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If you haven’t visited Melbourne before, deciding where to live will probably be one of your main concerns. The deciding factors are usually budget, distance you are willing to commute from your workplace and the type of lifestyle you prefer.

Budget:  Melbourne is Australia’s 5th most expensive city in terms of renting, below Darwin, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. So although prices are reasonable compared to the rest of the country, Rental prices can still come as a surprise to people relocating.  You can expect to pay a premium for housing closer to the city, beaches or transport links. Rental prices are quoted per week but most are paid monthly. This means $250 a week does not instantly equate to $1000 a month as there are a different amount of days in some months. This can make a difference to your assumed budget – so ensure you do the math.

$250 a week x 52 weeks a year = $13,000

$13,000 : 12 months in a year = $1,083 per month.

Websites such as and will give you an idea of size and quality of accommodation you can expect in different areas.

Distance to work: The distance one is willing to commute, where you work and your preferred mode of transport will all factor in to this decision. During rush hour driving in and out of the CBD can be slow but often leaving 20 minutes earlier or later can make a considerable difference. Trains tend to be the fastest mode of transport but Melbourne is also well serviced by its bus and tram network.

 To work out estimated commute times go to - this is a great website that allows you to enter your start destination (either by address, train station, bus stop or landmark) and time you need to arrive by and it will calculate travel routes available and times.

Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle is the most personal of the three key decision making factors. For some having the beach on your doorstep or being walk to the local school matters most. For others it might be great shops, a bigger backyard or peace and quiet. 

Richmond Located by the river, Richmond is close enough to walk to the city and is characterised by lots of Victorian workers cottages and some more stately abodes, brilliant shopping streets, plenty of greenery and trams running regularly to and from the city. Richmond retains a trendy charm of its own, largely due to busy Bridge Road, Victoria Street, Church Road and Swan Street all lined by cafes and restaurants and vibrant bars. Richmond is popular with young professionals and is ethnically diverse.  It is well served for pubs and bars most of which are concentrated on Bridge Road: favourites include, The Vic, Maeve Fox, and Bar 9T4. Richmond as well as offering great shopping bargains from the many factory outlets, wonderful cuisine and nightlife also offers plenty of green space for running, cycling or just enjoying the sunshine.

St Kilda is a trendy hub of classy eateries and local backpacker pubs, situated close to the sea and only a few kilometres from the city. St Kilda is characterised by a lively, multicultural destination. It is home to those with money and without, and remains famous for its fantastic array of entertainment. It is also still known for its historical role within the sex industry, but is no longer identified solely by this feature. The nightlife on weekends sometimes becomes exceptionally busy on certain roads and it is probably best to avoid residing in these areas, primarily on the Nepean Highway side of Barkly Street and around Grey Street. The light rail to the city and trams make transport easy and quick so the area is very popular, particularly as many of the apartment buildings near the beach afford a great view of the bay.

South Yarra The focus of the area is Chapel Street and Toorak Road with their many shops, typically upmarket. South Yarra is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it now shares with its neighbour to the east, Toorak. Most of South Yarra is served by train and trams. From the ever-hip Chapel Street and wonderful Prahran Market to the shopping heaven that is Toorak Road, South Yarra offers a truly wonderful experience for shopaholics. Although the area is home to some of the priciest properties and features some of the most luxurious boutiques and restaurants in the country, there’s still plenty to enjoy for people on any budget! People come to South Yarra to explore many of the area’s attractions –there are plenty of restaurants for all budgets, and entertainment options (pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and theatres) as well as the fantastic greenery and scenery of The Botanical Gardens.

Camberwell is beautifully leafy, has lovely parks and has the added bonus of being on the train line. There is great shopping at Camberwell Junction extending up the hill with both sides packed with interesting shops. The area is very family friendly and the schools are very community minded. There are lots of good places to eat along Camberwell Road near the Rivoli Cinema and also behind Burke Road with many catering to families and children. 

Glen Iris is a bit quieter with few shops but is very popular with families because it has wonderful parks and cycle tracks. Leafy and green with lots of space, the Glen Iris area has heaps of really good cafes and a wonderful market as well. A little further out, but also popular is Canterbury.

Local secret: If you are looking for a crèche for pre school children in Glen Iris try Bloom or Samantha’s.        -

Surrey Hills is 30 minutes from the city by train and is a very pretty area, with lots of green spaces with a wonderful village feel. There are less shops but they have lovely little cafés and restaurants and a friendly sense of community.

Templestowe, Eltham and Greensborough are some more rural areas that are popular.  

Templestowe, which is very popular with ex-pats has no train but there is a bus to the city which takes about 50 minutes. This is a very family friendly suburb with a great community feel and lots of parks, walking trails and bike tracks. Lots of the houses are built in cul-de-sacs and this encourages children to play together. It is a hilly suburb which is quite affluent in parts that has the bonus of being not too far from Wetlands. The whole area has a country feel.

 Eltham which is about 45 minutes by train to the city is a leafy suburb which attracts families and those with an artistic bent. There is a jazz festival every year and regular community markets.  There are plenty of activities to suit children (miniature railway, adventure playground, bike paths, parks etc) and also a couple of nearby wineries to keep the parents happy. The nearest shopping centres are at Greensborough (about 10 minutes away) or Doncaster (about 20 minutess away). There is a really lovely area in the St Helena part of Greensborough which was established in the 1960s and 1970s and the majority of homes are single level but usually up slopes with large gardens.

 Bayside lies to the south of these areas, close to the sea and has many charming places to live. They are all leafy, have wonderful parks and shopping areas and are in close proximity to the water. Hampton is a bustling place with lots of green space and interesting shops. Sandringham is very family friendly and 29 mins from the city.  Black Rock is becoming quite trendy and is very attractive with quite a number of homes having sea views. There would be a five minute drive to the train station and then a 29 min journey to the city. Beaumaris is large and leafy with lots of charm but probably a little sleepy compared to the other suburbs. 

 Kingston  of is south and east of the Bayside area but less expensive. Parts of Kingston are very close to the sea and are some of the most stunning areas in Melbourne. In the 1890s the Heidleberg School of Artists started painting along the cliffs of Mentone and Parkdale. The dramatic red cliffs and sparkling blue waters are still breathtaking and on a still morning dolphins play near the shore. Mordialloc, Mentone and Parkdale have bustling villages with lovely restaurants and they have a train line for city workers.the beaches here are absolutley outstanding and the little harbour at Mordialloc is like goign back in time. The areas away from the sea are leafy, have huge parks Dingley is very family friendly and Brayside Park close by makes it very popular with people who would like a country atmosphere. Highett is becoming quite trendy and the whole suburb is seeing lots of renovations as was bound to happen with a suburb so near to the city, not far from the sea, with an excellent shopping village and a train line to take commuters into the city.

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