Sydney vs Melbourne vs Brisbane vs Perth: Comparing living costs

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While the Australian government wants more people to settle in the Northern Territory, many migrants will still end up in one of the country’s big cities.

That’s why we decided to compare living costs between Australia’s four most populated cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Our comparison covers the costs of:

  • Rent;
  • Utilities;
  • Groceries;
  • Getting around;
  • Entertainment; and
  • Childcare.

But none of these expenses will make sense if not viewed together with salaries. This is the reason why we start our Australian living cost comparison by looking at the average salary in each city.

Please note: All costs are quoted in Australian dollars.


When it comes to average annual salaries, you’ll earn the most in Sydney and the least in Brisbane:

australia salaries comparison

Now let’s move on to the expected living costs in each city…

Monthly expenses

The biggest portion of your salary each month is likely to go to rent. Here’s how much you can expect to fork out on rent in each city:


This is how much your utilities will set you back each month:


The other big expense each month would be groceries. Let’s have a look at some basic groceries costs:

australia groceries comparison

Getting around

If you don’t import your car, you’ll have to either buy a car once you’re in Australia or take public transport. Here’s how much both of these options could cost you:

australia transport comparison


Of course life is not all work, we also play. Here are the average prices for things such as restaurant meals and movies:


If you’re a family moving over, you might need to put your children in day care or enroll them in a school. Here are the fees for both of these:

If there are any other costs you’re curious about, such as clothing, head on over to Numbeo. All of the costs above were taken from Numbeo and are valid as at March 2019. Salaries were taken from Payscale.

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