Moving from Perth to Melbourne – tips?
September 17, 2011 9:52 PM   Subscribe

In a few weeks, I will be relocating from Perth to Melbourne. I am looking for tips or information that will help make the transition as smooth as possible.

I have read through previous similar questions asked here on the green, which has been helpful to a certain extent, but I would love some more current information.

I am a 30-year old single woman and have lived in Perth for the vast majority of my life, although I have travelled fairly extensively (both interstate and overseas). I recently decided I was ready for a change of scenery, and due to my extreme fondness for the city, concluded that I should relocate to Melbourne. I was lucky enough to find a job in Melbourne quickly and am all set to move across – at least mentally.

I am especially interested in advice regarding areas to live. My workplace is located in the CBD (close to the Queen Victoria Market), and I am contemplating finding a 1-bedroom apartment close by. I am willing to pay up to $450 per week rent for a place, which would ideally include a car space. I understand I would be able to find a larger (and cheaper) place outside of the city, however, I am sick of commuting to work (either via car or public transport). I would love to be able to walk to work (or take a short tram ride). What is living in the CBD really like? Are there any areas just outside of the CBD (such as Carlton) that I should be considering? Safety is a priority, so I am looking for secure buildings in relatively 'nice' locations.

More generally, I would love any advice on moving to and living in Melbourne. What are your top tips for making the transition and settling in to life in Melbourne?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (11 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's request -- restless_nomad

Well, when I left Perth, I moved to QLD. But nearly all of my friends moved to there and they always say that half of Perth lives in Melbourne. Every time I go there, I run into some new Perth re-locatee, so chances are, you probably already know people there!

On a serious note, my brother lived in North Melbourne, a 15-minute stroll to the Queen Vic markets, and it was awesome. Seemed pretty safe, and it wasn't too yuppie. It wasn't noisy either. You should be able to afford something pretty decent, but would you consider sharing? You could get an AMAZING house if you're willing to pay a bit more...
posted by indienial at 11:05 PM on September 17, 2011

Living in the Melb. CBD is great, a little more expensive - especially if you're on your own, but worth it if you like everything at your doorstep.. the inner suburbs shouldn't be dismissed, particularly if you're willing to share-house.. making friends is the hardest thing when moving, so i'd encourage you to consider it.. it's a great way of meeting people if you don't already have a clique of your own ex-perthers to join.. check the Readings bookshop (Lygon St) windows for notices, along with Gumtree etc..

southbank, carlton and north melbourne are walking distance to the city, but trams make places like fitzroy, brunswick and kensington really close.. these suburbs are traditionally more bohemian, though I'm not sure that continues to be accurate.. finding rentals can take some time, but depends very much on circumstances and luck, imho.. richmond, south yarra, toorak, prahran and windsor are a little more segregated from cbd culture, but are fantastic places to live..

a car is completely unnecessary in inner melbourne.. car parking is a premium in the cbd and you may find it difficult to find an apartment that includes a space (though, this is not my area of expertise!) .. naturally, the further from the city, the easier parking becomes.. i ride a bike everywhere, its easier (melbourne is essentially flat), cheaper and on a nice day/night is still quicker than a car, tram or train.. public transport around the inner suburbs is fantastic, despite what the locals say..

maybe i'm more laid back than some, but i've never had an issue with safety in melbourne.. break-ins are rare and violence is limited to drunken fools refused entry to nightclubs.. avoid the idiots and you'll always be safely within distance of friendly people at any hour..

it's a great city. good luck. :)
posted by bigZLiLk at 12:09 AM on September 18, 2011

i should add, i've never had much luck finding something nice in Collingwood.. Abbotsford is a beautiful suburb, but you'd need the car because the local shopping is entirely asian and a little less safe at night, despite the fantastic Victorian st cheap-asian-eateries.. some people really like st. kilda, but it's a little island separated from everything else - and the same goes for south and port melbourne - but that's only an issue if you're travelling mostly by tram.. if we're ranking outside of cbd, my favourite places to live are East Melbourne and Windsor, then Fitzroy and West Melbourne..
posted by bigZLiLk at 12:19 AM on September 18, 2011

Have you considered commuting by bicycle? Melbourne is much more cycling friendly than other Australian cities. There are radial off road bike paths coming from the city and going 40km or more out in many different directions. The on road bike lanes are also popular.
posted by Joe Chip at 12:51 AM on September 18, 2011

I live in Thornbury, which is a bit north of Fitzroy. There are a lot of unit complexes in the area, and it has a nice relaxed vibe. It's quite a bohemian area, and is close to the Ceres environment park (which you must visit). Transport into the CBD is easy - it's serviced by the Epping train line and the 86 and 112 trams.

I came to Melbourne 10 years ago from Brisbane. I was terribly homesick for a year or so, then I got used to the place and now I couldn't live anywhere else. Melburnians have a huge amount of civic pride - I identify myself as one nowadays, and I love my city.

If you're young (I'm 31, about the same as you) it can be very "sceney". People often identify themselves with affinity groups I think in a more pronounced way than what happens in other Australian cities. I'm a bike courier, which inevitably means the majority of my social life occurs within the bike scene. There's a similar dynamic at work with the Irish/American folk scene, which is very active particularly in my area of town.

It's a beautiful, complex, unique city. I hope you come to love it as much as I do.
posted by chmmr at 1:41 AM on September 18, 2011

Oh - I'd advise you against living right in the CBD. There's no reason to. While Melburnians love bitching about it, public transport is actually pretty good most of the time, and if you live in one of the inner suburbs getting into the CBD is easy (particularly if you cycle, but PT is pretty reliable). You do not need a car if you live in the inner suburbs. The only reason you'd actually need one for day to day stuff is if you like doing huge bulk grocery shopping trips. Get used to doing smaller, more regular shops; a trip to the Queen Vic (or Preston or South Melb, if you find yourself living near there) markets, and you will not miss having a car. Especially if you get a good bike.
posted by chmmr at 1:46 AM on September 18, 2011

My boyfriend and I moved from Perth to Ballarat at the beginning of this year. We're students and sought out the cheapest moving options, which may or may not be what you're after:

If you're bringing your car, the cheapest way to get it across the country is via these guys: There are lots of companies that will do it for you, but there's only one train (East Perth - Southern Cross), so there's no point in going with a more expensive company. You can also load up your car with as much stuff as you like, so be sure to take advantage of that!

Do you have boxes of stuff or large items you need shipped over? We got ours delivered to Geelong via container, then hired a Thrifty truck for a day and drove it all to Ballarat (we also made a stop at IKEA on the way home to maximise truck-space!).

And on the transport situation, having a car in that first week of moving in was an absolute godsend. Being able to drive to potential houses, real estate agents, furniture stores, op shops etc is extremely useful, especially when you're not familiar with the public transport system. Obviously, carting furniture is much easier with a car as well! Even if you want to be able to walk/tram to work, you might want to consider keeping the car, even if just until you get settled in.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 1:50 AM on September 18, 2011

Yeah, another one of those escaped former Perth people here. $450 week is a very generous budget even to live in the inner city. I have friends who live in lovely and modern 2 bed apartments (with a secure car space) in both Carlton and North Melbourne and neither pay over $410. Both suburbs are fantastic places to live and easy walks into the city, with lots of nearby parks and places to eat/shop. I've lived in Richmond, Abbotsford, Kensington, Seddon and Yarraville; I prefer the western suburbs myself and they are generally cheaper too. One thing Melbourne really has over Perth is that even a little further out, you still have the same excellent public transport services and amenties as you would in the city. Less suburban sprawl with a crappy shopping mall stuck in the middle and one bus an hour (fuck you Greenwood & Balcatta) than unique and vibrant communities. I live in Yarraville, 6km from the city, and work in Carlton. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work and that includes 10 minutes walking either side of the train. Yarraville is a fantastic place to live and there is really no need for me to ever leave the suburb. We have a new, two bedroom townhouse with ducted heating (trust me, you will NEED this) and aircon, 1 & 1/2 bathrooms, huge deck and carport for $360p/w. My top tip for Melbourne? Use the train as much as possible, most of the good stuff is next to the station no matter where you are so it's a great way to explore and see whats out there.
posted by Wantok at 2:31 AM on September 18, 2011

I would second the suggestion for North Melbourne. Carlton is more expensive-- considerably so. Kensington is nice too. Check out the number 57 or number 19 tram lines (google it, I would suggest) as these go past the market and if you are working near there then anything on that line will be pretty easy for you to navigate.

If you go East Melbourne, Richmond or even Fitzroy-- anything east of the cemetery-- be aware that the road that hooks around the top of Melbourne Uni and past the cemetery gets VERY busy. The alternatives (for going across town) are not good either. In Melbourne people tend to pick a 'side'-- north, east, west or south-- and go out there and live there, if possible. You want to go north or west to be near the market.

$450 should be plenty. We spend $350 and have a 2bdm with a car park. It's renovated, but not new, and it's about 7km out of the city. I used to live in East Melbourne for the same price with no car park.

North Melbourne is a real gem of a suburb, imo. Carlton/Parkville are both lovely but the prices go right up for what you get. Further out, Brunswick is also not too expensive and is on the right tram line. North Melbourne train station is nowhere near anything much, fyi.

FYI when you apply for a rental: the market is quite competitive, especially if you look at a 2bdm place. I have found it useful to fill in my application forms in full before I go to an inspection. This is really annoying because you often don't actually want to apply. But it's more annoying to get there, find 30 people cueing up (unusual, but has happened) and realise that you are the one without an application. It's first in, best served with those.

Last thing: the cbd in the area near the market (very near, as in surrounding) is quite backpackery. North Melbourne/Carlton are both nicer areas to live in and still only 10m by tram.
posted by jojobobo at 2:36 AM on September 18, 2011

I don't have much to add and I'll basically agree with everything above. The only thing I'll expand on is nth melbourne train station - it's in west melbourne, go figure. Nth melbourne is well served by trams but not at all by trains.

I'm in brunswick and love it.
posted by deadwax at 4:41 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Perth and moved to Melbourne when I was twenty-five, and am so glad I made the move; I really miss Melbourne now I live in London. Just off the top of my head:

1) A car is pretty much essential in Perth, but you won't need one in Melbourne as there's less urban sprawl and the public transport actually works;

2) YMMV, but don't be entirely surprised if you experience some low-grade culture shock. I spent six months being quite irritated by Melbourne's dirtiness and urban decay (Perth is such a new, clean city in comparison) and was constantly frustrated by not knowing how little things worked (e.g. what yogurt to buy). This is normal, and temporary; and

3) I reckon Brunswick, Thornbury, and Northcote are all great places to live, provided you're close to a tram line.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2011

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