Melbourne draws more UK expats than almost anywhere else in the world, attracted by good weather, white beaches and exciting career opportunities. The city encapsulates Australia’s positivity and vibrancy from its beautiful coastline to the bustling high rises and leafy suburbs. The benefits of living in Melbourne are clear, but which part of the city would best suit you may be less obvious. There’s somewhere for everyone, from leafy, family-friendly neighbourhoods to buzzing, boho central suburbs. Here is our pick of where to live in Melbourne.
These central suburbs are Melbourne at its busy, vibrant best. Carlton’s Italian flavor is felt throughout its cafes, bars and restaurants and it boasts some of the best coffee in the city. Neighbouring Fitzroy is Melbourne’s creative, artistic heart with a diverse range of shops and pubs centred around the exciting Brunswick Street area. These suburbs are extremely popular with hip young professionals and students due to its proximity to the University and trendy vibe. There are great accommodation options including some fantastic warehouse conversions and chic penthouses. This location is incredibly close to the central business district and perfect for anyone wanting be in the thick of city life with virtually no commute.
Coburg North appeals to professionals and families due to its safe, green reputation and proximity to the city centre. There are some beautiful parks along the Merri Creek Trail and excellent family orientated amenities from big chain supermarkets and restaurants to more unique offerings such as a drive in cinema, farmers market and even an outdoor lounge. The area is perfect for expats with children with plenty of two to four bedroom homes and some very well respected schools such as Coburg North Primary School and Coburg Junior and Senior High School. This ideal location is, understandably, not the cheapest in the city but house prices are predicted to continue rising as the suburb continues to develop and grow.
Located just inland from Melbourne’s beautiful south-eastern coast, Bentleigh is a great option for expats wanting to balance city and beach life. While it is less than 30 minutes from central Melbourne, it is a quiet, green, relaxed suburb. The neighbouring coastal suburbs of Brighton and St Kilda have everything you need for a perfect day at the seaside with beautiful beaches, great fish and chips and even a sprawling fun fair. Within Bentleigh itself, there are pretty, well kept parks and play areas and a huge array of sporting facilities from bowling greens and yoga centres to athletics and aquatic clubs. There’s a huge range of shops from supermarkets to in international delis and a range of surprisingly affordable housing, particularly in eastern Bentleigh. The areas schools are respected across Melbourne, particularly Bentleigh Secondary College and nearby McKinnon High School.
Open-minded, creative, unpretentious and effortlessly cool, Brunswick appeals to Melbourne’s younger demographic. As a diverse, multicultural suburb, it’s also an ideal location for expats to settle. There’s little glitz and glamour but plenty of independent spirit and character with plenty of unique shops, cafes and bars you won’t find anywhere else in Melbourne. There are some beautiful small Victorian houses perfect for singles and couples around the heart of the Brunswick with larger homes in the west of the suburb for families. You can drive into the city centre in less than 20 minutes but most Brunswick residents prefer the tram, which is just as fast and far more convenient and eco-friendly.
North of the sought after Moonee Valley, Essendon is an attractive, affluent suburb perfect for expat families and professionals. There are plenty of stunning Victorian and Edwardian properties along its tree lined streets and fantastic local schools such as Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School. It has a friendly, neighbourly vibe with lots of pretty parks and even a river to explore. Essendon is close to the city centre and has excellent public transport links making your commute a breeze. There is a huge range of shops and restaurants in Essendon and even more unique, independent retail options in nearby Moonee Ponds.
Richmond is a warm, diverse, sprawling suburb just east of central Melbourne. Here you will find almost every ethnicity and religious belief respectfully embraced and well represented. Its multicultural, inclusive spirit makes it the perfect environment for any new expat looking to integrate easily into a community. This busy suburb has accommodation for most budgets from trendy apartments to Victorian cottages. Whichever you chose, it is well worth making sure you have space for a car as parking throughout the suburb can be notoriously tricky, although this is offset by some of the best public transport links in the city. There is always something happening in this vibrant neighbourhood from lively markets and late night gigs to local Aussie Rules games. For a moment of serenity, take a stroll or cycle along the banks of the Yarra River, which winds through the south of the suburb.
While only 35 minutes from central Melbourne, Eltham’s green hills and open spaces will make you feel a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city. This semi-rural suburb is popular with families and has a great choice of schools. Eltham College is particularly respected and well-liked amongst expat families. Housing is far more affordable than the more central suburbs and there are an incredible variety of homes from traditional mud brick houses to glitzy modern mansions. If you don’t fancy heading into the city at the weekend, there is plenty to do right on your doorstep. As well as dozens of parks and some brilliant shops, there is the delightful Montsalvat Artists Colony with its beautiful buildings and fascinating gallery.
With private schools and period homes, Hawthorn definitely has its upmarket areas, yet the presence of Swinburne University and the huge number of cheap shops and cafes catering for its students give it a much more down to earth character. Property prices here are still fairly reasonable, but as the city dwellers discover this suburban gem, it is not likely to remain so for long. There are excellent links to the city via tram and bus and it is ideal for families or professionals. It is a safe, friendly suburb with leafy streets and beautiful parks such as St James and Yarra Park.
Yarraville is a hip, quirky suburb that attracts many of Melbourne’s artistic community. Achingly trendy, Yarraville is packed with organic food stores, independent arts venues and yoga studios. You will still, however, find the usual selection of large stores and local amenities, should you need to. The stunning Sun Theatre cinema is at the heart of this village-like suburb and many of the neighbourhoods best shops and cafes stretch along the nearby streets. The area is becoming increasingly popular with young families as the local schools continue to impress parents from across the city. This eclectic, vibrant community is just eight kilometres west of the city centre and just 10 minutes drive from the beach at Williamstown.
Port Melbourne has long shed its dingy docklands image and is now a modern, chic destination packed with gorgeous waterfront apartments. Traditional heavy industry has been replaced with trendy bars and restaurants and bright, bustling shopping centres. It is close to the coast so perfect for beach lovers and the sea breeze is refreshing throughout the summer. This suburb is most popular amongst young professionals who enjoy the glamorous lifestyle the area offers. It is just 15 minutes from the city centre but is quite self-contained if you prefer staying closer to home.
When thinking about where to live in Melbourne, you may also be doing further research on the city and may want to check out our guide to living in Melbourne.