Accommodation and airport pick up


Home stay

If you are living with a home stay family remember that they expect you to behave as part of their family not as a hotel guest. Australian families do not have servants so you may have to do things that you are unused to doing at home, such as clearing plates from the table, making your bed and keeping your room tidy and clean. You will also have to do your own washing using the facilities provided for you.

You will find the food is different from what you are used to but you should try everything. If there are any foods that you cannot eat, either for medical or religious reasons you have to let your homestay family know. If you really don’t like the food discuss your problem with your home stay family or the Nova English Homestay Coordinator.

Some Australian houses do not have central heating so you might need extra bedding in order to keep warm in winter. Please ask your home stay family about this. They may be able to provide blankets or doonas for you, but you may have to buy them yourself. Please do not use small heaters and leave them on overnight as this can be dangerous.

Private Rental

You may wish to find accommodation in a house or flat. It is quite common for young people in Australia to live in shared accommodation with their friends. In Melbourne the cost of shared accommodation varies between $150 and $300. You may be able to pay less if you share your apartment with a number of people, but many people will not find this comfortable.

If you are going to live in a shared flat or house you will also need to pay a returnable bond which is usually equivalent to four week’s rent. The bond is used to replace or repair any damage you might be responsible for during the time you live in the accommodation. If there is no damage the full amount will be returned to you when you leave your accommodation. Sometimes there is also a deposit for the security key. You get this back when you return the key when you move out. This can be up to $150.

There are several ways to find somewhere to live. One way is to check the advertisements in the city and local newspapers. You will probably need to telephone to make an appointment to meet the other people who live in the house. Another way to look for a flat is to search the following websites for shared accommodation:

You can also visit a real estate agent to see if they have any suitable property for you to rent. In this case if you rent a place yourself you may have to find other people to share with you.


Hostels are a cheaper alternative to hotels. They vary from private rooms to shared room to shared dormitory. Toilets and bathrooms can be unisex or separate and kitchen and recreational areas are shared. You will meet young travellers from all around the world and have the opportunity to socialize with them.

There are many websites but you could start with

We suggest that you carefully consider both advantages and disadvantages of accommodation options available. To help you make an informed decision we have put together the following information.

Things to consider when you consider sharing accommodation

  • Do not sign any agreements without being aware of your rights and responsibilities. For more information on your rights and responsibilities go to
  • Limitation to rooms and/or facilities
  • Any additional fees and charges you may be responsible for
  • Use of and payment of utilities; gas, electricity, internet, water rates etc.
  • Length of notice for termination of contract
  • Are receipts for rent, bond, utility and other charges provided

The three major options are private rental, student hostel and Homestay, below is a comparative table providing a list of advantages and disadvantages of each.

Finally you can ask your friends or make contact with students in other ELICOS colleges to see if anyone has a room they want to rent out.

There may be notices on the student notice board at Nova for shared accommodation. If you want to advertise, get your advertisement signed by the receptionist – any advertisement not signed may be taken down. Nova is not responsible for any accommodation advertised on a college notice board.




Private Rental

Student Hostel


Greater privacy if not shared with many

Option of your own room for privacy/or shared room

Suitable for students who can’t or don’t want to cook


More independence than homestay

Hosts are approved

Choose what to cook and when

Security provided by hostel management

No grocery shopping as most meals are provided

You have some choice in whom you live

Utilities; gas, electricity included in cost

Utilities included in cost

Choose your own location

Good opportunity to improve English skills

Opportunity to practice and improve English skills and cultural exchange


Internet access provided for little extra cost

Own furnished room


Opportunity for social interaction with a variety of people from around the world

Nova can make arrangements for you



Support and security offered by host family






Limited availability if short term student

Locations and quality of facilities varies

Less flexibility

Must commit to a length of stay – lease of 6-12 months

Must commit to a minimum length of stay

Phone and internet your responsibility

Appliances may be basic or limited

Access to kitchen limited after 9-10 pm

Need to adapt to fit in with host family habits and culture

May have to supply own cooking and eating utensils

May have to supply own cooking and eating utensils

Food : meals may be substantially different

Utilities bills are extra

Noise restrictions and curfew times

Location and accommodation type varies

Must connect own phone and internet

Many people sharing same facilities


More time spent on shopping, cooking, cleaning etc

Possible unisex bathroom/toilet facilities


Flatmates will probably not speak English at home – so no opportunity to practice English skills

Limited or no access to a home phone


Short term students mean flatmates may need to leave before the end of the lease and you need to find another flatmate




Bond usually equal to a month’s rent



Pre – Departure – Checklist

Once you have been accepted to study at an institution and have received confirmation of your student visa, the next step is to start planning for your arrival.

Here is a checklist to help you plan your departure:

  • Passport and Visa – Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months prior to your entry arrival in Australia, and that you have all your visa documentation. It is also a good idea to make copies of your passport in case you lose your passport.
  • Student enrolment and orientation documents – You will need your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student information pack, which you will have received from your institution.
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) – This is a requirement for entry to Australia, so make sure you have your health cover policy arranged before you leave home.
  • Travel Insurance – You should also consider travel insurance, which covers things your OSHC may not – such as cancelled flights, lost documents, dental or optical care, etc.
  • Airfares – Make sure you are aware of the date and time of your flight. Keep your flight details in a safe and secure place, with your passport and visa.
  • Contact details – You may want to have a list of emergency contact details for family, as well as your embassy, accommodation and institution details. If you have used an education agent, keep their contact details on you, in case you need to contact them once you arrive in Australia.
  • Australian currency – There are money exchange places available at Australian airports and in cities, but it is recommended to have some Australian currency on you prior to leaving your home country.
  • Transport from the airport – Whether you are taking public transport, a taxi, or you are being picked up from the airport by your education provider, it is important that you have all the details including the time, the route and, if your travel has been arranged by your institution, their contact details. If you need a map to assist you in getting to your accommodation from the airport, they will be available at the airport, or you can print one prior to leaving.
  • Accommodation details – Make sure you have the address of where you will be staying as well as their phone number and payment confirmation (if you have already paid for your accommodation
  • Standard voltage in Australia is 240 volts to make sure that you can use all your electrical appliances bring a convertor and adaptor with or be prepared to purchase one on arrival.
  • Plant material, animal products and food – when you are packing do not bring fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, pork, eggs, nuts and dairy goods, live plants and seeds, as they will not be allowed into the country.

Arrival at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

If you have followed the pre-departure checklist you should be ready to arrive. Do not be afraid to ask airport staff for help.

Transport from airport


There is a taxi stand outside the international terminal building.

A taxi fare from Tullamarine airport to Melbourne city centre is approximately $85.00.
Nova English is located at Level5, 140 Queen Street in the city centre, with both trams and buses almost at the door. Two major train stations, Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station are a short walking distance from our campus.

For direct taxi travel (if you have your accommodation address you could use the website below to calculate costs.


SkyBus is an express bus service to and from Tullamarine airport, Melbourne. The service is available 24/7 including weekends and public holidays. Buses run every ten minutes throughout the day. A one way ticket is $18.00 and return ticket is $30.00.

The service operates from Southern Cross Station to Tullamarine airport.

On arrival at Southern Cross station students can take a taxi, train, tram or bus to their accommodation address.

SkyBus is a private company and you cannot use Myki

Bookings can be made online at

Public transport in Melbourne – Myki

Melbourne transport consists of tram, trains and buses. You will need to purchase a smart card (Myki)to use public transport –

Information about Melbourne’s public transport is available at this website: for trains, buses and trams.  Metropolitan rail, bus and tram and free city trams city circle timetables may be found at the following website:

As no student concession is available for overseas students, it is recommended that students buy a weekly, monthly or period rail ticket in order to save on cost.  A weekly ticket is about the same price as four return tickets.


Myki is your ticket to travel on Melbourne’s trains, trams and buses. It can be purchased at any PTVHUB. (Public Transport Victoria, HUB). There is one at Southern Cross Station.

The reusable smart card is easy to use. Simply top up before your journey and then touch on and touch off at a myki reader as you travel.

You can buy and top up your myki at over 800 retailers including all 7-Eleven stores, the ticket office window at Premium Stations and staffed V/Line commuter stations, from a myki machine (full fare myki cards only) located at all train stations and major tram and bus interchanges, on this website and by calling 1800 800 007 (6am – midnight daily).

Customers are advised to only purchase myki cards from the authorized outlets listed above

For more information go to

College facilities

Nova has 8 comfortable and bright light filled classrooms. Classrooms are fitted with overhead interactive projectors, desks, chairs, white boards. CD players ,TV/DVD players and overhead projectors are also available for lessons.

Student Lounge/Lunch Room

Students are able to relax, chat over a drink, cup of coffee or tea in the student lounge/lunch room, which features a large refrigerator, two microwaves, electric kettle, table, chairs and vending machine.

Excursions and social activities

Students are encouraged to take part in social activities organized by Nova. Excursions include trips to Victoria or Prahran Market, The National Gallery of Victoria, the Ian Potter Gallery, the Moving Image Gallery, The Melbourne Zoo, The Aquarium, The Eureka Skydeck, Abbotsford farm, the Botanic Gardens, the Fitzroy Gardens, St Pauls and St Patrick’s Cathedral, The Shrine, Scienceworks, and Captain Cook’s Cottage, BBQ by the Yarra.

Day trips include trips down the Great Ocean Road, BBQ on the Lorne foreshore, visit to Erskine Falls, day trip to Mt. Buller in the snow season, Phillip Island to see the penguins and Werribee Open Plains zoo.

Students are also given information about events and social activities available around Melbourne, such as ethnic festivals, food festivals, film, music and flower festivals, sporting and other activities available to the public.

Your Life in a Homestay

Living in a Homestay gives you the opportunity to practise your English in a real life situation and allows you to reinforce the vocabulary and grammar that you have learned in class.
It is important to remember that you remember that you are both part of the family and a guest. You will probably be expected to help with housework, keep your bedroom tidy and make your bed every morning and vacuum weekly. If you use any dishes or glasses you will be expected to wash, dry and put them away, or put them in the dishwasher.

Always ask permission to bring friends over and do not change the television channels without permission.

Remember that Australia is a multi cultural society and most “Australians” have differing cultural backgrounds which will be reflected in their food preparation, which could be from European,(every country in Europe has very different foods) Middle Eastern, Indian or Asian(also very varied) background.



This is usually a light meal of cereal with milk, toast, juice, coffee or tea.

Often these foods will be made available to you and you will prepare them yourself – this is known as help yourself.


Host should provide ingredients for sandwiches (help yourself)) and a piece of fruit. If not there are plenty of cheaply priced take away restaurants and food courts nearby.


Dinner may be a shared meal in the evening, or you may occasionally prepare your own meal with food provided by the Homestay.

What to bring

You can buy deodorants, toothpaste and other toiletries at local shops but if you need or want specific items you should bring them with you. If you take any prescription medications you should bring a supply with you.

Host : provides soap and toilet paper, bed linen and towels.

Laundry facilities:

You have access to laundry facilities at your host family’s home, but some families prefer to do the laundry for you.

Do not wash clothes in the bathroom or hang them to dry in your bedroom, cupboards and heaters or over the shower.

Telephone and Internet use

You should buy a phone card or use your mobile phone to make telephone calls use hosts’ phone number only for emergencies. It is often very expensive to make international calls from a landline so a phone card is recommended.

Remember to notify friends and family of time changes so that you do not receive calls in the middle of the night and disturb your host family.

Internet is not usually provided by the host family.


There are water shortages in Australia and most cities have a level of water restrictions. Keep your showers short and leave shower recess clean.


In Australia it is against the law to smoke in any public building including covered tram, bus and train stops, including restaurants or any area where food is being prepared.
If you smoke please request a Homestay that allows smoking. Most hosts will ask smokers to smoke outside. Always ask your host family for their house rules regarding smoking.


  • You are a guest as well as part of the family
  • You may have to take part in housework
  • Ask permission to smoke outside
  • Ask permission to bring friends
  • Notify your host family if you do not require dinner or will be late
  • Notify your host family if you are staying away for the night or weekend
  • Buy a phone card
  • Do not hang laundry in bathrooms or over heaters