How to find accommodation in Australia

Once you’ve enrolled into your course and organised a student visa, it’s time to book your flights and find somewhere to live. Organising accommodation requires a bit of research, including determining your accommodation options and how much you are able to spend. We help you start the process by asking a few key questions.

Have you researched your accommodation options?

There are a number of accommodation options in Australia — on campus and off campus, short term and long term. This includes boarding (at secondary school level), homestay, university accommodation (including residential colleges, halls of residence and student apartments), hostels and guesthouses, and private rentals. Visit the link above for details on each accommodation type.

Many students get started in short-term accommodation, such as a homestay or in a hotel, hostel or Airbnb property, before searching for campus housing or a private rental. Alternatively, you can organise on-campus accommodation before you arrive. If you aren’t able to inspect before arriving in Australia, be sure to ask plenty of questions and enquire about a virtual tour. For private rentals, we do not recommend signing a lease or providing payment for a property unless you have conducted a thorough inspection in person.

Have you thought about where you’d like to live?

Once you have decided on your institution, you’ll be able to narrow down your accommodation options to the local area — so you’ll need to think about the environment you want to live in. Do you want to live in the bright lights of the city or would you prefer the relaxed feel of the suburbs? Also remember that campuses are spread across each state — so you might not be based in the heart of the city. In Victoria, for instance, there are several campuses outside of Melbourne. There’s Geelong on the western coast, Gippsland on the southern coast, Ballarat and Bendigo to the north and smaller campuses dotted around other regional towns. If you’re heading to a metropolitan campus, there are only a handful of campuses in the actual CBD. Others are short tram rides away in the inner-city or further into the suburbs. Whichever state or territory you’ve chosen, be sure to consider your campus location before you begin your accommodation search. Don’t hesitate to ask institution advisers for assistance or recommendations.

Do you know how much your accommodation will cost? Is it within your budget?

Accommodation varies in cost depending on the type of dwelling, its location and any additional services provided. You can usually expect accommodation costs to be higher in metropolitan cities (particularly close to the city in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney), with a lower cost of living in regional hubs and outer suburbs. As you conduct your research, remember to consider your budget and be willing to make compromises if needed. Also keep in mind that you will need to cover additional costs on top of rent, such as groceries, and utilities (electricity, gas and water) if they are not included in the rental fee.

Are there alternatives if your first choice isn’t available?

Just as when you applied for your Australian course, it’s best not to have your heart set on a single accommodation option. Broaden your search and make sure you have back-up options in case your first choice ‘falls through’. Accommodation can be very competitive, particularly as it gets closer to a new semester. If you’re looking at private rentals, remember that you’re competing with the general public. 

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