Living in Melbourne

If you are a fan of coffee, culture and incredible food, you’ll love the Victorian capital, Melbourne. 

Melbourne, VIC

The capital city in the state of Victoria, is Melbourne. It is located at the head of Port Phillip Bay, on the south-eastern coast of Australia. The main business district is home to about 200,000 people and is the centre of metropolitan area — it is also the world’s most southerly with a population of more than 4,900,000. In Australia it is second only to Sydney, NSW in population and size.

Melbourne has many stunning public parks, and for those with an eye for architectural detail and history, you can find an endless amount of culture depicted through the streets of this wonderful international city! Melbourne has a reputation for pop-culture, shopping and coffee, with many international migrants making up its continuously growing population.


$70-$160 per week

Food! This is where budgeting gets tricky. With the uprise of UberEats and MenuLog in Australia, it can be difficult to save money and cook or prepare meals at home. However, buying groceries and meal prepping is the most cost-efficient method.


Depending on your taste preferences and whether you are eating salmon or sticking with canned beans for dinner the average home cooked meal will cost you:

  • $2 a day for breakfast
  • $5 a day for lunch
  • $11 a day for dinner

Eating Out

Eating out will cost you a significant amount more, with the average prices of meals in Melbourne:

  • $18 for breakfast
  • $17 for lunch
  • $25 per meal at dinner

Drinking Out

Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE. If you are a coffee drinker and you have an acquired taste for barista-made coffee, you will know we are looking at a budget increase here. An average cup of coffee in Australia is $4.20 per cup.

To save some money, you can make your own coffee at home – it is FREE!

Other than coffee, the average Aussie loves a social glass of beer or wine with their lunch. On average in Australia, a glass of wine, beer or cider ranges between $10 to $12 each, with spirits being on the more expensive end costing around $12 to $25. 

If you were to eat all your meals at home for 6 out of the 7 days ($108) and indulge on Saturday ($60) you are looking at around $165 per week on food. Adding on 3 coffees per week ($12.60) and 3 social drinks ($36), your weekly total would be around $220. This total will range significantly depending on individual habits and preferences. 


$120-$300 per week

Depending on your financial situation and whether you are a student or skilled migrant, there is never a shortage of accommodation options in Melbourne! Students can choose to reside within university campus accommodation, student accommodation or private rentals. 

When signing a lease for a rental property in Australia you are expected to pay an upfront security bond payment to the RTBA (Residential Tenancies Bond Authority). The standard is 4 x your weekly rent payment, however this could be more depending on the individual home or apartment. Once you have decided to move out of your rental property, you will receive your bond back (minus any damages or cleaning fees).

Campus accommodation (for students only)

This is by far the most expensive option, but comes with its benefits and convenience. Living on campus means that you not only wake up daily on the university’s doorstep but you save money on other expenses such as food and transport. 

The average cost of living on campus at a university in the Melbourne area ranges between $660 to $820 per week. Keeping in mind you will have your meals cooked for you every day, utilities are included and you will most likely be travelling less than you would be if you lived off campus. However, you will still need to budget for eating out, health costs, your phone bill and entertainment.

Student Accommodation

Want a similar experience and culture to living on campus but at a more affordable price? Commercial accommodation for students is scattered across Melbourne’s CBD. Student accommodation such as Scape, Iglu, UniLodge, Urbanest, Journal, The Student Housing Company and Atira are great options if you want to stay somewhere convenient and near other students.  

The cost will vary depending on the company and your room choice, however, it is important to remember this only includes your rent and utilities. Food, entertainment, eating out, phone and health costs will all need to be factored in.

Weekly cost: $270 to $325

Annual cost: $14,040 to $16,900

Private Lease or Sharehouse Accommodation

Moving into a sharehouse (on average) will work out to be the cheapest option when you move to Australia. 

Forecasting a budget for a sharehouse can be tricky, for example: your individual preference on the factors above will impact the price. On average you can expect to pay between $175 – $400 per week, keeping in mind this does not include utilities. 

Weekly cost: $100 to $350

Monthly cost: $400 to $1,400

The most trusted and most popular search engines for rental (and sale) or properties in Australia are and


$25-$50 per week

Trams, trains, and buses are popular transport choices in Melbourne, allowing easy access to Melbourne’s CBD and the top tourist spots. 

For international students, Victoria offers an iUSEpass that gives you a 50% discount on the annual price of Myki (which is your ticket to travel on public transport in Melbourne).

On average a Myki costs over $2,000 a year travelling 6 days per week, however an iUSEpass costs just $861.25 per year between Zone 1 + 2. To learn more about zones visit the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website here. Depending on which accommodation option you settle on will influence your need for an iUSEpass. To learn more information on the benefits of the pass visit the PTV page for international students here

Cost of Living

Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living Survey ranked Melbourne number 58 in the world in their list of most expensive cities – demonstrating that Melbourne is a more affordable destination than many other global cities.

So, you’re thinking of moving to Melbourne to study or migrating to live but you are unsure what it might cost? With careful planning, setting financial habits and choosing realistic living options, it is easy to set yourself up for success as an international student, migrating family or skilled employee. 

On this page you will find the average costs of most things you need to know about budgeting for your big move, including average costs of accommodation, transport, health, personal admin, entertainment and other consumable costs in Melbourne, Victoria.

Working in Australia

All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to: pay you the right pay rate for all time worked. provide a safe workplace.

  • How to find work in Melbourne:
    • Like most cities around the world, finding work greatly depends on your skill-set, motivation & willingness to learn a new skill as well as personal connections and how you represent yourself (resume presentation, interview experience, etc.)
    • The most common online job-search websites in Australia are: and Applicants can post their resume’s online as well as search for vacancies posted by local businesses.
  • How to apply for jobs in Australia:
    • Click HERE for a link to and their free resume template.
  • Your rights as an employee in Australia:
    • All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to pay you the right pay rate for all time worked and provide a safe workplace.
    • Click HERE for a link to the Government of Australia’s FairWork rights & obligations information page. 
  • Average Salaries in Victoria:
    • As with any city around the world, salaries and wage amounts can range due to an employee’s experience, formal qualifications as well as the supply & demand within each industry type for a specific workforce. The average full-time salary in Victoria is $70,000.
    • According to, the following job positions are noted below with average salaries:
      • Operations Manager: $86,000
      • Project Manager: $97,000
      • Tax Accountants: $59,000
      • Account/Sales Manager: $67,000
      • Executive Assistant: $71,000
      • Retail Store Manager: $53,000
      • Retail Store Employee: $40,000-$53,000

Bank Account in Australia

Foreigners migrating, studying or working in Australia can open a bank account. Those on a tourist or visitor visa can open an Australian bank account by visiting a local branch and providing your passport.

Applicants who wish to open a bank account must arrive in Australia within 12 months of opening their bank accounts.

Here are the basic steps to opening a Australian bank account online:

    • Compare accounts to find the right one
    • Apply for your account online
    • Verify your identity (passport & email required)
    • Your debit card will arrive
    • Start using it!


A Tax File Number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems in Australia. It is free to apply for a TFN online and it is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity in Australia.


Melbourne is the undisputed fashion capital of Australia and one of the important fashion centres of the world! Shopping in Melbourne and surrounding suburbs can vary like in most major cities depending on where you shop and how often you shop for clothing, accessories, and IT items.

For many people living in Melbourne, they cannot possibly belong to the city without having the knowledge of the latest styles and places to go shopping. Some of the most popular shopping locations in Melbourne are:

  • Bourke Street Mall
  • The Block Arcade
  • Melbourne Central
  • Queen Victoria Village (QV)
  • Emporium Melbourne
  • Collins 234 Botique Place
  • The Strand
  • Queen Victoria Markets
  • Chadstone
  • South Warf DFO (Direct Factory Outlets)
  • Docklands
  • Chapel Street Precinct
  • Windsor Quarter
  • Greville Village
  • Yarra Lane
  • Prahan & Prahan Market

How to Keep Expenses Down

Everyone has their own personal budget, and the level of expenditure depends greatly on one’s accommodation location, quality and lifestyle. Click below for some basic, yet handy tips for students, families and young professionals.

  • Monitor your expenses
  • Make a workable budget
  • Choose your priorities
  • Let go of small luxuries
  • Find another source of income
  • Choose to do free outdoor activities (visiting beaches and nature parks)

Melbourne Highlights

The city of Melbourne has an endless array of free highlights for both young and old to enjoy! Check out the list below, or for more information please visit Melbourne’s official Visit Victoria website HERE which has information on must-see points of interest, eating and shopping locations.

  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • State Library of Victoria
  • Queen Victoria Markets
  • Explore ACMI’s ‘Screen Worlds’
  • Listen to Live Music
  • Wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Explore Melbourne’s South Bank area
  • Take a ride on the City Circle Tram
  • Walk around St. Kilda for lunch spots and visit Luna Park
  • Explore the laneways for colourful graffiti and street art
  • Enjoy one of the many street festivals scattered throughout the year

More information to get you started in Melbourne


Overseas student health cover is mandatory for your student visa when coming to Australia. Not only is it great for peace of mind, it covers doctors’ appointments, hospital costs, emergency ambulance and portions of your prescription medicine.

Use the Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) tool to check the price and book your overseas health cover today.

UTILITIES (cost of)

Utilities may or may not be included in your housing option. Electricity, water, gas, and internet are generally split between tenants, but if you are planning on renting by yourself, this will be more costly. An average the costs of an average home in Melbourne are:

  • Electricity: $170 per month
  • Water: $100 per month
  • Gas: $155 per month
  • Internet: $50 per month


Entertainment is another expense you will want to factor in while you are in Australia. Ranging from going to the gym, watching a movie, taking a trip to the beach or enjoying a comedy show. Below are a few different options you could add to your budget.

  • Movies (student night): $7 to $9
  • Fitness: $15 to $30
  • Shows (comedy, plays etc): $50

Are you planning to move to or study in Melbourne? Great choice. Let’s get started – click HERE to get in contact with us today!