The basics
Australia: Student Finances

Student living costs in Australia

A guide to living costs in Australia, including popular food products, accommodation and transport.


Home to stunning beaches, enviable weather and bustling metropolises, Australian cities are popular study choices for international students. But despite their allure, Australian cities can prove quite costly.

Australian wages are relatively high, and so costs of living for international and local students are often different. But don’t let that deter you: we’ve broken down basic costs of student living in OZ to prove you can study abroad in Australia without the worry of finances turning your life upside down. 

Note: AU$1 = £0.55 = €0.66



Unlike many countries in Europe and the USA, living on campus is not the norm for Australian students. There are however plenty of on and off campus housing options that are still available to local and international students that vary in price depending on size and location.

Any property in a city centre will generally be more expensive, with universities in Melbourne and Sydney usually charging the most. Most universities offer on campus housing options, applications for which can be done online.

On-campus accommodation at the University of Sydney costs AUD$225-$235 per week on a 1 academic year contract, and AUD $240-250 per week for a semester long-contract. Both contracts include utilities, weekly cleaning of common areas and a furnished bedroom that includes a bed, desk, chair and wardrobe. You’re also required to pay a non-refundable AUD$200 acceptance fee should your application be successful, as well as an AUD$800 room deposit.

In terms of off-campus housing, students have the option to choose between serviced apartments, share houses or long-terms hostels, all of which can be searched using external sites and agents. Universities often offer students help in securing off-campus housing options. On average, renting a 1 bedroom apartment in Sydney’s city centre will cost about AUD$2,270 per month, with an additional AUD$240 on utilities. However, students should consider plenty of cheaper areas easily accessible by public transport such as Surry Hills in Sydney, (approx AUD$650-$1,500 per month,) or Thornbury in Melbourne (approx AUD$200-$400 per week).

Student Housing Australia

Easy Roommate Australia

UniLodge Australia


Living Costs

There are, of course, additional living costs a student you won’t be able to escape. Depending on your needs, this is what you might expect to pay:

  • Gas, electricity ( if not included in rent,) ...AUD$60-$100 per week
  • Phone plan and internet...AUD$20-$50
  • Prepaid mobile local tariff, 1 minute, no discount or plan...AUD $.88
  • 12 months international student health insurance ...AUD$437



Australia cities tend to sprawl, and so public transport is an essential part of student existence. In most cases you can get substantial student discounts, so don’t forget to ask your university student centre to give you a form for a student concession card. Most cities use a top-up system that deducts credit from a travel card electronically, and fares vary depending on the day of the week and the zone you’re travelling to. Remember to touch on and off, or you might be charged more.

  • Opal card, Sydney, maximum fare, trains, peak-times ...AUD$8.10
  • Opal card, Sydney, maximum fare, trains, off-peak...AUD $5.67
  • MYKI card, Melbourne, yearly Victorian student pass ... AUD$501
  • MYKI card, Melbourne, half-yearly Victorian student pass...AUD$261
  • Single fare, 2-hour, zone 1&2, Melbourne ...AUD$3.03  
  • Student concession card, Melbourne...AUD$9

Opal card

Myki card



With markets, independent supermarkets and endless delis, the sky is really the limit for how much you want to spend on food in Australia. But, on average at a commercial supermarket like Woolworths or Coles, feeding yourself can actually work out quite cheaply.

  • 2L full cream milk...AUD$3.45
  • Loaf of white sandwich bread, 650g...AUD$3.70
  • Chicken breast fillet, 500g...AUD$6
  • Spaghetti, 500g...AUD$2.53
  • Coca-cola, 2L...AUD$4.29
  • White rice, medium grain, 1kg...AUD$2.79
  • Eggs, free range, 12pk...AUD$4.70
  • Olive oil, 375ml...AUD$6.44
  • Big Mac...AUD$4.80


Misc. Costs

Standard entertainment costs in Australia can be quite steep if you don’t know where to look. There are almost always student nights and discounted deals at many Australian bars and restaurants, but on average, this is what you’re looking at:

  • Pint of draught beer at a standard pub ... AUD$9
  • Coffee at a cafe (any) ... AUD$3.30
  • Bottle of water, 600ml ...AUD$2.47
  • Eating out, mid-range restaurant ... AUD$15-$20
  • Bottle of wine, mid-range restaurant ...AUS$15-20
  • Movie ticket, without student discount ...AUS$10


Now that you’ve stopped worrying about how much studying in Australia will cost, browse courses in Australia now!


Useful Links

Health Insurance for international students

Study in Australia


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.