Australia’s capital cities: Where’s it cheaper to live? (April 2022)

/ / Life in Australia, Our latest posts

australia cities living costs

Understanding how much it costs to live in a country is an integral part of the decision making process for people who want to immigrate.
To help you understand Australia’s living costs, we’ve researched the costs of everyday expenses like rent, groceries and school fees.
You’ll see where it’s most affordable to live so that you can give your family the life you’ve always wanted to.
Please note: All costs are averages and in Australian dollars.

1. Rent

Many of us spend a considerable chunk of our salary on rent each month, so let’s start there, shall we?

1-bedroom Apartment in the city centre

Let’s assume you’re a single person or a couple, and you love the hustle and bustle of the city. You’ll see that a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is most affordable in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital.

On mainland Australia, it’s Adelaide that offers the most affordable accommodation option.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbaneDarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

1-bedroom Apartment in the city

1,667.10

2,591.79

1,975.00

2,120.00

1,700.00

1,544.00

1,233.33

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage collection (85m² apartment)

207.11

196.99

174.10

310.00

190.98

311.29

302.38

Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)

76.89

72.22

75.27

85.57

77.36

71.64

106.43

Total

1,951.10

2,861.00

2,224.37

2,515.57

1,968.34

1,926.93

1,642.14

3-bedroom Apartment in the suburbs

You’re immigrating as a family, and you want a 3-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.

In this instance, Hobart is also the most affordable city Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth also offer accommodation options under AU$2,000 a month.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbaneDarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

3-Bedroom apartment in the suburbs

2,150.00

3,110.00

1,991.67

2,773.33

1,904.55

1,864.29

1,730.00

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage collection (85m² apartment)

207.11

196.99

174.10

310.00

190.98

311.29

302.38

Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)

76.89

72.22

75.27

85.57

77.36

71.64

106.43

Total

2,434.00

3,379.21

2,241.04

3,168.90

2,172.89

2,274.22

2,138.81

2. Groceries

To give you a good idea of what you’ll spend at the shops, we selected 11 items that all of us buy regularly.

Your groceries will cost the least in Hobart. Perth and Brisbane are the second and third most affordable cities.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

1L Milk

1.68

1.74

1.71

1.55

1.77

1.56

1.60

Loaf of white bread


3.04

3.20

3.28

2.82

2.48

2.55

2.70

12 Eggs

5.29

4.84

4.76

5.57

4.92

5.04

5.22

1kg Local cheese

13.07

11.95

10.38

10.75

10.71

10.45

10.36

1kg Chicken fillets

10.70

11.31

11.38

12.00

10.78

10.69

10.08

1kg Beef round

18.52

19.33

18.23

23.50

17.65

21.61

14.00

1kg Rice

2.64

2.75

2.89

3.20

2.49

3.07

2.66

1kg Apples

4.05

4.29

4.28

5.20

4.70

4.20

4.59

1kg Bananas

3.39

3.46

3.56

4.35

3.93

3.92

3.17

1kg Tomatoes

5.03

6.13

5.79

3.50

4.93

5.84

5.50

Lettuce

2.81

2.71

2.60

3.62

2.21

3.20

2.70

1kg Potatoes

3.28

3.10

3.10

4.33

2.95

3.25

3.68

Total cost

73.50

74.81

71.96

80.39

69.52

75.38

66.26

3. School fees

Going to public school in Australia is free, although schools can charge ‘voluntary contributions’ for some items and events.

Let’s say, however, that you choose to send your child to a private institution. In this case, Adelaide has the lowest monthly preschool fees while primary schools are least expensive in Hobart. Darwin comes in as the city with the second-most affordable primary school fees.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

Private preschool (or Kindergarten) - Full day for one child

2,658.08

2,419.85

1,885.00

2,600.00

2,059.23

1,628.57

3,250.00

International primary school annual fee for one child

22,612.50

20,268.75

12,257.14

11,166.67

15,562.50

19,424.88

4,666.67

4. Getting around

To go about your daily business in Australia, you can either take public transport or buy a car.

Taking public transport

Darwin is the clear winner when it comes to the cost of public transport. Your one-way ticket is going to be AU$3 while a monthly pass will cost you AU$86.96.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

1-way Ticket on local transport

4.57

4.55

4.60

3.00

4.25

5.00

3.10

Monthly pass

161.00

217.39

198.00

86.96

142.00

105.00

91.45

Buying a car

You’ll notice that there aren’t massive variances between new car prices across the seven capitals. The same is true for the cost of a litre of petrol, but we all know those cents add up quickly when filling up a car.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or equivalent new car)

30,245.00

32,000.00

30,000.00

28,000.000

30,000.00

35,000.00

27,370.00

Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (or equivalent new car)

27,702.53

29,210.69

27,249.09

25,536.67

27,463.56

30,222.22

22,850.00

1L Petrol

1.91

2.00

1.95

1.98

1.98

2.00

2.00

5. Going out for a meal

Enjoying a meal with friends is a favourite pastime for many of us. You get to unwind, catch up on each other’s lives, and have a good laugh or two.

Lunch at your local restaurant

Adelaide is cheapest for local, laid-back restaurants and a simple meal. Your meal and two drinks are only going to set you back AU$29.65 as opposed to in Darwin where your bill will come to AU$36.17.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

Restaurant meal at an inexpensive restaurant

20.00

20.00

20.00

25.00

21.50

18.00

18.00

500ml Draught beer

10.00

8.00

9.00

8.00

10.00

8.00

9.00

330ml Coke

3.38

3.43

3.63

3.17

3.62

3.65

3.44

Total

33.38

31.43

32.63

36.17

35.12

29.65

30.44

3-course Dinner at an up-market restaurant

Sometimes we like to treat ourselves and go to a restaurant with all the trimmings. Let’s imagine it’s your birthday. You want a three-course meal with a good bottle of wine. Your birthday dinner is going to cost the least in Adelaide.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

3-Course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

95.00

80.00

80.00

Bottle of wine

18.00

15.25

15.00

17.00

15.00

15.00

15.00

Total

118.00

115.25

115.00

117.00

110.00

95.00

102.50

6. Your morning coffee run

Grabbing a coffee on the way to work is such an integral part of our lives. Hobart is the most affordable city for a cappuccino and that bottle of water you grab to go with it. On mainland Australia, your coffee run is going to be most affordable in Sydney.

 MelbourneSydneyBrisbane DarwinPerthAdelaideHobart

Cappuccino

4.56

4.40

4.73

5.04

4.72

4.84

4.97

Bottle of water

2.85

2.95

2.79

2.92

3.47

2.86

2.33

Total

7.41

7.35

7.52

7.96

8.19

7.70

7.30

In conclusion

Overall, Hobart offers the most affordable cost of living – if you’re willing to live in Tasmania.

But if you’re not, Adelaide is a good bet for individuals, couples and families who are looking for affordable rent. Adelaide is also the cheapest for dining out.

However, Adelaide’s grocery costs are the second highest out of all the capitals. The most affordable mainland capitals for grocery shopping are Perth and Brisbane.

When it comes to school fees, Adelaide comes out tops for preschool but Darwin’s primary schools are most affordable. Darwin also offers the lowest public transport costs – even lower than that of Hobart.

In the end, your lifestyle and priorities will determine where you choose to settle.

Note: All of the costs were taken from Numbeo, April 2022.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

You'll get immigration advice and be the first to know about visa changes.

Return to our blog

TOP