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Cost of living in Australia (2024)

Cost of living in Australia (2024)

Australia is known for its high quality of life, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. However, the cost of living can be quite high compared to other countries. Whether you’re planning to study, work, or simply explore Australia, it’s essential to understand the various types of expenses you’ll encounter. This guide breaks down the cost of living in Australia, covering accommodation, food, transportation, healthcare, and more.

Currency in Australia

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is the official currency of Australia. It comes in notes of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 dollars. The notes and coins were until now stamped with the profile of Queen Elizabeth II. These remain in circulation and valid for years to come.

The current value of the Australian Dollar against the Euro is: 1 AUD = 0.61 Euro (May 2024) and against Pound sterling is: 1AUD = 0.52 pound (May 2024).

Cost of visa to come to Australia

To travel to Australia, you must get a visa , regardless of the length of your stay. Here is the list of the main visas that may correspond to your situation:

Accommodation costs

Accommodation is one of the most significant expenses in Australia, varying widely depending on location and type. Accommodations in big cities will be more expensive than in small or regional towns.

Hostel

One of the options is to stay at a hostel. Some people who don’t stay at the same place for a long time or don’t want to deal with renting an apartment choose this option. One night will approximately cost you 40 AUD, depending on your location. If you want a single room in a hostel, the average price will be between 100 AUD and 150 AUD per night. It is possible to get better prices if you stay 1 week (for example 7th night free of charge).

Shared Accomodation

If you wish to stay in a city for a longer period, a good option can be to look out for flat shares or even just an apartment for yourself. Of course, prices vary from city to city and also between the different districts. Sharing a house or apartment is a popular and cost-effective option, especially for students and backpackers.

Housing price examples in Sydney

Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia when it comes to accommodation. However prices can vary quite a bit between the districts. We have used the CBD and Bondi as examples for accommodation, as they are the most expensive in the city:

  • Minimum 300 AUD for a shared room. Pay attention, the prices depend on how many people you share the room with. There are shared flats with more than five people per room…
  • AUD 350 for a single room
  • AUD 700 for a flat / studio.

For more information: Best suburbs to live in Sydney

Good to know: The rent prices in Australia are stated in dollars per week! Don’t forget to multiply the price by four if you wish to obtain the monthly rate. Also, in the most cases you will be expected to pay a bond of 4 weeks rent and pay 4 weeks of rent in advance. That’s why it is important to keep in mind that you will need a certain budget before moving into a new apartment.

Rent

  • Major Cities: In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be approximately 2,900 per month. Outside the city center, the cost drops to about AUD 2,100.
  • Smaller Cities and Rural Areas: Rent in smaller cities or rural areas is more affordable, ranging from AUD 900 to AUD 1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Campervan

Some people even decide to go on a road trip and live in a campervan. Ìf you buy a campervan, the accommodation costs are basically non-existent so you will be saving money. However, it is not a good option for people who want to stay in a city but is perfect if you want to travel around the country.

For more information : Budget for a road trip in Australia

Food Expenses

The second important factor in your budget will be the money you spend on food and drinks. Food costs in Australia can vary depending on your lifestyle and dietary preferences.

Groceries

  • On average, a single person can expect to spend around around 80 AUD per week on groceries. Shopping at budget supermarkets like Aldi, or buying in bulk, can help reduce costs.

Even though Australia has the reputation of being an expensive country, food is very similarly priced to most other (European) countries. Like in every other place, you receive the quality you pay for. A good piece of meat will cost you a lot more than a mid-ranged burger. Also, if you buy imported goods or fruit and vegetables that are not in season, you might be asked to pay a fortune!

You will always find varying price ranges and will be able to save by buying products from the supermarket’s own brand, which is very friendly to your wallet!

Eating Out

  • Cafes and Fast Food: A meal at a cafe or fast food restaurant typically costs between AUD 18 and AUD 30.
  • Restaurants: Dining at a mid-range restaurant can cost around AUD 40 per person. High-end restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

Good to know: A good way to save money is to pay attention to sales!
At the end of the day a lot of supermarkets offer their products for reduced prices. Also, there are new weekly sales, which is a good opportunity to try new products! At last, when it comes to alcohol, the prices change constantly! Always compare the prices and look for special offers!

Going out

Despite its reputation as a very expensive country; going out in Australia can be quite affordable. And indeed, the cafés, bars, restaurants are numerous, you just have to find the good offers and happy hours and you will manage to stay on a low budget.

Clothing

Clothes in Australia are generally speaking on the more expensive side. Nevertheless, it is very easy to minimize your expenses by shopping at outlets, during sales or at second-hand shops (charity shops/op shops). Also, shops like Kmart or Big W offer very cheap clothes, comparable to those at Primark. The quality is not necessarily there but these clothes will be perfect for the duration of your stay.

Transportation costs

Transportation costs depend on the city you live in and your mode of transport.

Fuel Prices

Most cars in Australia run on gasoline and not on diesel fuel. One litre of gasoline is comparatively cheap, even if it depends on where you are filling up your car (like everywhere else). On average, it’s 1.5 AUD – £0.83 per litre of gasoline and 1.54 AUD – £0.75 per litre of diesel. But beware, you can pay up to twice the price in the more isolated regions of Australia.
To check the costs of fuel in Australia (or elsewhere), click HERE.

Public transport

When it comes to public transport, you will have to be prepared for rather high prices (especially in big cities and their suburbs). Like with everything else, it depends on where you are. A bus pass is a lot cheaper in a small town than it is in Sydney.

To give you an idea:

A transport ticket, average price 4.5$ (2.9€)
One month’s public transport pass in Sydney: about 150 AUD (about 100€)
On the other hand, train travel can be very cheap. For example, a trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains will cost you only $2.50 if you travel on a Sunday (over 100km).

Taxis also charge differently, depending on where you are. On average, you’ll be asked to pay 2 AUD per driven kilometre. Additionally, there are surcharges in the big cities (booking fee, if you’re going in the night, some bank cards…).

Another option is Uber, but this service is available mainly in the big cities. One ride will cost you about 25 / 30 AUD  (think about using promo codes).

Know that you can also share rides with other people for long-distance trips. You can easily find ads on Gumtree or on Facebook groups. This can be a good option to save you some money if you want to visit the city surroundings.

Hygiene and health products

Hygiene products are generally more expensive than elsewhere. If you don’t have an overseas health insurance, medicine and health products will be the most expensive in Australia. So, in case you do become sick or injure yourself and need to visit a doctor or go to the hospital, you will not get any refund and end up having to pay everything yourself. So it is better to have an travel insurance prior leaving your home country.

Healthcare

Medicare

  • Residents and citizens have access to Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare system, which covers many medical services and treatments. Some foreign visitors also have access to Medicare thanks to reciprocal health care agreements between Australia and their home country. It is the case for UK citizens, Belgium, etc. Those having access to Medicare will be covered once in Australia. However, you might still need private health insurance for additional coverage.

Private Health Insurance

  • For international students and non-residents, private health insurance is mandatory. Costs range from €400 per year, depending on the level of coverage and the policy subscribed.

10% discount on your insurance policy

Find here all the information you need and get your 10% Go walkabout promo code for any policy.

Beauty products

In Australia, most of the beauty products are imported. If you want to consume the same products as in the UK, it could become very expensive. On the other hand, there are many local producers that offer products for a very affordable price.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Everyone needs little extras to spice up everyday life.

The prices of local beers are equivalent to the prices of beers in the UK. Imported beers are more expensive. The more reason to discover Australian beers.

Strong spirits are much more expensive than in the UK since the majority of brands are imported. There are also Australian government taxes to factor into the price. You can benefit from discounts if you buy your bottles in sets of 2 or more but the price remains higher than in the UK.

Australia has the highest tobacco tax rate. This explains the overpriced packages.

Electronics / Home Appliances

If you want to buy electronics in Australia, here are some price ideas:

  • Mobile phone: for an Iphone 14 count $1399 (€895 – £785)
  • Computer: for a Macbook Air (with Apple M1 Chip) around $1600 (€1025 – £899)
  • Television: 109 cm, from $400 (€250 – £220) (low end)
  • Fridge: 430L Westinghouse brand 1000$ (€640 – £560)
  • Washing machine: 7.5kg brand LG, count $750 (€480 – £420)

Remember to always check the discounts in the shops, for example JB Hifi have ‘Frenzy Days’ with important discounts on some products.

Leisure and Entertainment

Australia offers a wide range of leisure and entertainment options, with costs varying based on your activities.

Gyms and Fitness: Gym memberships cost between AUD 50 and AUD 100 per month. Outdoor activities like hiking and beach sports are free. Plus you will find a lot of infrastructures to exercice in parks, close to the beaches.

Movies and Dining Out: Movie tickets cost around AUD 20. Dining out can range from AUD 30 for a casual meal to AUD 100+ for fine dining.

Travel and Sightseeing: Domestic flights are relatively affordable, with budget airlines offering deals as low as AUD 50 for short routes. Activities like tours and excursions can range from AUD 100 to AUD 600, depending on the experience.

Cost of buying a vehicle

If you’re planning a road trip in Australia and considering buying your own vehicle, it’s important to note that prices can vary depending on several factors such as the city and season of purchase, brand, condition, age, and mileage on the vehicle. To give you an idea of the budget you’ll need, here are some approximate figures:

  • A mid-range station wagon: between $3,000 and $5,000
  • A mid-range van: between $7,000 and $10,000
  • A mid-range 4×4: between $8,500 and $12,500
  • 1L of unleaded gasoline: between $1.9 and $2 depending on the gas station (location).

However, it’s important to keep in mind that these prices are just averages and can vary depending on a number of factors. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and shop around before making a purchase.

Cost of studying in Australia

To study in Australia, you have several possible visa options:

  • The Student Visa allows you to study for a minimum of 3 months;
  • The Tourist Visa  allows you to study for a maximum of 3 months;
  • The Working Holiday Visa allows you to study for a maximum of 4 months.

The cost of studies (private lessons / schools / universities)

Whether you decide to take language courses or any other subject when entering an Australian university, studying in Australia requires a certain budget . 

  • English lessons: $300/week
  • IELTS test: $410. This test must be validated to enter TAFE or university.
  • TAFE (BTS level: Certificates I to IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma): $5,000 to $22,000
  • Undergraduate Bachelor Degree – $22,000 to $45,000
  • Postgraduate Masters Degree (Masters level) – $25,000 to $50,000
  • Doctoral Degree – $20,000 to $45,000.

How much money will I need for Australia?

As you might have been able to figure after reading this article, cost of living in Australia is very variable. That is why we came up with different budget types so you can plan your expenses easier.

Our example is one person, living in Sydney, using public transport:

  • Living in a shared room in the CBD: 250 AUD
  • Groceries for one week: 80 AUD
  • Public transport: 35 AUD minimum
  • Going out: 50 AUD
  • Health & hygiene: 10 AUD

TOTAL PER WEEK: 425 AUD

Take into consideration that salaries are higher in Australia when planning your budget. You will be earning at least 880 AUD per week for 38 hours (full time).

The cost of living in Australia is relatively high, but it comes with a high standard of living, excellent public services, and a safe environment. By understanding and planning for the various expenses, you can manage your budget effectively and make the most of your time in Australia. Whether you’re a student, a working professional, or a traveler, being financially prepared will help you enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer.

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Australia Backpackers Guide
The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!

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