Moving to Melbourne | Country Guides | I Love International Moving

Everything You Wanted to Know About Moving to Melbourne

Posted Country Guides / September 16, 2013
Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.

Although people tend to make fun of Aussies, Aussiland is actually a great place to live in. If you think you can handle all the Aussie jokes, strange animals, and the warm weather, then moving to Melbourne, Australia, could be the best decision you have ever made.

Melbs, as the locals call it, is located at the southern tip of this giant island-continent, and it is a perfect blend of a modern city and gorgeous beaches and breathtaking nature. And if you are lucky enough, you can spot a koala or kangaroo in their natural habitat. So let’s see what else you can expect when moving to Australia.

Moving to Melbourne: 5 Reasons Why You Should Live There

Just to make it clear, there are more than five reasons why Melbourne, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria, is a great place to live in, but we will leave the rest up to you to find out once you are there. One significant advantage is that you do not have to learn a new language abroad, but be prepared that they spell a lot of words differently, more like the Brits. Having no need for breaking the language barrier is great for kids, too.  On the bright side, did you know that for seven years in a row, Melbs was ranked as the most liveable city in the world? Feel free to check it for yourself and experience some perks of living in this city.

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#1 Let’s Start With Basic Things

Melbourne served as the Australian capital for a brief period of time at the beginning of the 20th century, and now it is a bustling metropolis regarded as a global hub for street art and live music. Recognized as a UNESCO City of Literature, it hosts an array of noteworthy cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Exhibition Building, a World Heritage Site. It is Australia’s leading financial center and home to a variety of annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open.

Melbourne is also called Melbs, and here is an insider tip: only locals call it that. You will rarely hear tourists use the name, so with the help of this piece of advice, you can act as a local from day one. Around 5 million citizens are living here, slightly less than in Sydney, which makes it the second most populous town in Aussieland. It is the coastal capital of the Victoria state, and although it has more than 100 sunny days per year, it is not rare that all four seasons change in one day, so pack your clothes wisely.

#2 Great Quality of Life in Melbourne

Although over the past few years, European capitals like Vienna took the lead in the race for the most livable city in the world, the quality of life in the capital of Victoria is still excellent. There are ample reasons for that, including a low crime rate, plenty of job opportunities, excellent education, vivid art scene, public transportation, and a modern lifestyle.

The town offers the best of both worlds. Modern buildings and a contemporary lifestyle on one side, and beautiful beaches and nature for those who prefer to take a break from all the hustle and bustle, on the other side.

#3 You’ll Get the Best Education

Whether you are searching for a Uni for yourself, or you are scouting schools for your children, this town is known for some of the most prestigious educational institutions in Australia. By researching the results of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), you can get a better picture of local schools based on students’ performance. It can tell a lot about the school and the quality of its program and teachers. At the top, there are a few high schools that are consistent with their academic success.

#4 The Cost of Living in Melbs, Australia

Fast-growing cities in Aussieland, like Sidney, Brisbane, and Melbs, have a high standard, and some of their districts come with prices higher than the US average. For example, according to Numbeo, one person needs $870 per month excluding rent, on average. One-bedroom apartment in the city center can be found for around $1260, while the farther you go from downtown, you can find more affordable accommodation.

#5 Cultural Diversity

When moving across the world, it is always helpful when your destination has a large and active community of expats. Supposedly, almost one-third of residents in Melbs were born somewhere overseas. The largest concentration of expats is in the very center, but there are certain municipalities where expats have outnumbered the locals. There is a vast population of expats from the UK, China, New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, and many other nations.

Finding a Job and a Home in Melbourne

Around 100,000 people move to the state of Victoria every year, and most of them end up in Melbs. But before you ship your belongings internationally by sea, or leave them in storage, make sure you find a place for yourself. Whether you are renting or buying, the market is vast, and you will probably have to rely on a real estate agent. If you are renting or planning to go home-hunting when you arrive, we recommend booking a hotel or finding an apartment online before you arrive. Otherwise, you might have to camp out on St. Kilda beach.

Can I Work In Australia as an American?

Yes, but you will need a visa. And since Australia has around 20 different types of work visas, make sure you research them all before you start sending job applications, because it may happen that you cannot get a visa for a particular job you want. Each visa has its number, and they are often called just by the number, so it can be useful to know those numbers.

If you are younger than 30, you can apply for a Work and Holiday visa (462), which lasts up to one year. Just make sure you do not confuse it with the Working Holiday visa (417) since that one is not available for Americans. The most important document is your passport, which has to be valid for at least six months; everything else depends and differs from the type of work visa you opt for. Do not forget to ask your employer all essential relocation questions.

Bayside Suburbs

Are you dreaming about beach life? The Bayside area stretches from Port Melbourne to Frankston, and it is a suburban neighborhood offering a beachside lifestyle. Being close to the beaches comes with a price, so it is not a surprise that some of the most expensive neighborhoods are located here. For example, Brighton, Middle Park, Hampton, and Brighton East, which are all high on the list of Melbourne’s most expensive areas.

However, if you are on a budget, it’s not all lost. There are areas in bayside like Elwood and St. Kilda where you can find apartments, not mansions, and actually rent them for a reasonable price. St. Kilda has a Luna Park, waterfront promenade, markets, and it’s one of the popular suburban areas for entertainment. It’s a great place for young adults who are into festivals and nights out because there you can find events, concerts, and excellent street food pretty much every night.

Eastern Suburbs

When you go to the east side, you cannot expect to find something cheap or budget-friendly. This area is close to the city, it’s well connected with public transportation, and it has a vivid nightlife. South Yarra, Richmond, and Prahran are favorite among young business people. Slightly cheaper and perhaps quieter are Abbotsford, Fairfield, and Alphington, while in the exclusive neighborhoods such as Kew, Toorak, Malvern, and Hawthorn, things get really expensive. East Melbs is full of Victorian houses, some dating all the way back to the 1850s, and it is a beautiful neighborhood to walk around, if not live in.

Western Suburbs

Melbourne’s most affordable districts can be found in the west area, which became pretty popular over the past years, especially the inner west. It is still close to downtown, but the prices are much more budget-friendly than in the east or north. Plus, it is close to some great beaches such as Antona and Williamstown. If the beach is not enough, there is also Maribyrnong River where many go fishing, or just cycling and walking by the river.

This area is constantly developing and expanding its offer of pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, which is why it is such a popular place to hang out. Seddon, Yarraville, and Footscray are the places you should keep an eye on if you are looking for affordable housing in Melbourne’s suburban area.

North Suburbs

Northern parts of the town are also pricey, but that is because they are packed with popular hot spots, and it is a place where everyone goes when looking for an excellent cup of coffee. A lot of good coffee places, modern pubs, unique shops, and excellent food are the reason why so many young people like to hang around this area, but also to live here. Brunswick, Carlton, Collingwood, Northcote, Fitzroy, and North Melbourne have really expensive rents. But if you go a bit further north, some areas are still cool, and slightly less expensive. For example, Preston, Coburg, or Thornbury.

Tips on Things You Can Do in Your Free Time

One of the best things you can do in your free time is to try indoor skydiving. If you ever wanted to try skydiving or to jump out of a plane, then going into a wind tunnel simulator will help you get the idea of how it feels. But besides that, check out some other things that will certainly make you feel more as a Melbournian, and help you get to know Melbourne’s hidden gems.

  • Coffee– residents of Melbs have a strong cafe culture; there are numerous roasters, and you will undoubtedly find your cup of coffee in Melbs. There is even a coffee expo, and Melbourne’s baristas are known worldwide. If you do not know where to start, do not worry, there are coffee tours around town that will show you all the right places.
  • Street art– if you are into graffiti and stuff you can find in Los Angeles or Miami, you can find it in Melbs, too. Certain areas are officially approved by the city council for street art, so you can find some exceptional works of art in the streets of Melbs.
  • Botanic gardens– if you want to take your pets to Australia, do not forget to visit botanic gardens close to the town center. It is a green oasis and a place where you can escape from the urban jungles of Melbs when you want to chill. This is a popular place for jogging, walking, meditating, or doing outdoor yoga.
  • Greek food– did you know that Melbs has the largest population of Greeks living outside of Athens, and you can always stumble upon some Greek events and dinners. Do not miss visiting the Hellenic museum, shops, food corners, and feel the taste of Greece in Aussieland.
  • Penguins– forget about koalas and kangaroos because, at St. Kilda beach, you can occasionally spot penguins. This colony is here since the 1970s, and you can spot them during the evening hours
  • Aboriginal art – there are several galleries where you can see pieces of Aboriginal art and learn more about their fascinating culture and art. Besides that, the art scene is so active that it has more than 100 galleries, ideal for art lovers.

Just One Last Thing

Australia is far, like 9,437 miles far, from the US, and non-stop flights can last around 15 hours, depending on where you are flying. So we guess you would not be coming home on weekends to visit your family that often. Make sure you know what to pack for moving abroad and that you have enough boxes and moving supplies so that you can do it all in one shot before you move everything to your new home and become an Aussie.

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