Living in Melbourne

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Finding accommodation


Finding a place to stay when you're in Melbourne can be tricky. A lot of students are renting, either with housemates or directly with a real estate agent. Others are living in student accommodation through their school or in homestays.


For newly arrived international students, or those who are about to move to Melbourne, here are a few things you can do:

Stay in temporary accommodation first while you view rental properties

Securing a rental property can be difficult as the Melbourne market is competitive, especially during peak season like the start of each semester. Most real estate agents and landlords would like to see rental history, references or income history before they are willing to rent a house to you. To make things easier, you can consider staying in temporary accommodation, through somewhere like AirBnB, before embarking on your search for a houseshare or rental property.


After arriving in Melbourne, you can start your search at one of the sites below*:

Ask your school about their accommodation options


Most universities and schools will offer some type of student accommodation. You may need to enquire early as they can be taken up quickly close to the start of the semester. They are usually close to campus, so it's much easier to get to class, and you will be in good company with other students from the same university.


Here are links to some of the main universities' information pages:


Contact a homestay agency


Can't find a rental property, share house or student accommodation? You might want to try your luck with a homestay. Homestays are households where owners have opened their homes up to taking in 1 or 2 students per semester/year as guests in their household. They usually register with a university, school or homestay agency.


Below are some links to reputable homestay agencies* that can help:


* These are just suggestions and the list is not exhaustive. AFIS does not endorse or recommend a particular agent or provider in any circumstances.

Cost of living


The expense for international students living in Australia on essentials such as accommodation, food, utilities, phone, public transportation is estimated to be around $20,290 AUD annually.

Austrade estimates other approximate expenses as below:



  • Hostels and Guesthouses - $90 to $150 per week

  • Shared Rental - $85 to $215 per week

  • On campus - $90 to $280 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


Please note the above is only an approximate guide and will vary depending on your location in Australia and Melbourne.

Read more at:

Transport & commuting


Public transport


Commuting around Melbourne by public transport is the most common method of transport for students in Melbourne. You will need to buy a Myki card, or if you have an Android smartphone buy a mobile myki through Google Pay. Once you have a Myki card, it can be used on Metro trains, buses, trams and some V/Line regional rail services. You can pay for a multi-day pass (eg. 7 or 28 days) or pay per trip with money loaded on the pass.


Taxi or ride share


Taking a taxi is a popular way to get around Melbourne, if public transport to and from a certain location is hard to come by or if you are travelling outside its operation hours. You can also download a ride share app on to your smartphone to use use the taxi-like service or hail a cab on the street.

If you want to start using a ride share app, try one of the below:

More information on taxis and ride share services can be found here


To and from the airport


The simplest way to get to and from Melbourne Tullamarine airport is by SkyBus. SkyBus services run from Tullamarine to Southern Cross, and back, 24 hours a day departing around 10-15 minutes between each service.

VIsit the SkyBus website

Buy SkyBus tickets

View the SkyBus timetable

Making friends


Lucky for you Australia promotes a generally friendly and highly social culture. Being away from home can be nerve wracking at first, but there are more ways of expanding your social circle in Melbourne.

Meet-ups and activities

Joining an online community like is a great place to start. There are interest groups ranging from those who love hiking to those who just like to get together and try new restaurants. Melbourne's food scene lends itself well to a variety of events throughout the year that you will surely meet like-minded individuals at.

Participating in clubs at uni

During your time at university you can make the most of being in an environment with peers your age by joining a club or cultural group. These types of groups usually promote their events or membership intake throughout the year on campus, so keep an eye out for posters, flyers or orientation day stalls that catch your eye.


Melbourne is the perfect place for finding something to volunteer for that excites you. From environmental causes, to op shops, you will be able to find opportunities in all types of roles, organisations and locations depending on your interest. If you like meeting fellow international students, why not volunteer for AFIS?

Find out more about Volunteering for AFIS

Staying safe


Like anywhere, your safety should be a top priority. Be sure to always plan your trips home, organising appropriate methods of transport and making sure you let someone you trust know where you are.

In case of emergencies, contact Emergency Services at 000 immediately. 

Local police – non urgent matters

  • Contact details - Call 131 444 (everywhere except Victoria). In Victoria you need to call your local police station (consult your local Telephone Directory)

  • Service details - Police attendance for non-urgent matters.

Lifeline - visit website

  • Call 13 11 14

  • Service details - Lifeline provides crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services across Australia. These can include stresses from work, family or society and physical and mental wellbeing. Lifeline offers support services by phone or through their online chat available on their website.


AFIS supported Crime Stoppers Victoria in Project Study Safe which featured volunteer international students who created a series of videos providing peer-to-peer safety advice.

It covers resources on finding help when you need it in instances of:

Read more on staying safe in Melbourne below:

What's on in Melbourne


Melbourne is an incredibly lively place to live. Have a morning coffee, go on a group tour or catch a game of footy to really get amongst the Aussie culture. Swanston Street is always full of life, even after midnight, with many talented buskers showing off their talents. A fair warning though: Melbourne is notorious for its unstable weather, so make sure to bring a jacket and umbrella so you don't get caught out!

A few things you can do in Melbourne:

  • Catching a glimpse of the penguins at St Kilda pier before sunset

  • Soak up Melbourne culture in the street art covered lanes of FItzroy

  • Marvel at extraordinary art at the NGV

  • Snap photos at Hosier Lane and Brighton Beach

Melbourne is also home to a variety of events throughout the year – from food and wine to job fairs, you'll never run out of places to go.

Find out what's on next at the Visit Melbourne website.

Have questions?