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Lifestyle Costs in Australia

It is really important to organise your financial planning when gathering all the information!

As an International Student in Australia, there is so much to see, do and enjoy from the moment you arrive. It’s a great idea to get your finances in order ahead of time to make the most of your time in Australia.

Some of the most popular and accessible cities for International Students can be found in Australia. In order to evaluate the cost of living in this country and budget accordingly, you can pay close attention to the following fundamental aspects:

  • The city you choose to live in
  • Neighborhood you choose to live in
  • The type of accommodation you choose
  • Service offers available

The city you choose to live in

Cost of living does not have to be the only determining factor when choosing a city; other variables should also be considered, such as

  1. Place where you live within the city

In general, the closer you live to the center of a city, the higher the rents will be than if you live in the surrounding neighborhoods, as is common in any country in the world. However, an apartment on the beach or with a nice view of a park will always have higher rental values.

  1. The type of accommodation you choose

Sharing a room in an apartment with other student/s is very common and popular in Australia. It is called ‘Housemates’ (or Flatmates. Roommates in the case of roommates) and many young people choose to share housing with other groups, generating great multicultural friendships. Not only does it generate an excellent experience and is remembered as a great “international” share in housing, but it will always be the most affordable alternative. But if you prefer more privacy, you can choose to rent a room or private accommodation. In the rental modality with “housemates”, each one pays for his private room to the owner of the house and they share common spaces (kitchen, bathrooms, living room, garden). You will pay a one-time amount, at the beginning of the rental, which is called a “bond” (or security deposit) as a reserve so that when you leave the rental, it will cover expenses (if necessary) if you break something or if you do not deliver your room in good condition. If everything is in accordance with the rental conditions, this amount will be refunded. It is usually worth two weeks’ rent. This will depend on your weekly rental value.

What we recommend is that you discuss these issues with the person renting your room, so that the terms and conditions are clear from the beginning at check-in and check-out. Simple details that make up the administrative organization of each person.

Service offers available

You can improve your monthly budget by shopping at low-cost supermarkets. As an example we share with you the ALDIsupermarkets dataThe ALDI Supermarket has everything, but fewer brands per product, and that makes for better prices per unit. ALDI Supermarket has everything, but fewer brands per product, and that makes for better unit prices – a tip for budget planning as soon as you arrive in Australia! There are also other supermarket chains such as Woolworths and Coles. These have more variety of choices and brands, their prices are usually a bit more expensive compared to ALDI.

When looking for housing, consider frequent places that you will use when living there that you can access by bicycle (there is a lot of supply of used bicycles in excellent condition, as people tend to replace them several times). Moving around by bicycle is really very safe, both because of the traffic and the infrastructure in bicycle lanes, as well as leaving it parked anywhere. Each city will have its charm in every bike ride, its views and the freedom of movement that cycling provides. Please note that helmets are compulsory in Australia. Other possible bike accessories? From baskets or saddlebags to store the groceries to the rack to carry the surfboard sideways – yes, you read that right -. You’ll see lots of them at the best surfing hours!

Broadly speaking, the bicycle generates many advantages, and among them, there is also the saving of time (not having to wait for the bus or means of transportation) as well as not having to pay tickets for public transportation.

Cost of living in Australia

Australia is not a cheap country for everyday life. This may surprise more than one tourist to find a coffee for 3.5 AUD, a pint of beer for 8 AUD or a bus ride for 4 AUD. Compared to many countries, the costs are high, but what about the cost of living and the purchasing power of our income in Australia? Australia enjoys one of the highest salary levels in the world. With the Student Visa, you will be able to work in Australia on an unlimited, full time basis! Currently, the Australian Government has relaxed the time restrictions on the amount of time an international student can work. This has been done to address the current shortage of workers. Previously it was a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight and now it is unlimited. It is also important to clarify that this measure is temporary. The Australian Government is constantly reviewing this measure and may revert to the previous status mentioned above. Here is the link to the official information from the Department of Home Affairs(I don’t think I would say this information, I know that with a student visa you can also work in other English speaking countries). Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world, 2,695 AUD per month (over 17 AUD/hour), and only 5% unemployment. Therefore, when you start working here your financial planning also benefits. Purchasing power is aligned with the cost of living for those working and living in Australia.

Now, how much am I going to be spending per month?

In Australia, it is common to talk about weekly costs, as this is how salaries and rents are usually charged. However, taking into account accommodation, food, leisure activities and transportation, it is possible to spend between 280 AUD – 350 AUD per week (between 1,120 AUD and 1,400 AUD per month). It is important to consider that this is an estimate and that it may vary depending on the lifestyle the person leads with food – whether they cook at home or shop out – as well as the rent in the city and its neighborhood, as mentioned above.

So, your expenses may depend on 3 factors:

  • Your destination in Australia. Depending on the city you choose for this experience will depend on the cost of living.
  • Your lifestyle and how you manage and organize your expenses.
  • Planning before traveling to Australia.

Let’s go into more detail for different categories that are of great interest to everyone:


The weekly cost of a single room ranges from 150 AUD to 280 AUD per week and usually includes basic utilities such as electricity, water, internet, etc. The price will depend on the city, the location and the amenities of the home. You can also find shared rooms for less than 120 AUD per week.


Depending on what you like, if you shop in supermarkets and how many days you eat at home, you can be spending between 75 AUD and 95 AUD per week.


Public transportation fares vary depending on the city and distances. Within the city, a bus trip in Sydney costs about 3.50 AUD, in Melbourne 3.70 AUD, in Brisbane 4.80 AUD and in Perth 2 AUD. Transportation is sometimes so expensive that many prefer to pay more in rent and be closer to where they usually go. Others choose to share the cost of a car and many choose to commute by bicycle – yes, it’s a great friend. A good used bike can be obtained for less than 90 AUD and a simple new bike between 120 AUD and 150 AUD. There are many offers for bicycles for example in Facebook’s Marketplace. In addition to traveling by bus, in big cities you will have access to public transportation services such as trains and subways. The subways in Sydney are double-decker and spectacular!

Miscellaneous expenses

The idea is to give you some reference prices to guide you. All values are in AUD:

  • Pint of beer $8 – $10. Pitchers of beer $12 – $18.
  • Pack of cigarettes $16
  • Drink at a nightclub $10-12. (In many places there is no entrance fee to the party).
  • Prepaid cell phone card for $30-$50 per month, with calls, messages and internet.
  • Gym between $22-$70 per week although very good deals can be found.
  • Car rentals at Hertz or Avis agencies cost around $60 per day.


The cost of accommodation in Sydney is generally higher than in other parts of Australia, but varies by neighborhood.

As for food, there will not be much difference between cities when it comes to cooking at home, because supermarkets usually have all the same prices.

Transportation in Sydney is usually expensive. However, there are many ways to make it more economical. Using off-peak public transport in Sydney is one example. The Opal Card is where you will load your fare money and every time you use public transportation (ferry, bus or subway), it will be deducted from the amount you have loaded on the card. The Opal Card has no acquisition cost and a minimum charge of 20 AUD. In Sydney you can also pay with your own contactless debit card if you don’t already have the Opal Card. For all public transportation you should always “tap on” at the beginning of the trip and “tap off” at the end of the trip. Failure to do so may result in fines and misdemeanors.

The Opal Card has a great feature, if you have used more than $16.30 on the day, the rest of the tickets will be free. For more information about the Opal Card you can access here .

Find out in the city you choose to live in what promotions they offer. You’re sure to be surprised. In terms of leisure time, Sydney has so much to offer that you will never run out of a program, and you can easily find one that fits your budget.

Sydney’s Benefits
High-ranked Universities!
Great lifestyle!
Multicultural environment


Living in Melbourne is generally less expensive than living in Sydney, due to lower accommodation costs and savings on transport (there are free streetcar lines and bike paths throughout the city). To access public transport in Melbourne, you will need to obtain the Myki Card. For more information you can access here .

In Australia, unlike other places in the world, you decide where your bike path ends, as the bike paths are designed to travel for distances of many kilometers. free cultural activities, so you will be able to save a lot of money there.

Melbourne’s Benefits
Great professional opportunities!
Fantastic public transport system
One of the World’s cities with the highest quality living standard


Although the cost of living is relatively similar to Melbourne, what sets Perth apart is that you can get considerably cheaper options if you go to a neighborhood away from the city. It is a smaller city than Melbourne, so “far away” are short distances of time.

In terms of entertainment, Perth offers less choice than other cities, but there is a wide range of prices; it’s just a matter of finding your favorite places and making sure they fit your budget.

In Perth for public transport you will need to obtain a SmartRider card. The SmartRider has a one-time cost of 10 AUD and a minimum charge of 10 AUD. You will not be able to pay with your contactless debit card as in the case of Sydney. For more information on the SmartRider, click here.

Perth’s Benefits
Great professional pathways and opportunities!
Warm weather
Great public transport system in a quiet city


Accommodation in Brisbane is generally less expensive than in other major cities. Prices tend to be higher in the center, as they are in all cities, but you can find cheaper options in the suburbs.

The Go Card is a public transport card that operates in Brisbane and with it you save 30% compared to a standard ticket and 20% more if you travel outside public hours. In addition, if you have the Go Card in subscription mode, you can rent public bicycles that are free for the first half hour. For more information about the Go Card you can access here .

Brisbane’s Benefits
More affordable compared to other great cities
Tropical weather all year long
Outstanding professional opportunities

Gold Coast

Rooms, apartments and houses for rent are available in very convenient locations and at very affordable prices.

It must be taken into account that it is a rather touristy city as far as leisure is concerned. This implies that there will be a wide selection of activities as well as a wide range of prices.

To enjoy the best free activities, we recommend you to go to the public libraries, called Library, where you will find annual catalogs describing month by month, what activities and events are planned in the city. From free canoeing lessons, surfing, English classes, arts and crafts, running marathons, you name it! You can attend as many as you like and your free time availability allows (there are many options waiting!).

Compared to other major cities, the Gold Coast offers the advantage of being able to move freely by bicycle, with all the benefits that this entails. Also, its year-round tropical climate makes it a pleasure to use bicycles as the main means of transportation.

Gold Coast’s Benefits
Compact city with short commuting distances
Great professional and academic opportunities!
Outdoor activities and ocean sports!

Byron Bay

This city offers rooms, apartments and houses for rent in convenient locations at reasonable prices.

It should be noted that Byron Bay is primarily a tourist town in terms of leisure. This means that there will be a wide range of activities to choose from, as well as a wide range of prices.

Byron Bay’s Benefits
Small Town with great lifestyle
Affordable costs
Ocean sports and outdoor activities


Adelaide is the third most liveable city in the world, with residents coming from all corners of the globe. Its supportive community is what makes it a wonderful place to call home.

Due to its small size, it allows you to spend less time traveling and more time enjoying and exploring the various attractions this amazing city has to offer. Adelaide is up to 14% cheaper to live in than other major Australian cities and has the lowest average rent in the country.

Adelaide’s Benefits
Great professional opportunities and academic pathways
Quiet lifestyle city and short commuting
Festival & Cultural events all year long


Compared to larger Australian cities, Cairns is a much more affordable place to live.

This city offers student residences, homestays, apartments and houses for students with different budgets and needs.

It also has a large network of integrated transportation services, making it easy to get around the region at a very affordable cost.

Cairns’ Benefits
Small city and short commuting
Tropical Weather all year long
Outdoor and ocean activities

Sunshine Coast

This city offers a wide variety of lodging options to meet your specific needs, desires and budget.

Through a Go Card, you can gain access to a transportation system that connects all the major educational institutions along the coast, making getting around this city simple and accessible.

In addition, Sunshine Coast has a wide range of activities, all of them at a very appropriate price, which best suits your interests and economy.

Sunshine Coast’s Benefits
Really quiet city with low-pace lifestyle
Warm weather all year long
Great academic and outdoor activities lifestyle balance


The cost of living in Darwin can be very similar to that of larger cities in Australia.

While you will save on lodging due to their affordable prices, when it comes to grocery shopping, prices tend to be very high for everyday items.

The costs to move around are not much, since being a small city everything is close and you can make your daily trips by bicycle, scooter or public transport, and if you are a student you will have a 50% discount.

Darwin’s Benefits
Small Town with short commuting
Great professional opportunities
Tropical Weather


Living in Canberra implies a higher standard of living at lower costs compared to other major Australian cities.

This city offers accessible means of transport by means of a MyWay card, which gives you access to a bus network: Transport Canberra and to the train service: Canberra Metro.

Canberra has an exceptional culinary scene, where you will find cafes, restaurants and bars, from budget dining to fine dining.

Canberra’s Benefits
High-ranked Academic Institutions
Extraordinary professional opportunities
Australian Capital Territory and Government entities Headquarters


Hobart is one of the least expensive and most affordable cities in Australia, with everything a person needs for everyday life.

Compared to other Australian capitals, this city has some of the cheapest accommodation.

Buses are an excellent way to get around Tasmania. As a student, you can also get a discount on your ticket. Tasmania has an excellent and inexpensive bus service, including Metro, in Hobart, which will easily get you from your home to campus.

This city is a place where you can find a variety of outdoor attractions that easily adapt to your budget and particular interests.

Hobart’s Benefits
Affordable lifestyle city
Nature and outdoor activities
Quiet place and relax environment
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