Melbourne – One of the best cities to live in the world, nations from all over the world, colourful, vibrant, crazy, beautiful, welcoming.
From the Airport to the City
When you first arrive at the Tullamarine Melbourne airport and you don’t have somebody to pick you up you can use Sky Bus. It operates 24/7 and is every 15 minutes from and to the Airport. The journey lasts for about 20 minutes.
The Sky Bus stops at the Southern Cross Station which is in Melbourne CBD and connects you to Melbourne public transport (Buses, trains, trams, cabs) and Victoria trains. If you arrive after 11 pm you might not be able to catch public transport but you can still catch a cab.
Melbourne public transport is well organised. You can move by trains, buses, trams. The only city in Australia with an extensive tram network in Melbourne. There are some single lines in Sydney, Adelaide and Gold Coast. An interest fact is that the Melbourne tram network is the world’s largest urban tram network.
To use the trains, buses and trams you need myki card. You can buy it for 6$ from any station and some retailers such as Seven Eleven 7/11. The card is a regular plastic card like any debit card. You only need to buy it once and then just to top-up. You can top-up with myki money or myki pass.
You can choose the most convenient way depending on the frequency of your travels. Different fares applies depending on the type of ticket you use but you can compare the fares on the website calculator easily.
As of 1 of January 2015, Melbourne’s CBD is a Free Tram Zone. You can travel to that area for free. If you travel every day it is better to get myki pass for around 130-135 $ per month.
Living in Melbourne
A good way to find a place to rent is through property companies/agents. However, this is not very convenient for newcomers who are still not sure for how long they will stay, don’t have a job and finances are limited.
The property companies require a contract (usually 12 months), evidence of funds (payslip), Bond (Deposit) for at least one month rent ahead. That is usually convenient for people who live in Melbourne for a few months/years already.
You can easily find cheaper accommodation on gumtree.com.au or Facebook pages for rent in Melbourne. There are people giving accommodation all the time with no or less bond and no contract but notice period of 2-6 weeks. You can easily find a private room in flatshare for about 200-300$ per week close to the city.
That is perfect for newcomers at the beginning. Another alternative are hostels where you can find a bed in share room for around 15-20 $ per night. There are plenty of hostels around Melbourne and its suburbs.
Having a bank account, debit card is important and needed. Once you have a bank account you will have a proof of address which you may need for finding rent or applying for a driver license. Just walk into a bank and make an enquiry about the different packages they have.
You can also open a bank account online before you arrive in Melbourne and confirm once you walk into a branch of the bank. Commonwealth bank has that option.
It is important that you have private health insurance so you can get a rebate of all you spend if you need to go and see a doctor. One of the first things to do when you come to Australia is to check whether you are eligible for a Medicare card. Check where is your closest Medicare centre and make an enquiry in person to the office.
If you are not eligible for Medicare card you need to have your private health insurance which you have most probably arranged before you come to Australia. There are plenty of insurance providers. Just search on the internet and apply online. You can get insurance for around 150-250$ per month depending on the plan you choose.
The different states in Australia have different road rules. In Victoria, you can use an international driver license for the length of your visa while some states have 3 months limitation. However, it is still a good idea to obtain a Victoria license because getting fined on an international license can be 10 times more expensive. Getting a Victorian driver license is rather easy. You may not need to take a test or lessons.
Victoria accepts driver license from a number of countries and you can easily convert your license for 75$ for up to 3 years or 253$ for 10 years. The Driving experience in some countries is also accepted. So if you are from a country with accepted driving experience and over 25 years of age you can also convert your license to Victorian.
So far so good
You have to be prepared for some extra costs when you arrive in a new country. Usually, the initial expenditures are the highest. So it is a good idea to take at least a couple of thousand dollars when you first arrive before you start work.
There is plenty of work in Melbourne but it is not easy to start your first job. It is all about who you know and what experience you have. Most of the Australian employers prefer to hire somebody with the Australian experience.
Most of the companies having positions advertise online. Searching online on a daily basis is important – Seek.com.au, gumtree.com.au etc. You can also walk around with your printed off CVs and apply at different places for low paid jobs in fast-food restaurants or cafes.
Another good option to find a job is to register with recruitment companies. If you are a permanent resident of Australia you will have a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. However many companies are willing to sponsor as well.
When you apply and start work you need to have your Tax File Number arranged. You can apply for it online when you first arrive so you can have that ticked from your list.
Cost of Living
You can find a list of the prices of some products/services in Melbourne below:
Bottle of water – 1-3 $
A cup of coffee – 4-5 $
Bottle/Can of beer – 3-5 $
Fast-food burger/sandwich/kebab – 8-13 $
Dinner in a restaurant (meal with a few drinks and a salad) – 40-50$ per person
Haircut – 10-40$
Fuel – 1.25 – 1.35 $ per liter
Bottle of milk 2 l – 2-3 $
Potatoes – 2 – 5 $ per kg
Bananas – 3-4 $ per kg
Bottle of wine – 6 – 20$
Chocolate bar (Snickers, Mars etc.) – 1,5 – 2 $
Frozen Pizza – 3-7 $
Beef – 12-13 $ per kg
Chilled chicken (whole) – 3-4 $ per kg
Grilled chicken – 11-12 $
If you are still dreaming of Melbourne and have not made the big move just yet, you can explore the different visa options – tourist, working holiday, sponsorship, skilled, depending on your needs.