Living in Melbourne
Migration regulations in Australia require international students to show evidence that they can contribute to the cost of living and studying in Australia. This helps to ensure students are better able to make the most of their studies and have a safe and enjoyable experience in Australia. While international students are able to supplement their income with money earned through part-time work in Australia, the ‘living costs’ requirement helps to support the success of students in their studies by ensuring that they don’t have to rely on such work to meet all their expenses.
Students must demonstrate that the funds they are relying upon to meet the costs of studying in Australia will be genuinely available to them during their stay in Australia. The figures above are indicative only and the costs can vary significantly depending on where you live in Australia. You should be prepared in case your living costs are greater than the indicated figures. For more information visit www.border.gov.au
Cost of Living
Melbourne is a reasonably priced city providing good quality and affordable accommodation. Students will need $19,830 per year (excluding tuition) to cover living expenses including accommodation, food, transport, entertainment, clothing and books.
- Hostels and Guesthouses – $90 to $150 per week
- Shared Rental – $85 to $215 per week
- Homestay – $235 to $325 per week
- Rental – $165 to $440 per week
- Boarding schools – $11,000 to $22,000 a year
Other living expenses
- Groceries and eating out – $80 to $280 per week
- Gas, electricity – $35 to $140 per week
- Phone and Internet – $20 to $55 per week
- Public transport – $15 to $55 per week
- Car (after purchase) – $150 to $260 per week
- Entertainment – $80 to $150 per week
Minimum cost of living
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia. From 1 July 2016 the 12 month living cost is:
- You– $19,830
- Partner or spouse– $6,940
- Child– $2,970
For more information visit https://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/english/live-in-australia/living-costs.
Rental properties and costs vary widely across Victoria’s towns and suburbs. How much you can afford will be a key factor in choosing where you live and what style of home you live in.
When you first arrive, you should compare rent prices in different areas. Neighbouring suburbs can vary in price enormously, as can different properties in one suburb. For a basic guide to the cost of housing in each major regional and metropolitan town, use a map of Melbourne and navigate to the town you’re interested in.
How to find a house or apartment to rent
Houses and apartments are generally rented through real estate agents, but you can also rent directly from the owner. Many real estate agents produce a weekly list of available rentals. Use the Real Estate Industry of Victoria (REIV) agency search tool to find real estate agents in your area.
There are also many websites available to help you find a home to rent, including:
Rental properties are also listed in major metropolitan, local and regional newspapers.
Depending on your circumstances, you might find it easier to apply to share accommodation, rather than renting a house or apartment on your own. In Victoria, people who rent or own houses sometimes rent out a single room. You can also apply together to rent a home as a group.
Rooms to rent are sometimes advertised on noticeboards in local shops, post offices and libraries or on the following websites:
Viewing and applying for homes to rent
Some areas in Victoria have a very limited supply of rentals. This means that looking at houses and applying for them may take longer than you think. Most real estate agents will not accept an application to rent a property unless you or your representative (like a friend or family member) has seen the house or apartment.
The three main ways to view a property for rent are:
- Attend an open for inspection held at a specific time
- Make an appointment with the real estate agent
- Collect the key from the real estate agent’s
If you’re attending an open for inspection, the real estate agent may ask for your name and phone number, for security. If you’re collecting a key from an agent, you may need to leave a copy of your photo identification (such as a licence or passport), and a deposit of up to 100AUD. You should inspect the rental property before you sign any agreement and carefully check that everything works properly including the oven, plumbing, lights, heating, security systems, doors and window locks. Once you’ve decided you like the house or apartment, you’ll need to fill in an application, with information about where you’ve lived and worked before arriving. Many applications request references, so if you’ve rented before you should bring written references with you to Australia.
Power and water
Before moving into your rental, you need to connect your utilities such as electricity, gas, water and telephone. The real estate agent can refer you to different providers. For more information and a list of gas, electricity and water providers, visit the Essential Services Commission website or Your Choice website.
Melbourne Public Transportation
Public buses operate from the terminal to various areas in Melbourne. Information on destinations and schedules can be obtained from the information desks within the airport, or by calling the numbers listed below. Metro is the name of Melbourne’s new metropolitan rail service. The Metro train network has 15 lines and 211 train stations. It carries around 500,000 customers a day with 149 six-‐carriage trains across 830 kilometres of track. Accessing Melbourne’s comprehensive train network is simple. For more information please plan your journey at https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/journey/standard or visit https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/
Buy a ticket
Melbourne has moved to a new ticketing system called myki, which is a reuseable card that you top up so you don’t have to buy a ticket each time you travel. You just need to “touch on” as you board the tram or bus, and as you enter the platform at a train station, and “touch off” as you leave.
What is myki?
It is a durable, plastic smart card that stores value and can be used over and over again. Simply keep your myki topped up and carry it with you, and you’ll always be ready to travel. Just touch on and off when you travel and myki will automatically calculate the lowest myki fare for you.
You can buy a myki:
- Online at com.au
- By calling 13 6954 (13 myki)
- At the myki ticket window at selected Stations
- At myki machines at all metropolitan train stations and selected tram platforms
- At the MetShop (Melbourne Town Hall, corner of Swanston and Little Collins streets).
You can top up your myki:
- Online at myki.com.au (allow at least 24 hours for processing)
- Through the ‘Pay24’ app (allow at least 24 hours for processing)
- By calling 13 6954 (13 myki; allow at least 24 hours for processing)
- At myki machines at metropolitan train stations and selected tram platforms stops and bus interchanges
- At 7/11 stores
For more information on all public transport ticketing practices across Victoria (including how to buy a Myki) visit: https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/.
Night Rider bus service
The NightRider is a late night bus service that operates on Fridays and Saturdays. NightRider buses leave from safe locations in the CBD and make over 300 stops along ten NightRider routes. Visit https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/ for maps, timetables, tickets and route information.
City Circle Tram and Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle
The City Circle Tram and Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle Bus to get you around to all the city’s major attractions for free. The City Circle Tram is a free service around central Melbourne taking passengers past some of Melbourne’s major attractions. Visit https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/ for timetables and a route map. Hop on and hop off the free shuttle bus at any of the stops at key city destinations. Running daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Free Tram Zone
The free tram zone applies when travelling through stops within Melbourne’s CBD. This means that you do not have to touch on your myki if you are travelling only within this zone. As soon as you leave the free tram zone, you will need to touch on to have a valid ticket. Always listen to announcements on trams so you know when you are leaving the free tram zone. For more information on tram stops within the free tram zome visit https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au.
Taxis are available from the ground floor level of Melbourne Airport, outside the International Terminal and both domestic Terminals. Expect a taxi fare of around AU$35 to AU$40 for a trip between the CBD and Melbourne Airport. Fares are Indicative.
Melbourne’s major taxi companies include:
- 13 CABS (13 22 27)
- Arrow (13 22 11)
- Embassy Taxis (13 17 55)
- Silver Top Taxis (13 10 08)
The choices you make about accommodation, transport, food and entertainment will greatly vary your living costs in Melbourne. The Live in Melbourne website offers some guidance on typical expenses.
Melbournians love good food. The city and suburbs are full of cafes, restaurants and bars serving cuisines from all over the world. Certain parts of the city are famous for their culinary speciality:
Italian: Lygon Street, Carlton
Spanish: Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Vietnamese: Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Chinese and Asian: Chinatown, City Centre
Greek: Lonsdale Street, City Centre
Jewish: Carlisle Street, St Kilda.
Banking Institutes and Banking Terminology
It is free to open an account at a bank of your choice. All banks operate differently and you should be aware of all fees, charges, ease of access to your funds, and safety procedures for the way in which you will access those funds.
By choosing a major Australian bank, students can be assured their money is safe; and bank branches, ATMs and other banking services are conveniently accessible.
For further information on how to open a bank account online, simply visit any of the major four banks listed below or one of the smaller banks:
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- National Australia Bank (NAB)
Further information may be sourced at ‘Studies in Australia’: http://www.studiesinaustralia.com/studying-in-australia/banking-in-australia
You can transfer money into Australia by electronic telegraph or telegraphic transfer at any time. This is a fast option and will take approximately 48 hours, but the bank will charge a fee for every transaction.
Automatic Teller Machines are located everywhere (including the airport) and you can immediately withdraw cash from your overseas bank account at ATMs displaying the Cirrus Logo (if your ATM card has international access). Check this with your financial institution before leaving home.
All major international credit cards are accepted in Australia but you must remember that repayments to many of these cards can only be made in the country they were issued. Do not rely on being able to get a credit card once you arrive in Australia because this is very difficult due to credit and identification laws.