Author Topic: So..tell me about Melbourne  (Read 6402 times)

cbr shadow

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So..tell me about Melbourne
« on: July 27, 2014, 08:12:17 PM »
My wife and I have been planning on moving from Chicago to Sydney Australia for a while because of a 2-year contract she recieved from her company.  She left 3 weeks ago and has been working there, but her boss explained that a person in her role in Melbourne has quit and that she'll be replacing him.  We have no choice in the matter since her contract says that this can happen.

What can you tell me about Melbourne?  What's it going to be like?  I hear the weather is cooler than Sydney, and that it rains more often -true?  Is it similar to Chicago in that people only go to the beach in the summer?  Is there a cycling culture there (I like road biking)?  I looked up tons of adventurous things to do in Sydney, but am not sure what people do in Melbourne.  Also how does the job market compare?  I'm going to be looking for a job in 3D Modeling (AutoCAD, Revit in Manufacturing).  Is the cost of living just as high as Sydney?  My wife's pay ($130k base, $60k commission potential) is the same as it would have been in Sydney, so if the cost of living is lower that's a win.

I see gym memberships are $100/month average, maybe a bit higher.  Ouch.  Any advice there?  And if you say to use workout videos I will catch your facepunch and give you one in return for not ever leaving the house :-)

Thanks for any info!
-CBR

FrugalUndercover

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 08:19:54 PM »
Melbourne does have cooler and more volatile weather.  In the summer it can still get as high as 40C though.  In terms of what to do, there is a lot of sport to watch (most AFL teams are from Victoria, australian open tennis, formula 1, cricket etc).  Rugby is more of a sydney sport.  There are also lots of cafés and a coffee culture, as well as trams and hook turns.  I'm sure others will add to the list.  (I was raised in melbourne but am now based in sydney).  Can't comment on cycling, I'm not the fitness type

urbanista

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 08:37:24 PM »
The rents are considerably lower than Sydney, maybe around $100 per week for a comparable place in the same distance to CBD. Lots of cyclists on streets but you need to choose your place to live wisely. Outer suburbs are less bike-friendly than inner suburbs. The job market is worse than Sydney in general, and at the moment is not good at all.

Gym membership cost is $100 monthly for a very basic gym in the inner city suburbs. Gyms in Australia are expensive, same as everything else though. In the outer suburbs you can get $40-50 memberships, but then your wife is looking at 1h+ commute each way.

Melbourne beaches are too cold half the summer to my liking, not even mentioning other seasons. The good thing is, the trip to Gold Coast will only cost $150 in airfares, and that's what many do in October - take a short break. In winter, Cairns' Northern Beaches are full with weather refugees from Victoria. We have only 5 days till our holiday, counting hours!

deborah

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 09:36:11 PM »
I much prefer Melbourne to Sydney - and you probably will too. Sydney is more scenic, with a harbour in the middle of everything, making transport much more of a nightmare, since everything is hilly, and the roads tend to be narrow. Melbourne was laid out in a grid pattern, with wider streets and has far fewer hills. The CBD has a ring of parks most of the way around the early suburbs. The two places are similar in size, although Sydney is bigger.

Melbourne is colder in winter and a bit hotter in Summer. It isn't as humid in summer as Sydney. Melbourne gets most of its rain as drizzle in the cooler months, so you go for months feeling cold and wet and miserable (although Mormons from Utah trying to convert you say the thing they miss most in Melbourne is winter - no snow). Sydney is wetter in summer. I hate Sydney's hot summer humidity much more than Melbourne's hotter drier summer.

Victoria is known as the sports state, and has more sporting facilities than other parts of Australia, but Australia is also known for sport, so you probably wouldn't notice the difference. Because it is flatter, and it has better roads (in general), I think cycling is better. Why do you need a gym membership when there are loads of parks, and winter doesn't include any snow or ice? Admittedly, it can be very hard to do anything when it is hot, and there is usually one week of very hot weather each year in Melbourne. It looks like Chicago gets something like as hot, but not quite.

Victoria always had more manufacturing. Recent employment figures say that Sydney and Melbourne are much of a muchness, so it depends upon your industry. I think you may be better in Melbourne for what you do.

Victoria is more densely populated than any other state - once you get 200km inland in NSW you are in the outback - mainly marginal country with huge farms.

Melbourne has Yarra Valley wineries on its doorstep. Sydney has the Hunter Valley wineries a bit further away, as well as the Blue Mountains (a world heritage area) on its doorstep. Sydney has Bondi Beach, Melbourne has surf nearby, but not in the city.

Both Melbourne and Sydney regularly make high ratings in the world's most livable cities rankings. Melbourne has been #1 in the world on one of them several times, Sydney #1 on another fewer times.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 10:00:11 PM by deborah »

nas555

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 09:53:48 PM »
Is there a cycling culture there (I like road biking)? 

There is quite a bit of cycling in Melbourne - luckily there aren't to many hills (for the most part) and the city is well laid out which helps.  I'd recommend going onto google maps and checking out the bike paths.

It does depend on where you live though - the northern and inner eastern suburbs are best for cycling (in my experience) - more bike paths and drivers are more tolerant.  The outer suburbs not so much - more hills, less bike paths and angrier drivers.

In my opinion (people may disagree with me), if you find work in the city centre, it would be ideal to live in the northern or eastern suburbs no more than 7-8km from the centre.  Rent will be higher than living further out but your transport will be free or low cost (walking/bikes/trams), there's much more in the way of food (lots of good, cheap places to eat in the northern places for example) and you can save money by shopping at markets or ethnic grocery stores rather than the more expensive Coles/Woolworths.  You can probably get away with not having a car either - a car is a necessity when you live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne unfortunately

There are cheaper niche gyms out there - when I lived in Brunswick I went here - http://fitnrg.com.au/ - memberships are $60 per month.  The main chains (fitness first, genesis, etc) are always going to be more expensive.

EngineerMum

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 10:52:53 PM »
Melbourne is wonderful, it's our favourite place to visit (as most of our friends have moved there from Perth due to better job options in arts fields). Great cultural stuff - one friend (who used to be in arts promotion, so got lots of free tickets etc) used to have at least one event to attend every night (music, theatre etc), with lots of other options that didn't make the grade. Which you are probably used to but is not the norm for Aussie cities (you'd find it hard in Perth to find something to see most week nights). Great museums, great public art galleries, great libraries.
Food is fantastic, with a strong Greek, Italian, Chinese contingent, plus a host of other options that don't quite rate their own suburb. Lots of farmers markets and a strong grow your own (vegies, not ... other things) culture.
Great public transport - their trams are famous, and really very user friendly and convenient. Buses cover the routes that the trams don't. VERY bikable. My Melbourne friends are nearly all cyclists, it's far more common there than I'm used to, and it's pretty common for people to not have cars.
I find that Melbourne - outside the CBD - is a collection of small communities smooshed together. Some friends find they rarely leave their localities as they have everything they need right there. Brunswick is a favourite of mine (but I couldn't tell you what the cost is like as we weren't living there).
Lots of what I consider to be inner city housing - terraces and the like, rather than the 1/4 acre block with McMansion and big garden.
Lots of parks and green space, and a pretty Eco aware mindset.
Oh, and the rest of Australia considers Melbourne to be the place to go for shopping. Not that you'd care about that being a Moustachian.


marty998

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2014, 02:59:44 AM »
Well, hate to say it but yes you will benefit financially by going down there.

But it will never be as good as Sydney ;)

SU

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2014, 05:06:43 AM »
There's a BIG cycling culture - how much cycling do you want?

If you start here: http://cyclingtips.com.au/bunch-rides/bunchridefinder/ and here: http://www.cyclingprofiles.com.au/HTM/VicPopular/MelPopular2.htm

and maybe look up some contacts through cycling shops (sorry, can't remember the names of the prominent ones, but the links above will hopefully lead you there), then you can get an idea of where to live to be close to good bunch rides. Then you just need to show up to the bunch with a CV (for the job hunt) and good cycling legs and your whole Melbourne life will unfold before you.

agent_clone

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2014, 05:50:52 AM »
In my opinion (people may disagree with me), if you find work in the city centre, it would be ideal to live in the northern or eastern suburbs no more than 7-8km from the centre.  Rent will be higher than living further out but your transport will be free or low cost (walking/bikes/trams), there's much more in the way of food (lots of good, cheap places to eat in the northern places for example) and you can save money by shopping at markets or ethnic grocery stores rather than the more expensive Coles/Woolworths.  You can probably get away with not having a car either - a car is a necessity when you live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne unfortunately
I can't comment on specific locations (I don't live in Melbourne, however I have previously looked at potentially moving there) but, if I were working in the city I would make sure to live within zone 1 for the train/tram network.  Train network map can be found here: http://www.metrotrains.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Map_FullNetwork.pdf .

The cost of renting apartments is significantly cheaper in Melbourne than in Sydney.  Personally I would set myself up somewhere near public transport (with reasonable frequency) and not have a car.

kaetana

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 11:38:17 PM »
The western suburbs in Melbourne are normally not very popular, but I think people are mad not to consider living out west purely because it's so much cheaper. It has a reputation for being a lower socioeconomic area, but as a Mustachian you should fit right in! I used to live out east and moved west about four years ago, and I haven't looked back. I've found that not only is rent/mortgage much cheaper out west, but there are also a lot of cheaper shops in the west, ostensibly to cater for lower income residents.

Also, you didn't mention when you're planning to move here. You might want to take into consideration the fact that from January 1st next year, the prices to get to/from Zone 2 areas by train will drop to current Zone 1 prices. This makes outer suburbs even more affordable, depending on how much of a train commute you can handle.

Cycling is great in Melbourne, certainly much more so than Sydney. In addition to better cycling infrastructure and a bike share scheme, Melbourne is also mostly flat.

I don't have a gym membership, but you might be able to save by going for unstaffed 24/7-type gyms. You might also luck out and end up working for a company with its own gym, or at least discounts to a nearby gym.

Since you'll be looking for a job, Seek.com.au is the site to go through. Having a LinkedIn profile is becoming increasingly more important as well.

What kind of "adventurous" things do you like to do? Melbourne should have that in spades. Some of the things I've done in Melbourne/Victoria are flying trapeze lessons, aerochuting, hot air ballooning, treetop ziplining, rap jumping, and flyboarding. There's definitely no shortage of things to do here!

Kepler

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2014, 12:20:17 AM »
I'm a transplant from Chicago to Melbourne.  The weather here is /much/ milder - by Chicago standards, the winters will barely register.  This doesn't mean, however, that it's warm enough to swim all year or anything, and the weather here does tend to be somewhat volatile.  You don't get a lot of proper, torrential thunderstorms, for example, where rain buckets down for hours.  But it's not unusual to have a five-minute random rainblast in an otherwise non-rainy day...  The sun is much more intense - there's a palpable, physical quality to it that I didn't experience anywhere in the US, including in desert areas.  When it's hot, it can often be humid, which makes the heat more uncomfortable than in equivalently hot locations in the US - and when you have a hot northerly wind... It can be like walking out into an oven.  This doesn't happen many days of the year, though - just mentioning it because it's striking when it happens.

Cars aren't needed if you live centrally, or if you choose your suburb with an eye to public transport routes.  If you do need one, it's more expensive than in the US - to get the car itself, to run it, etc.  There are car share services all over the inner suburbs if you need something occasionally.  These become sparse on the ground in mid-range suburbs.  Public transport has its ups and downs, but it's leagues above anything that was available in Chicago when I lived there.  There are decent bike trails along some commuting routes that will keep you off-road for good portions of common commutes, and biking on the road isn't uncommon, although the relationship of bikes and cars isn't anywhere near as settled or as positive as in some European cities.

Everyday items are more expensive than in the US - particularly if you have optimised your shopping in Chicago's ethnic neighbourhoods...  The same strategy works here, though: ethnic markets can be great (although you have to check to make sure it's not an upscale overpriced "atmospheric" shopping location, but a proper market). Aldi is good if you're near one, but not generally as good as the best markets for either price or quality.  There's a Costco in central Melbourne now - I haven't checked it out personally, but it doesn't seem to offer anything better than the markets local to where I live (but I chose where I live for the markets and public transport connections).

I've lost track of Chicago rents (I've been here almost 15 years now), but my guess is that housing will be dearer.  Utilities almost certainly will, particularly if you have limited ability to make a space more energy efficient if you're renting.

Although this is a sports-mad city in many ways, it doesn't offer particularly inexpensive ways of /participating/ in sports (as opposed to watching them).  I was used to being able to score free tennis courts in the US, for example - sure, they were nothing fancy, they might have those metal nets that would go "Ching!" when you clipped them, but they were widely available without charge.  I don't know if this has changed in the US, but it's never been the case here.  Public swimming facilities are also more expensive - and gyms, as you've noticed.  For gyms, maybe see if some of the university-affiliated athletic facilities might be open to members of the general public (or whether they actually make you prove your affiliation...):  they are among the most reasonably priced.  Cycling, running and hiking trails are everywhere, though - there's an enormous amount of public green space compared to Chicago - I remember being startled even looking out the window of the plane when I was first flying in...

I've really liked it here, although we will probably retire elsewhere (the exact location depends a bit on how things go with my partner's parents' health).  But we have a very well-optimised life here at the moment, and it's enough to give me pause when I think about having to start over somewhere else (and I've lived all over the US and in a few other countries as well, so I have the relocation drill pretty well down...).  Then again, quite so /much/ optimisation might not be required in a less expensive place...

alsoknownasDean

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2014, 06:25:45 AM »
Wow, Kepler's got a wealth of good info there.

I figure I'll add a few more things.

Weather. As far as the seasons go, winter is cool-mild (maximums in the mid-high 50s F/low-mid teens C), and can be gloomy and rainy. It rarely goes below freezing in the city, although it can go below freezing in the suburbs. Snow in Melbourne is very rare. Spring can be pretty variable (four seasons in one day), and it's probably the wettest time of the year.

Summer is dry, hot and quite variable. It's quite common for there to be a run of pleasant days, then a few hot days, and then a cool change will hit and the temperature will drop by 15 or 20 degrees C in a matter of minutes, and there's often a decent storm after that. Once a cool change hits, keep the hell away from any gum trees, they can and do drop large branches after a sudden temperature drop and once it gets windy. I wouldn't suggest camping under one either if you go camping.

Autumn/Fall is quite interesting because I don't think it lasts very long. The weather in March and early April is really pleasant, not quite as hot as summer but still warm and sunny. By the end of April it's much cooler. The change probably happens in only about three weeks.

Food, there's definitely some good markets around the place that are worth looking at for Mustachian shopping. I used to live not far from Preston Market, and loved going there, it's vibrant, crowded, and the produce is often very cheap. Especially if you get there not long before closing time (some markets are only open a few days a week) and the stallholders are trying to get rid of stock. I've bought a bag of capsicums/bell peppers for a dollar before, but they'd be four or five bucks a kilogram in the supermarkets. I hear Dandenong and Footscray markets are good too, but I haven't been to either of them. Aldi's also pretty cheap.

Transport largely depends on the suburb. Typically the suburbs closer to the city will have better public transport than those further out, but that's not always the case. Most of Melbourne (except some areas to the east and north-east) are quite flat, so they're quite bikeable, especially the quieter roads and in the warmer months. If you're keen on cycling for sport, you'll be well catered for, especially in the suburbs near the coast.

We have Craigslist, but it's not all that popular. Gumtree's more popular here (or of course eBay). A lot of consumer goods are rather more expensive. Hence, it's quite common for people to buy consumer goods online from US stores (although not all Amazon stores ship here), and often end up well in front even after shipping.

There's usually some sort of festival or live music event on somewhere if you know where to look. There's often some sort of sporting event on as well. We even have a public holiday for a horse race!

Hope you enjoy it here!

cbr shadow

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2014, 03:10:04 PM »
Wow thanks everyone for all the information.  This is turning into a great thread!

We've signed a lease!  We'll be living just west of St. Kilda in Prahran.  What do you think of this area?  Since we're

Another thing to mention: we have two good-sized dogs.  They're Rottweiler mixes but much smaller (60lbs, 85lbs).  How will Australians take to big dogs of this breed?  Both are very friendly and sociable and love people, but are intimidating looking since they do have a Rottweiler look to them (color pattern, big head)

Any other info is much appreciated! 

AustralianMustachio

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 02:59:55 AM »
Thought this might be worth reading. I know these rankings aren't perfect, but having travelled the world a little bit I haven't found many cities in the world I'd rather live in:

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/08/19/melbourne-again-worlds-most-liveable-city

Quote
"Melbourne has kept its crown as the best place in the world to live for the fourth year running with a near-perfect score.

The Victorian capital narrowly edged out Vienna, as well as maintaining a safe distance at the top from its traditional rival Sydney, which finished below Adelaide on the ladder."

One of the best things about Melbourne IMO is it's slower, quieter pace of life than most cities of comparable size. I used to live in Sydney and find Sydney much more hectic, for example.

Prahran is on the south side, closer towards the "well to do areas" and hence probably much less likely to be filled with fellow mustachians than some areas. It's a nice spot, though. And (i think) not one of the truly posh areas, it's just nearby them

EDIT - added a few things
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 03:05:17 AM by AustralianMustachio »

agent_clone

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 03:08:10 AM »
Another thing to mention: we have two good-sized dogs.  They're Rottweiler mixes but much smaller (60lbs, 85lbs).  How will Australians take to big dogs of this breed?  Both are very friendly and sociable and love people, but are intimidating looking since they do have a Rottweiler look to them (color pattern, big head)
The children to pet dog ratio is close to 1:1, these come in a variety of sizes.  A friend had a blue heeler when growing up, ex-neighbours had a husky (I disliked the fact that it decided to howl/bark at dawn, I assume this was at birds but still...), and there used to be a couple of afghan wolfhounds near my parents place.  So long as their not barking/howling all the time, and their not terrorrising people I don't think people will care too much.
The pets will need to go through quarantine in Australia.  They may also need to be registered I'm not sure.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 03:15:01 AM by agent_clone »

theconcierge

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 03:29:40 AM »
It certainly a hip area. Lots of good coffee spots and bars..


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alsoknownasDean

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2014, 03:31:31 AM »
Prahran is on the south side, closer towards the "well to do areas" and hence probably much less likely to be filled with fellow mustachians than some areas. It's a nice spot, though. And (i think) not one of the truly posh areas, it's just nearby them

Fortunately it's an area where one could manage quite easily without a car. Chapel St is hardly the most Mustachian of locations though.

Oh, and it's north-east of St. Kilda :)

Kepler

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2014, 03:55:11 AM »
The Prahran neighbourhood's on the ritzier side (St Kilda is affordable, though, if you shift there in the future).  It's very well served by public transport, though, so a car shouldn't be necessary, and you can get to shopping outside the neighbourhood if you need.

Dogs, particularly large ones, can make renting more of a challenge.  I think Rottweilers probably aren't perceived as negatively here as, say, pit bulls, which get a fair amount of bad press (not endorsing the press, just saying it's there).  I've seen a couple negative pieces on Rottweilers, but nothing near the frequency of other breeds.  As long as they don't bug the neighbours, I doubt you'll have any day to day issues - it's only in competitive rental situations, where landlords have a choice between renting to someone with no pets, or someone with two large ones, where it could be a problem.  There are leash-free areas of some parks - otherwise, leashes everywhere else, poop pick-up as you go, etc. - pretty standard stuff.  You register pets with the local Council - shouldn't be too expensive - costs are often reduced for microchipped pets.

You've probably already looked into quarantine but, if not, make sure you do.  We have family about to bring over a cat from the UK, and it'll have to go through a process in both countries - there, to clear a blood test proving its vaccinations have worked, and here, a further quarantine period in a kennel before it can be taken to their home.

vjb

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2014, 10:19:30 PM »
Prahran is awesome. Not frugal, really, but great.

If you're prepared to do a 15-minute warm-up ride from Prahran to get here, my local gym is very inexpensive.

vjb

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Re: So..tell me about Melbourne
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2014, 10:25:08 PM »
Oh, and I should also say: a few people, particularly those with small children, may take a wide berth and be a bit cautious about your rotty crosses, but if they're happy, well-mannered dogs I think you'll find most locals look at them kindly. It's a very dog-friendly area, lots of breeds both big and small. Fawkner Park is dog heaven – it has a big off-leash section.