If you’re seeking a study sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Australia’s metropolitan cities, Geelong might be the place for you. Situated just an hour outside Melbourne, this affordable waterfront city offers a relaxed lifestyle popular with students.
You’ll also find plenty to keep you entertained in Victoria’s second-largest city, like lounging by the beach, exploring the rich arts and culture scene, and taking weekend road trips along the Great Ocean Road. Read on to find out the top ten reasons to live and study in Geelong.
1. Home to a gorgeous waterfront
The Geelong Waterfront precinct is the perfect spot to explore what the city has to offer. You’ll find plenty of trendy cafes and bars serving everything from brunch to evening cocktails, which you can enjoy with the spectacular views of the Southern Ocean.
While you’re there, don’t miss a visit to the iconic Carousel, which is the ideal place to soak up the atmosphere of Corio Bay.
2. World-class education
There are a number of world class-educational institutions located in Geelong. The Gordon Institute of TAFE is one of Victoria’s largest regional TAFE campuses, helping students develop practical skills in a hands-on environment. The Gordon offers certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas, as well as pathways to University. Study areas include building design and construction, cookery and hospitality, nursing, aged care, and early childhood education, to name just a few.
With more than 100 years of international education, The Gordon has recently won the Premier’s Award for Victorian International Education Provider of the Year for 2021-2022. This is a testament to the institute’s strong reputation for delivering high-quality education, trusted in both Australia and overseas.
3. Regional migration benefits
Geelong is considered a regional area, which means students on a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) Post-Study Work stream may be eligible to stay for an additional year on a second Temporary Graduate visa (TGV).
Individuals eligible for a second TGV are required to remain in a regional area for the duration of their new visa, which means a whole extra year to enjoy Geelong’s incredible lifestyle.
4. Affordable accommodation
Many students are drawn to Geelong because of its affordable cost of living. Rent in Geelong is over 14 per cent cheaper than in Melbourne, and groceries, transportation and dining out are generally cheaper too. Geelong also has a number of affordable student housing options.
The Gordon TAFE is even offering a rental allowance to support international students at The Gordon Student Residence on the East Geelong Campus in 2023. Under this scheme, students can receive three weeks of free rent when staying for six months, or six weeks of free rent when staying for 12 months.
5. Excellent dining experiences
Geelong boasts a thriving dining scene that has something for everyone. Find coffee, bagels and sweets at Geelong West Social Club, rustic bread, homemade sandwiches and sweet and savoury treats at Born & Bread Bakehouse, the best ramen in Geelong at Sober Ramen, fine dining with an Australian twist at the Davidson Restaurant or visit Wah Wah Gee at the Waterfront for a banquet dinner with friends. Geelong West’s Pakington Street, or ‘Pako’ to the locals, is also buzzing with cafes and bars.
For affordable dine-at-home experiences, there are plenty of supermarkets and fresh food markets in the area. You can also find specialty Asian and Indian supermarkets where you can get imported goods, including spices and sauces.
6. Close to the Great Ocean Road
Famous for its rugged natural beauty, sea stacks and surfing culture, the heritage-listed Great Ocean Road is arguably one of Australia’s most beautiful coastal drives. Geelong is located just 25 minutes from the start of the road in Torquay, meaning breathtaking views, lush nature and spectacular beaches are right on your doorstep.
7. An abundance of arts and culture
You don’t need to live in Melbourne to experience the best of Australia’s arts and culture scene. Geelong Arts Centre is home to Geelong’s creative industries and showcases a range of live performances each year.
Visit Geelong Gallery to explore 20th-century Australian and European art, or stop by Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, known as ‘The Dome’, to see the latest technologies and a great collection of historical archives.
Geelong is also home to a number of annual events and festivals, so make sure you keep an eye on the events calendar.
8. A relaxing lifestyle
There’s something to be said for living in Geelong, where the pace is a little slower than in the inner hub of Melbourne. Take it easy with a visit to one of Geelong’s many markets, or simply spend an afternoon soaking up the sun by the beach. Enjoy mingling with the friendly locals of this vibrant city, and you’ll soon feel right at home.
9. Jobs in Geelong
There are many job opportunities for you to explore in Geelong, both during your studies and beyond. Geelong’s smaller population means there is often less competition for jobs, which is just one benefit of living in a regional area.
Thirty per cent of Geelong’s workforce are post-graduate professionals, and many work in Geelong’s most popular industries, which include tourism and hospitality, healthcare, construction, advanced manufacturing and information technology.
Retail trade is the second-largest industry in the area, so there are also plenty of part-time jobs in Geelong for international students.
10. Sports and the Commonwealth Games 2026
Geelong is also home to the famous football team, the Geelong Cats. During footy season, make sure to catch a game at Kardinia Park in South Geelong and cheer on the Cats.
Geelong, along with the surrounding regional areas of Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, will also play host to the Commonwealth Games in 2026. Expect an action-packed program including 20 sports and nine fully-integrated Para sports across 13 days of lively competition.