Best 7 Free Phone Apps for International Students in Melbourne, Australia

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Hi guys! Following my June’s post on the things you need to prepare before and after arrival in Melbourne, this month I will give you a list of free phone apps that I found most useful in my daily life as a student in Melbourne. You might be heading to Melbourne soon or already arrived in Melbourne, either way, check out and download these apps to make your daily life much easier.

1. PTV (Public Transport Victoria) and Tram Tracker apps

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PTV app is very useful if you live in Melbourne or other regions of Victoria. You can plan your journey through Journey Planner feature inside the app to see the schedule of public transportations and the map to get from and to a certain location in Victoria as well as to see the next 5 departures for a tram stop/bus stop/train station. This app is used to see all means of public transportation in Victoria (tram, bus, train). I use this app everyday; it is indispensable because it is easy-to-use, informative and very helpful to predict when bus in a certain number will be coming and in which stop (the routes). It is also great to determine which train stop I should stop at to reach my destination in the shortest distance possible.

Meanwhile, the Tram Tracker app is used solely for trams, to find out which tram stop you are  in at the current moment, search for tram routes, etc.

Both have options for iOS and Android.

2. Your university’s apps

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For example: Melbourne University app (iOS), My Unimelb app (iOS, Android) or Monash University app (iOS,  Android)  and many more.

Usually each university might have one or several apps related to each institution. There are various features and usages that those various apps have. For example, Melbourne University app consists of features such as staff directories, web search, news regarding Melbourne University and maps around their campuses. Then they have Unisafe app (iOS, Android) to make sure their students stay safe in campus, the app’s features range from campus security numbers, emergency contacts and even flashlight feature to roam the campuses at night safely. Then there is the My Unimelb app to see class timetables, enrolment details, library loans, etc.

There are also learning system apps that universities use for classes, filled with materials for each class and your assignment and exam results. For example: Melbourne University uses Blackboard Learn app (LMS-Learning Management System) (iOS, Android) while Monash uses Moodle but it is included in their all-in-one university app already.

3. Zomato (iOS, Android)

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Previously named Urbanspoon and was bought by Zomato, this is the ultimate app for searching food and restaurants in a lot of countries, including in Australia. If you are familiar with Zomato, you will know that you will find menus, reviews, ratings, scrumptious and not-so-scrumptious photos of the dishes served in each restaurant as well as locations of each restaurant, business hours, delivery options and sometimes even the prices. You can also find happening places to drink and dine here all in one app.

4. Lost in Campus (iOS, Android)

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This app is useful if you are lost in your campus (pretty explanatory here) but you are in the campus area already. Turn on your location and it will guide you via the screen to your destination. Perfect if you are a new student and will not be caught dead holding a paper map, looking like a confused tourist or a total newbie. It also comes with estimated time to reach your campus building destination. As a Monash Clayton student, I found this really useful, more useful than the maps/location feature in Monash University official app, especially to know where that Lemon Scented Lawn and the Rotunda are located or whether it is Building 11 or Menzies Building, just type building 11 or Menzies and it will show.

5. Your bank’s app

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For example: Commonwealth Bank app, National Australia Bank app (iOS, Android), Westpac app

This is very handy for transferring money and check your account balance as well as for moving around your money from your one account to other accounts. It is also relatively safe since you have to enter password each time you want to do a transaction. Trust me, you will need this.

6. Your mobile phone provider’s app

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For example: My Optus app, My Vodafone app, Telstra 24×7 app

This is necessary to track your data usage, see your monthly mobile phone bills, etc.

7. 13Cabs (iOS, Android)

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This is another indispensable app in my list. I have just used this app four days ago to book a taxi to Melbourne airport at 5 o’clock in the morning and what I needed was just to tap, click, tap, click using the app and the taxi came five minutes later. The taxi booking is for 24/7. They have several taxi types such as Maxi Taxi (for more than 5 people) and Wagon Taxi (for heavy stuff to be kept in the extra space at the back of the taxi). You can even track the taxi that you are assigned to. Taxis are expensive in Melbourne but if you ever need one, consider using the app!

Those are the main apps that I think are very useful in my Melbourne life. There are some other apps like Facebook, Twitter, Path, LINE, WeChat, Instagram, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, Dropbox that are also essential for your life. But, I will not explain them here since you most probably will have already known or used most, if not, all of them. So, happy downloading and enjoy your life in Melbourne!

Photo: Johan Larsson used under Creative Commons License

All apps’ photos are screenshots from the writer’s iPhone.

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Cecilia Liando
Cecilia Liando is currently pursuing her Master Degree in Interpreting and Translation Studies (Translation-Only Stream) at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Prior to that, she studied Bachelor of English Education at Universitas Pelita Harapan (Lippo Village, Indonesia), worked as a teacher and freelance translator then spent one year in Peking University (Beijing, China) to learn Mandarin Chinese language. She also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Editing and Communications at the University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia). In her spare time, she knits and makes jewelries.