Living and working in Melbourne

  • Before You Arrive in Melbourne

    Plan your short term accommodation

    Finding somewhere to live in Melbourne can be difficult, so you will need to plan ahead. We recommend that you stay in a serviced or furnished apartment when you first arrive; to give you time to look at rental properties before you apply to lease one. Don't enter into a rental agreement until you are in Melbourne and have visited the property. RCH does not have accommodation and does not provide financial assistance with relocation expenses.

    For a list of short term accommodation close to RCH, see this document, which includes links to furnished apartments. You can also do a Google search for serviced apartment north Melbourne, or Parkville, Victoria. There is also the Rydges Hotel, across the road from RCH, which has rooms from around $130 AUD per night. The following websites may assist you in finding a rental property:;;

    When you arrive in Melbourne

    Now that you have arrived in Melbourne, you will need to do the following:

    • Join Ambulance Victoria
    • Find longer term accommodation
    • Apply for a Tax File Number
    • Open a Bank Account
    • Arrange Health Care for you (and your family)

    Join Ambulance Victoria

    You need to get ambulance cover as soon as you get here, join Ambulance Victoria so you do not receive a bill in the event of receiving emergency medical treatment and/or transport from ambulance services (average emergency transport cost is more than $2,000!). Ambulance Victorian covers you when you're interstate as well.
    Ambulance treatment and/or transport services are not free and are not covered by Medicare. If your Private Health Fund does provide ambulance cover there are often restrictions, exclusions and/or caps. Some private health funds require you to pay your membership to ambulance Victoria, then you claim the cost back from your private health fund.
    Yearly membership is $39.30 for a single, and $78.60 for a family. Click here to join online now.

    Arrange your longer term accommodation

    The easiest way to find somewhere to live is by looking online. The main real estate websites are:

    Domain real estate, and When searching these sites, you can look for various property types including apartments, units, townhouses or houses, for rent. Ideal suburbs close to RCH include Parkville, North Melbourne, Brunswick East, Kensington, Flemington, Princes Hill, Carlton North or Carlton.

    Check if you will be close enough to walk to work by checking the distance, by clicking 'get directions' on the Google Maps website and entering the property address and Royal Children's Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, Vic. Many real estate agents will only lease a property for 12 months, although you can sometimes negotiate for a six month lease. Most rental properties are not available for shorter periods.

    Prices are often quoted per week, although you will need to pay your rent monthly. You will have to pay a bond (deposit), often equal to one month's rent, as well as paying your first month's rent in advance, when you agree to take a property. You should get your bond back at the end of the rental agreement - if you leave the property clean and undamaged. It is a good idea to see what prices are being charged for similar style and size houses in the area, and surrounding area, you are looking at to ensure the requested rent is reasonable for what you get.

    In Australia, it is not always easy to find a property with furniture. Most properties are leased unfurnished, which means no fridge, washing machine, clothes dryer, beds or any furniture at all. If you do find a furnished property (most likely to be an apartment) you may still need to buy linen, cutlery, crockery, saucepans etc. It is important that you understand how a property is furnished, before you sign any agreement - obviously furnished accommodation will be more expensive than unfurnished.

    If you want to buy second-hand furniture, this is often advertised in the Trading Post, Gumtree, ebay. If you're after a one-stop shop for kitchen utensils, tea towels, bakeware, bed linen, towels, curtains, furniture, storage and everything in between... there's an IKEA store in Richmond that can be a worthwhile trip. They have next day home delivery as well.

    It's also a good idea to look on the RCH intranet Bulletin Board, as lots of people sell furniture, cars and even advertise accommodation on the bulletin board. Click this link for information and links to furnished apartments, plus the major real estate search sites.

    Apply for a Tax File Number

    If the RCH will be paying you, you need to apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for a tax file number before you start work. You can register for a tax file number:

    • Online:
    • Phone: 13 28 61 (ask the ATO to send you an application form).
    • In Person: Australian Taxation Office (ATO), at Collins Square, 747 Collins Streeet, Docklands VIC 3008.

    The Australian tax year starts on 1 July each year and finishes on 30 June the following year. Everyone working in Australia has to lodge a tax return at the end of the financial year. To help you complete your tax return, you can contact a tax accountant; look in the Yellow Pages directory or do a search on Google.

    Open a Bank Account

    To open a bank account within a month of arriving in Australia, take your passport and tax file number and go to a bank. It's very easy to open a bank account in Australia, as long as you do this within the first month you are here. After this it is more difficult as you will need additional documentation to prove your identity. There are many banks in Australia: the biggest are ANZ, National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

    Health Care for you (and your family)

    Get yourself (and your family) a family doctor (also known as a General Practitioner or GP). You can search for a GP near work or home on the Human Services Directory website. If you need a local hospital, the closest to RCH are:

    Raising Children in Australia

    The Raising Children Network website is a very good resource with lots of information relevant for parents of all ages. It is a complete Australian resource for parents which includes contact details for maternal and child health nurses, activities for young families, local support groups etc.

    Arranging Education for your Children

    In Australia, children between 6 and 15 years must go to school. There are 2 types of schools, government and private. Fees for government schools are much lower than for private schools.

    There are two levels of education: Primary Education, for children aged 5 to 12, and Secondary Education for children aged 13 to 18. The transfer to secondary education usually means going to a different school. Most children in Australia complete all levels of primary and secondary education. Many students then do tertiary studies at Universities or TAFE (Technical And Further Education) afterwards.

    To enrol your child into school, you will need to call or visit the school. It is a good idea to visit a few schools before you enrol your child to find one that you like. When you have decided on the school and made an appointment, you will be asked to bring the child's immunisation record, birth certificate, passport and visa and any copies of previous education reports. A good website to look at is the Australian Schools Directory website. This site provides information on public and private schools at both primary and secondary level, as well as preschools/kindergartens and day child care centres.

    The closest schools to RCH are:

    Primary Education
    Secondary Education
    Child Care and Early Learning Centres

    The Royal Children's Hospital Staff Early Learning is registered for 120 equivalent full time children between 6 weeks and 5 years of age. Child care places are allocated to the Royal Children's Hospital staff, whilst our Kindergarten is open to the wider community. We are a fully accredited centre, utilising Hospital and Community resources within the City of Melbourne. If you are going to require child care, it's best to enquire in advance. For further information regarding the RCH Early Learning Centre please click here.

    In addition to the RCH Early Learning Centre, the following centres are privately owned and are not-for-profit, and are within close vicinity to the hospital:

    General Information about living in Australia

    Emergency Services

    To get help in an Emergency, call 000 for the following services:

    • Police
    • Fire Brigade
    • Ambulance

    Calls to 000 are free. You will be asked to give your name, address and telephone number and the type of service you need.

    POLICE: Police aim to protect life and property in the community, prevent and detect crime and preserve peace. They are not linked to any political or military force. If you need police assistance in an emergency, dial 000. If you wish to speak to a police officer about a general non-urgent matter, you are should call any police station directly. Check the Victoria Police website for your local police station contact details. The 000 number is ONLY for reporting emergencies.

    FIRE BRIGADE: The Fire Brigade provide fire and rescue services which include extinguishing fires, responding to a range of rescues including motor vehicle accidents, chemical spills etc. Only contact the fire brigade on 000 in an emergency. All other enquiries may be made by contacting the local fire station. Check the Melbourne Fire Brigade website for contact details.

    AMBULANCE: Ambulances provide emergency transport to hospital, as well as immediate medical attention. Ambulance transport is expensive - you should join Ambulance Victoria if you haven't already, so you/your family are covered in the event of requiring emergency transport or treatment by ambulance. The average trip to hospital in an ambulance cost over $2,000. Contact the Ambulance Victoria membership line on 1800 648 484 or visit Ambulance Victoria: Join now. Only dial 000 in an emergency.

    Driving in Australia

    You can drive in Australia if you have a temporary visa and a driver's licence in English or with an official translation.
    To learn more about licensing go to the Vicroads website or phone 13 11 71.

    hook turnIt is important to learn the Victorian road rules, so study the guide "Driving in Victoria - Rules and Responsibilities", which you can download here (or buy in Vicroads bookshops).

    Topics you will need to know about include Melbourne's hook turns, sharing the road with trams, and understanding Melbourne's parking restrictions.

    If you want to buy a car or bicycle, try looking on, or

    English Language Classes (for you and your family)

    Communicating in English is very important for you and your family. To get the most out of your stay in Australia, English language support classes are useful for people who do not speak fluent English. Classes are held at the following locations:

    Vocational Language Learning Centre
    The Vocational Language Learning Centre focuses on individual teaching, with an emphasis on conversation.

    Melbourne College Of English - GEOS
    The Melbourne College of English provides intensive group classes of 5 hours per day each week (9.00am-3.15pm). The benefit of these classes is that they provide continuous and concentrated learning. You can enrol at any time.

    There are also a number of Neighbourhood Houses around Melbourne which offer cheap (sometimes free) and friendly English language help for learners of all ages and levels. Find out more on or visit a neighbourhood house near where you live.

    Interpreting and Translating Services

    If your family need help with interpreting, you can call the Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50. This service is available every day, 24 hours a day and has interpreters in most languages. You will need to pay a small fee, although if you or your family need TIS for help in communicating with a government agency, the agency will usually pay.

    If you need to get documents translated in English (e.g. birth, marriage or degree certificates, driver's licence etc), contact NAATI on their website or phone 1300 557 470.

    Popular things to see and do in Melbourne

    Melburnians love their coffee, food and sport. Get out and about... and make the most of living in one of the most liveable cities in the world!

    You can find out what the city is thinking and doing by reading a local newspaper online like The Age or the Herald Sun. For things to do, festivals, attractions and events go to Visit Melbourne, Visit Victoria, What's On, or Following are ideas for popular places, things to do and local events to go to.

    Activities Locations
    Eating out

    Check out restaurants and cafes YourRestaurants, UrbanSpoon, Eatability,TripAdvisor Restaurant Reviews, Queen Victoria Market

    Shopping and popular precincts to visit

    City precincts: Visit Victoria website with City shopping information

    Popular Attractions
    Activities for children and families