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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Melbourne?

There are many reasons to consider moving to a new country. You may move abroad for work, study, follow love, or retire, but whatever the reason, it's important to learn about the country you're moving to before you take the plunge and start a new life. Australia is well known for its quality of life, amazing beaches and bustling metropolitan areas. But what are the real pros and cons of living down under? Read on to find out.

Pros Of Living In Australia

There are many upsides to calling the land down under your new home — there are reasons that Australia is a top destination for ex-pats from all over the world. There are the obvious ones, like beautiful beaches, friendly people, stunning natural scenery and all that sunshine. Australians also speak English, making things easy for immigrants from the US, UK and others with great English skills. But what other factors need to be considered?

Sporting Frenzy

Many consider Melbourne the sporting capital of the world. The city's love of sport is no secret. Melbourne loves its Australian Rules Football or AFL so much that it's home to 18 teams alone! The city also hosted the annual Australian Open in January and was the first city to host the Olympic Games in Australia.

Attractions And Things To Do

From the water to the bush, there's plenty in the way of outdoor activities in Melbourne. It's also a very cultural city, home to several museums and galleries, and that's not all. Melbourne is also known for its exciting nightlife, playing host to large international music and cultural acts and showcasing an array of local talent at festivals and shows all year round.

Layout Of The City

Melbourne is one of the easiest cities to navigate, thanks to its grid layout and tram system. The city even offers free trams that run throughout the city all day long. In addition, the Yarra River winds its way through the city, separating north and south Melbourne with bridges connecting both halves over the water.

Café Culture

Melbourne's cultural diversity is reflected in its palate, and as a result, the city is home to several different cuisines that are irresistibly mouth-watering. Melbournites also love to enjoy their coffee at a funky, hipster-type cafe. Melbourne takes its food (and its coffee) very seriously and constantly changes its menus to spearhead the latest culinary trends.

Aussies Are A Welcoming Bunch

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Australians are known worldwide for being friendly and outgoing, and they extend that hand of friendship to the ex-pats in their midst. So, likewise, newcomers will find welcoming, friendly faces in the Land Down Under.

Education Is Top-Tier

Grade 12 is free for all Australian residents, and textbooks are generally provided. US News and World Report rank Australia's public school system fourth in the world, above the United States, France and even Switzerland. Private schools in Australia can be pricey (think anywhere from A$23,000 - A$37,000 for a year of school), but you can know your child is getting one of the highest quality educations in the world.

The Economy Is Booming

Australia has a strong service sector and the fifth-ranked per capita GDP globally. The economy in the Land Down Under is healthy, so jobs are plentiful. This means getting an Australian work visa may be more possible than you'd think.

Australian Healthcare Is Universal And High Quality

100% of Australian citizens are covered by Medicare, the tax-funded public healthcare plan. High earners are encouraged to purchase private health insurance, but the Medicare system ensures that no one is stuck paying out-of-pocket for necessary medical care. While those who earn above a certain threshold must purchase private health insurance or pay an extra tax, private insurance is extremely affordable — around A$2000 a year for a single person. In addition, Australia has many public and private hospitals.

Getting Citizenship Isn't Too Complicated If You Qualify.

Once you're a permanent resident, getting Australian Citizenship is more straightforward than in many other countries. If you have an Australian parent or are already a permanent resident, you may be in luck. First, you'll have to prove you've lived in Australia for the previous four years and that you're fluent in English. Then you will need to pay the fees (A$40-A$285) and pass a citizenship test.

Cons Of Living In Australia

Of course, no place is perfect. Australia has its downsides, too, and more than just some truly terrifying wildlife.

The Weather

One of the most complained about aspects of the city is its weather. Known for experiencing four seasons in one day, Melbourne is not considered the most climatic of Australia's capital cities. The unpredictable nature of Melbourne's weather means you can expect cool and rainy conditions to come over your sunny beach day in a matter of hours.

It's Not Cheap

Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, but it's not alone. Melbourne property prices are ranked among some of the most expensive in the world, followed very closely by the price of rent which is also considerably high.

Remote Location

Although Melbourne is the second-largest city in Australia, behind Sydney, it is still quite a distance away from the rest of the world. However, Melbournites can expect to pay more for their flights to Europe than those living in Perth, thanks to their location.


If you're moving to Australia to enjoy the sunshine by the beach, you might want to reconsider your decision to move to Melbourne. Melbourne is home to some beaches. However, these are not considered as nice as those further north on the country's eastern coast. When you're ready to make a move to the city of cafes, culture and ever-changing climates, contact our helpful Grace Mobility Specialists. Our consultative approach focuses on balancing all elements of the employee mobility equation to develop and deliver relocation programs that work.

The Cost Of Living Is High

Australia has the 12th highest cost of living globally, with the US and the UK well behind it at 21st and 23rd, respectively. Housing and groceries, in particular, tend to be more expensive in Australia than in many other places around the world. And Australia has one of the most overheated housing markets in the world right now, with steeply rising housing prices, especially in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Getting A Work Visa Is Difficult And Time-Consuming

Australia is known for its tough immigration laws. Its work visa program has many variants, making it complicated and sometimes daunting to obtain the right to work in Australia. The exact process you'll need to follow to get a visa varies depending on the kind of work you do, how long you plan to be in Australia and other factors that help determine which visa type you need to apply for. Luckily, the Australian government's website spells out the different types of visas and their requirements.

Mortgages Are Hard To Get, Especially For Foreigners

It's not easy for anyone to get a mortgage in Australia, and foreigners can expect even tougher standards. First, you'll have to seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Then, you'll have to find a bank that even offers mortgages to foreign investors — many of Australia's large banks don't. Non-residents of Australia can expect interest rates of up to 8% and a maximum loan to value ratio of around 70%. A hefty downpayment for most people. Owning property in Australia will probably be an uphill battle as an ex-pat.

The Country Can Feel Isolated

Australia is huge, and its major cities aren't close. Then there's the fact that Australia is so far from other parts of the world — the distance and time differences can leave ex-pats, especially from the US and UK, feeling extremely disconnected from the family and friends they left behind.

FAQs About The Pros And Cons Of Living In Melbourne

The Worst Things About Living in Melbourne

  • Missing family & friends. This is a personal one, but moving away from my family & friends was tough.
  • Melbourne's weather. Compared to most other Australian cities, the weather in Melbourne is terrible!
  • Melbourne has archaic smoking laws.
  • I work from home.

Awesome Reasons to Live in Melbourne

  • Melbourne is one of the most liveable cities in the world.
  • Melbourne is home to world-class research facilities.
  • Melbourne's laneway culture is rich, vivid and exciting.
  • The coffee is incredible.
  • It's Australia's 'cultural capital
  • The community is hugely diverse.

But just like anything (except this turtle eating a strawberry), the city also has its drawbacks.
Pro: It's the sporting capital of the world.
Con: The weather kind of sucks.
Pro: There's always plenty to do.
Con: It's expensive.
Pro: There's a day trip for every weekend.
Richmond – inner suburb.
Southbank – inner suburb.

Melbourne is known for its abundance of entertainment, unique nightlife, gorgeous scenery, and stunning architecture.

Best Places To Live In Australia

The seven best places in Australia are Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. We've worked out which place is best depending on what you care about most, from culture and climate to job opportunities. Check out the table below for our full rundown.


Best for Food and Drink

The capital of South Australia, Adelaide, is growing in popularity thanks to its friendly country feel and affordable real estate. As a result, job opportunities are good, with Adelaide recruiting a minimum of 5,000 skilled migrants a year, especially in the fields of healthcare, education and manufacturing.

Adelaide is popular with ex-pat families, many of whom choose to live in the leafy suburbs of Belair and Banksia Park. You'll find a varied cultural scene to enjoy, with art festivals, live music and great restaurants. Chill out at the beautiful Adelaide beaches or travel to the nearby Barossa Valley vineyards to sample the delicious regional food and wines.


  • Quiet compared to Australia's other big cities, like Sydney
  • Easy access to green spaces, such as the Botanical Garden and Mount Lofty
  • Offers one of Australia's best wine regions, including the Barossa Valley


  • The unemployment rate is above the national average
  • Amenities like shopping malls and hospitals are few and far between


Best for Rural Escapes

As Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane offers all the excitement of living in a thriving city – but it is way more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne. While the urban centre of Brisbane is all shiny skyscrapers, the city is also ideally placed for getting into nature. Brisbane residents are an active bunch and love to enjoy their beautiful river, whether they're jogging alongside it or sailing on it. The rest of the 'Sunshine State's delights are within easy reach, with the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef among the highlights.

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Brisbane's economy is booming, with the most in-demand workers in hospitality, health, manufacturing, and tourism. Away from the thriving urban heart of Brisbane, you'll find relaxed suburbs and beautiful landscapes. If you want to be close to the action, suburbs like Paddington are popular with ex-pats, while families might prefer quieter areas, such as Morayfield.


  • Fast-growing economy, especially in health and hospitality
  • Close to some of Australia's rural paradises, like the Gold Coast
  • Warm climate all year round



Best for: Families

Australia's inland capital, Canberra, has a sophisticated atmosphere that comes alive when the country's Parliament assembles. Although it is the nation's capital, Canberra has fewer than 400,000 residents, giving it an almost small-town charm with its pretty tree-lined streets. Real estate is, perhaps surprisingly, some of the most affordable in the country, with average house prices almost $100,000 ($70,500) below the national average at around $480,000 ($340,000).

In summer, Canberra's residents take to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to enjoy picnics, bike rides, fishing and sailing. The city has a great restaurant and bar scene, some interesting cultural attractions, such as the National Gallery of Australia, and no adventure activities in the city's hills and bushland.


  • Cost of living is cheaper than other Australian cities, like Melbourne
  • It has a variety of family-friendly suburbs, including Tuggeranong and Belconnen
  • It has one of the lowest crime rates of any major Australian city


  • Around a two hour drive to the nearest beach
  • Although buying a house is cheap, renting is expensive


Best for Property Affordability

Historic Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia, situated in the south of the country on the banks of the Derwent River. The city is popular with those who prefer cooler temperatures, with summer temperatures a manageable 68°F, and has a lovely relaxed pace of life. Hobart has a great range of real estate, from the luxurious to the affordable, and its desirable riverside suburbs are popular with families and retirees alike. The suburb of Kingston has recently been named the most family-friendly place to live in Australia.

Hobart may not have a rapidly growing employment market. Still, it does offer stable and steady job prospects, especially for skilled ex-pats in construction, viticulture and engineering. So on the weekends, choose between the lively arts scene in town, scaling the heights of the spectacular Mt Wellington, or heading down to Sandy Bay to relax on the beach.


  • Has the most affordable housing in Australia
  • Breathtaking scenery, including Mount Wellington
  • Small city, giving it more of a country town feel


  • Separated from mainland Australia
  • Has the lowest average income in Australia
  • Lack of public transport


Best for Job Opportunities

Sydney best place to live in Australia as we ex-pat. With almost 5 million residents, Sydney is by far Australia's biggest city – and home to some of its most iconic sights. Cruise through the harbour to see the famous opera house or join the surfer dudes down at the beautiful Bondi Beach. While the bright lights of Sydney's central district, with its eclectic bars, restaurants and clubs, appeal to younger ex-pats, many families choose to live in the suburbs. Western Sydney is particularly popular with American ex-pats, while the Northern Beaches Area is great for families.

Sydney is a major player on the world stage, which undeniably affects the cost of living here. Real estate prices are on a par with New York, putting it up there with the most expensive cities in the world. However, Sydney's successful economy means that employment prospects are good, with the financial services, communications technology, and creative industries thriving.


  • The unemployment rate is below the national average
  • Easy access to over 100 beaches, including Bondi and Manly Beach
  • Public transport is among the most affordable in the world


  • Cost of living is more expensive than other Australian cities, especially for housing
  • Traffic is bad, especially in the summer


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