It’s no wonder that Melbourne is often considered one of the most liveable cities in the world. With top universities, convenient inner-city transport and a famous cafe culture, Melbourne offers all the right things to make studying in Australia an incredibly fulfilling experience. But, where do you start when it comes to finding your new home?
If you’re keen to live near restaurants, nightlife, public transport and all of Melbourne’s best arts and culture spots, here’s our guide to the best student-friendly suburbs in inner Melbourne.
Situated just outside the city centre, the suburb of North Melbourne has become even more student-friendly in recent years due to the affordable Asian eateries and supermarkets that have popped up in the area. The famous Queen Victoria Market is also located in North Melbourne and offers reasonably priced groceries as well as a selection of different cuisines. Plus, you can check out the Queen Victoria Night Market if you’re looking for a lively evening filled with good food.
North Melbourne is particularly convenient for those studying at the University of Melbourne, with several major hospitals and the Melbourne Medical School situated nearby. Though rent in the area may be a little more expensive, you can save on transport costs by being so close to the city – it only takes 15 minutes to get from the CBD to North Melbourne via tram.
With the highest density of colleges and universities right next door, Carlton is the obvious choice when it comes to convenience. RMIT and the University of Melbourne are within walking distance of Carlton, so it’s a fantastic spot if you’re based at either of these institutions. If you want to head into the city, it’s only 15 minutes away – whether you choose to walk, ride, or board public transport.
With its array of cafes, wine bars, boutique shops, and the arthouse Cinema Nova, Carlton offers a convenient, social, and relaxing vibe. You’ll find a shopping strip along famous Lygon Street, along with Italian restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores, and the beautiful Carlton Gardens and Melbourne Museum are also nearby.
If a quieter vibe is more your style, you might want to consider Fitzroy North. Though a little further out from the CBD, it is much more affordable than Fitzroy and the city outskirts, and still provides ease and convenience. From here, you can get to the city and Fitzroy’s lively Brunswick and Smith Streets within 20 to 30 minutes via tram or train.
There are plenty of cosy cafes, restaurants and pubs in this area, as well as boutique shops and supermarkets along St Georges Road. The lovely Edinburgh Gardens are also just a short walk away.
Despite being next to the very popular inner-northern suburb of Brunswick, Brunswick West is actually a very reasonably priced place to live. Because the area is so affordable, a number of cosy cafes and kitschy shops have popped up in various backstreets. You’ll also find cute neighbourhood restaurants and a fantastic shopping centre for all of your grocery needs.
If you’re studying at RMIT’s Brunswick Campus, Brunswick West is only 15 minutes away via bus or tram, or 30 minutes away on foot (depending, of course, on which part of the suburb you live in). You can also get into the city in 30 minutes on the tram, and to Brunswick’s bustling Sydney Road within 15 minutes by bus.
The inner-west suburb of Footscray is only 10 minutes from the city and home to Victoria University, meaning you’ll likely be within walking distance of the University if you choose to live in the area.
Footscray is famous for being an Asian and African hub, with plenty of cheap eateries and fresh produce on offer. Footscray Market is a fantastic spot for purchasing fruit, vegetables, meat and more at affordable prices. As the suburb is gaining in popularity, lots of neighbourhood cafes and restaurants are popping up, too.
Just two stops from Flinders Train Station and with several trams and train lines servicing the area, Richmond is a bustling hub filled with cafes, shops and restaurants and the weekly Gleadall Street Market. The area is known for its selection of Vietnamese eateries, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to good, authentic food.
The Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre contains lots of shops and a supermarket, as well as an IKEA and Daiso outlets if you need furniture and homewares. Best of all, Richmond is bordered by the Yarra River, so you can spend your weekends taking in the sights while enjoying a bike ride that links up to the city and neighbouring suburbs.
Next door to Richmond is Hawthorn, only 6km east of the city centre and a major hub for students attending Swinburne University.
Expect plenty of budget-friendly spots along Burwood and Glenferrie Roads. Hawthorn is filled with lots of great bars, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and a cinema, so you’ll never run out of things to do and places to visit. You’ll also find the Hawthorn Aquatic & Leisure Centre, which offers a pool and fitness facilities.
The suburb offers incredibly convenient public transport options. Hawthorn is serviced by several trams and train lines and you can usually get into the city in around 20 minutes.
Prahran is a south-eastern suburb that straddles the famous shopping strip, Chapel Street. It’s also home to Melbourne Polytechnic, which offers TAFE courses in cookery, design and more.
Prahran’s arts community makes this a very eclectic area, with plenty of small galleries, live performances and quirky shops to explore. You’ll find a lot of the action takes place along Chapel Street, but there are several great spots on nearby High Street, Greville Street and Commercial/Malvern Road. Prahran also boasts an excellent indoor market and a diverse food scene that ranges from great coffee spots to local pubs.
Being only two train stops from Melbourne Central and serviced by multiple trams, Prahran is a very convenient place to live.
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