Expat’s guide to cost of living in Australia

Australia is an attractive destination for many British. Geographically speaking, it is the smallest continent, but is the largest sand island and sixth largest country in the world with over 3 million square miles.
The population is roughly 25 million and around 85% of them live close to the stunning coastlines. It’s no surprise a huge number of Brits go there to emigrate, with around 1.2 million British expats currently residing in Australia.
The remarkable beauty of the country, incredible weather and abundance of wildlife is part of the country’s attraction. Australia provides expats with a high quality of life; life expectancy is high and less stressful compared to other countries. Before you make the move, financial preparation is very important. Make sure you’re aware of the cost of living in Australia and which cities would make the best home for you.

Popular Cities in Australia with Expats


Sydney is a vibrant and multicultural city, offering endless activities and some iconic places to live. Expats get the best of both worlds, live right on the beach in Bondi, make the most of city living in a penthouse apartment or head to one of the stylish suburbs like Surry Hills. The city offers good public transportation, healthcare services and schools and is the perfect place for a family or solo expat looking to relocate.

Cost of Living

Living in Sydney is expensive, but if you’re on a city salary this will help. You must be able to show that you have the financial capacity to cover accommodation costs of at least AU$29,290 per year.
Apartments to rent will vary depending on the suburb and proximity to the city but expect to pay around AU$3500 to rent a furnished apartment (900 square ft) in an expensive area, compared with around AU$2700 in a cheaper suburb. Studio apartments (480 square ft) are around AU$1700 per month.
Monthly transport tickets are on average AU$170, but this all depends on how far you need to travel. Make sure you put aside at least AU$80-150 per week for entertainment and socialising.
The average salary in Sydney is AU$67,574 depending on the role and experience of the job seeker.


Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, and Australia’s third most popular city with great weather year-round. It’s smaller than Sydney, with a more laidback vibe and is just half an hour from the Gold Coast.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Brisbane is noticeably lower than Sydney and Melbourne. Living in Brisbane city centre is higher than choosing to live in one of the many suburbs, however, the lifestyle more than makes it worth it. A one-bedroom furnished apartment to rent in the city will set you back AU$400 a week. If you’re willing to move out to one of the suburbs, you can get a two bed for the same cost and much larger properties if that is what you’re looking for.
Transport is relatively expensive in Brisbane, there are good bus and train links, but it could set you back $20-$40 a day, with higher costs the further you are travelling . A meal for two costs between $60-100 with a wide range of options for eating out. Groceries can cost anywhere between $150-$250 a week, depending on the size of your family.
The average salary in Brisbane is $60,000 which is more than enough to cover typical living expenses.


4.3 % of the population is made up of British expats. Melbourne is a beautiful city, full of historical buildings, public parks and beautiful gardens. The city is known as the sporting capital of Australia and for its quaint European laneways throughout the city. The lanes are filled with stylish cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques.

Cost of Living

As a popular city, the cost of living in Melbourne is second to Sydney. Renting a one bed apartment in the city centre starts around $1900 and just outside the city on average $1500 per month. Basic utilities will set you back just over $200 a month, based on one person renting a 1-bed apartment.
Public transport is reliable and convenient via trams and buses; the adult fare on a tram for a one-way trip is between $3-6 in zone 1, and a monthly transport ticket can cost around $150.
The average salary in Melbourne is around AU$62,000, which means that the average Melbourne residents have enough to enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Overall, some aspects of the cost of living in Australia are high, however salaries tend to be higher to accommodate. The quality of life, weather and laidback attitude are what draws people to move to Australia, the cost of living may be higher, but the benefits make it more than worth it for expats.