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Residential Neighborhoods in Melbourne

Are you planning to relocate to Melbourne? Australia’s second-largest city beats its rival Sydney in many respects. Expatriates appreciate the quality of life and the city’s diverse heritage. The InterNations guide on moving to Melbourne introduces the metropolis, visa types, and residential areas.
Located in the suburb of South Yarra, the Royal Botanic Gardens are only one of Melbourne's many parks.
Once you have successfully arranged your visa application, you will probably want to consider where in the Melbourne area you’d like to live. This decision is most likely dependent upon the location of your workplace, and maybe your partner’s job or your children’s school. These are some of the key factors to help you determine in which part of the greater metropolitan area to settle.

The Municipalities of Greater Melbourne

As mentioned on the first page, the vast Melbourne metro region includes 31 smaller municipalities. Most of them are located outside the Inner Melbourne area:    

  • Northern metro area: Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea
  • Eastern metropolitan Melbourne: Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges
  • Southeastern metro area: Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Frankston, Glen Eira, Kingston, Monash, Mornington Peninsula
  • Western Melbourne region: Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Metton, Moonee Valley, Wyndham

Within the scope of this introduction to Melbourne, we can unfortunately not introduce all these smaller cities, towns, and shires in detail. Below, we will briefly present the four municipalities of Inner Melbourne and some of their popular residential suburbs.

Please note the use of suburb in Australian English: It does not refer to an outlying part of a city, but it just means district or neighborhood.

Inner Melbourne: The City of Melbourne and Port Philipp

The City of Melbourne includes the city center and 15 inner-city suburbs. Single expats and couples without children may opt for the suburbs of DocklandsMelbourne/CBD (Central Business District) or East Melbourne when looking for a new home. Accommodation in these areas often caters to high-income residents. Younger “DINKS” (couples with a double income and no kids) flock to the new developments of the Docklands. East Melbourne attracts an older, more established population.  

Multi-cultural Carlton and green Parkville have a fairly young demographic structure. This is due to their proximity to the University of Melbourne campus and the many national and overseas students that live in the area. An equally young population composed of students as well as professionals in their 20s and 30s can be found in Southbank, a popular shopping, nightlife and entertainment district. Expat families with kids, on the other hand, might prefer the gentrified suburb of Kensington/Flemington or the less expensive rentals in North Melbourne, according to their budget.

Among the seven suburbs of Port Philipp, southeast to central Melbourne, some foreign residents could be particularly interested in St Kilda Road. This suburb is home to a number of overseas consulates, and is thus relevant to expats working as diplomatic staff. Moreover, densely settled Elwood Ripponlea and the formerly industrial area of Port Melbourne are both experiencing population growth. They may address the needs of house hunters better than, for example, the commercial areas of busy and touristy St Kilda.

Inner Melbourne: Stonnington and Yarra

Also located southeast of Central Melbourne, but further inland than Port Philipp, the City of Stonnington includes another eight suburbs. Their population mainly consists of white-collar residents. Most of them are employed in management positions or work as professionals. Thus they fit the profile of a high-qualified expat pretty well.

As an established residential area, the Stonnington district of Glen Iris might be of potential interest to older residents and families with older children. The latter could also be attracted by Toorak’s private schools. However, the younger urbanites flock to the rental accommodations of Prahran or South Yarra. With 35% of its residents born overseas, South Yarra has Stonnington’s highest percentage of foreign inhabitants, too.

Confusingly enough, the suburb of South Yarra does not belong to the City of Yarra, which is adjacent to the eastern part of central Melbourne. Choosing from its ten suburbs, more affluent expats might go for gentrified Carlton NorthCentral Richmond or Cremorne, with its gardens, golf course, and sports facilities. Families with small kids often settle in Clifton Hall, a mixed industrial and residential area with lots of open space. Suburbs like Collingwood and North Richmond, though, feature not only a large Vietnamese community, but also more lower-income households than the rest of Yarra. 



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