Cost of Living in Australia

April 20 , 2021 by: Amanda Goh

While cities in Australia are cheaper than cities such as New York and London, Australia’s expanse and remoteness can make it expensive to live in.

Australia often ranks in the top 20 most expensive expat destinations in the world. Living expenses in this country is moderately expensive with most of your expenses going towards housing. Other expenses such as transportation and groceries will also add up over your time spend in Australia, however, can defer depending on your lifestyle.

The official currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar, also written as A$ or AUD. Some exchange rates are:

You should be ready to fork out around 1,440 AUD (around 1,000 USD) a month per person, not including rent.

Before arriving in Australia, you should consider their exchange rate — how much does your home currency amount in Australian dollars and what fees you will need to pay to convert your currency.

Photo by Steve Buissinne on Pixabay


As food and other goods are mostly imported from overseas, their prices are usually higher than other countries. However, one should note that these costs vary across Australia, depending on where you live. If you are intending to live in bigger cities such as Sydney, you can expect to pay more as compared to living in the rural areas of Australia.

Generally, you can spend up to 350 AUD (240 USD) a month, depending on which part of Australia you are living in. To reduce your grocery costs, you can look out for daily or weekly deals in chain supermarkets. You can also take a look at paper ads to find out more deals. If you are one to eat out, restaurant choices in Australia vary from cheap to expensive. On average, you can spend around 90 AUD (60 USD) eating out.


As mentioned above, utility costs in Australia are high. This includes basic utilities such as electricity, gas, water and internet. Utility costs may vary between seasons such as summer due to the need of air conditioning. Utilities may cost up to 220 AUD (150 USD) per month for one living in a studio apartment.


Australia has a healthcare system that is funded by taxpayers’ salaries. While public healthcare costs are heavily subsidized for citizens and permanent residents, everyone else will need to pay for healthcare. The cost of healthcare will also depend on your needs.


On average, the cost for a single ride city bus ticket in Australia is 3 AUD (2 USD), while a day pass is roughly 8 AUD (5 USD). If you want to travel between cities, this will typically cost you between 35-64 AUD (24-45 USD), depending on the bus company and your destination. Do note that the fastest way to travel around the country, while the most expensive, is by plane.

Australia’s minimum wage is 19.84 AUD per hour and known to be 28% higher than in other countries such as the UK. In comparison, minimum wage for the UK is 15.69 AUD and 10.05 AUD for US.


Some of the most popular city choices for expats to live in are Sydney and Melbourne. This is due to their weather and outdoor lifestyle.

As mentioned, the cost of living per person will vary depending on which part of Australia you wish to reside in. Sydney is known as the most expensive city in Australia, ranked one of the Top 20 most expensive cities in the world. Melbourne comes second for the most expensive city in Australia, followed by Canberra, Hobart and Brisbane.

Alternatively, some of the most affordable cities in Australia are Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. In these cities, housing prices are more stable as compared to the rest.

Overall, the cost of living in Australia is fairly high and may be higher than what you are used to in your home country. It is important to get to know the country well and be prepared before residing in Australia.

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