When arriving in a new country, there is that one question that keeps popping up in everybody’s head: How high is the cost of living in Australia? We have tried to come up with a budget type, divided into six big categories, so you can plan your expenses before coming to Australia. We have also created a list of products with their prices in Australian dollars and Euros in order to help you get a feeling for how much living in Australia costs.
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 = 0.64 Euro (February 2023) and against Pound sterling is: 1AUD = 0.56 pound (feb 23).
Accommodation costs vary depending on what type of accommodation you choose.
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 30 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).
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. They also depend on what kind of accommodation you are looking for. You will pay an entirely different price if you are in a shared room than in a single room, if you are single or travelling with your partner or if you have an entire apartment to yourself.
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:
- 250-300 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 300-400 for a single room
- 600-800 AUD 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.
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
The second important factor in your budget will be the money you spend on food and drinks. On average, about 80 AUD can get you through one week, without spending money on anything “unnecessary”.
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!
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! It is easy to find a good bottle of wine for less than 10 AUD if you focus on those special offers. For info, alcohol is not sold at the supermarket, but at “bottle shops”, next to supermarkets or shopping areas/malls.
Restaurants / 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 200 AUD – £110
- Groceries for one week: 80 AUD – £45 (with essentials)
- Public transport: 35 AUD – £20
- Going out: 50 AUD – £27
- Health & hygiene: 10 AUD – £5
TOTAL PER WEEK: 375 AUD OR £208
Take into consideration that salaries are higher in Australia when planning your budget. You will be earning at least 600 – 700 AUD (£306 – £356) per week if you work full time.