Retirees and immigrants choose to make Melbourne their home — and for very valid reasons. The city is one of Australia’s friendliest, and several factors make it a good place to plant roots.
Low Cost of Living
Living in Melbourne can be 30-50 percent less expensive than living in New York or Miami. The city is home to more than 100,000 Americans — most of them fleeing the high costs of necessities and day-to-day living in the US. Dining out costs 30-50 percent less (compared to US prices), while leisure activities cost less than half.
Close to a million retirees from the UK also chose to spend the rest of their days in Melbourne. Renting a small 3-bedroom apartment in London can cost £3,000 (A$5,200), but a house in West Melbourne’s suburbs can go for less than £1,800 (A$3,000). Most of Melbourne’s properties are for rent, but the house and land packages sometimes open up.
Melbourne communities are relatively safe compared to other urban centers in the world. Violent crimes are rare — with most crimes relegated to property crimes and less serious violations. A house in the suburbs is even safer, as long as you keep your house locked and secure during extended weekend trips.
Houses are detached for more privacy — but expect your neighbors to be friendly and open to lengthy chats in front of their homes.
Harsh winters are inconceivable in Melbourne. Most retirees settle because of the climate — saving their joints from the harsh pains brought about by winter chills. Summer can get hot, but a little air conditioning should do the trick.
Overall, the weather is great for outdoor activities, and there is a multitude of beaches to enjoy the sand and sea. Of course, seasons are reversed, so expect your winters in June and summers in December.
Thriving Outdoor Culture
Melbourne is one of the most active cities in the world. Residents are pedaling on bikes to work, children are hiking, and scuba diving over the weekend isn’t an exceptional activity.
The government has several programs that encourage outdoor activity to promote physical activity and curb obesity. It only takes a short drive to go on any adventure you can think of — whether it’s mountain climbing, rock climbing, surfing, spelunking, snorkeling, scuba diving, or whatever activity you might think of.
Of course, the sun down under can get a bit intense — so pack sunblock, or you might get a bad burn.
Australia has some of the best hospitals and clinics in the world. They can handle even the most complicated of surgeries and procedures. The country is no stranger to medical breakthroughs. Some of its more notable breakthroughs include cancer vaccines, the ultrasound scanner, cochlear implants, spray-on skin, and the electronic pacemaker.
Of course, Australian healthcare or Medicaid is limited to its citizens — but private health insurance will usually be applied. UK residents are also covered because of Australia’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA).
Other countries covered by the RHCA include New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Belgium, Malta, and Sweden.
Melbourne is a melting pot of culture — particularly in its western suburbs. People from various countries have made it their home — enriching Melbourne’s culture and making it more diverse. Nowhere is it more noticeable than in many restaurants serving various cuisines.
Victoria and Peel Street are home to numerous restaurants serving dishes from Greece, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand — to more exotic cuisines from Africa and the Middle East. Almost every nation is represented, and cultures blend harmoniously instead of clashing.
Australian politics is as bland as can be. It doesn’t come close to the divisiveness of politics in most countries, especially compared to the US’s political strife. Change comes at a snail’s pace, and politics will hardly affect your daily life, except in the most extreme situations.
Major changes in government programs and policies are unlikely — although there is some pressure when it comes to the environment. You can be secure that there won’t be any major changes in the next few years (or maybe your lifetime). Your political leanings will have no bearing in your employment opportunities or social circles — as politics will never come up in most conversations.
Melbourne is a great place to retire or settle in. Plant roots in Australia’s friendliest and most diverse city and enrich your experience and worldview.