You decided to stay in Melbourne for a while. Diversity, culture, music, food, opportunities. Great decision. Now, you have to decide where to live.
A quick explanation before choosing the location. In Australia, neighbourhoods are called suburbs and they represent urban areas close to the main city centre. This differs from other countries where suburbs mean the opposite. Victorian suburbs are under the management of a Municipality (Council). They are called ‘City of x’. To give an example; t the City of Melbourne municipality has 15 suburbs. There are at least 30 Councils and more than 300 suburbs. Check the full list.
How to choose where to live in? Which suburb would suit you better? Actually, the correct question is; in which neighbourhood would you fit better? Each of Melbourne’s suburbs has its own personality, mood and charisma.
I do not intend to make an exhaustive list here. Let’s just talk about some of the most popular ones near the CBD.
Close to CBD, with difficult parking but excellent public connections to… everywhere. Residents are varied, from cool tattoo appearance to professional looking. Everyone is welcome. Plenty of cool bars and cafes, and the Vietnamese food rule. This friendly and hip suburb is hard to beat.
Pic by Josh Calabrese
Pasta and gelato. This suburb holds the Italian precinct, the Melbourne Museum, the University of Melbourne, beautifully restored Victorian buildings, green gardens, and one of the best tram networks.
Pic by @thethinblackframe
Bohemian, hipster and funky. A suburb that offers what is Melbourne known of. Bookshops, art galleries and boutique stores. Beards, barber shops, and where greatest baristas want to work. Pubs, remarkable cafés and trendy restaurants. Vintage biking is the way to move.
Pic by @louissamal
Note that Collingwood and Abbotsford are adjacent neighbourhoods with similar vibes. They have cheaper accommodation but not many good public transport connections.
BRUNSWICK & NORTHCOTE
Even though they are much far away from the business district centre, these suburbs are becoming the next cool place to live in. Alike Fitzroy, but less crowded and with a peaceful residential looking. Think of houses with garden, trees in the streets and organic stores. Unpretentious. Relax vibes and far cheaper accommodation options.
Pic by Tom Rumble
A suburb that has high expectations for its future. On the west side of the city, right on Victoria harbour, features an enormous development with shops, restaurants, a mall and the famous wheel of fortune. One of the newest suburbs in Melbourne. Its name comes from being a swamp that served as a dock in the previous century. Think of tall modern buildings and clean spaces. Certainly not cheap as it pretends to attract high-income professionals.
Pic by Oskars Sylwan
Historic buildings, Victorian houses, old-fashioned pubs and top-notch cafes scattered over the narrow streets. Hip and cool. This suburb has history and has an excellent public transport network. The South Melbourne market is one of the most well-known markets of the city, with gourmet options.
Note that closer suburbs like Port Melbourne and Southbank are also in high demand. Port Melbourne is a renovated suburb, a similar and smaller version of South Melbourne but with ocean views. Southbank, on the other hand, lacks the Victorian charm and character of others suburbs because of its tallest contemporary buildings. But this might be the urban style that you are looking for. Great location, though. Close to the Botanical Gardens, museums and the river.
Pic by Manki Kim
SOUTH YARRA & PRAHRAN
Posh and chic. High-end fashion labels, upscale restaurants, cocktail lounges and nightclubs. It can get crowded but never boring. The large Prahran Market is a popular option for local groceries.
Beach vibes, spectacular sunsets and penguins in the pier. Busy in summer, chilled in winter. Gardens, festivals, the long Esplanade, markets and diverse eateries. Supposedly, named after a vessel with the insignia ‘Lady of St Kilda’, this bayside suburb embrace diversity to its fullest. Once known as the red district, now is slowly being gentrified. Great public transport options.
Close by, Elwood suburb enjoys same green spaces and beach views without the tourist and noise that St Kilda has during the high season. Bad tram network though. Peaceful and gorgeous neighbourhood.
Pic by HealthyMond
Which one do you like better? Do your research and pick the best.