cost of living in Australia illustration of a flag and money

By Blair Pedersen

The cost of living in Australia

Australia is a land of opportunity with many jobs in all professions, from seasonal work to mining and then all areas of white-collar professions. There’s something for everyone here. With white sand beaches, tropical rainforest, the 12 apostles, Aires rock, red deserts and high annual salaries, it’s easy to understand why people flock from around the world to establish a life in Australia.

Let’s see if Australia is the land of milk and honey that many people say that it is.

Groceries

The necessities of living are always found at the grocery store. An excellent indication of the cost of living in any country is the price of groceries and other supermarket goods. Here is what you would expect to pay for the basics.

Milk$1.601 litre
Loaf of bread$2.70loaf
Rice$2.651kg
Eggs$4.30Dozen
Cheese$9.501kg
Chicken breasts$10.601kg
Beef round$16.001kg
Apples$4.151kg
Bananas$3.401kg
Oranges$3.801kg
Tomatoes$4.901kg
Potatoes$3.301kg
Onions$2.601kg
Lettuce$2.20per head

Dining out

Sydney and Melbourne are legendary for their boutique eateries around the city and surrounding suburbs. They’re also very diverse cities, capturing the spirit of Australia’s migrant tradition. Check out the list of pricing that you would expect when dining out per person in Australia.

Restaurant in Sydney
Burger with fish or meat$17.00
Salads$16.00
Pizza$16.00
Desserts$12.00
Cafe in Sydney
Burger$16.00
Chicken risotto$15.00
Meat tenderloin 350g with a garnish$21.50
Caesar salad $12.00
Pasta carbonara $15.00
Soup of the day$7.50
Restaurant in Melbourne
Salad$12.00
Burger$13.00
The main fish or meat dish$18.00
Beer 0.5l$8.50
Alcoholic cocktails$17.00

Gym memberships

Although you probably want to spend time outside in Australia, sometimes it gets a bit too hot, making an air-conditioned environment a great place to work out. The average gym membership in Australia is about $65 a month, or about $780 a year.

Petrol prices

Compared to New Zealand, the petrol prices in Australia are much more affordable. Expect to pay anywhere between $1.24 and $1.74 a litre for regular, 91 unleaded fuel in Australia. As with the rest of Australasia, the petrol price in Australia is volatile.

Vehicle costs

You need a car in Australia. It’s such a big country that it puts a new meaning to the phrase ‘road trip’. As an example, a road-trip from Brisbane to Townsville will take 20 hours with close to 1,400 kilometres between the 2 cities, which are both in the same state! This illustrates the need to have a good car to get around in Aussie. See these prices for brand new cars of the most popular brands in the country:

Toyota Corolla$21,240
Mazda 3$24,990
Suzuki Swift$15,990

Commuting in Australia

Everyone needs to get to work and studies show that shorter commutes are directly related to overall quality of life. Here is the average amount of time you should expect to spend commuting to work every week in Australia.

Average weekly commuting timesHours
ACT2
Adelaide3.5
Perth3.5
Brisbane4
Melbourne4.5
Sydney4.5

Sourced from: https://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/DP78_8.pdf

Property prices

Property prices in Australia vary wildly. Sydney has the highest average housing price while other rural areas offer extremely affordable pricing, if you’re willing to be a little isolated. For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on prices in urban centres.

Here are average property prices in Australia for reference:

CityAverage house priceAverage unit price
Sydney, NSW$955,000$720,000
Melbourne, VIC$737,000$550,000
Brisbane, QLD$530,000$390,000
Adelaide, SA$465,000$340,000
Perth, WA$500,000$380,000
Hobart, Tasi$450,000$336,000
Canberra, ACT$670,000$426,000

Sometimes circumstance dictates that renting is a more attractive option than purchasing a property. Here is a list of average rental prices to set an expectation of what to pay when you move there.

Metro areaApartmentsHouses
Sydney$312$200
Melbourne$270$140
Brisbane$230$137
Perth$200$116
Adelaide$150$120
Hobart$185$164
Darwin$160$133
Canberra$350$176

Price per room. Sourced from: https://www.rent.com.au/blog/rental-snapshot-may-2019

Wages

Australia has one of the highest minimum wages in the world, it’s in the midst of a mining boom and has many large cities that are home to enormous businesses. It’s one of the most prosperous countries in the world and an attractive place to live.

Here is the average salary by state in Australia:

StateAverage annual wage
Tasmania$71,718
South Australia$75,369
Queensland$80,304
Victoria$80,610
New South Wales$83,517
Northern Territory$86,762
Western Australia$90,496
Capital Territory $94,224

Breaking it down to professions, here is the average salary in Australia:

Business SectorAverage annual wage
Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants $59,415
Retail Trade$60,892
Other services $66,404
Manufacturing $73,523
Administrative and Support Services$74,927
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services$76,476
Construction $80,616
Wholesale Trade$81,406
Arts and Recreation Services $81,676
Transport, Postal, Warehousing$86,694
Health Care and Social Assistance$87,786
Public Administration and Safety$89,253
Education and Training $94,375
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services$97,240
Electricity, Gas, Water, and Waste Services $98,878
Financial and Insurance Services $100,365
Information Media and Telecommunications$102,278
Mining$137,660

Sourced from: https://www.livingin-australia.com/salaries-australia/

Healthcare

Australia has a public healthcare system available to all citizens. It’s called Medicare. Medicare will cover you for a doctor’s visit and will also cover ambulance and hospital costs if you have an accident or become sick.

There are approximately 700 public and 600 private hospitals in Australia. The average cost of private health insurance for 1 person is $2,000 per year. Although it is not necessary, private health insurance will fast track your hospital visits.

The cost of living in Australia

If you enjoy sunshine, a good quality of life and work opportunities across many different sectors, Australia could be the country for you. As with all countries, there are some expensive cities that pump up the living expenses. In general, the average cost of living is comparable to New Zealand with more affordable house prices. Remember to check how Australian dollars fare against your currency with our currency converter.


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