Changing the hustle and bustle of Sydney to settle down in the family-friendly city of Melbourne is a big step.
Whether the reason for relocating is professional growth, or you’re taking the next step in your life and want to raise a family in a more appropriate city this type of logistics are never easy. There’s always too much to plan, think about and research before you take this step.
Moving 1,000 kilometres down the coast may be just an hour of flight away, but there is a lot to do before you officially become a Melburnian.
Making sure that you have a proper roof above your head, choosing the right utility companies, understanding the public transportation system – Melbourne is a vastly different city from Sydney. It will take some getting used to before you call Melbourne your home.
Should you buy or rent in Melbourne?
Compared to Sydney, the rent in Melbourne is cheap. Some would say it’s a bargain, as you can find an apartment in good shape for around A$500 per week.
When moving make sure that you’ve signed and rented a place before you come to Melbourne. It’s best to have done the searching, renting or buying and cleaning before you’ve moved to Melbourne for good.
The in-city-centre of Melbourne a three bedroom apartment will cost you around A$800 per week.
As for an apartment in the suburbs, the prices are around 40% lower compared to Sydney, which is a huge difference, but it also depends on the suburb.
Moving to Melbourne also brings you a step closer to buying your dream home. Prices are still high, but it’s not as expensive as in Sydney.
For an in-city-centre apartment, it will cost you around A$8,500 per square meter. Out of the city centre, the price drops to around A$7,000. The average mortgage rates in Melbourne are higher than in Sydney, with 4.50% (compared to Sydney’s 4.30%).
The best places to rent/buy a home in Melbourne
Melbourne is generally known as a family-friendly city. In fact, it’s one of the best places in Australia to raise kids and grow your family.
As every big city, Melbourne has it’s nicer neighbourhoods. One of the biggest differences is that most of the nice neighbourhoods don’t have a beach.
No wonder that the best suburb to live in Melbourne is St Kilda West. The only beach is close by and the suburb has sufficient public transport. Even a bigger plus is that the suburb is small and schools and parks are within walking distance.
The minus is that the median price for a house is around A$2,000,000, however, a nice apartment is around A$500,000. You can always rent, though, with the average rent being slightly higher than other suburbs.
Other great suburbs in Melbourne are Albert Park, Port Melbourne, St Kilda and Sealhome. Of course, you should look throughout the city, as great home deals can be found everywhere.
Also, take in consideration your lifestyle. If you’re living alone and you work in an office in the city, then rent something that’s closer to the city centre.
How to deal with utilities?
Unlike Sydney, the city of Melbourne has a deregulated energy market. On the one hand, this is good as it provides people with better deals, however, with so many companies competing for you as a client, it can get overwhelming choosing the best option.
Luckily, the Victorian government has provided a website where you can compare all the energy and gas offers from different companies. More information can be found on the Victorian Energy Compare website.
Keep in mind that whatever you save from the cheaper rent in Melbourne, the city makes up by higher utility charges. Electricity, heating, water and garbage will cost you around A$200 per month, but the amount differs between seasons and your lifestyle.
The schooling system in Melbourne
There is no shortage of great schools throughout Melbourne. The city provides a great variety of private, public, Catholic, girl and boy schools.
The city offers a wide variety of universities, with two of Australia’s top 10 best universities.
For a city known as family friendly, and also the most livable city in the world, Melbourne has a lot to offer when it comes to education.
Employment in Melbourne
This may not be all trouble, as groceries and consumer prices as a whole in Melbourne are up to 8% cheaper than in Sydney, The only thing that is consistently more expensive in Melbourne is eating out.
We wouldn’t suggest you move to Melbourne without securing a job first. Sometimes it’s hard to get a serious job with a professional growth opportunity.
Weather in Melbourne (compared to Sydney)
While only 1,000 kilometres away from each other, the two cities have different climates.
Sydney and Melbourne have around the same average maximum temperatures, however, Melbourne has lower humidity levels and the temperature feel significantly lower than in Sydney, especially during the summer months.
This makes summer nights in Melbourne bearable. While on average Melbourne has more days per year with temperatures around 35 degrees, the climate in the city makes the heat more bearable than that in Sydney.
Sydney barely has a winter and has more rains on average than Melbourne. This makes Melbourne a city with more seasons and more pleasant in the summer months.
Public transportation in Melbourne
When you’re moving to Melbourne, there’s no way not to hear of the notorious public transport of the city.
Coming from Sydney you’ll notice a huge commute difference between the two cities. While both, Melburnians and Sydneysiders, have an average commute distance of 15 kilometres, Melbourne has better public transport than Sydney.
Melbourne also has a vastly different layout. The whole city has a more European feel with narrower streets.
While better, the public transport takes some getting used to. Initially, you’ll get overwhelmed by the different tram zones, Myki cards, free tram area and everything else in between.
However, because of the well-established transportation system in Melbourne, travelling around the city centre is much faster and easier than it is .in Sydney.
If you commute to work with public transport, you’ll have to issue a Myki card. This is your ticket for buses, trams and trains that will allow you to travel anywhere around the city of Melbourne.
The government site of Public Transport Victoria has extensively covered the information of which Myki card to buy according to where you’ll travel, how to use it and where to get yours. Visit their website for more information.
Tram zones in Melbourne
There’s no way you won’t get confused by the tram zones in Melbourne. The city is covered by two main tram zones – Zone 1 and Zone 2. There are additional overlapping zone and a free tram zone.
How you’re charged for tram zones in Melbourne:
- You’re charged for the zones you travel within. Your Myki card can be charged for only one zone, or for Zone 1 + Zone 2 if you travel between the two zones.
- If travelling within an overlapping zone, your Myki card will be charged for the cheaper zone.
- Free tram zones are Spring Street, La Trobe Street and Flinders Street.
For the full list of tram zones, you can visit the PT Victoria website.
Legal issues to handle when moving to Melbourne
When you’re moving cities, you will have to notify a lot of government and non-government organisations. After all, you’d want to end all your recurring contracts, change your address in order to receive your letters and updating your information with the appropriate organisations.
Changeing home address
Victoria allows for online update of your address, however, it’s always best to make sure your address is properly updated. Give your local government a call in order to be sure everything is set up properly.
Pets are part of the family. Victoria requires you to register your pet when you move to live in the city of Melbourne.
To keep pets safe, pet owners are required to microchip and register their animal with the local government. You can see how you can apply at the City of Melbourne official website.
Voting and elections in Melbourne
In order to vote for local elections, you have to be registered as a local resident. In Melbourne, it’s mandatory to vote at all levels of government elections, and you can be fined if you fail to do so.
That’s why it’s best to know when you have to vote, and luckily this can easily be checked at the Victorian Electoral website.
Updating your driver’s license
While you can legally drive with your Sydney issued driving license, when you’re changing your address to one in Victoria, it’s best to update your driver’s license as well.
According to the Victorian laws, you can use your old driver’s license for up to three months before its illegal. You can see the full details of converting your license to a Vic one on the VicRoads website.
At first thought, you may not realise how many organisations and companies you’ll have to notify when you’re moving to another city.
A change of address changes a lot of things with it, however, you’ll have to notify most organisations yourself.
Notifying government organisations like the Australia Post, Australian Taxation Office, Rego, schools and universities and of course the local council is of utmost importance.
Some non-government organisations are your doctor, banks, accountant, electricity and gas companies, water and sewage, telephone companies, etc. You get that the list isn’t short at all.
The Australian government has prepared a pretty extensive checklist you can print and follow in order to know that all important organisations and companies have been notified. You can download it from here.
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