why is melbourne the most popular city in australia (2)

Why Is Melbourne The Most Popular City In Australia?

There are many reasons why Melbourne has been consistently rated one of the world's most liveable cities. We scored impressive scores in the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2018 global ranking, beating other top 10 ranked cities in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. This was thanks to our top scores in healthcare, education and infrastructure. However, it's not just our lifestyle that people love – it's also our friendly locals. 

Reasons Why Melbourne Is The World's Greatest City

It Has Riotous Street Art

Melbourne's street art scene is one of the most vibrant and important in the world. Indeed, sprayed, stencilled alleys like the city centre's Hosier Lane have become must-see sights, veritable galleries serving up an ever-changing feast of technicolour brilliance.

The original city-centre tour commences from Federation Square, while the Saturday-only tour of the Collingwood and Fitzroy neighbourhoods starts from 48 Easey Street in Collingwood.

And One Of The World's Most Attractive Train Stations

Flinders Street Station is a hulking beauty. With more than 100,000 commuters passing through it each day, it is a landmark in the city and is especially photogenic when Melbourne's trams amble by. The building was completed in 1909 when Australia's first city railway station. Its iconic clocks are a meeting point for many city dwellers.

There's Seaside Fun At St Kilda

Palm trees, Art Deco mansions, retro flats, roller coasters, kosher bakeries, hipster cafes, artists, yuppies, rollerbladers: welcome to St Kilda! Featured in countless TV shows, films, songs and novels, Melbourne's favourite bayside suburb has been it all: 19th-century seaside retreat, post-war Jewish enclave and born-again, property hotspot.

The Cutest Wildlife To Watch

Phillip Island is world-famous for its penguin parade. At dusk each night, a colony of little penguins emerge from the water at Sutherland Beach like waddling commuters heading home from a busy day at sea.

FAQs About Melbourne Popularity

Melbourne is dubbed as being Australia's cultural capital, and for a good reason. From the city's array of museums, multicultural cuisines, and music scene, it's not difficult to see that Melburnians are passionate about the arts.

Melbourne is currently the second-most liveable city globally and the most liveable in Australia! There are a few reasons why Melbourne is considered such a great place to live: there are multiple public transport options, relatively low crime rates, and plenty of jobs.

Melbourne's culture is vibrant and alive. A city that incites inspiration, it's a melting pot of creativity expressed in its arts, design, fashion and events. From theatre shows and live music to comedy clubs and fashion shows, you will discover that Victoria celebrates a vibrant artistic culture, ready to be explored.

Here are some of the most popular sports in the city and where you can experience them first-hand.

  • Special events.Australian rules football (also known as AFL) 'Aussie rules' football has the largest following.
  • Basketball.
  • Soccer.
  • Cricket.
  • Australian Open. 
  • Australian Grand Prix.
  • The Melbourne Cup.

Australia's most popular traditional foods

  • Chicken Parmigiana. This classic Aussie chicken dish – with roots in Italian-American cooking – is a staple offering on pretty much every pub menu in the country.
  • Barbecued snags (aka sausages)
  • Lamingtons.
  • A burger with 'the lot'
  • Pavlova.
  • Meat pies.
  • Barramundi.
  • Vegemite on Toast.

Melbourne has been rated as the world's most liveable city for seven consecutive years by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Much of this status is due to education, infrastructure and healthcare, but an awful lot of what makes the city so good to live in is what makes it so enjoyable to visit, too.

It Boasts Australia's Freshest Live Music

More than anywhere else in Australia, Melbourne is known for its vibrant music scene. Visitors can get a taste at Corner Hotel, found in the shadow of the Swan Street rail bridge. The Corner has been shaking heads and hips since the Forties. Everyone from Mick Jagger and The Dandy Warhols to The White Stripes, David Gilmour and Crowded House have played here, and the place remains one of Melbourne's best mid-sized venues for top-notch live music.

You Can Swim With Wild Dolphins

While Port Phillip Bay offers countless diversions, none quite match the thrill of swimming with wild dolphins. Eco-tourism company Polperro Dolphin Swims runs boat tours that allow you to share the water with the bay's famous bottlenose dolphins and if you're extra lucky, Australian fur seals. Departing from the pier at Sorrento, a beachside town 60 miles south of central Melbourne, the tour runs between three and four hours and must be booked in advance.

And There's A Highly Instagrammable Shopping Centre

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre not only has plenty to wave a credit card at, both in terms of shops and restaurants, but there is also history at which to marvel, in the form of Coop's Shot Tower, a statuesque former bullet factory that is now attractively encased in a domed glass window that stands 84m high.

There's A Craft Hipster Haven, Too

More than a weekend market, the Rose Street Artists' Market is a whole Fitzroy scene, where northside hipsters and creative types hang out, chat and guzzle copious amounts of coffee. It's also a top spot to buy handmade art and design from some of the city's brightest artists and craftspeople. Scour the stalls for anything from sculptural jewellery, graphic T-shirts and avant-garde frocks to artisan candles and designer lamps.

Collins Street Is The City In Microcosm

No thoroughfare embodies Melbourne vanity like Collins Street, and no trip to this town is complete without a saunter down it. Start at the Corner of Spring Street, where the neo-Renaissance Old Treasury Building provides an imposing eastern bookend. Designed by 19-year-old government draftsman JJ Clark and constructed in 1862, its basement vaults store much of the $200 million worth of gold carted in from the Victorian goldfields. Then, head west, admiring the rococo-revival foyer of the Regent Theatre at no. 191, the mosaic floor of the Block Arcade at no. 282, and the ingenious preservation inside no. 333. The neo-Gothic ceiling of the ANZ Bank at no. 380 is also worth a peek, while further west at nos. 471 to 477 stands the equally flamboyant Olderfleet Building. Finally, schedule your walk-in time for sundowners at sky-high Lui Bar in the Rialto Towers.

But There's A Quirky Side Too

why is melbourne the most popular city in australia (3)Melbourne can be a tricky city, hiding many of its most fabulous boutiques, cafés, bars and art down nondescript laneways, behind inconspicuous doors and up rickety old stairs. Get a little guidance with a Hidden Secrets Tour, which wisely snubs the obvious and the naff for what Melbourne does best - offbeat creativity, quirkiness and surprise. Tours cover some themes, from Melbourne's laneways and historic arcades to art, architecture and design walk, coffee and food crawl for curious gastronomes. We admire most about this tour company are the guides, all of them truly, madly in love with their hometown (and rightly so!). So wear comfy shoes, and for tour times, prices and bookings, visit the website.

You Can Escape To Luscious Gardens

Few botanic gardens match the elegance and sheer romanticism of Melbourne's most famous patch of green. The Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the city's most unique treasures and worth setting aside a few hours for. Travel the world through micro eco-systems, stretch out on the sweeping lawns with a good book, or delve deeper on one of the garden's themed guided tours, some of them free (see rbg.vic.gov.au for details).

Beach-Laden Peninsula

Hanging off Melbourne like a giant hook, the Mornington Peninsula is one of the city's classic summer playgrounds. The beaches come in two forms: shallow, family-friendly bay beaches and wild, open, surfer-studded back beaches. Visitors can quaff pinot noirs at boutique wineries like Ten Minutes by Tractor, enjoy high-tech wine flights at the Crittenden Wine Centre, nibble on local cheeses at Red Hill Cheese or procure produce and art at the monthly Red Hill Market. Of its string of towns, historic Sorrento remains the prettiest; a healthful combination of 19th-century sandstone buildings, Laura Ashley-style boutiques, and blonde-bobbed lunching ladies discussing schools over chardonnay. 

Melbourne Is Also Home To Australia's Greatest Coffee

The baristas in Melbourne's cafes are often thought of as some of the most highly accomplished, with coffee brewing an art form taken seriously. So sit and savour a cup in one of Patricia Coffee Brewers, Market Lane Coffee or Brother Baba Buden and see what all the fuss is about.

Best Cities For Students

Australia has some of the top cities globally for university study and for students to live in. They offer a combination of excellent universities and high living standards. Australian cities and towns attract close to 300,000 international students each year. Nearly one in three university students are from abroad, including China, India, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia. They add a global flavour to university life in Australia.

It is interesting to compare Australian cities as places for university study. While there are many similarities, each city has its qualities. Knowing about the different cities can be useful for students coming to study abroad. It helps to choose a university city and make the most of what the place offers.

Ranking Formula

Model for ranking best cities for living and livability. Australia's best cities to study and live in are ranked based on three things.


The most livable cities for students in Australia include Melbourne, Brisbane and Wollongong. Livability depends on living costs, climate, culture, transport and layout.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living is an important part of livability. Differences in living costs between cities are mainly due to housing prices. Our cost of living index reveals the cheapest and most expensive places to live. It also shows how city choice affects student budgets.

University Choice

why is melbourne the most popular city in australia (1)The best university cities have quality universities and give students choices about institutions and courses. They also tend to attract international students. Melbourne and Perth are top Australian cities for course choices and drawing students abroad. We use the following statistical sources: the Australian Government's higher education data and housing prices, the Australian Graduate Survey, and Uni Reviews.

Large Student Cities (less than 1million people)


It is another attractive city for students to live in. Adelaide has solid numbers of international students, with 27 per cent of students from abroad. Consistent with its size, the city has four universities. University quality in Adelaide is the highest nationally, although not by much. We found that all major cities have both high and low ranking universities. Adelaide is a relatively cheap place to live due to low accommodation costs.


It's a fantastic study destination, though a little pricey. Perth's student numbers are similar to Melbourne but on a smaller scale. International students also represent a third of all university students. Perth offers plenty of educational choices, with four universities in a city that is less than half Melbourne's size. The average quality of universities is slightly better than in Melbourne but fractionally lower than in Adelaide. Living costs in Perth are relatively high. It is the second most expensive city after Sydney. The high living costs do, however, reflect a strong local economy and the job market.

Brisbane, Queensland.

Brisbane also features on the best big-city list. The proportion of study abroad students in Brisbane is 22 per cent, about 6 points below the national average. The city offers students a reasonable choice. Although only three universities are based in Brisbane, several others have teaching facilities in the city. University quality in Brisbane is slightly above average. Brisbane is the second cheapest major city to live in after Adelaide.

Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney is home to almost 230,000 university students, of which just under 50,000 (22%) are from overseas. Around 5% of all residents are university students (compared to 6% or more in the other major cities). Five universities are based in the city, with an average quality similar to other major cities.

Small Student Cities (<1m People)

Wollongong, New South Wales.

Wollongong is Australia's top small city for students. Wollongong is tough to beat. The city of fewer than 300,000 people is home to a reasonably large university that is one of Australia's best. Wollongong has 27,000 students, with more than 10,000 from abroad. The university is ranked 2nd by University Reviews Australia – based on university reputation, course ratings and graduate salaries. Wollongong is 80km south of Sydney, and its housing prices are about average for Australian cities.


Australia Canberra is Australia's capital and another quality small-city for student living. Canberra has two universities, including the top-ranked Australian National University. The city has 35,000 students, 9,000 of whom are international students. While Canberra provides a great environment for university study, it can also be an expensive place to live.

Hobart, Tasmania.

Hobart could be a good choice for students looking for a cheaper city. It comfortably has the lowest accommodation costs of the university cities. In addition, Hobart is home to a single university, the University of Tasmania (UTAS). UTAS caters to Tasmania's on-campus university students and is a fairly typical Australian university. It has 20,000 students, with just over a quarter from overseas.

Gold Coast, Queensland.

The Gold Coast is a dream city for university study if you can find a good course for you. Australia's most popular tourist destination and an increasingly popular study destination. It has great weather and beaches, and plenty of entertainment. The Gold Coast has the largest campus of Griffith University and is home to Bond University. It also has campuses of two of Australia's cheapest universities for international students – CQUniversity and Southern Cross University.

Why Melbourne?

Affordable Lifestyle

Melbourne is more affordable than many other cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney. 

World-Class Education

Melbourne is home to some of the region's best educational institutions from kindergarten through to university. Our talented population is highly educated with high levels of post-secondary qualifications. And it's no wonder – we have ten world-class universities in our state, and Melbourne has the highest-ranked university in Australia and the third highest in the Asia Pacificexternal link. In addition, Melbourne was given a perfect score for education from the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Survey 2015external link. 

World Leading Healthcare

Melburnians have a life expectancy that is amongst the highest in the world, buoyed by Australia's world-renowned healthcare system, which includes high-quality public and private hospitals and community health services, ambulance, and dental services. Melbourne was given a perfect score for healthcare from the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Survey 2015external link. 

Homes To Suit All Tastes

No matter your taste or budget, Melbourne has the perfect home for you. If you love city living, why not live in one of our many inner-city apartments? On the other hand, if you prefer more space and a quieter lifestyle, there are great suburbs within an easy city commute. The choice is yours.

Great Weather

Melbourne's unique climate has something for everyone – warm summers, moderate autumns, cool winters, and sunny and bright springs. When you're enjoying Melbourne's great outdoors, you'll also notice our clean air quality. We don't suffer from high levels of air pollution common to other major cities around the world.


With friendly people, a great lifestyle and endless business opportunities, you'll quickly fall in love with Melbourne.

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