Australia’s second city is also among its most acclaimed, and deservedly so.

A strong economy, terrific beaches (when the sun’s out) and creative flair make Melbourne the most livable metropolis in the world, according to the 2012 Economist Intelligence Unit’s global livability report. 


That’s entertainment

Melbourne is perhaps the world’s most social city. There’s a thriving food culture and bars tailored to any taste – the social calendar is jam-packed. “There’s always something happening here,” says Daniel Tait, 28, an interactive designer from Wellington, NZ. “

It seems like there’s live music every night, and there’s lots of festivals.”

Tait says the social culture of the city spills over into work life. “Most days when I finish, I’ll grab a few drinks with co-workers, or else we’ll do some team-building exercises together,” he adds.

Melbourne cradles Port Phillip Bay and as a result is not shy of coastline.

There are loads of funky cafes and galleries along the harbourside and Yarra River, which runs through the city.

For Gemma Saltmarsh, 31, who came from Tasmania to work in marketing, the city’s dining is a main draw.“Melbourne has a fountain of amazing options, and this keeps the prices competitive,” she says. 

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Beat the competition

Ask an expat why they moved to Melbourne, and most likely they’ll cite the city’s prospering job market.

“The creative industry here is really well-paying, and there are lots of jobs,” Tait says.

Graduate jobs start at around £28,000 per year, though are dependent on industry. The city is most in need of IT, finance and engineering specialists, and is recruiting in the health and energy sectors. 

Tim James, the senior regional director of Hays recruiting in Victoria, notes that Melbourne has a good corporate reputation, and that for many expats, a stint at a local company can be a real CV builder.

“Melbourne is recognised as a global city, and the qualifications gained here can put you in a good position to compete for work in other major metropolitan cities,” he says. 

Saltmarsh, who returned to Tasmania after living and working in Melbourne for 11 years, is proof of this: “Working in Melbourne allowed me to develop my skills, and to return to my home state with a breadth of experience.

”Of course, as the community at large gets wind of job opportunities, the competition is becoming more stiff. 

“Employers have high expectations of potential candidates,” James explains.

“They are focused on recruiting people with very specific skills and are not as flexible as they once were.” 

He advises creating immaculate CVs tailored to individual positions, and ensuring prospective employees maintain a responsible, savvy social media presence. 

“Ensure you align your online profile and activities with the personal brand you want to project,” he says.

Cost of livingThe downside of living in Melbourne is that it is expensive, particularly when it comes to housing.

One-bedroom flats start at about £200 per week. 

Eating out can also add up. Saltmarsh reckons a £5 lunch is a “deal”.

Still, she says, it’s possible to live cheaply if you’re patient and know where to look.

“You could live in the suburbs and spend less, but I think it’s cost-effective to look for shared accommodation in St Kilda or Brunswick, where you’re in the thick of the action,” she notes.


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Setting up

Skilled expats – such as those in health, IT and construction – can apply for a special visa without sponsorship.

Non-Australians without exceptional skills can apply for a one-year Australian Working Holiday Visa for 18 to 30-year-olds, but recipients of this type of visa cannot work for the same employer for more than six months.

For more info, log on to


Off duty? Go festive

Moomba: This annual festival is one of Australia’s largest. The free, four-day fest on March 8-11 has run since 1955. Music, water sports and fireworks make the event.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The biggest event on Australia’s social calendar (March 27-April 21), Tim Minchin and Ruby Wax are on the bill.

Melbourne International Film Festival: One of the world’s oldest (since 1952) and most impressive film festivals (July 25-August 11).


Photos: Thinkstock