Managers will provide you tips and resources for living in Melbourne, such as banking procedures, to help you transition smoothly. You can also attend the events we organize with all the international students who come to Melbourne. You will make friends and share your experiences with other adventurous souls!

About the author

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Hey there! My name is Charlotte, and I'm working as an International Project Manager at GrowPro Experience. My goal is to help students all around the world to live the experiences of a lifetime 🙌🏽. I'm trying to inspire students by means of telling the story of former growers, showing what we are doing at each destination and writing about our cities and tips on our blogs. I got a big passion for adventures, doing sports in the park, learning new languages and seeing new places 🌏. That's one of the reasons why I studied European Studies and why I currently work for GrowPro, to expand my horizons. Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!