At the mouth of the mighty Yarra River, leaning into the headwinds blowing off Port Philip bay is Melbourne, Australia’s southern ‘Garden City’. Lounging along the sparkling blue bay, Melbourne’s contemporary and modern skyline gives way to a dignified metropolis that reclines east and south, petering out into idyllic suburbs and lush green bush land.
In 2012, for the second time running, the Economist Intelligence Unit dubbed Melbourne the world’s most liveable city. Ranking among RMIT’s top ten university cities, Melbourne is home to several world-class universities including Melbourne University, Monash, La Trobe, and Melbourne Business School, to name a few. The city is also Australia’s cultural hub; it is the birthplace of the Australian film, television, Aussie rules football, and the Heidelberg (impressionist) school of art movement.
An original boomtown, Melbourne’s wealth was amassed during the Victorian gold rush throughout the 1800’s. By 1880, Melbourne was the wealthiest city in the world; the city’s period architecture, grand boulevards, and expansive parks and gardens are testimony to this.
Melbourne’s many neighbourhoods each have a distinct flavour, making it an incredibly easy city to relocate to. Whether you opt for the inner suburbs of chic Fitroy and Toorak, hip St Kilda, the peaceful suburbs of Glen Waverly, or more rural Warrandyte, there is a place to suit every taste and budget.
As a centre for culture, Melbourne prides itself on its eclectic, international culinary scene and contemporary cultural calendar. The city’s liberal attitude has enabled street artists to flourish, while its local music scene churns out internationally acclaimed household names.
Its excellent train, bus and inner city streetcar network make public transport a viable option. Indeed, the city has adopted a zero net emissions by 2020 policy, which promises to further enhance Melbourne’s highly agreeable city environment.
Here, (unlike the rest of Australia) you will experience four distinctive seasons, with mild (yet very wet) winters and gratifyingly hot summers. Whether you fancy surfing at Sorrento, yachting on the bay, abalone diving, hitting a six on the cricket pitch, fishing in the Yarra, skateboarding at the city’s celebrated Fitzroy Bowl, taking in a show, or dining out with friends, magnificent Melbourne exceeds every expectation.
What is special or unique about your city?
Melbourne is regularly ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world. It is also the capital of Victoria, which is known as the "Garden State". Like much of Victoria, Melbourne is proud of its many magnificent public and private parks and gardens.
Melbourne is also the home of Australian rules football, called "the footy" for short. If you live in
Melbourne you will hear your work colleagues talk about the footy results every Friday afternoon, and Monday morning, so you may as well jump in. Select a team to follow and join the thousands of ‘Melburnians’ who head out each weekend to see the football action. Cricket, rugby, golf and tennis are also top favourites.
Melbourne is a truly multi-cultural city, making it a fantastic city for eating out with plenty of restaurants, cafes and pubs specialising in foods from all over the world. There is also a very strong, and proud, love of the arts with opera, ballet, painting exhibitions and theatre constantly showing.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Melbourne is an easy city to navigate. The terrain is relatively level and most of the major roads are set out on a grid. Most newcomers are especially impressed by the architecture and gardens.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Melbourne, true to its reputation, is very liveable. Most expatriates report fond memories of their assignments in Melbourne.
What is the local language?
English is the official language of Australia. A basic knowledge of it is important. However, please note that many Australians use a number of colloquialisms. At first, English-speakers from other countries may have occasional difficulties understanding parts of everyday Australian-English speech.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
As Melbourne is a very diverse city, new arrivals need to be tolerant of other cultural beliefs.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Melbourne is infamous for its "four seasons in one day" - with rapid combinations of sunshine, wind and rain. Summer can be very warm and you will require a hat and sunscreen when outdoors. In autumn and spring, everyone dresses in layers so they can adjust to changing climatic conditions through the day. It is always a good idea to have an umbrella close by.
Most homes have central heating, although winter temperatures are not extreme. However, snow can be found at ski resorts within a three hour drive of Melbourne.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Melburnians have traditionally been considered a little more conservative than residents of other major Australian cities. However, most expatriates will probably feel very welcome in Melbourne.