ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country

Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.
The basics
Australia: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Melbourne

As the capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is often thought of as Australia’s most ‘European’ city and is hard to beat when it comes to artistic output, great coffee, or cultural events.

share image

Melbourne is one of Australia’s most famous cities, located at the cooler southern end of the country’s mainland, and offers visitors a unique blend of Australian and European styles of living. Its distinctive laneways, set out in a grid, are home to an endless array of cafes, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, and shops filled with interesting people and covered with ever-changing graffiti art.


The city is a truly global community, with almost 40 per cent of its population originating from outside Australia. It’s a hotspot for international students living with seven universities based in Melbourne, together with providing world-class education across a range of academic and vocational areas. 


This coastal city has enough to keep you entertained for a lifetime, but if that’s not enough, the surrounding region of Victoria contains an incredible range of natural landscapes, wildlife sanctuaries and historical sites to explore during your time there.


Melbourne can’t offer the endless hot, sunny days of its more northern neighbours like Brisbane, but you’ll love the changing seasons in Victoria, which mean sunbathing and skiing all in a single year.


Maybe it’s because of the huge coffee culture, but things never really slow down in Melbourne. This cosmopolitan city lies at the meeting point between the river and the sea and is home to intense sporting competitions, artistic innovation, underground music, rooftop bars and more.


What is Melbourne like?


Location and demographics


Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, the southernmost state in mainland Australia. Across the ocean to the south is the island of Tasmania, while Sydney and Adelaide lie a roughly equal distance in either direction, east or west.


Like many Australian cities, Melbourne is right on the coast and is in a huge natural harbour.


Melbourne is a diverse and highly multicultural city, with over 200 different nationalities among the city’s residents. It was also found that almost half of the people living in the state of Victoria were either born abroad or have one or more parents from overseas. 


Culture and history 


The city of Melbourne was originally the traditional land and home of the Aboriginal people, the Kulin Nation. It has always been a meeting point for different communities and a place of cultural importance.


European settlers founded the city of Melbourne in 1835, and in 1850 the area became independent from New South Wales and grew quickly following the Australian gold rush.


It’s now home to almost four million people and is regarded as one of the world’s top sporting cities. Its blend of architecture and arts contributes to its distinctive atmosphere and has earned it a refined, cultural reputation.


Prepare for studying in Australia with our guide to Australian English.


What universities are in Melbourne?


Melbourne is home to seven different universities that rank among the best in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings.


The University of Melbourne is the second oldest university in Australia and was rated as the 37th best university in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2022). With over 160 years of educational history, it provides outstanding taught and research courses to more than 38,000 students from its campus in the leafy suburb of Parkville.


Monash University is relatively young, having been founded in 1994. It is a research-focused institution with a student population of over 60,000. Rated 58th in the world (QS, 2022), its Victorian College of Pharmacy offers pharmacy and pharmacology courses that are ranked in the top 10 worldwide.


The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has been operating since 1887 and specialises in delivering career-focused training in design and technology. Its campus is in the heart of the city, where more than 55,000 students prepare for career success with cutting-edge facilities.


Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology and Victoria University also call Melbourne home, offering a huge range of study options. 


Discover more universities in Australia.


What does Melbourne offer students?


What's the transport like? 


Melbourne is a great city to get around, starting with the thoughtful grid design of its streets in the city centre that gives it a distinct ‘New York’ feel. You’ll be able to walk around much of the CBD, discovering new favourites and hidden gems.


The city is served by a broad network of buses, trains, and trams which can all be used with a pre-paid myki card. With a night network of transport options and good cycle lanes, you’ll always be able to get around in a way that suits you.


With four airports around the city, two of which are international, you’ll be connected to wherever you want to go in Australia or the world.


What entertainment and food is there?


Melbourne has always been a pioneer in entertainment and the arts. The first-ever feature film was made here. Art is in the soul of the city and there are a huge range of galleries, museums, music venues and art collectives to explore, as well as all kinds of unique graffiti art around every corner.


The food and drink scene in Melbourne is a big part of the city’s culture, with options ranging from refined brasseries to hipster cafes and craft beer breweries. 


What accommodation is there?


Melbourne’s universities offer a range of on- and off-campus accommodation, as well as many private halls or individual residences for you to choose from. 


Whether you’re looking for something close to class or as close to the CBD as possible, you’ll be able to find a living option that suits your lifestyle and budget. University accommodation services will be able to help you in your search.


What public services are there? 


The City of Melbourne values the contribution of international students to the city’s community and offers a range of services and resources to help you settle in and thrive. You can benefit from online orientation, conversation clubs and other social events, as well as guided experiences and outings.


How much does it cost to study in Melbourne?


General cost of the city


Living in Melbourne is typically more expensive than in some other cities in Australia, but it’s a little cheaper than living in Sydney. Rent is usually significantly cheaper than in Sydney, and there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your budget during your time there.


Student budget


As a single international student living in Melbourne, your average student budget will probably be somewhere between AUD 500 and AUD 1,400 per week. This includes rent, utilities, food, transportation, and other living costs. Your budget will vary depending on your living arrangements, lifestyle, and activities, and where you’re living in the city.


Explore some of the top scholarships in Australia.


Financial requirements


The Australian Department for Home Affairs asks international students to demonstrate that they can access a minimum of AUD 21,041 per year before they can start their studies in Australia. This is equivalent to AUD 1,753 per month.


Find out more about the living costs in Australia.


What are the main attractions in Melbourne?


Melbourne is packed with things to do and see while being ideally located with beaches and a huge natural bay on your doorstep.


Active people will love living in Melbourne. You’ll be able to run and cycle along the waterfront and through the city’s many interesting neighbourhoods, swim in the sparkling bay or get a tan on the beach. You can join other Melbourne residents on the water almost any day for sailing and a variety of other water sports.


Melbourne is surrounded by historic walks and areas rich with wildlife, and whether you’re going around the bay or into the region of Victoria, you’ll never run out of places to visit during your time there.


The Melbourne Zoo and Royal Botanical Gardens are just some of the classic attractions in Melbourne. The city shines when it comes to arts and music, with Federation Square and areas like Brunswick overflowing with cultural activity and underground music.


The city has a reputation for its cooler and changeable weather, with sun or rain always around the corner. However, many think that it’s this more temperate and unpredictable weather that has shaped Melbourne into a similarly cool and constantly surprising city to live in. Find your perfect course in Australia now with our course matcher tool


Study in Australia


'Study in Australia' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in Australia into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook

Search for a course