Cost of Living in Australia: How Much Does It Cost to Live Down Under?

By Joshua Chadwick March 12th

From its scenic landscapes to its unique wildlife, and wonderful culture, Australia is a beautiful part of the world to call home. However, it’s not always the easiest place to settle down on, with some expenses arising that’ll be sure to make your jaw drop. 

All countries will, of course, differentiate the cost of living between certain areas of the land, Australian cities being no exception. Therefore, it’s unlikely you will be spending as much money out in the suburbs as your friends in the CBD in their home of five. 

With that being said, the area you are living in doesn’t paint the whole picture, so let’s show off the whole canvas as we’ll delve into the primary household expenses, ranging from rent, utility costs, and groceries to traveling, entertainment, and more. 

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Is Australia really that expensive? 

Australia boasts a high standard of living, and thus that quality of life comes at a cost. While they’re not on the level of Hong Kong or New York, they’re not necessarily cheap. 

According to the Mercer 2020 Cost of Living Rankings, both Sydney (66th) and Melbourne (99th) feature on the top 100 list, making the two cities the most expensive in the country. 

The other states’ centre points aren’t much further off either, with Perth (104th), Canberra (118th), Adelaide, and Brisbane (tied 126th) trailing their coattails. The rest of the rankings can be found here.  

While the main capital cities saw a decline in 2020 due to the circumstances of COVID-19, they are still prevalent in the cost-of-living world rankings, showcasing how expensive the continent can be. 

Costs of Housing/Rent 

The real crux of your living expenses will be found with housing costs, which in turn influences your budgeting for other expenses. 

To sum things up, the average cost of rent in Australia is roughly $471 per week, according to this article from Domain early this year. 

Capital City Mar-21 
Canberra $600 
Sydney $550 
Darwin $550 
Hobart $480 
Brisbane $440 
Melbourne $430 
Perth $430 
Adelaide $425 
National Average $471 

As seen in the graph above, Canberra boasts the highest weekly rental price in Australia, followed closely by Darwin and Sydney. The least expensive city in terms of rent is Adelaide followed by Perth and, most notably, Melbourne, which has seen a hit in price since the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the CBD closed for most of last year. 

Another change caused by the pandemic has been the price difference between the CBD and suburban areas. Typically, the CBD always came with a bigger price tag, but in Melbourne, the rent price has decreased in the city, and the amount of money needed to be increased in suburban and rural areas, with Melburnians looking to settle away from the business district. 

This change is not only prevalent in Melbourne, as Sydney is loosely following the trend, with little signs of the shift changing anytime soon. Therefore, it’s worth keeping an eye on the housing market, as you might be able to find a price tag suiting your budget, giving more leeway to other expenses when applying for a new home. 


Much like rent, your cost for utilities will depend on your providers, the number of people in the household and it will be dependent on what facilities are needed. 

For the sake of this summary though, the utilities that we’ll focus on are the basics, consisting of electricity and gas, water, and home internet. 

Electricity is the most expensive utility, averaging approximately $105 per month on electricity for a single-person household according to Canstar Blue. The average bumps up to $125 for two people, then $135 for a four-person household. 

Gas is a bit less expensive depending on household size, with Canstar Blue assessing a $60 per month cost on gas. 

Internet is rather simple in Australia, thanks to the implementation of the Nationals Broadband Network (NBN) which nets a similar price between $70-95 for most households.  

Water across Australia levels out to $90 per month over the average Australian household. Single-person households fetch an average cost of $75 per month, while two-person households cost $90 on average, which is then bumped up to $110 per month for households with 4 people. 

For more information about electricity bill costs, check out our article here, diving into all the averages you need to know. 

Additional Expenses 

Sorting out a budget to live in Australia doesn’t just consist of rent and utility costs. Additional expenses arise in the form of weekly groceries and travel as a whole. 

Travel mostly depends on your mode of transport. Driving is, of course, the most popular way to travel but also the most expensive.  

During the height of the pandemic, costs of petrol soared for Australians, costing individuals roughly $305 a month according to Budget Direct. This amount may differ over time with the economy still recovering from the virus. 

If driving is not an option, public transport is still available for many, but it’s not exactly a cheap option either. On average, Australians who regularly use public transport spend around $105 per month, with major cities like Sydney and Melbourne reaching as high as $151 on average. 

Grocery bills are thankfully pretty similar across Australia and are mostly dependent on household size and how much you’re willing to spend, as well as how often you’ll be eating out. 

A single-person household roughly spends around $400 per month on groceries, with the price averaging $580 for a two-person household. Four-person households in turn average roughly $720 per month also. 

Cost of Living Calculator 

To sum things up, you’ll need to calculate all relating aspects that have been mentioned above depending on the household size. 

Expense Single-person household Two-person household Four-person household 
Electricity $105 $125 $135 
Gas $60 $60 $60 
Water $75 $90 $110 
Internet $70-95 $70-95 $70-95 
Groceries $400 $580 $720 
Total (excluding travel) $710-735  $925-955 $1095-1125 

For more information about Renting, check out our blog section here. If you need help with utility connection, give us a call on 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! If you’re unsure about using a utility connection company, hopefully, this post here can assist you. 

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Joshua Chadwick

Joshua Chadwick



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