The complete interstate moving guide to Melbourne

The complete interstate moving guide to Melbourne

Interstate moving to Melbourne can be an exciting prospect. The Victorian capital has become Australia’s fastest growing city and was forecast to overtake Sydney as the nation’s largest city by 2026. The Covid-19 induced pause on international immigration coupled with the 2020 interstate border closures will most likely have pushed Melbourne’s population ascendance ambitions beyond 2026.

Despite the 2020 Covid-19 Victorian lockdowns, Melbourne has consistently featured amongst the top of the world’s most liveable cities lists. Key amongst the attributes which contribute to Melbourne’s national and international attractiveness are the quality and accessibility of the city’s educational institutions, access to public transport, quality, and cost of housing, environmental considerations including availability of parks and sporting facilities as well as cultural attractions such as museums, galleries and performance venues.

The greater Melbourne metropolitan area is home to 5 million inhabitants and is geographically very large at almost 10,000km2 which makes it roughly the same size as greater London. So, whilst the huge geographic footprint reflects a generally low level of housing density, this does vary enormously across suburbs and council regions. The city has some of the country fastest growing municipalities located on its outer fringes where the housing stock is generally detached 3-4-bedroom housing on self-contained allotments. Melbourne is at the same time becoming a more residentially vertical city with the proliferation of multi-storey apartment buildings located within the CBD and surrounding inner-city suburbs such as Docklands, Southbank, Fitzroy, Richmond, Carlton, North Melbourne and South Yarra. Melbourne has also embraced regional population and activity hubs which are strategically located across the metropolitan area within proximity to public transport interchanges. These growth hubs contain high rise apartment towers, large business and retail centres and can be found at Essendon, Doncaster, Caulfield, Dandenong, Camberwell, Preston and Box Hill.

Here are some fun facts about Melbourne;

• Melbourne was the inaugural capital of Australia between 1901 and 1927, before the creation of Canberra.
• Australian Rules football was invented in Melbourne and has an almost religious status, so if you’re not a fan – this is a great fact to keep to yourself.
• Melbourne has the highest number of cafes, restaurants, and bars per capita than any other city in the world.
• Melbourne is home to some of the largest Italian and Greek populations outside their own countries.
• Melbourne has the largest tram system in the world covering over 250 kilometres.

The Melbourne Lifestyle

The complete interstate moving guide to Melbourne
Australian Open. Source: CBS

Melbourne is recognised globally for its vibrant arts and hospitality culture, and the city is home to a diverse mix of cultures. Almost 40% of Melbourne’s residents were born overseas and this is reflected in the city’s cuisine and shopping strips. Melbournians love sport and the city is considered Australia’s sporting capital, hosting many major events including the Australian Open tennis tournament, Australian Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final, Boxing Day Cricket Match and the world famous Melbourne Cup horse race.

If predictable weather is a factor – Melbourne may not be the best destination option for you. The city is famous for its fickle weather immortalised in the Crowded House song ‘Four Seasons in One Day’.

Overall, the climate is far less humid than either Sydney or Brisbane, with average temperatures ranging between 14-25 degrees Celsius during summer, and between 6- and 14-degrees during winter.

Situated at the northern end of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne has many fine city beaches and is driving distance from well-known ocean surf beaches such as Bells Beach, Torquay and Gunnamatta.

Melbourne is home to world-class cultural institutions, cutting-edge design as well as numerous arts festivals and community events including;

  • The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which is the largest stand-alone comedy festival and the second-largest international comedy festival in the world.
  • Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia’s largest and one of the oldest film festivals alongside Cannes and Berlin.
  • Melbourne Fringe Festival, an annual independent arts festival hosted over three weeks from late September to early October.
  • Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, important international art exhibitions held each year at the National Gallery of Victoria throughout the winter months.

For What’s On in Melbourne, head to City of Melbourne here.

Reasons for moving interstate to Melbourne

Melbourne can be both fast-paced and vibrant, or relaxed and laid back depending on where you choose to live within the metropolitan region. Selecting an area to suit your lifestyle is critical to a successful relocation.

If you are moving to Melbourne on your own or as a young couple, you may consider enjoying the best of Melbourne by living closer to the CBD. Rent within inner Melbourne is as much as 30% cheaper than inner Sydney, so the luxury of living close to the CBD can be more affordable for Sydneysiders making the move south. Many inner-Melbournians choose not to own a car due to the availability of affordable and efficient public transport options.

International students flock towards inner Melbourne due its proximity to the largest concentration of university campuses within Australia including the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Monash University, the Melbourne Institute of Technology (MIT), and William Angliss College. Cheap eats around the CBD and a variety of social hot spots cater to artists and students from all over the world, delivering a very cosmopolitan atmosphere to the city streets.

Families or those with preference for a traditional Australian backyard and a driveway will have to look a little further from the city to find an affordable space to rent or buy. More affordable options for families relocating to Melbourne lie within Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs such as Roxburgh Park, Kingsville, Macleod, Altona and more, all located within 15kms from Melbourne CBD. These suburbs are all well equipped with nearby shopping districts, hospitality choices and are accessible by public transport. The leafy eastern suburbs of Kew, Camberwell and Malvern are blue chip Melbourne suburbs, well endowed with expensive private schools and high-priced real estate. Melbourne’s bayside suburbs including Elwood, Brighton, Hampton and Sandringham are similarly well serviced with private schools and large relatively expensive properties. House prices tend to fall the further you venture from the CBD.

Living Costs

Living in Melbourne is not cheap. As with most Australian cities, housing costs and especially property prices are high even by international standards. If you are moving from Sydney, there is a significant reduction in property and rental prices, otherwise expect to find relatively expensive accommodation options. Food, fuel and entertainment prices are consistent with the other Australian cities.

Public Transport

The complete interstate moving guide to Melbourne
E-class Tram in Melbourne. Source: Wikipedia

Getting around Melbourne CBD and the greater Melbourne region is relatively easy due to an efficient public transport system that includes tram, rail and bus service networks. Melbourne CBD operates an efficient Free Tram Zone which makes for a cheap sightseeing trip in central Melbourne if you are still settling in and getting acquainted with the riverside capital.

Public transport in Melbourne is very easy to navigate using the Myki card, a travel card system which integrates ticket payments across train, tram and bus networks across the greater Melbourne region. Myki cards even possess the unique capability of being stored on your smartphone.

Commuters can store a weekly, monthly or annual pass on the smartcard, or pre-load a balance that can be used to pay for single journeys. Myki cards can be topped up at stations or myki vendors.

Helpful Hint: You can grab a Myki card or top up yours at any 7-Eleven store, station or by setting up your payment details online. This is great to get familiar with prior to your first trip.


Melbourne is world famous for its network of trams which is also one the most extensive tram network in the world. The Melbourne tram network covers over 250km, and trams share road space with vehicles on most Melbourne thoroughfares.
With your Myki card handy or stored on your smartphone, travel around the inner Melbourne area is a breeze by tram. Tram services run between 5am and midnight Monday to Thursday, and Melbourne has 24-hour public transport on weekends.
The city’s free tram zone extends from Queen Victoria Market to Docklands, Spring Street, Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. Travel on the City Circle Tram is also free. You can hop on and off the historic trams as often as you like.


Melbourne’s train network is extensive and largely radial, meaning most suburban train lines either start or end at the CBD. The underground rail loop was built in the 1980’s and encompasses only 3 CBD stations, although work is well underway for an expanded underground rail network extending from Melbourne University through to South Yarra.
If travelling in a small group or by yourself at night, the safest and smartest option is to steer well clear of empty compartments and choose a carriage with a transit police protective services officer which can be found almost all trains and larger stations after hours.

Night Trains run every 60 minutes on all lines, except Stony Point and Flemington Racecourse. Some stations have more frequent trains, including Richmond, South Yarra, North Melbourne, Footscray, Caulfield, Clifton Hill and Burnley. After 1am, all trains run direct to and from Flinders Street Station. Parliament, Melbourne Central and Flagstaff stations close just after midnight. Southern Cross Station closes just after 1am on weekdays.


Due to the well-developed tram network around Melbourne, bus services are used the least by Melbourne locals however bus networks run all through the greater Melbourne area. Like in many other Australian cities, the bus network consists of public and private companies all equipped with Myki facilities, so change of carrier will never be an issue. Few regional services travelling to Ballarat and Geelong do not utilise Myki, and payment options for these fares are available at originating and destination transport hubs. Melbourne buses run frequently to destinations such as shopping centres, schools, hospitals, leisure and sports venues.

Helpful Hint: Plan your trip before leaving home for the best transport options available. Victoria’s Trip Planner can be accessed here.

Driving around Melbourne

Driving around Melbourne is no different to any other city in Australia, although while moving you may find that those living within inner-city suburbs often prefer to utilise the well-designed public transport network. Those moving to Melbourne from other states will need to apply for a Victorian driver’s licence and local vehicle registration within three months of moving or risk a hefty fine. To ensure your licence is transferred correctly, you need to pay a visit to Vic Roads, the Victorian state government road transport authority.

Helpful Tip: You can access Vic Roads by following this link: Vic Roads is the one stop shop for your Licencing, Registration, Traffic and Road Rules guides.

The Hook Turn

Before driving around Melbourne CBD specifically, you need to familiarise yourself with a slightly unique type of turn called the ‘hook turn’. These were introduced in Melbourne in the 1950’s to facilitate the tram network and are a road manoeuvre unique to Melbourne. A hook turn is a right hand turn you make from the left-hand lane.

To do a hook turn you must follow these steps:

1. Approach and enter the intersection from the far-left hand lane and have your right indicator on.
2. Move forward to the other side of the intersection, keeping as near as possible to the left of the intersection and clear of any pedestrian crossings.
3. Stay stopped until the traffic lights on the road you are turning into have turned green.
4. Turn right into the road.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the hook-turn, make yourself a mental note that this is a habit that shouldn’t travel interstate with you, and it is of utmost importance to remember that traffic rules in Australia sit at state government level. If your alternative is moving somewhere such as Brisbane or Perth, these rules will vary.


Car parking within the Melbourne CBD can be an expensive exercise with limited timed parking limits on most streets and private parking stations costing well in excess of $25 per hour.
A unique aspect about parking in Melbourne CBD is motorcycle parking. In Melbourne you can legally park your motorcycle or scooter on the footpath unless signs indicate otherwise, if your vehicle is not obstructing pedestrians, public transport users, doorways, delivery vehicles or access to street infrastructure such as parking meters and public bins, and parked cars. This is another great habit to be mindful of if you’re moving out of Melbourne into another state – in many capitals, parking your motorcycle outside designated parking zones will land you a hefty fine.
As with most other Australian cities, parking kerbside in most suburbs is free however it is important to be vigilant and on the lookout for parking signs and peak hour clearway zones. Parked cars must be facing in the direction of traffic, and penalties will apply to those less mindful.


Finding a job is what it’s all about and Melbourne offers many employment opportunities. The city is a hub of economic activity, especially in the hospitality and arts sectors. Education, finance, technology and medical research are also large employment sectors within Melbourne.

If you are the prepared type, it is highly recommended that you seek work in advance. Getting in touch with a local recruitment agent is a fantastic way to get familiar with the job market ahead of your move and may add to much needed peace of mind.

Helpful Tip: To initiate your job search, head to If your preference is to start your search by touching base with a recruitment agent, Seek has a friendly directory located at

The following industries have been identified as the best to seek an opportunity in within Melbourne;

  • Tech Jobs
  • Trade Jobs
  • Account Management
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare

Read about these by visiting this page.

Family Living

The complete interstate moving guide to Melbourne
University of Melbourne. Source: McDonnell International Scholars Academy

Melbourne is indeed a city with a reputation for world class education, which is one of the many reasons it is rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world. The Economist Intelligent Unit’s Global Liveability Score has awarded Melbourne’s system of education and schooling a perfect score.

The Victorian school system operates along the national curriculum with some unique variants;

Kindergarten/Pre-school is a one to two-year program for children until they start primary school. Unique to Victoria, Kindergarten is not compulsory for your little one to start school but is highly recommended to help in developing the necessary skills to transition to school.

School is compulsory for children between the ages of six and fifteen and is divided into primary school and high school. In their final two years, students complete the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) which enables entry to university or other tertiary education. Alternative assessment programs are also available in some schools, but these will take some research.

If your choice is to explore faith-based or independent school options for your child to attend, this is made a lot easier within Victoria by centralised associations. All the necessary information to find your local faith-based or independent school is available online. Please follow the below link to be directed to the appropriate authority.

Helpful Tip: For the best place to start, head here which outlines all unique attributes and curriculums available


Moving can be challenging at the best times, but with beloved pets it’s highly recommended to take care of their registration first.

Pet registration in Victoria is handled by the Animal Welfare Victoria division of Agriculture Victoria. As in most states, your pet can be registered online, so this step is simply not worth delaying. Unlike many states however where pet registration can be lifetime, in Victoria your pet registration must be renewed annually before April 10 each year.

Registration fees are set by your local council and vary depending on several factors. Contact your council to find out which fees apply to your pet.

It is helpful to know that you are eligible for reduced registration fees if your pet is:

  • De-sexed
  • Has an obedience certificate issued by a Government approved organisation
  • Over 10 years of age

You also get reduced registration fees if you have approved concession cards issued by the Department of Social Services and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Selecting an Interstate Removal Company

Grace Removals is Australia’s largest removals company and one of the country’s longest established business. Our Melbourne facility includes long and short-term containerised storage options as well as specialist climate controlled fine art and wine storage.

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