So this week marks mine and Melbourne’s one year anniversary. How it has already been a year I don’t know, but that’s what the calendar tells me. I have already reflected on why I wanted to move to Melbourne in the first place, and how I felt after six months. Now it has been a year, has much changed? Not really. I still don’t regret the move at all. Melbourne is a fantastic city, and I think the best in Australia (sorry not sorry, Sydney). I have enjoyed getting out and exploring on the weekends. I survived the winter, but loved Melbourne’s summer. The only thing my Melbourne experience is missing is the friends I made in Vancouver. Why it is so hard to meet people here I will never know.
So for expats or other Aussies wondering whether a move to Melbourne is right for them, I thought I would compile a handy list.
You should move to Melbourne if…
1. You enjoy drinking coffee. I mean, this city is saturated in coffee shops. I should know, seeing as I work in one. I think you could visit a cafe a day and it would take you years to sample them all. So, if you are a coffee lover, there is no better place to move to than Melbourne.
As a sidenote (1.1) the abundance of coffee shops and bars in Melbourne also means plenty of hospitality jobs on offer! My second job is also in the industry, so I know there are many jobs for the taking.
2. You will be relying on public transport. As a former expat, I know when you move to a new country you will be relying heavily on public transport to get from A to B. Fortunately, Melbourne has the best public transport system in Australia. The fact the city uses trains, trams and buses makes getting around a lot easier. Hey, I’m not even an expat anymore and I rely solely on public transport. Yes, I sometimes miss having a car, but with free trams around the city my transport costs are quite low.
Public transport hub a.k.a Flinders Street Station.
3. You don’t mind living in a share house. Rent in Melbourne is harsh. Not as steep as Sydney (so I’ve heard), but I found it difficult finding a reasonably priced room in a shared unit when I moved. So if you want to keep costs low, share housing is the way to go. I recommend checking out Gumtree (Australia’s Craigslist) or Flatmates for listings.
4. You like to feast on brunch. Brunch in Melbourne is basically its own course. So many cafes are packed on the weekends with people filling up on what I think is the best meal of the day. Check out this article for 65 excellent places to choose from (yeah, this is just the beginning too).
5. You aren’t moving to Australia for year-round summer weather. If this is why you are moving down under, check out my hometown of Townsville. A move to Melbourne means you are going to experience summer and winter, but a pretty mild winter compared to its northern hemisphere counterparts.
6. You like to keep busy. There is always some kind of festival/expo/event happening on the weekends, and a lot of them are free. Check out Weekend Notes, whose writers always know what is going on in Melbourne. You seriously can’t be bored in this city.
Spring Fling in North Melbourne.
7. You are a fan of sports. Melbourne is called Australia’s sporting capital, and it is easy to see why. It is the home of Australia’s largest sporting stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (known around these parts as the MCG, or just the G). During the cooler months you can enjoy watching AFL (Australian Football League), rugby league or rugby union. In summer, the city’s attention turns to soccer, tennis and cricket. Basically, if you like sport, move to Melbourne.
8. You like to walk. I’ve discovered throughout my travels that some cities are just so easily walkable, like New York City and Vancouver. Well, Melbourne is now added to this list. Thanks to its grid system, it is so simple to walk around the CBD and visit the Yarra River, the many gardens, Queen Victoria Market and Bourke Street Mall.
Ah, so pretty. Check out my guide to A Day in Melbourne City.
9. You aren’t a surfer. If you are moving to Australia so you can surf every day, your best bet it to move to Sydney and pay exorbitant rent to live near the beach. Melbourne is on the coast and you can swim in suburbs such as St Kilda, Port Melbourne and Brighton. But the surf is better once you leave the city and head either to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, or to the Mornington Peninsula.
10. You are all about the markets, baby. Anyone else love markets as much as me? Melbourne has plenty to choose from each week, fortnight and month. I love going to the Queen Victoria Markets and picking up fresh meat and produce on a Sunday. I recommend the $3 boreks for lunch, and visiting the churro truck any time of the day. Its similar suburban counterparts are the South Melbourne and Prahran Markets. The Finders Keepers Markets only happen twice a year, but they are full of unique and local handmade accessories. I have also heard good things about Camberwell Market, which is all about vintage clothing and treasures.
11. You are a traveller. Another plus for Melbourne is the number of direct flights there are to other nearby countries. I am constantly checking the Jetstar, Tigerair and Virgin Australia websites for good flight deals. If you are flexible, you can definitely get cheap deals on domestic and international flights. For example, I am flying home next month (3 hours each way) for $140 return. I also flew to Bali (6 hours each way) for under $400 return. You can fly direct from Melbourne to many New Zealand cities, and a lot of Asian countries, including Japan. It’s not Europe, but South East Asia is definitely cheaper.
12. You are a lover of the arts. Melbourne is all about the culture. I mean, there is plenty of street art to enjoy, yes. But there are also excellent exhibitions regularly at the National Gallery of Victoria. On the theatre side of things, thanks to my work with The Australia Times I have discovered just how many big musicals and independent plays are performed in Melbourne every week. The answer is A LOT. There is also a different national or international music act hitting the Melbourne stage too. No matter what art you are into, Melbourne has you covered.
13. You like to live in cities with epic nightlife. Every city has nightclubs, but not every city has hidden bars (seriously). Melbourne is home to plenty of excellent rooftop bars and award-winning restaurants. For Italian food, look no further than Lygon Street. If you fancy Chinese, check out Chinatown, which is actually home to the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western world — thanks, Google. From Brunswick to Fitzroy to St Kilda to the CBD, Melbourne only gets better when the sun sets.
14. You have a thing for fashion. As well as being the sporting, coffee, nightlife and culture capitals of Australia, Melbourne is undoubtedly the fashion capital too. Bourke Street Mall and Collins Street are the two main shopping areas in the CBD, while Chapel Street is the most popular street outside of the city. Chadstone Shopping Centre is the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere too. Vintage shoppers will love Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. Fellow bargain hunters like myself will love the Harbourtown and DFO centres in Docklands.
15. You want to live in Australia’s best city. I couldn’t not finish with this as #15. I hands down believe Melbourne is Australia’s best city for living in. I know many people disagree and say Sydney, but what’s a little friendly competition?
So, will you move to Melbourne?
I hope this list helps you choose where you want to live in Australia, if you decide you want to live in a city. Melbourne definitely has everything you could want and need.
If you have any other Melbourne related questions, let me know in the comments!