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Moving to Melbourne

Melbourne is a coastal city encircling Port Philip Bay in the Australian state of Victoria. It is known for its natural beauty, which is complemented by the angular and avant-garde designs of its iconic skyscrapers.

For expats, moving to Melbourne means immersing themselves in one of Australia's most multicultural and cosmopolitan centres. Waves of immigration have led to the establishment of enclaves for British, Italian, Greek, Chinese and Indian communities, each with its own unique character, distinctive customs, festivities, food and art.

Living in Melbourne as an expat

Like any urban hub, Melbourne thrives on the luxuries of the good life such as a vibrant cafe culture and trendy nightlife, a huge selection of shopping malls and eateries, as well as art galleries and speciality stores. Melbourne is also an immensely attractive city with beautiful historical buildings, cobbled European-style lanes and equally eye-catching public parks and gardens.

The job market in Melbourne is broad and offers many job opportunities, particularly in healthcare, IT, science, engineering, education and construction. The work culture in Australia might take some getting used to, as it tends to be more relaxed, informal and egalitarian than what expats may be accustomed to.

Accommodation in Melbourne is generally quite expensive, especially high-rise apartments in the city centre. Expats with children usually prefer the more spacious – and affordable – housing in the suburbs of Melbourne. The property market moves fast in Melbourne, and it may take a little time for expats to find, apply for and be approved for accommodation well suited to them.

Public transport in Melbourne is efficient and well maintained, making it easy to get around. The city offers transport in the form of trams, trains, buses and taxis. Expats living far out from the city centre may find having their own vehicle useful.

Newcomers will be glad to hear that healthcare in Melbourne, like the rest of Australia, is largely government-funded and universal. That said, certain aspects may not be covered, so we suggest expats still get health insurance.

Cost of living in Melbourne

Life in Melbourne is expensive, and the cost of living might deter some expats. In fact, the once-sleepy southern port city is now ranked among the top 60 most expensive cities in the world, and expats will need to keep this in mind when looking for work and negotiating salaries. Accommodation is especially expensive and expats should consider the area in which they settle down carefully. Luckily the public transport system makes moving about easy and relatively cost-efficient.

Expat families and children

When it comes to deciding where to live, Melbourne's expats generally prefer the leafier outlying suburbs with their quiet streets and proximity to schools. Government schools in Melbourne are free for residents and citizens, and education is generally of excellent quality throughout Australia. Non-government schools are often Catholic schools, but private schools are also an option, though often expensive. There are a few international schools in Melbourne, but none that teach the curricula of other countries; only those that offer the International Baccalaureate.

Three main pastimes excite and unite Melbournians regardless of background: sport, food and wine. The city presents a fantastic lifestyle – it has repeatedly been voted as one of the world’s most 'liveable' cities, and with good reason. There are also countless of opportunities for nearby family getaways and weekend breaks in Melbourne.

Climate in Melbourne

The weather in Melbourne can be erratic and unpredictable. The city has a temperate oceanic climate and severe weather conditions can be a problem. The winter months are cool, but snow is rare.

Melbourne is a friendly, diverse city with much to explore and good living conditions. Expats moving here will have a good time and may be pleasantly surprised by the conviviality of the locals. Many expats live a happy, fulfilling life in Australia’s capital, and many often stay much longer than anticipated.

Weather in Melbourne

Melbourne has a temperate oceanic climate and is known for its rapidly-changing weather conditions. As a result, residents often describe Melbourne's typical weather as being 'four seasons in one day'.

In the hottest months of summer, January and February, temperatures tend to hover around 78°F (25°C), though it can get substantially hotter. In the spring and summer months, cold fronts can cause severe weather, including thunderstorms, hail, heavy rain, floods and gales.

In the winter months, between June and August, temperatures average between 43°F (6°C) and 59°F (15°C). Melbourne experiences cooler temperatures in autumn and some frost and fog in winter, but snow is rare.

 

Working in Melbourne

Melbourne’s high quality of life and vibrant culture attract expats from all over the world. In the gold rush era of the 1850s, Melbourne was one of the British Empire's wealthiest mining cities. While these mineral riches are no longer the key driver for its present-day economy, Melbourne still glitters, and it embraces a history of welcoming migrant workers from around the globe.

These days, Melbourne has an exceptionally multicultural workplace where an expat employee is likely to find themselves working in a team with colleagues from a variety of cultural backgrounds.


Job market in Melbourne

In recent years, there has been a rise in the demand for workers in several of Melbourne’s industries. At the top of this list are the healthcare and ICT industries. Science and technology workers are also in demand, as are those in the industries of engineering, education and construction.

Many opportunities exist in regional Victoria for expats willing to live in the smaller towns and cities that have more urgent demand for skilled employees.


Finding a job in Melbourne

A good starting point for job seekers are online job portals and local newspapers. It is also worthwhile to visit the websites of individual companies to check if there are any vacancies listed. Recruitment agencies are another helpful resource when finding work in Melbourne.


Work culture in Melbourne

Energy, capability and a positive attitude are the key personal qualities that will endear an expat to their new work colleagues in Melbourne, far more so than impressive qualifications.

Australian workplace culture reflects the relaxed informality of everyday Australian life. There is no standing on ceremony, and relations between management and staff are informal, though still businesslike. Expats who are used to working in formal environments may take some time to adjust.

Cost of Living in Melbourne

Melbourne may be the second most expensive city in Australia after Sydney, but for expats who need to stick to a budget and a low cost of living, there are plenty of ways to save money in the city, particularly when it comes to life’s 'non-essentials'. 

Melbourne is ranked as the world's 67th most expensive city out of the 227 cities surveyed for Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living Survey. Though ranked below Sydney, it's more expensive than Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.


Cost of accommodation in Melbourne

The biggest outlay for expats in Melbourne will be the cost of accommodation. Rental prices near the city centre can be particularly high. As with most cities, the further outside of the city one lives, the more money one can save – but there are nonetheless some hotspots with high prices even an hour or more outside of Melbourne's main centre of activity. 


Cost of public transport in Melbourne

To get around, most people in Melbourne find public transport to be the cheapest and most convenient option. To avoid traffic jams, high parking fees and fluctuating fuel prices, it’s not uncommon for city-dwelling expats to avoid owning a car altogether. 


Cost of food in Melbourne

While it's home to a plethora of fine-dining restaurants, Melbourne also has an assortment of great places to eat out without breaking the bank. In the city centre and the suburbs, diners will find restaurants where they can eat fantastic food for little more than the cost of a fast-food meal. Locals are proud of the city's 'cheap eats' and will probably be more than happy to provide recommendations.

Grocery prices in Melbourne are largely in line with Australia’s average pricing. For expats who want great fresh produce, a lively atmosphere and lower prices, visiting the markets will be the best option. Fresh food markets can be found in the city centre and suburbs all around Melbourne, and it's usually well worth taking the time to explore these bustling food centres.


Cost of living in Melbourne chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for November 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 1,818

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 1,489

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 3,427

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 2,322

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

AUD 5.36

Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.95

Rice (1kg)

AUD 3.08

Loaf of white bread

AUD 3.33

Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 12.27

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  

AUD 40

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 13.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.78

Cappuccino

AUD 4.75

Bottle of local beer

AUD 10

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

AUD 120

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.25

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 75.26

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

AUD 218

Transportation 

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 1.80

Bus/train fare in the city centre

AUD 4.60

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 2.06

Accommodation in Melbourne

Accommodation in Melbourne varies in size and quality, with something to suit every taste and budget. Competition for accommodation is fierce and the market moves at a rapid pace, so expats will need to act quickly if they find something they like.

Most foreigners moving to the metropolis opt to rent accommodation – a practical decision due to the high costs attached to buying property in Australia. Melbourne tends to have more affordable rental properties than other state capitals in Australia, such as Sydney and Canberra.

Though rental prices vary greatly, expats can inevitably expect a hefty price tag on high-rise apartments in the city centre or properties in sought-after beachside suburbs.


Types of accommodation in Melbourne

Many expats who move to Melbourne live in apartments (also called ‘flats’), since these are the most common rentals. Upmarket flats in the city centre tend to be more expensive than flats in outlying areas.

Houses are more suitable for families, but these tend to be located in the suburbs. Rental houses in Melbourne are often built in an older style and are less equipped for extreme temperatures. More modern accommodation may have air-conditioning units.

Before choosing accommodation, expats will need to select a suburb to live in. There are plenty of appealing areas in Melbourne, and before deciding, logistical aspects, such as proximity to Melbourne’s city centre, public transportation and the accessibility of services and amenities, should be considered.


Finding accommodation in Melbourne

There are a number of ways to search for accommodation in Melbourne, and most properties are managed by real-estate agents. There are many advantages to working directly with estate agents, as they have good knowledge of the city and often have access to properties before they are publicly advertised.

For those who decide to go it alone, local newspapers are a good source as are real-estate websites and online property portals. Word of mouth and connecting with other expats can also be a good way to find leads that are off the beaten track.

Bear in mind that rental advertisements often list a weekly rather than monthly price, so be sure to double-check the period that the cost of rent is quoted for before celebrating a good deal.


Renting accommodation in Melbourne

Making an application

To rent accommodation, applicants will need to provide references as well as numerous documents proving their identity. This is done according to a national standard known as the 100-point check, where various types of ID documents are each assigned a particular amount of points based on importance. Applicants must submit documents with a total value of at least 100 points to be considered.

Leases and deposits

Leases for rental properties in Melbourne are usually for one year and require a month’s rent as a deposit. The deposit is refundable and is usually returned at the end of the tenancy, provided no damage was done to the property. Otherwise, cleaning or repair costs will be taken out of the deposit before the balance is refunded.

Paying rent

Rent for accommodation in Melbourne is typically payable at the end of each month, or in some cases fortnightly, either to the estate agent or the landlord.

Utilities

Utility bills are usually not included in the rental price and are the responsibility of the tenant. When searching for accommodation, expats should be sure to consider the added cost of utilities in Melbourne.

Australian housing, including that in Victoria, is generally quite energy inefficient, and bills for electricity, gas and water can accumulate quickly.

Areas and suburbs in Melbourne

The best places to live in Melbourne

Finding the right area or suburb to live in is an important step for all new arrivals in Melbourne. An expat's neighbourhood becomes their immediate community and will shape day-to-day experiences such as commuting, shopping, entertainment and, for those with children, schooling.

When choosing housing in Melbourne, a good starting point for expats is to consider the kind of lifestyle they’re after: convenient city living, beachside sun and sand, family-oriented comfort or a more lively bohemian area.


City-dweller areas in Melbourne

Docklands

Docklands

Docklands is a bustling riverside suburb comprised of trendy apartment buildings and impressive architecture. The area is popular with young professionals, particularly high-flying business types who work in the adjacent Melbourne Central Business District. Apartments in Docklands are typically pricey, but make up for it with facilities such as gyms and other mod cons on-site. Not to mention the unrivalled views of the Yarra River.

Port Melbourne

Port Melbourne is a fairly recently renovated suburb that offers inner-city bayside living with class and convenience. Despite being one of the more expensive suburbs in the city, Port Melbourne attracts young couples and singles who don’t mind forking out for the lifestyle the area offers. Residents also have easy access to public transport to almost anywhere in Melbourne.


Beachside living in Melbourne

Black Rock

Black Rock

The community of Black Rock is known to be friendly and welcoming, and expats are sure to feel at home in no time. This family-friendly suburb is a great place to raise children thanks to the excellent schools and the predominantly active lifestyle.

Black Rock has countless options for healthy outdoor activities, be it a boot camp on the beach, running in the local parks, the various sports facilities or the many walking/cycling trails. Not to mention the abundance of trendy cafes and restaurants in the area.

Williamstown

On any given sunny summer’s evening in Williamstown, it feels like everyone’s on holiday. The beachside park fills with locals and nearby residents, all out to make the most of the long warm days. This seaside suburb is just a short train ride away from the inner city, but it feels like the urban sprawl has been left far behind.

Historic buildings and impressive old homes add to the ‘country town’ feel of Williamstown, though they also add to the high prices of local housing. The suburb has a great family atmosphere, but the cute cafes and eateries also make it popular with young professionals who want to live somewhere a bit removed from the city hubbub.


Young and trendy areas in Melbourne

Melbourne

Brunswick

Well suited for singles and couples, Brunswick is a laid-back suburb with plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars. Situated just a few miles from the city centre, Brunswick residents tend to shun cars and opt for the convenience of tram travel. Brunswick is a hive of creativity and unconventionality packed with culture and diversity.

Richmond

For the convenience of city living but the friendliness of suburbia, Richmond is hard to beat. Parts of Richmond are walking distance to the CBD, and the whole suburb is well connected by public transport.

Richmond is a large suburb filled with fantastic eateries and shopping, and it attracts a variety of residents, from young professionals and small families to students. The area is rapidly growing in popularity and there's frequent construction work, which can be inconvenient. Still, for those who want to be in the beating multicultural heart of Melbourne, there’s no better place.


Family-friendly areas in Melbourne

Burwood

Hawthorn

Although it lies close to the city centre, Hawthorn has a distinctly suburban feel to it. It's a stunning leafy suburb with plenty of large freestanding homes as well as cheaper apartment options. The proximity of the main Deakin University campus gives it the status of a university suburb and means housing is more affordable, though property prices have been on the rise recently.

Sandringham

A leafy bayside town only a few miles from the city, Sandringham has a relaxed, family-friendly feeling tempered by a touch of prestige. The houses in Sandringham are often gorgeous examples of fine old architecture with lavish layouts. Expats don’t have to leave the suburb for great food, and the suburb's handy little shopping village looks like it’s been lifted from a country town. There are plenty of fine schools nearby, so it’s a good place to settle for those with children. With its impressive architecture and beach-side properties, this suburb is one of the more expensive areas in Melbourne.

Healthcare in Melbourne

Healthcare in Melbourne is governed by the same hybrid public-private sector service provision as in the rest of Australia. The national universal healthcare insurance scheme known as Medicare can be used by permanent visa holders and allows access to public health services. Those with temporary visas aren't eligible for Medicare and we advise that expats in this position invest in comprehensive private health insurance.

Still, even expats who are eligible to take advantage of the public system will find that certain aspects of healthcare aren't covered, with the private system filling in the gaps. These extras can be incredibly expensive without coverage, which is why even permanent residents who are eligible for Medicare may wish to take out additional private health insurance.

Below are some of Melbourne's major hospitals.


Hospitals in Melbourne

The Alfred

www.alfredhealth.org.au
Address: 55 Commercial Rd, Melbourne

Austin Hospital

www.austin.org.au
Address: 145 Studley Road, Heidelburg

Epworth Freemasons

www.epworth.org.au
Address: 109 Albert Street, East Melbourne

Cabrini Malvern

www.cabrini.com.au
Address: 181-183 Wattletree Road, Malvern

St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

www.svhm.org.au
Address: 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy

Education and Schools in Melbourne

One of the foremost concerns for expat parents will be ensuring that their children have access to good education in their new home. Melbourne has a number of good government schools, and also a few highly rated private and independent schools.

With few schools in Melbourne offering the curriculum of a foreign country, only some nationalities have the option of continuing with their home country's schooling. A good alternative for expats is the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which is recognised worldwide and offered by several schools in Melbourne.


Government schools in Melbourne

Public schools in Melbourne are open to any child regardless of their parents' visa status. Education is free for citizens and residents, but non-residents may be required to pay tuition fees. It is best for expat parents to consult with Victoria's Department of Education and Training to find out whether they will need to pay fees and how much.

Certain residential zones belong to specific catchment areas in Australia. The division of these areas is strict and an expat's inclusion in an area may come down to which side of the road they live on. It is possible to attend a school outside of an assigned area, but only if that school has space available. For this reason, it is often best to base accommodation on desired school zones. Information on catchment zones is available on the official website.


Non-government schools in Melbourne

Most of Melbourne's non-government schools are Catholic schools, commonly referred to as ‘private schools’. Although Catholic students from the area around the school are given preference, non-Catholic students may be admitted if there is space.

Non-Catholic private schools are commonly called 'independent schools'. Independent schools follow a particular religious or educational philosophy or curriculum, such as Islam, Montessori or a particular vocation.


International schools in Melbourne

With just a handful of international schools available in Melbourne, many parents who want their children to continue studying their home curriculum may be out of luck. Most of the city's international schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) – a standard international programme – which means these schools are an ideal solution for expat parents who move around a lot. Among the international schools are a few Specialist Language schools, which include Greek, Japanese, German and French schools.

Melbourne's international schools offer high-quality education at high prices, but in some cases, parents may be able to negotiate an education allowance with their employers. This kind of financial support can be very helpful, although parents should keep in mind that there may be additional expenses above and beyond school fees, such as for uniforms and textbooks.


Special-needs education in Melbourne

Melbourne has a comprehensive programme for students with special educational needs. Working with schools and health specialists, parents can draw up an ‘individual education plan’ for their child. This plan is tailored to the individual's needs, focusing on developing strengths and identifying weaknesses, and is reviewed at least once per school term.

Students with a first language other than English can elect to take English as a Second Language (ESL) unit. This unit provides intensive English courses at language schools or centres and is usually between four to 48 weeks.


Tutors in Melbourne

There are a number of reputable tutor companies in and around Melbourne offering a range of services. Tutors can be useful to expat children struggling with a particular subject or who just need a bit of help getting into the swing of a new schooling system.

Recommended tutoring companies in Melbourne include LearnMate Tutoring and TuteSmart Melbourne City.

Lifestyle in Melbourne

Melbourne is popular with expats from all around the world, and it brims with interesting attractions and activities. Fabulous shopping opportunities, an active nightlife scene and an eclectic mix of eateries are complemented by a variety of entertainment venues, world-class sports facilities, highly anticipated annual events and luxurious spas.

Melbourne’s nightlife is fairly evenly spread across the city with cocktail lounges, underground dance clubs, pumping bars and live music venues found all over town.


Shopping in Melbourne

Melbourne has a reputation as a shopper’s city. Whether expats are looking for elegant arcades, bustling markets, quirky laneways or shiny megamalls, Melbourne has something for every occasion.

Markets

Melbourne loves a market, which explains why the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere is located right in the CBD.

Queen Victoria Market has been serving up fresh produce and hawking clothes, shoes and various trinkets since the late 1800s. Shoppers will find plenty to taste, try and buy in hundreds of on-site stalls. Many locals travel to the markets to buy fresh fish, but it is also possible to find almost any ingredient imaginable here, from fragrant herbs and vegetables to delicious cheeses and spices.

There are plenty of markets in the Melbourne suburbs as well, ranging from fresh produce or farmers’ markets to arts and crafts or trash and treasure markets.

Arcades and laneways

This is where the true heart of Melbourne lies – in the twisting laneways and hidden arcades that host unique boutiques and oddity merchants. It is possible to live in Melbourne for years and still stumble across a great new shopping find in a laneway, and it can be fun to devote a day of aimless wandering around the city centre discovering hidden gems.


Sports in Melbourne

Melbourne is well known as the sporting capital of Australia. The Australian Football League  (AFL), or Aussie Rules football as the locals call it, is by far the most popular sport played in the city. Expats can join a team, or opt to spend a weekend in Melbourne attending one of many AFL games held from March to September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Docklands Stadium. Don't forget to buy a beer and a pie to get into the spirit of the event.

The 100,000-seater MCG’s vibe is electric. Watching a cricket game here is an essential experience, and expats should certainly not pass up the opportunity, particularly if a touring international team is in town.

The tennis at the Australian Open in January is another sporting highlight, attracting hardened tennis fans and new supporters alike.


Nightlife in Melbourne

The hidden ‘laneways’ – narrow pedestrian pathways – are a distinctive part of Melbourne, and many drinking establishments catering to countless different crowds can be found here,  from upmarket bars and cool lounges playing funky tunes to backpacker pubs and edgy watering holes.

Once the workweek is over, those who have put in hard hours tend to head straight to happy hour at their favourite bar or pub.


See and do in Melbourne

Expats will find weekends in Melbourne vibrant and exciting, and there are plenty of sights to explore.

Federation Square

Federation Square is a public open-air area popular with locals. There is always a hive of activity here with various events, cultural showcases, art displays and public broadcasts on the go.

National Gallery of Victoria

The National Gallery of Victoria, or the NGV, is a must-see for art lovers. It is Australia's largest, oldest and most visited art museum. With more than 75,000 pieces in its collection, the NGV boasts a wide selection of art for visitors to explore.

Queen Victoria Market

Covering around seven hectares, the Queen Victoria Market is the southern hemisphere's largest open-air market. It's a perfect spot to buy affordable fruit, vegetables and meats as well as clothes, souvenirs, shoes and accessories.

Old Melbourne Gaol

This three-storey museum once functioned as a prison between 1842 and 1929. During this time, more than a hundred criminals were hanged, including serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming and bushranger Ned Kelly.


What's on in Melbourne

Melbourne is a city constantly buzzing with activity and home to many exciting yearly events. Here are a few of Melbourne's not-to-be-missed annual festivals, sporting events and celebrations.

Australian Open Tennis Championships (January)

The Australian Open is one of the biggest sporting events, not only in Australia, but the world. Sports lovers will be enthralled as some of the biggest names in tennis come to Australia to compete in this renowned competition.

Moomba Festival (March)

The Moomba Festival has been around for decades and attracts millions of attendees a year. Featuring activities such as parades, watersports, fireworks and carnivals, Moomba is one of Melbourne’s biggest and brightest festivals. Best of all, attendance is completely free.

Melbourne Cup (November)

One of the most popular events on Melbourne’s social calendar, the Melbourne Cup has been going since 1861 and is a prime opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a day at the races.

Carols by Candlelight (December)

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is the setting of Carols by Candlelight, a festive Christmas eve event attracting large crowds. The carols range from contemporary to traditional, and the proceeds go to Vision Australia.


Where to meet people and make friends in Melbourne

Sports and activities abound throughout Melbourne and expats can easily find a group that fits them. Below are a few groups where expats can meet people and build social relationships.

Hawthorne Cycling Club

This cycling club gathers a few times per week on rides in and around Melbourne. Rides vary in speed, fitness level and distance, and the club even does annual camps. A membership fee is requiredd, but this comes with personal accident, public liability & loss of income benefits.

Melbourne Camera Club

For photography enthusiasts, this club is the perfect place to meet like-minded individuals. This welcoming group encourages photographers of all levels, ages and techniques to join and explore photography through workshops, courses and competitions.

'Cafe Games' - Melbourne Board Games Club

Perfect for anyone who enjoys strategy and casual board games in a social setting. With online and in-person events, expats are sure to meet new and interesting people and make new friends.

Two Hands rooftop bar

Australians love a good beer, so making friends with locals is easy at the Two Hands rooftop bar. With good food and a range of events, expats can feel at ease and get together over a brew.

Weekend breaks in Melbourne

While Melbourne has a lot to offer, the grind of urban life can sometimes leave expats in need of a break from the city. Luckily, the region around Melbourne provides plenty of opportunities for a weekend escape.

For weekend breaks close to home, it’s a choice between coast or countryside, but expats will also find that in a country the size of Australia, locals think nothing of flying or driving long distances.


Recommended weekend breaks in Melbourne

Daylesford

Daylesford is known for its luxurious spas and quaint bed and breakfasts. The Lake House at Daylesford is one of Victoria’s premier fine-dining destinations with a menu featuring locally-sourced seasonal produce. Wine enthusiasts are also sure to enjoy a trip to Daylesford, as it is considered one of Australia's top regions for pinot noir.

The Great Alpine Road

Running between Wangaratta in the north and Bairnsdale in the east, the Great Alpine Road is perfect for a road trip. Travellers along the Great Alpine Road can take in a variety of landscapes along the way, from stunning mountainous scenery to breathtaking views of valleys, forests and rivers. With various national parks and alpine resorts on the route, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as mountain climbing, canoeing, hang gliding and, in the winter, skiing.

The Great Ocean Road

Many tourists make day trips to this stunning stretch of coastline along Australia's southwestern edge. Expats should be sure to check out the Great Ocean Road’s famous rock formations, the Twelve Apostles. Another must-see on this drive are the relics of seafaring tragedies that are still visible along the aptly named Shipwreck Coast. Many of the ships that sank here date back to the gold rush era of the 1800s.

Mornington Peninsula

A weekend away is a great opportunity for a Mornington Peninsula adventure. Situated to the south of Melbourne, the peninsula is one of Melbourne residents’ favourite summer getaways. The roaring surf and secluded beaches are perfect for surfing, diving or just a stroll along the shore, while the hot springs are just the ticket after a stressful week.

Kids and Family in Melbourne

Expat children moving to Melbourne will scarcely have time to miss their friends back home since this fun-filled coastal city has tons to see and do.

The communities that make up Melbourne’s melting-pot culture place a high value on family life and are known to be child friendly. There's a wide variety of family-friendly suburbs in Melbourne, and most families live in standalone houses rather than apartments, affording more space and usually a garden. With at least six months a year of warm, dry weather, kids can partake in countless fun outdoor activities.


Education and schools in Melbourne

With both public and private education in Melbourne, and an extensive range of subjects to choose from, parents can rest assured that expat children will be going into a good school environment. Some schools provide a bus service, but for parents without this option and who need to get across Melbourne’s sprawling suburbia, a car is essential.


Out and about with kids in Melbourne

Melbourne caters for all types of families, from the adventurous to the artistic, and there's always plenty to see and do in the city.

For children who love animals, there are a number of zoos in and around the city, filled with weird and wonderful creatures. Collingwood Children’s Farm gives city kids a glimpse at farm life. A little further out from the city, families can head to Philip Island to see penguins.

The beach is the place to be in summer, and Melbourne's gorgeous coastline promises hours of fun in the sun.


Arts and entertainment for kids in Melbourne

During school holidays, children of all ages can enjoy an outing to Luna park – a carnival with something for everyone. Kids can learn while having fun with hands-on interactive technology exhibits at Scienceworks, or they can splash paint about at an art class.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image and The National Gallery of Victoria both run lively kids’ holiday programmes where children can interact with demonstrations and artworks.

Shipping and Removals in Melbourne

Relocating can be stressful, so it's important to have the right service provider to assist in the relocation process. It is also essential that expats make themselves familiar with the customs regulations and restrictions on certain goods prior to shipping any household contents.

Besides the actual shipping and transit times, expats must also allow time for customs clearance and delivery. Advice should be available through a shipping and removals company.


Shipping pets and household goods to Melbourne

Expats should be aware that all household goods and personal effects will be subject to customs inspection and clearance. Items that have been owned for 12 months or less will be under more intense scrutiny, but will not necessarily be subject to customs fees.

Shipping pets to Melbourne may require quarantine and necessitates careful planning. It is recommended that expats enlist the help of a pet relocation specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Melbourne

Most expats are a bit nervous about moving to a new country and tend to have queries about various aspects of life in their soon-to-be home.
Below are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about moving to Melbourne. 

Where should I live in Melbourne?

This depends entirely on preference and priorities. Some favoured areas are right in the city centre and are popular with students or young professionals. More family-oriented expats may prefer living further out in the suburbs or on the coast.

Is there a lot to do in the city?

With a number of annual events and local attractions, expats in Melbourne should find it fairly easy to keep themselves entertained. For those looking for adventure and hoping to explore, there are a couple of great road trip destinations for weekend getaways.

Will I experience any culture shock?

Despite some similarities to other Western countries such as the US and UK, expats may still get homesick, compounded by the unfamiliar day-to-day idiosyncrasies of Australian life and culture.

Adapting to any new country can be difficult, but luckily there is a big expat community in Melbourne that can help ease the culture shock.

Can I bring my pet to Australia?

Most likely, yes, but bringing a pet to Australia is a complicated process that requires a lot of documentation and planning. Ideally, expats intending to bring a furry friend with them should consult a relocation company for advice to ensure that all the right steps are followed.

Getting Around in Melbourne

Getting around in Melbourne is easy thanks to an efficient public transport system that includes rail, tram and bus services. The wealth of transport options available allows new arrivals to move about freely and get to grips with the metropolis with ease.

Along with frequent daytime stops, most modes of transport have a 'Night Network' service on weekends that runs every 30 to 60 minutes.

That said, those living in some of the more isolated suburbs of Melbourne might find it handy to have their own wheels. Expats should research transport options thoroughly when considering where to live in Melbourne, checking the official Public Transport Victoria website for more information.


Public transport in Melbourne

Melbourne has an integrated public transport ticketing system, based on the use of a contactless, reusable smartcard referred to as ‘Myki’. The Myki smartcard can be used on all of Melbourne’s trains, trams or buses.

Commuters can buy a weekly, monthly or annual Myki pass, or they can load the card with Myki money which can be used to pay for single journeys. When the Myki money balance gets low or when the pass runs out, commuters simply top up at a station or Myki vendor.

Trams

Trams in Melbourne are frequent, although the trams servicing areas further away from the city centre tend to be somewhat less reliable. There are two free tram routes in Melbourne: the Free Tram Zone in the CBD and the Free Tourist Tram, which stops at various attractions in the city.

Trains

Melbourne’s rail network consists of 16 railway lines and more than 200 stations. Regional services are also available, with seven passenger-railway lines connecting Melbourne to various towns and cities in Victoria. The centre of this regional passenger rail network is Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s city centre.

Bus

The bus network in Melbourne consists of buses operated by several different bus companies under a franchise from the state government. There are around 300 bus routes in operation, some of which provide transport for the outer suburbs of Melbourne that aren't reached by train and tram services.


Taxis in Melbourne

Melbourne has a fleet of bright yellow taxis that operate according to a meter system. Fares are regulated by the government, so there's no risk of being overcharged, but taxis are still the city’s most expensive mode of transport.

There can sometimes be an issue with taxi availability, particularly during peak hours, so it's best to pre-book ahead of time if possible. Taxis are owned by different companies, and each has its own website where rides can be booked.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber are also widely available throughout Melbourne and its outlying suburbs.


Driving in Melbourne

Expats living further away from Melbourne’s inner city will find having a car useful. Expats should note that the city’s highways and roads are known to become congested during peak hours.

Driving in Melbourne is fairly straightforward, especially for those who are used to driving on the left-hand side of the road. One difference that expats might need to get used to is sharing the road with tram services.


Cycling in Melbourne

Melbourne is a cycle-friendly city and has an extensive network of bicycle paths and cycle lanes. These are utilised regularly for commuting to and from work, and for recreation.

Melbourne also has an innovative electric bicycle sharing system known as Lime (formerly JUMP). Anyone wishing to hire a Lime bike can do so through the Uber or Lime app.