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February 15, 2023

Cost of living in Australia – the ultimate guide

How much does it cost to live in Australia: detailed list of costs

When talking about life in Australia, the question that comes up more often is ‘how much does it cost to live in Australia?’ and the question becomes even more interesting when it comes to Australian salaries.

But let’s go in order, in this article we will make a real estimate of the costs of living in Australia, we will analyse how much it costs to live in Australia: rent, car, bills, food, outings, various and possible travel.


How much is rent in Australia?

The rent is undoubtedly one of the most substantial items to take into consideration to regulate your weekly-monthly budget.

  • Single room: starting from $180 in the suburbs to $350 in the most luxurious apartments in the best areas
  • Double room: starting from $200 per week in the suburbs to $450 in the center in luxury condominiums with swimming pool and gym in the city center

For the rooms, two weeks of deposit, one or two weeks of advance rent and a couple of weeks notice for cancellation are generally sufficient.

  • Apartment/Unit/House: depending on the budget available, you can opt for a unit (or granny flat), a mini-apartment with only one bedroom and rather limited space, a real apartment (therefore in a condominium) or a real house (a detached house)

When renting an entire property, you must be ready to sign a leasing that is a rental contract of variable duration, generally from six months to a year, comply with the requirements by the agency (payslips and letters of reference) and have sufficient disposable income.

In case you decide to rent an entire house, the deposit is of four weeks plus two weeks’ rent.

You may be interested in: How to rent a house in Australia?

How much does it cost to own a car in Australia?

The good news is that insurance is not mandatory (simply if you cause damage you pay or go to jail!).*

The bad news is that you have to pay the REGO (registration) every three/six/twelve months.

The other good news is that petrol costs a little less than in Italy, today it costs around $1.80 per litre but the price varies daily (generally it costs less at the beginning of the week and more during the weekend).

The other bad news is that you have to keep your car in good-excellent condition otherwise you risk a yellow sticker, literally a yellow sticker affixed to the windshield whose meaning is: scrap your car.

Another good news is that in Australia you can find cars even for $1000.

The bad news is that an hourly wage for a mechanic is of at least $40-50 per hour, so think carefully before buying a scrap with the idea of “fixing it little by little”.

So, in principle, we can say that having a car in Australia costs a little less than in Italy but we would not go so far as to say that it is necessary to have one. If you decide to live in the city, it is probably not advisable to have a car, primarily due to the cost of parking and then because you can easily get around by public transport. Having a car is necessary if you want to move outside the city or if you have to work on a farm.

You may be interested in: working on a farm in Australia – complete guide to renewing your visa

*insurance: although not mandatory, it is highly recommended not only for any damage to third parties but for roadside assistance coverage.

In fact, if there is a breakdown in the vehicle while traveling in the most remote areas of the country, receiving assistance could be really expensive, so we strongly advise you to take out a policy that includes road assistance.

How much does it cost to shop in Australia?

This is one of the thorniest aspects of budget management, grocery shopping in Australia can be extremely cheap or absurdly expensive and how much you spend is entirely up to you and the quality of food you want to include in your diet.

  • The same fruit-vegetable can cost $15 a kg in a fancy supermarket or $5 a kg in a market.

Grocery shopping in Australia is not a drama itself, but it becomes when you realise that to get all the products you want at decent prices you have to go back and forth between three or four different shop-markets.

  • Meat is generally cheaper than in Italy.

Furthermore, Australian meat is famous for its rather high quality levels – also thanks to the possibility of supporting extensive farming given the vastness of the Australian soil.

  • Cheeses – especially imported ones – are expensive. Good cold cuts as well.

And on this point there is little to say.

Unfortunately, the culture of cheeses and cold cuts is not so rooted in the Australian tradition as in the European one; it goes without saying that cheese is often imported (therefore more expensive) while to get cold cuts worthy of the name you need to find your trusted retailer.

  • Good bread is a luxury good.

Good bread, with a crunchy crust, cooked properly, bought at the bakery costs between $8 and $20 per kg depending on the type of flour or seed added to the dough. The alternative is to buy Coles sandwich bread for a few dollars.

  • Fish is quite expensive if bought at the fish market while it is quite affordable at the supermarket.

Fish and seafood are often of excellent quality however the price varies greatly by location (e.g. tuna fillet costs $80/kg in Noosa and just $62/kg in Mooloolaba just 40km further south!

It may interest you: Living on the Sunshine Coast – all you need to know

  • Alcohol, which is not sold in supermarkets but in special bottle shops, can be very cheap or very expensive according to your tastes.

Obviously, local wines and spirits cost less than imported products but the costs are much higher than what we are used to in Italy.

A bottle of Gin or Tequila costs $45 and up.

How much does it cost to go out in Australia?

This is the sore point, so painful as to heavily affect the progress of your finances and so influential that it can make the difference between “I put something aside” and “I drag myself through the end of the week”.

How much does it cost to drink in Australia

A cocktail is hardly under $18 and more likely $20 or more (barring special offers and the like), a beer costs between $10 and $12 and an unpretentious glass of wine costs between $13 and $15 while a good glass of wine at a restaurant costs more than $20.

How much do cigarettes cost in Australia?

Obvious premise: we report this data only because it is particularly requested.

20-pack cigarettes cost between $25 and $40.

20 gram tobacco costs around $25.

How much does it cost to eat out in Australia?

If you are satisfied with McDonald’s or any other fast food, then you might as well eat out often without go bankrupt!

If, on the other hand, you hate junk food and when you go out for dinner you want to eat something special, possibly something you don’t know how to cook yourself, perhaps eating in a sophisticated or at least nice place… Well then get ready to spend.

A dinner for two with a couple of courses each and a glass of wine each easily exceeds $150.

Just think that the classic fish & chips take away costs between $20 and $30 while a main course at a restaurant costs between $30 and $50 on average (and can exceed 50 in fine dining restaurants).

How much do you earn in Australia?

After all this cost despair you can breathe a sigh of relief: Australian life is quite expensive but Australian wages are very high.

How much do you earn in Australia?

  • Your hourly wage depends on your age and above all on your skills
  • Casual workers pay higher than full-time workers – on an hourly basis, as the latter get paid vacation and sick leave
  • The minimum wage for an adult is nearly $25 an hour
  • The salary is received weekly or every two weeks
  • Every week the employer pays the superannuation (the closest there is to our pension) which amounts to around 10% of the salary
  • A specialised job is easily paid even more than $150 per hour (and not only of surgeons and scientists, even more practical jobs such as plumber, mechanic or carpenter win such high salaries)
  • If you work casually and work on the weekend, the employer must pay you the penalty rate, therefore they pay you more
  • If you work on public holidays you receive double pay or at least one and a half times the normal pay and if you are full time you accumulate days in lieu (extra vacation days)

You may be interested in: Australia’s highest paying jobs

Have more questions about the cost of living in Australia? Ask us:

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