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Living in Melbourne

Living in Melbourne offers various amenities to locals and foreign residents alike. However, you do need to come well prepared for expat life in Melbourne. The InterNations Guide introduces you to leisure, housing, healthcare, education, and transport in one of Australia’s most livable cities.
Living in Melbourne
  • The combination of Melbourne’s rich heritage and mixture of cultures create a lively and outgoing experience for expats and locals to enjoy.
  • Proof of healthcare is required to receive a temporary visa; you will need a company insurance plan, an international insurance plan, or a private insurance plan.
  • Although the language in public schools is English, expat children may be eligible for additional ESL (English as a second language) classes.
  • The city of Melbourne has the largest tram line in the world, with over 250 kilometers of track to make public transportation as easy as possible.


As we have already mentioned in our article on moving to Melbourne, living in Melbourne, and its metropolitan area, offers the advantages of a multi-cultural population and a high quality of life. Expats can enjoy the city’s many green spaces, as well as plenty of leisure opportunities and a busy event calendar.  


History enthusiasts can explore the local heritage and various aspects of Melbourne’s past at the Melbourne Museum or on a walk dedicated to Victoria’s indigenous culture. Expatriates with kids, on the other hand, will be glad to hear that most children living in Melbourne are fans of the city’s aquarium and zoo. A trip to the Polly Woodside, a 19th-century tall ship, is also a highlight for lots of families.

Moreover, the city’s event schedule caters to both various demographic groups and a wide range of interests. To cite but a few: the Chinese and Vietnamese residents living in Melbourne celebrate their New Year at Yarra’s Victoria Street Lunar Festival, while the Hispanic inhabitants of the area organize the Johnson Street Fiesta. Another great day out is the LGBT pride march in Port Phillip, a definite fixture of life in Melbourne.

If you are planning on living in Melbourne, you might want to mark a few dates in your diary. Sports fans will be able to watch a tennis match at the Australian Open. Movie buffs could attend a screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival — and hope that native stars such as Cate Blanchett pay their hometown a visit. Music lovers have several opportunities to go to free open-air concerts in the park during the summer months, and the Spring Fashion Week will draw every expatriate fashionista living in Melbourne.

Temporary Accommodation

Obviously, in order to enjoy the advantages of living in Melbourne, foreign residents need to go house hunting first. Expats usually opt for two common strategies for finding a new home in Melbourne.

If your schedule, visa, and financial resources allow it, you can go on a fact-finding trip and secure a house or apartment. Alternatively, you can stay in temporary accommodation upon your arrival and look for a home during the first few weeks of your time in Melbourne. In both cases, you will be confronted with a fast-moving property market, a veritable housing boom, and fairly high rents.  Renting in Melbourne can be an expensive pursuit, as average house rental prices rose 5.3% in twelve months between January 2015 and January 2016. However, renters will be happy to hear that there is no major shortage since apartment development is expanding rapidly.  An abundance of new apartment complexes are currently being built inside and around Melbourne.

Nonetheless, please note that this does not mean costs will drop anytime soon. Experts believe that supply will not outstrip demand as more and more new residents flock toward life in Melbourne. Unfortunately, although the rent is cheaper than it is in Sydney and Perth, living in Melbourne does come at a price!

If you prefer temporary accommodation, you should book in advance. There are short-stay accommodation websites, which can offer deals as low as 80 AUD per night. However, the average price range for single room short-term accommodation is 130-160 AUD per night.

Some expats prefer to choose a touristy option by camping in one of Melbourne’s caravan parks. The bare minimum room in these parks typically starts at around 95 AUD a night, but there are more extravagant options available, so you can camp in style.  Caravan park accommodation can be booked at:

Temporary flatshares are advertised in local papers, like the Age or the Herald Sun.  

Finding a New Home

Melbourne’s newspapers — as cited above — are also a good starting point for finding regular housing in the metropolitan area. Other ways and means include online portals (e.g. real estatereal estate view or domain) and asking a real estate agent for help. If your new employer or friends can’t recommend an agent, try searching the database of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

The most common type of housing in Melbourne is a terraced-style building. You can rent an entire house, or it may be subdivided into several apartments. The rent depends on the neighborhood (“suburb”) where you live. In August 2016, the median rent in metropolitan Melbourne was 470 AUD per week, with a weekly 750 AUD for three-bedroom apartments and an average 410 AUD for one-bedroom flats. The index used to retrieve this information applies to both furnished and unfurnished rooms. 

Once you have found your ideal accommodation for living in Melbourne, do not hesitate to make your interest clear. Competition is fierce, and real estate agents do not only expect potential tenants to make personal appointments, but in some cases, you may also need to hand in written applications or references.



We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Alain Nguyen

"It was easier getting to know other expatriates in Melbourne with this platform and to share our previous experiences in Australia. "

Samantha Greene

"I love the idea of going out with other expats here in Melbourne and exploring the nightlife this city has to offer. "

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