Lifestyle and culture

Explore and study in Melbourne: its charm, creative energy and welcoming atmosphere will captivate you.

Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria and Australia’s second-largest city. It has been ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities1. As a diverse city, Melbourne benefits from the influences of more than 140 different cultures2, and almost half its residents were born overseas.

Melbourne’s calendar is full of major cultural events and festivals, and as an RMIT student you’ll be going to classes in the heart of this vibrant city. Whether you love films, flowers, fashion or food, there is an event or attraction for you in Melbourne.

RMIT even has its own program, Kirrip, to help you connect to these exciting experiences and make new friends!

Explore the best of what Melbourne has to offer in this handy guide.

Arts and entertainment

Melbourne is renowned for its focus on creativity in art, design and fashion. You can wander through laneways covered in street art, take a trip to the Heide Museum of Modern Art and its fabulous outdoor gallery, and marvel at award-winning sculptures at the Werribee Park Sculpture Walk.

Melbourne is also home to a lively entertainment scene. Year-round, you can take in major international theatre and musical performances, world-class symphonies, and premier ballet productions. You can also catch a showing of Hollywood blockbusters, small independent films, and global film festivals at any number of local cinemas.

Creative festivals bring the city’s streets and venues to life all year round. Join the festivities for the Melbourne International Film Festival, White Night, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and more.

“One tip that I always give new to students is to open the ‘What’s on Melbourne’ website,” said Raffa, an Indonesian student completing a Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) at RMIT. 

“It’ll show you all the cool places and events happening around Melbourne every week. If I don’t have any plans that weekend, I just open it up and see what piques my interest.” 

International students are back on campus in Melbourne

International students are back on campus and making the most of every minute: embracing city living, enjoying cultural events, joining social clubs and meeting new friends. Find out what makes studying at RMIT an unforgettable experience.

Day trips and natural sights

There is much to see and explore beyond Melbourne in Victoria’s regional areas, like stunning landscapes, historic towns, and locally produced food and wine.

Popular places to visit include:

  • The Great Ocean Road, a world-famous coastal drive featuring diverse wildlife and iconic landscapes, including the 12 Apostles.
  • Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, an idyllic restorative haven that is acclaimed for natural mineral spas.
  • Bendigo, Ballarat and Beechworth, historic towns that will introduce you to Victoria’s rich gold mining heritage.
  • Wilsons Promontory National Park, which features spectacular scenery of huge granite mountains, rainforests, and fantastic wildlife.
Rent a car and do road trips with your friends. All the hidden gems are from regional Victoria. It’s a long drive but please don’t miss it! It’s once in a lifetime," said Jai, an active student in RMIT’s Kirrip community.

Additionally, you can also make the most of Melbourne City's parks, the Yarra River, and Port Phillip Bay. Pack a picnic lunch, wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens, or take in city views while you cycle along one of countless bike paths. Some of Melbourne's finest parks, gardens and recreational facilities are within easy reach of each RMIT campus.

“Hit the beaches first!” said Sumanth, a Master of Biotechnology. student from India who is also a part of the RMIT Kirrip community.

“The best thing about Melbourne is that it’s super close to go to the beach. I love it so much.”

Food and dining

Ask anyone what the defining feature of Melbourne food culture is, and their answer will be its ‘coffee culture’. There’s a cafe on just about every block, and Melbournians are passionate about Sunday brunch and delicious food. The city is a lively and unique maze of laneways culture and historic arcades, which house small cafes, elegant tearooms, old-style pubs, and rooftop bars.

Melbourne’s food and drink scene has been voted one of the best in the world3. You can find Chinatown, Little Italy and Greek, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese and Ethiopian quarters in the city and suburbs.

We have 140 nationalities in Melbourne, so you get a mix of different types of cuisines every single day," said Sumanth.
"The best part is, everything is within walking distance from [RMIT’s] City campus because the campus is so central to everything!

You can also join in on food festivals throughout the year, including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Taste of Melbourne, and food truck festivals that span the city.

Markets

Students on a budget may like to explore the array of markets in Melbourne, where they can find low-priced fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood, as well as arts, crafts and products created by local artisans.

Just a few trams stop from the RMIT City campus is the heritage-listed Queen Victoria Market, which has operated since 1878, and the South Melbourne Market, established in 1867. “I often go to QVM (Queen Victoria Market),” said Jai.

“You can get food there cheaper. Especially after 4pm because merchants are giving away their produce for the day.”

Preston Market is another local favorite located near RMIT’s Bundoora campus, and features specialty grocery stores, such as Asian grocers and health foods.

Sport

If you’re a sports fan, you’re in luck. Melbourne is home to major sporting events, including the Australian Open tennis, the Melbourne Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup horse racing. In winter, locals flock to the Australian Football League (the AFL, or 'the footy'). Pick a team and join in!

“Footy matches? Grand Prix? The crowds are unbeatable. The energy is wild, it’s so exciting!” said Raffa.

Shopping

From streetwear to haute couture, Melbourne’s fashion scenery is full of style, featuring independent design markets, small boutiques, large retailers and international designer stores. Most major retailers and stores are open seven days, and many stay open late on Thursdays and Fridays.

You’re spoiled for choice, with popular shopping spots near the RMIT City campus, including Bourke Street Mall, Emporium, Melbourne Central, QV, Chadstone, Crown, and DFO South Wharf.

Culture

Melbourne today is a welcoming city awash with cultural festivals, a reflection of the generous and inclusive spirit of its multicultural people.

  • Only one suburb away from RMIT’s City campus, the Melbourne Italian Festa on Lygon Street is the perfect event if you want to experience Italian culture.
  • Experience the vigor and energy of Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Celebration with traditional food stalls, parades, music, and fireworks
  • Antipodes Festival is Melbourne’s largest Greek cultural celebration, with food, competition, and performances taking over Lonsdale St in the city.
  • Located in Fitzroy, the Johnston Street Fiesta celebrates the heritage and tradition of many Spanish-speaking countries.
  •  Experience magical sights at the Victorian Festival of Diwali as people celebrate the Indian festival of light.

 “Melbourne and RMIT are so welcoming,” said Jai.

“They don’t look at you as an international student or just a tourist. They look at you as somebody who’s very vital for that multicultural society. You become a part of the community!”

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.