Melbourne Software Developer Survival Guide

Photo by [Weyne Yew]( on [Unsplash](

Photo by Weyne Yew on Unsplash

Software Developer Survival Guide 🏕

A guide to get you started working in Melbourne, Australia.

Welcome to Melbourne

Melbourne is wonderful. It’s the cultural hub of Australia and is filled with events, arts, sports, nightlife and a vibrant software community. The city centre is called the CBD or ‘central business district’. It’s located on the Yarra river and will be your first point of interest.

Melbourne CBD Map

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Around
  3. Accommodation
  4. Finding Work
  5. Things to Do
  6. Local Knowledge


Melbourne is a multicultural city. People value freedom and the ‘fair go’. That is, freedom of speech, religion and expression. People like to be treated fairly and are a hard-working and trustworthy bunch. Discrimination, racism and intolerance is not allowed, although you may experience the odd ‘quip’. We live a happy life free of most corruption and generally trust the government.


The weather is known to be temperamental. One moment it’s sunny, the next it’s windy and rainy. Summer can bring extreme heat and it will follow with a storm. This heat brings bushfire and can cause a smokey haze to blanket the city. Winter is chilly but no snow as we’re at sea-level.

Temperatures range from 25-35C in Summer and 5-15C in Winter.

What to pack

You need a combination of clothes to get you through the seasons. Many workplaces have a smart casual dress code. Note that Australian electricity plugs are unique and look like this: / \

Type Clothes
Summer Dress/Skirt/Tank-top
Winter Coat/Pants/Woolly Socks
Business Smart Casual/Suit if unsure

Getting Around

The city isn’t huge. It’s spread out over about 30km. You need to work out the best transport method for you and where you stay. Most people have cars.

From the Airport

There are two airports, Avalon or Tullamarine. Both have a public bus service called Skybus.

Airport Destination Distance Bus Uber
Avalon Southern Cross Station 1 hour $25 $80
Tullamarine Southern Cross Station 30 min $20 $40

Public Transport

You need a Myki card. It’s a pre-paid card you can get from a station or ticket machine. You must tap it ‘on’ and tap it ‘off’ when you disembark. You’ll get fined if you don’t have a valid one. Full fare is about $7 a day and cheaper for students.

The network is confusing. Ask the staff for help to get to your destination.


Are free in the CBD! They follow set routes and are great to get around short distances.


All of them go to the CBD and do a ‘city loop’. It’s the fastest way to outer suburbs.

The main city stations are:

  • Flinders St Station
  • Southern Cross
  • Melbourne Central Station

Trains run 24 hours on weekends.


You’ll find these anywhere there’s no rail.


Bikes are the best if you work in the city and live within 10km of it. They’re a cheap, clean and somewhat unsafe mode of transport. You can get a bike off Facebook Marketplace for $150. You must wear a helmet.

Beware of tram tracks.


A valid license and registration are required from Victroads.

A car or motorbike can be obtained from:

Where to Stay

Housing is more expensive the closer you are to the city. A controversial rule is the best suburbs are on the South-East side of the bay and generally degrade running counter-clockwise in a circle around the CBD.


Inner-city suburbs are recommended for singles within 10km of the CBD and further out if you have a family.

Suburb Lifestyle
CBD Newcomers, small rooms, convenient
Docklands New apartments, windy, no atmosphere
Richmond Football, sports types, grassroots
South Yarra Fashion, party
Fitzroy Hip, music, arts
North Melbourne Left-wing
South Melbourne Right-wing
St. Kilda All sorts, Beach, vibes
Footscray Rough and Tumble
Everything else Suburbia


Find your feet by living in the CBD and think about moving outwards to save money, more space or a better vibe.

  • Airbnb
  • Hotel
  • Hostel


A rental can be found on

Type Cost/week Utilities
1-Bedroom Apartment $350 $20
2-Bedroom Townhouse $600 $40
3-Bedroom House $800 $50


A sharehouse or housemates can be found on

The average cost for a single private room is $200-$300/week including bills.


Names of big companies to get you connected.

Banks Elec/Gas Phone Internet
Commonwealth Energy Australia Optus Optus
NAB Origin Telstra Telstra
Wespac Red Energy Vodafone iinet

Find a Job

If you haven’t found one already don’t worry there’s plenty of roles in software 😉

Websites/Job boards


Most meetups are in the CBD after 5pm. There are plenty of like-minded individuals and recruiters at events who will help you. Plus there’s free food, beers and you might learn something.

Free Workspaces

Take advantage of these free workspaces

Melbourne State Library

  • Heart of the CBD
  • Super fast Wifi
  • Desks with electricity everywhere
  • Cool stuff to look at
  • Coffee shop

Open 10am - 9pm (Mon - Thrus), 10am - 6pm all others.


  • Heaps of desks
  • electricity
  • Technical libraries

Melbourne Uni, Monash Uni, Swinburne, Deakin.

Coffee Shops/Café

Melbourne is known for coffee. Embrace it and sit down for a local brew. I guarantee you’ll be back.


Worst case scenario. Free wifi, questionable food.

Things to do


Melbourne is the sporting capital.

  • Australian Open - Tennis
  • Aussie Rules Football (AFL) - Unique to Australia, fast-paced, exciting and cheap. Highly recommended.
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix - Motor racing
  • Melbourne Cup - Horse Racing
  • Cricket - See who’s touring in Summer
  • MotoGP Philip Island - Motorbike racing
  • A-League Soccer - Football
  • Rugby - Football


Checkout the:

  • National Gallery of Victoria - International tours such as King Tut, Impressionists.
  • Melbourne Comedy Festival - Once a year
  • Melbourne Film Festival - Once a year
  • Theater - Broadways tour such as the Lion King/Book of Mormon/Harry Potter
  • Dance, Ballet, opera
  • Live Music - Heaps of local and international artists. Mostly found in Fitzroy.
  • Street art and exhibitions - Hosier lane


  • Melbourne Exhibition Center
  • Royal Exhibition Center


Nightlife comes alive over the weekend. It’s even bustling on a Tuesday/Thursday night and possibly Wednesday too.

  • CBD
  • Chapel St
  • Fitzroy
  • St. Kilda
  • Richmond
  • Casino

Weed is illegal and so is drinking on the street.


  • Dandenong Ranges - Mountains and rain-forests to the East of Melbourne. Checkout ‘Skyhigh’ for a view of the city at night (1 hour drive)
  • Great Ocean Rd - Drive along the ocean and beaches (2 hours out of Melbourne)
  • Yarra Valley - Go to the wineries and have lunch

Tips and Tricks

  • People don’t work weekends and only within their contracted 9-5 hours. Refuse unreasonable work outside your contracted hours. You are protected by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
  • Melbourne has an alcohol drinking culture. Social after-work drinks are on Friday. Beer sizes come in pot/schooner/pint.
  • Most things are paid online.
  • The local hardware store is called ‘Bunnings’.
  • The major department stores are Myer, David Jones, Kmart & Big W
  • Tax time is July 1st. You do it online through the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Ask your employer or tax-agent if you’re unsure.
  • People don’t work on public holidays. You’re entitled to 4 weeks paid leave each year and 10 paid sick days.


Dial “000” for all police, fire and ambulance emergencies 🚨


Make a pull request to add your own unique insight to help other developers succeed.

Better yet, fork it and create one for your city! 👏


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