Dubbed as Australia's most ‘European' city, Melbourne also boasts of great museums and art galleries, trendy shopping centers, and an amazing array of restaurants. Even better, the price on this kind of life is generally lower than that of most expat destinations in Europe, making Melbourne your potential home away from home.
Melbourne is a city of different nationalities, a definite expat-magnet with its beautiful landscapes, clean environment, healthy economy, low crime rates, and rich culture.
One notable source of housing advertisements can be found on the street directory called Melway. This directory covers information on all the city suburbs and is available in petrol stations, bookshops, and convenience stores all over the city for 45 USD.
Your choice of community would most likely depend on your lifestyle preferences.
Those who want to live closer to the city center or business district choose to live in neighborhoods in Port Melbourne and St. Kilda. With its lively nightlife and trendy shops, these are also the locations of choice of those who want to be within arm's reach of an upbeat city life.
The inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne house the more expensive communities like Toorak, and the bayside areas of Brighton, Hampton, and Sandringham where leisure living is at its finest in the city.
Most expatriates, especially those with families, prefer residential locations in the inner northern and western suburbs like Kensington and Yarraville.
These areas outside of the bustling city center are ideal for families with their pleasant and quiet environment and proximity to good local education facilities as well as scenic sights to visit.
Rent is usually less expensive in neighborhoods outside of the city center. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment or house outside of the city center costs about 696.19 USD, while it's around 1,100 USD for a two-bedroom apartment in the same location.
Housing options nearer or within the city centre are almost always pricier. Rent in a one-bedroom apartment costs about 825.93 USD, and 1159.00 USD for a place with two-bedrooms.
When buying real estate in Australia, it is best to get the services of a real estate agent or a solicitor to go over housing ads, deeds, and all sorts of paperwork needed in relation to purchasing property. Price per square meter may range from 3,576.11 USD to 5,292.38 depending on location.
With Melbourne's rich immigrant history comes a plethora of multi-cultural cuisine. Great restaurants are found all over the city's suburbs.
The areas of Southbank and Carlton house mostly Italian haunts, specifically in Lygon Street where family oriented pasta and pizza houses can be found.
For Vietnamese or South East Asian food, one can go to Victoria Street in Richmond, where you can find eateries offering the best of countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Even Greek food is available in Melbourne, more specifically on Lonsdale Street in the city center.
Eating out in Melbourne is generally less expensive compared to any European destination. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant would cost about 45.89 USD.
Basic food necessities are affordable as well. A liter of milk costs about 1.29 USD, a dozen large eggs costs around 2.95 USD, a loaf of bread costs about 1.82 USD, and 500 grams of ground coffee costs about 9.31 USD. Cooking implements such as potatoes cost 1.24 USD per kilo, tomatoes are at 2.95 USD per kilo, fresh beef fillet costs about 19.21 USD per kilo, and a kilo of fresh salmon cost about 14.18 USD.
Metlink is Melbourne's public transport system. It is a system of trams, trains, and buses that would allow you to get around metropolitan Melbourne. Ticketing used in this system is called a Metcard, wherein tickets are mostly time-based which means you would only be able to use them within a given period of time.
The average cost of a daily ticket is about 6.80 USD. These tickets can be availed of in any train station, most convenience stores (like 7-11 and Tattersall), and the Met Shop near the Melbourne Town hall which sells mostly maps and travel merchandise.
Taking a cab is also an option, with flag-down rate at 3.20 USD and 1.617 USD per additional kilometer.
Melbourne, with its clean, safe roads and organized walkways, is also a pleasurable city to travel on foot. Biking is also a less expensive option and a good one at that as Melbourne also has designated bike trails.
Utilities and Recreation
Upon arrival in Melbourne, one must contact utility companies at least three days before moving into a residential unit to arrange connection. There are companies like ConnectNow (www.connectnow.com.au) and UtilityOne (www.utilityone.com.au) that allows one-stop service for gas, electricity and water supply.
The companies above also provide bundled packages to include both landline and internet service. Although Telstra remains to be the most popular telecommunication provider, there are a number of other telecom companies that offer phone and Internet services.
Basic cost for electricity, water, and gas is about 92.50 USD and about 32.88 USD for phone and internet services per month.
Shopping is also a pleasure in Melbourne, the city being known as Australia's fashion capital. Visit Little Collins Street which houses top fashion designers and high-end boutiques, Melbourne Central and Bourke Street Mall for trendy finds at an affordable cost.
You may also visit the Melbourne Museum and the State Library to soak in some Australian culture and history.