Widely regarded as Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne regularly tops lists of the world’s most liveable cities. While this state capital of Victoria lacks the pomp and ostentation found in Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Melbourne's diverse and energetic citizenry have long been at the forefront of Australian innovation.
Dance crazes, film industries, whole sports and artistic movements have all started and flourished in Melbourne, a city whose vibrancy is matched only by the beauty of its surroundings.
Source: Flickr | Alan Lam
Located on the southeast coast in the natural harbour of Port Phillip Bay, amid a stunning array of coastal features which includes the penguin paradise of Phillip Island, Melbourne provides easy access to some of Australia’s most magnificent scenery. The Great Southern Touring Route, which takes in coastal roads, sandy beaches, geological wonders, the Grampian mountain range, ancient aboriginal art and waterfalls is right on the doorstep.
While the colonial centre of the town has left a legacy of narrow lanes and beautifully maintained shopping arcades, the recent economic boom has seen five of Australia’s six largest buildings crowd the skyline, providing homes for large financial institutions and mining conglomerates.
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The historic tram network, the largest in the world, has been modernised as part of Melbourne’s many infrastructure improvements and forms part of an integrated public transport system which aims to reduce the Melburnian suburbanites’ reliance on the automobile.
A city of changeable weather, distinct seasons, ethnic diversity, religious tolerance, excellence in the performing arts and enthusiasm for all things sporting, Melbourne shows no signs of slipping down those global livability rankings anytime soon.
Melbourne is one of Australia’s leading financial centres and its highly diversified economy means there are job opportunities across a wide range of industries. While this city currently has an unemployment rate of just over 6%, there is certainly no shortage of jobs for skilled workers in the right industries. The vast majority of available positions are in industries related to agriculture and mining, manufacturing, life sciences, IT, tourism and the service sector.
Melbourne is also home to a large number of corporate heavyweights, such as BHP, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank Group, Coles Myer and Qantas Airways.
Being a fluent English speaker is a definite advantage for skilled job seekers in Melbourne; however, there are also a wide variety of openings for those who are multilingual or in the process of learning English.
The cost of living in Melbourne is among the highest in Australia; however, it is still less expensive than Sydney. According to numbeo.com, in Melbourne you need 6,184 AUD to maintain the same standard of living that would cost you 7,000 AUD in Sydney.
While the cost of eating out in Melbourne is comparable to that of Sydney, you will pay more in Melbourne for things like beer, internet services and gym memberships.
However, when it comes to rent, groceries, basic utilities and most forms of transportation, Melbourne is cheaper than Sydney. It is also cheaper to buy an apartment in the city centre of Melbourne than in Sydney; however, if you look outside of the CBD you can find lower prices in Sydney.
The property market in Melbourne has been on fire over the last few years, and even though it has cooled off a little of late, clearance rates at Melbourne auctions remain close to 80%. House prices in Melbourne rose by 4.5% last year, although this paled in comparison to Sydney’s staggering 12.2% increases.
Median weekly rent prices for a house in Melbourne are considerably cheaper than those in Sydney – 436 AUD p/w versus 575 AUDp/w – and rental units are also a far better deal in Melbourne, at 391 AUD p/w versus 500 AUD p/w in Sydney.
In Melbourne you can find just about any type of housing you can imagine. While detached single family homes were once the norm, apartment style living is becoming increasingly common, especially close to the CBD.
It should come as no surprise that a city as large as Melbourne has plenty of great communities. Everywhere you turn there are beautiful parks, interesting shops and impressive art and architecture; the hard part is choosing just one place to live:
Family friendly: Balaclava – featuring shops, parks and a wide variety of architecture, this diverse part of Melbourne’s inner south is ideal for those looking to join an eclectic, vibrant community.
Elsternwick – few parts of the city have more character than here. This safe and friendly neighbourhood has loads of federation housing and plenty of trees, shops and restaurants.
Essendon – this family oriented suburb in Melbourne’s inner north-west features wide streets lined by gorgeous old trees. Its three main shopping streets provide a village type atmosphere and a great place to buy a house in Melbourne.
Upmarket: Hawthorn – homes in this upper middle class suburb are certainly not cheap, though they are definitely impressive. This surprisingly diverse area also has plenty of parks, shops, restaurants.
Brighton - picturesque beach, Brighton Public Golf Course and huge homes only 11km from the CBD.
Kew – this is where you will find Melbourne’s elite living in art deco apartments and Victorian mansions. You will also find some of the city’s oldest trees and most impressive gardens here.
Malvern – this upmarket area is clean, quiet, picturesque and rather pricey. The homes here are extremely stylish and range from Victorian and Edwardian monoliths to modern mansions.
Hip and trendy: Fitzroy – close to chic bars, edgy galleries and amazing restaurants, this one of the hippest parts of town, especially if you live on St Georges Road or Gertrude Street.
St. Kilda – apart from the endless array of bars, cafes, secondhand stores and restaurants, this ultra-hip area also offers a wide range of housing, some of which is still relatively affordable.
Footscray – located roughly 5km west of the CBD, Footscray has an extremely diverse mix of styles, cultures and ages. The area’s thriving art scene has also made it a hipster magnet.
Up and coming:Murrumbeena – house prices in this underrated area rose by a whopping 27% last year. Featuring modest houses on large lots, you will also find shops, schools and plenty of trees.
Braybrook – this former housing commission area is reinventing itself in a big way. Located 9km west of the CBD, Braybrook is quiet, safe and green with plenty of affordable housing.
Ashburton – featuring good size houses, tree-lined streets and plenty of parks, those who don’t mind being a little further from the CBD will love this safe and diverse community.
Source: Flickr | Bob Marquart
Cost of moving to Melbourne
The cost of moving to Melbourne will vary a lot depending on how much you want to move and how far it has to go. The following are rough estimates based on the cost of moving a 20 foot shipping container:
If you can’t find something to do in this great city after the sun goes down you aren’t looking hard enough. There is a staggering selection of restaurants, you can find wine bars, pubs and cocktail lounges to quench your thirst. Whether you are interested in salsa dancing, comedy, the ballet, opera or the orchestra, simply take your pick.
There is almost always an epic sporting event taking place at the MCG; there is Shakespeare in the Gardens all summer long, or if people watching is more your thing, wandering the streets of this diverse city is guaranteed to keep you entertained.
Take a look at our guide to Melbourne nightlife for more ideas for your night out.
Schools and Education
Source: Flickr | Steel Wool
There are around 1,375 schools in Melbourne, the majority of which are government run, while the others are mostly private or religious schools. Most schools cater to both boys and girls and there are also a large number of schools offering International Baccalaureate programs.
Universities in Melbourne
As for post-secondary education, you won’t find too many cities with more options than here. Apart from an extensive network of TAFE community colleges, there are also technical institutions, hospitality schools and trades programs. Melbourne’s seven universities include some of the best in the world, the two highest ranked (according to the World University Rankings) are the following;
- The University of Melbourne (Ranked 33) – Specialties include Biomedicine, Agriculture, Commerce, Music, Dentistry, Government, Arts, Law and Engineering.
- Monash University (Ranked 70) – Specialties include Arts, Law, Business, Engineering, Science, Medicine, IT and Pharmacy.
Ranking against the world
Melbourne has long been one of Australia’s best performing cities, particularly on a global stage. This city’s education system is among the best in the world – with two universities in the world’s top 70 – and it has hosted a wide array of international events ranging from the Olympics and Commonwealth Games to the World Economic Forum.
Melbourne has also consistently performed well on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘most liveable cities in the world’ survey, ranking #1 in 2015.
The world’s first feature film was made in Melbourne, a number of its buildings are World Heritage listed and in 2008 Melbourne was named the second UNESCO City of Literature. Melbourne is also one of the world’s most diverse cities with more than 37% of its residents born outside of the country, making this the perfect place to emigrate to from any part of the world.
Source: Flickr | Charlievdb
A day in the life
Imagine living in a place that is close to work, yet surrounded by local parks; where there is art all over the streets and people from all over the world.
Fancy living somewhere that you can be as active as you like, where you can enjoy world class dining every night of the week and be entertained by some of the world’s best athletes, musicians and performers?
Want your options for a Sunday drive to include destinations like the fairy penguins of Phillip Island, the world famous Bells Beach, or the awe inspiring Great Ocean Road? Stop dreaming of that perfect place and start planning your move to Melbourne.
Melbourne's climate through the seasons
|Spring||September to November||20°C||Windy & erratic|
|Summer||December to February||25°C||low rainfall|
|Autumn||Martch to May||20°C||Rainy|
|Winter||June to August||16°C||Drizzling only|
Making the move to Melbourne soon? Take a look at our Australian visa guide to make sure there are no surprises during the application process!