An Expat Guide to Melbourne

July 28, 2014

in australia, Melbourne, moving abroad, travel tips

Melbourne is the second most densely populated metropolis in Australia. Known for its diversity and speed of growth, anyone considering relocating to Melbourne has much to learn about this exciting city.

The following information serves as an expat’s guide, designed to provide an overview of what you can expect when transitioning to a new life in Melbourne.  Whether you’re relocating across the country or from abroad, a move to Melbourne requires effort. However, the more information you have, the easier this transition will be.

Experience Melbourne First-Hand

Melbourne is a city known for its mild and variable marine climate. One of the best ways to prepare for the change is to plan to visit the city before moving. Taking the time to choose a neighbourhood, sight see, secure employment and arrange for personal needs is likely to pay off in the long-run.  Moderately priced accommodations, such as those found at the Sleep&Go, are just a short distance the Melbourne Airport. This initial ‘pilot trip’ will provide a great deal of valuable information. You can also visit HotelsCombined for more great accommodation deals in Melbourne

Packing and Shipping your Belongings

One of the most expensive aspects of your relocation will involve moving and shipping your belongings. It’s important to factor in replacement costs and potential risks to items during transit. Compare prices and speak to others about their experiences. This is the ideal time to begin downsizing. Cut back wherever possible, and weigh the costs of storage and the wear and tear of furniture and household items during transit.

It is well-worth covering your belongings with adequate insurance and purchasing travel insurance to cover you during the transition. Additionally, the period between January and March is summertime in Australia; moves during this time are generally more expensive.

Rentals and Housing

The advantage of taking time to secure housing comes from the fact that Melbourne is experiencing intense rental demands.  The city’s population is increasing so rapidly that although public housing is available, home rentals can be costly. Therefore, it’s helpful to allow time to look for housing arrangements that are suited to your individual specifications and budget requirements.

Most real estate agencies schedule appointments during weekdays and apartment units are available for viewing on the weekends. Sites such as can help with finding an apartment. ‘Serviced’ apartments offer a temporary solution while settling in Melbourne. The majority of rent payments are due monthly and some units allow for payment by credit card (with a fee attached).


Work and Investing

Many expats are gainfully employed in Melbourne. From biotech and manufacturing to construction and education, these employment prospects provide a variety of options. While a business sponsor or work visa is required, additional openings are available through the Overseas Qualification Unit. This organisation serves to help train and connect expats with employment.

Web sites such as also provide listings for job openings, and some newcomers choose to hire a recruiter. You can also find workspace at FindMyWorkSpace. It’s important to note that Australia requires employers to place a percentage of their income into a retirement plan.  Additionally, new arrivals with the appropriate documentation and qualifications may be eligible for investment opportunities and business loans with reasonable rates.

Banking in Melbourne

The rates and services vary between banks in Melbourne. As with everything involved in the move, it helps to explore options. Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank are some of the better known banks in Australia. You’ll find most bank personnel are welcoming and ready to meet your needs. In order to open a new bank account, you’ll be required to provide residential verification, three months’ prior bank statements and a copy of your passport that has been certified.

Transport in and Around the City

While there is a cohesive system for public transport in Melbourne, most residents own their own vehicles. The suburban areas, roadways and freeways are dominated by privately owned cars, SUVs and trucks. Public transport includes trams, trains, taxis and a network of buses. Additionally, the city uses four different airports to meet the needs of travellers and air-cargo traffic. This extensive transport network helps new residents adjust to life in Melbourne. You can use Public Transport Victoria to check for trains, trams and bus services.

Cars tend to be expensive in Australia. If you do choose to buy a vehicle, they are available both through dealers and private sale. It’s recommended that you have the automobile inspected prior to purchase by a company that specialises in this area. In order to legally drive anywhere in Australia, you’ll need a driver’s licence as well as documentation obtained at the time of the vehicle’s purchase.

Phones and Internet Service

Some of the major phone service providers include Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. Many newcomers choose to pay by use plans until they become established in Melbourne. Monthly plans require proper identification and documentation. Popular internet providers are Internode, TPG, iPrimus and iiNet. Your decision will be a matter of selecting the service that matches your individual requirements.

Medical Needs and Schools

You will need to select private insurance before acquiring a visa. Medical visits are paid for at the time of the visit. You’ll then be required to submit a claim to your insurance company. The schools in Melbourne provide a variety of educational settings. Private, religious, public, coeducational and independent schools are available to residents. High school graduates may then go on to college, universities and trade schools.

Recreation, Shopping and Nightlife

Singles and families have many recreational activities in Melbourne from which to choose. An aquarium, zoo (just a short distance outside the city limits), sport facilities and parks are recommended for families with young children. The Fitzroy and Royal Botanic gardens invite visitors to explore their surroundings. The historic Queen Victoria Market provides a colourful assortment of foods and wares. And city life heats up at night with vibrant clubs, cafes and fine dining.


Expats and Melbourne

Moving to a Melbourne requires time and patience. However, once you have relocated to this exciting and diverse city, you’ll find that the opportunities for expats are endless!

This is a sponsored post.

All images via Creative Commons

6 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Melbourne Rental Search

    Very informative article and you’re right, it can take some time to find a rental in Melbourne. The market here is very competitive! To help, we’ve created a business that is a go to destination for anybody wanting to secure a rental property in Melbourne. With us you won’t ever need to call an agent or attend an inspection, ultimately taking all of the stress and hassle out of the entire process.

  2. Kathy Nunn

    Melbourne is an amazing city that’s packed full of things to do, whatever your interests are; from music, art or theatre. It is also a sports mad city. As the Food Capital of Australia you can ensure there will be something suitable for your taste. The transport system is also really good, which means living just outside of Melbourne is also a good option. The Tram System of Melbourne is the best in the country, the largest outside of Europe and the 4th largest in the world!The homes nearer to the city are smaller whereas further out there are bigger homes with bigger backyards.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Hi Kathy – Thanks so much for dropping by and reading this post. Melbourne does certainly seem like a supre livable city. I did not know those facts about the Melbourne transport system–very cool!

  3. Aquila Salta

    Lauren thank you for sharing! What a lovely article and the photos are amazing too! I love how you put together these information on An Expat Guide to Melbourne. Easy to read, very relatable and great tips! Can’t wait to read more!


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