First Time Accommodations

A reader left us a note a few days back seeking advice on first time accommodations in Melbourne. Although I already tackled it in not-so-many words in a previous blog post titled Tips for Pinoy Migrants to Australia Part 1, I think it’s time I flesh out the topic a bit more.

From experience, if you are a new migrant to Australia fresh from the airport, you will find it a bit difficult to rent an apartment specially if you don’t have a job yet. And when you get a job, the landlord might ask you to produce a letter from your employer as proof of your employment.

As you can see, it could already be difficult to get an apartment even if you are already here. Getting one while still in the Philippines would be much harder. However, I remember hearing that someone was actually able to do just that. I don’t know the details though.

The popular and favoured type of accommodation for newcomers to Australia is to live with family, relatives or close friends who are already here. Living with family is good because you’re not under pressure to find a job and an apartment quickly. Well, hey, they’re family.

However, if you are living with close friends, unless you’ll be paying those friends with some kind of weekly fee for your share of the rent, I recommend that you don’t wear out your welcome and start looking for an apartment of your own as soon as possible. I’m sure your friend will tell you that you could stay as long as you like, but in my experience, living under the same roof with some friends for an extended period of time can sometimes test the strongest of friendships.

Now, how about those of you with no family or friends in Australia? Some friends of mine actually booked a hotel room in their destination city via the Internet just before leaving the Philippines. When they got here, they quickly looked for a job then another (cheaper) place to stay. As an example, a friend lived in a $100-per-day hotel room for twenty days before being able to move to his own apartment. That’s $2,000 in his first three weeks in Melbourne alone. So, before flying over, be sure you have enough money to sustain yourself here even if you can’t land a job for the first three months.

You can book hotel rooms online through websites like AccomLine. I can at least recommend this service as I have used it multiple times in the past.

There is an alternative to hotels though that could sometimes be the cheaper option. There are serviced apartments for rent that are basically like bigger furnished hotel rooms but with no room service (who needs it anyway?). They could sometimes charge you a cheaper weekly or monthly rate instead. I couldn’t really recommend any online service for weekly/monthly serviced apartments since I haven’t the need for one myself but from looking at the Internet, I found the Melbourne Serviced Apartments website. I’m sure you’ll find similar websites by using Google.

Room rates would vary depending of course on the quality of the room and the distance of the hotel or apartment from the central business district (CBD) in the city. So, consult a map of the city you’re going to and decide there if the hotel or apartment you’re aiming for is at a good location. Australian maps are available online at

If you decide to go for a place that is a bit far from the city, make sure that the place is at least near a train station specially since you’d probably won’t have a car yet. You can find that out by consulting the map. The train stations should be marked there.

When I was looking for an apartment in Melbourne a few years ago, my main priority is to find one that is near a train station. So, having access to the Melbourne Train Network Map made it easier for me to choose which suburbs to look into when I was looking for apartment vacancies.

But, you say, what if I have no family or friends in Australia and I don’t have a lot of money? What then? You can join and log on to the forum. Take a chance and ask around there if anybody has an empty room that they are willing to rent out to you or something like that. Who knows? You might even get to meet someone who is willing to take you in for free for a short period of time. Don’t expect too much from the people there though. There are a lot of nice people there but not everybody may be comfortable with the idea of letting a complete stranger live in their home even if you are a fellow Filipino.

Anyway, I hope this helps any of you looking to migrate here in Australia in some way. Good luck.

Update: Thanks to reader Sasha for this additional tip (which I paraphrased a bit):

Hi GJ & Raquel, Pinoys can look for furnished apartments on 3 month leases or more on or or which is good.

Published in: on May 9, 2006 at 4:02 pm  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. salamat po~~!!! nandito palang po ksi kmi sa korea eh~~but next month po nandyan na kami,,sa melbounre kmi titira….binabasa ko lahat ng mga site na nilagay nyo at lahat ng mga picture nyo ang cute nman ng wife mo…9

  2. Oh. I didn’t realise you posted again. I’m a little busy with work and other commitments right now but Okay. We can probably go out for a cup of coffee or something in the city once you get here. I also recommend you get to konw the Melbourne-based Pinoys at There are also a lot of newcomers there that want to meet with other newcomers. 🙂

  3. As they say here in Oz, no worries. 🙂

  4. i hope we could meet there…anyway i will be there next month in melbourne…..i’m filipina and i’m married w/ korean…i wanted to ask some information about melboune if you let me know….i hope u dont mind….thanks once again..:)

  5. thanks~!! i so much appreciated….

  6. hey, thanks for sharing.

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