Cost of Living in Australia: Education and Living Costs You Need To Know

Australia is known to be a hospitable and welcoming country that offers quality education to foreign students. Over the years, it has become the preferred destination for students of all backgrounds. What comes to your head whenever you think of Australia? Most of you will answer Kangaroos or anything related to wildlife. But Australia has so much more to offer.

Australia is a diverse country with almost half of its population originating from different countries. Over 240 languages are spoken throughout the country, including English, Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi, and many more.

People move to Australia for better opportunities and an overall improvement in the standard of living. No matter what your current economic situation and lifestyle are, you will find Australia to be pleasant mostly.

If you’re planning to move to Australia, you will need to know the specifics of the living expenses. So, let’s get going. 

Cost of Living in Australia 

Depending on your lifestyle, living expenses can vary greatly. Based on sources of the Australian government, this article will highlight the major expense streams and some co-factors that influence daily and monthly costs. If you’re moving to Australia to get a degree, then tuition fee comes into play.

Other than that, basic expenses like accommodation, food, transportation, insurance, and services can be generalized in terms of the total amount needed to live sustainably. We’ll go through the details one by one.


Firstly, you will need to decide where you want to live. For students, it depends on the university they are enrolling in. You can’t solely base your decision on the university ranking as some cities are more expensive than the other.

If you’re planning to work, then you’ll need to live in a city that is thriving in the current pandemic situation. But if you have a personal preference of where you’re planning to settle then who can stop you, right?  

Each city is different and unique in its way.

  • Adelaide (South Australia): Known for having the best food and drinks.
  • Brisbane (Queensland): Known for its landscape and natural scene. 
  • Canberra (Australian Capital Territory): Ideal if you’re moving with your family.
  • Hobart (Tasmania): Known for its affordable accommodation options.
  • Melbourne (Victoria): Best for the cultural experience of Australia.
  • Perth (Western Australia): It has one of the best climates in the country.  
  • Sydney (New South Wales): Known as a tech hub and also has a huge job market. 

After you’ve decided which city you want to live in, it comes down to what type of accommodation you want. You can go for shared housing or personal apartments. Students prefer to live on campus, and as a result, they have to pay the expenses directly to the university authority. But it’s certainly more affordable than living off-campus. Shared housing can be beneficial for some as you get to share the expenses with your roommates. Here’s an average rundown of the accommodation costs

  • Guesthouse and Hotels: AUD 95 to AUD 150 per week
  • Shared Rental: AUD 90 to AUD 200 per week
  • On-Campus: AUD 110 to AUD 280 per week depending on the institution
  • Homestay: AUD 230 to AUD 325 per week 
  • Rental: AUD 180 to AUD 430 per week 
  • Boarding Schools: AUD $ 11,000 to AUD $22,000 per year

As of July 2020, the exchange rate is 1 USD = 1.41 AUD. 

If you’re planning to live in a comparatively expensive city like Sydney, the ideal thing would be to live on campus. You should consider a few things before deciding where you’re going to live. 

  • Before striking an accommodation agreement, consider all the necessary payments, including bonds and utility bills for the whole year. 
  • Consider the distance of the housing to your campus and workplace.
  • Take into consideration the possible routes and transportation mediums because not all places are easily reachable via public transports.  
  • Search for nearby emergency facilities like hospitals, police stations, and grocery stores. It’s better to not live somewhere too far away from everything. 

Educational Expenses

Depending on the institute you decide to study in, you will need to plan your expenditure accordingly if you manage to get a scholarship that would be even better. Scholarships cut down on your tuition fees and assists with accommodation. Be sure to contact the necessary authorities to find out the details.

The top 5 Universities in Australia based on ranking are: 

  1. University of Melbourne (Melbourne) 
  2. Australian National University (Canberra)
  3. University of Sydney (Sydney)
  4. University of Queensland (Brisbane)
  5. University of New South Wales (Kensington) 

There are other quality universities outside these five like Monash University and Queensland University of Technology. Wherever you decide to get your degree from, it will be worth it because Australia has a very diverse job market. The following list will give you a basic idea about the different range of expenses in the education sector

  • School – AUD 7,8500 to AUD 30,000
  • English language studies – Approximately AUD 250 per week. But it may vary depending on the course length.
  • Vocational Training and Education – AUD 4,000 to AUD 23,000
  • Undergraduate Bachelor Degree – AUD 21,000 to AUD 44,000
  • Postgraduate Master’s Degree – AUD 23,000 to AUD 50,000 
  • Doctorate Degree – AUD 19,000 to AUD 42,000

This list doesn’t include the tuition of veterinary and medical degrees. 

The Australian government, non-government organizations and the institute itself allocates a hefty amount of funds for students who have shown excellence in their respective field. You should apply for these funds as it will take the load off your shoulders.   


Again, this comes down to where you are planning to live. If you live close to your workplace or academic institution, then you won’t have to spend as much. That’s why no matter where you decide to live in Australia, pick a location that would be convenient for you.  

You have a few options in your hand when it comes to transportation. There’s the obvious choice of public transport, or if you have enough money saved up, you can buy a reconditioned car of your choice. If you decide to travel on public transport, you should get a monthly pass. It will save you a good amount of cash. On the other hand, if you buy a car, you will have to pay regularly for gas. 

  • Public Transport:  AUD 35 to 65 per week
  • Monthly Transport Pass: AUD 152 approx. (Regular price) 
  • New Car: AUD 25,000 to AUD 30,000 (Volkswagen/Toyota) 
  • Car Related Expenses: AUD 140 to 250 per week  
  • Gasoline/Liter: AUD 1.5 approx.  

Decide wisely on your transport. You can save a great deal by carpooling or cycling. They are also eco-friendlier. Another option you have is riding a taxi. The normal tariff for a 1km ride is between AUD 2.5 to AUD 5.00.

Many websites sell used cars at a cheap rate. You can take a look at them as well.

Food and Drinks 

When you’re moving to a new country, you need to adjust to a lot of things. People mainly have trouble with food and culture. Since Australia is such a welcoming country, you won’t have to face any trouble adjusting yourself with the new environment. The food is a completely different discussion.

Australian cuisine isn’t that different from the American food scene. It’s almost an accumulation of all the well-known cuisines of the world. You can buy cheap fast food from neighborhood restaurants and international chains like KFC, McDonald’s. But you can’t live on junk food, can you? The healthier option would be to cook your food. You can buy fresh produce from grocery shops and cook according to your preferred food taste. If you don’t know how to cook, then it’s time for you to head to the kitchen and put on an apron.

  • Groceries and eating out: AUD 120 to 300 per week
  • A meal in an Inexpensive Restaurant: AUD 15 to AUD 35  
  • McDonald’s McMeal: AUD 10 to AUD 14 
  • Meal for 2 (Midrange Restaurant): AUD 50 to AUD 150  

The ideal thing to do would be to mix it up like normally you would do. Cook your food at home during the weekdays and then go out on the weekend with your friends and family. Living in a different country can be tough if you don’t adjust your lifestyle accordingly. 

Utilities and Leisure Expenses

Many people don’t take into account the utility bills. But if you add up all the expenses including electricity bill, gas bill, water bill, and mobile tariff, then the total amount can become hefty.

Leisure expenses include going out to watch a movie, gym membership, and other similar expenditures. At the end of the day, it comes down to the financial ability of the individual. Many campuses offer these services at a low price or even for free. So, the leisure expenses can be cut down significantly if you play your cards right.

  • Gas and Electricity Bill: AUD 10 to AUD 30 per week
  • Mobile Tariff and Internet Bill: AUD 15 to AUD 40 per week
  • Fitness Club (Monthly Fee): AUD 30 to AUD 120
  • Movie (International Release): AUD 18 to AUD 25  

You’ll find suitable packages that fit your daily usage properly. There’s no need to overspend here as you might need extra cash elsewhere. 

Things to Consider Before Moving to Australia

Moving to a new place can be a traumatic experience for people who aren’t prepared for it. You’ll often hear stories about immigrants having issues in settling down. Although the cultural adjustment won’t be an issue, you should consider the following aspects of moving to Australia. 

Health and Safety 

Australia is quite famous for its sunny weather and sandy beaches. People often underestimate the temperature and humidity of the Australian climate. With the very recent wildfire, you can imagine the safety hazards that can be caused because of the climate. You should take all the necessary precautions whenever you’re going out.

The crime rates are low throughout Australia. But if you ever face any trouble don’t forget to call 000(Zero-Zero-Zero). This is an emergency number that can be called from any service provider, free of cost. Call only if there’s a life-threatening emergency. An operator will pick up the phone then you will have three options to choose from.

  • Fire
  • Police
  • Ambulance 

Just state your emergency, and the operator will take care of the rest. Even if you don’t speak English, you can get help by naming the language you speak. Every individual can rely on the number. 

Support Services 

Various institutions provide support services for foreign students. This makes the adjustment process a lot easier. Even the local governments run programs designed for students who are finding things difficult in the new environment. 

The services include:

  • Academic and language support for non-English speaking students
  • International student advisors
  • Counseling and mental health support
  • Employment services 
  • Support services for the disabled and many more. 

You can get involved in social work as well. It will make you a role model in society, and you’ll have the opportunity to know about Australia a bit deeper.


Paying the bills will get easier if you manage to find a job. Depending on your field of expertise, you can look for jobs online in local listing sites. Word of mouth is also an effective way to find your ideal job. Talk with your classmates or neighbors and let them know what you’re good at.

A positive aspect of working in Australia is, there are work laws in place that ensure your rights. For instance, it is illegal for an employer to pay an employee with food, housing, or any other means except for money. Employers can’t cover for business expenses from your money as well. There are other such laws in place that ensure a healthy work environment. Look into the local and national workplace-related laws to know about your rights thoroughly.

Final Thoughts 

Australia is known as one of the happiest countries in the world. With the community being so diverse, you won’t face any issues in finding likeminded people. When it comes to the cost of living in Australia, you can rely on your job to pay the bills, and if you’re a student, you have options to take a part-time job as well.

All these facilities make Australia one of the best places to live in.

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