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What Is The Cost Of Living In Sydney, Australia

For many people, living abroad is a life-long dream for many people. So it's no wonder why Sydney, the largest city in Australia and one of the most expensive places to live on Earth, has attracted so much attention. But how does it compare with other international cities? What are the costs of living in Sydney? How do you know if you're ready for this big move? Let's take a look at some numbers and see!

Are you considering moving abroad to live in Sydney? Interested in the cost of living there? Wondering how much it will impact your budget and lifestyle? If so, then read on! 

The cost of living in Sydney depends greatly on what type of lifestyle you're looking for. The most expensive areas to live in are within a 10km radius from the city centre, with housing costing upwards of $1 million AUD. However, if you don't mind being further away from downtown and want cheaper rent prices, then consider suburbs like Rooty Hill or Penrith. 

The Cost of Living in Sydney

Will you be able to afford living in Sydney? We took a look at expenses such as rent, transport and groceries to find the true cost of living in Sydney.

If you are thinking of moving to Australia’s most populous city, you might be growing curious about the cost of living in Sydney.

It may be a beautiful city with spectacular views and sights to indulge in, but it’s not only known as the most expensive metropolis to live in Australia but also one of the most expensive in the world. This thought might not stop you however, a Sydney lifestyle is one many have sought after, and even if you try it out while you are a single person or a student, the experience is bound to instill lifelong memories.

While Sydney’s persona is not everyone, you may need to relocate there for family, work, or study – we have broken down the budget basics, so you know what to expect cost-wise to plan in advance!

Overview Of Living Expenses In Sydney

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We've popped a quick price guide below of the basics, based on a budget for one person living in an inner-city Sydney apartment

If you want to reduce costs, moving further out from the CBD, things become less expensive, there are vast differences in accommodation costs spanning east to west and north to south of the CBD. It’s worthwhile understanding that accommodation will be your biggest expense, and where you need to spend most of your time in proximity to where you live will impact how much time you spend traveling.

Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom inner-city Sydney apartment could cost an average of $2558.71

Rent for 1-bedroom inner-city Sydney apartment $2558.71

per month

Electricity/Gas $182.48

per month

Internet

(60Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL)

$71.49

per month

Mobile phone data

(one-minute local prepaid mobile tariff call with no plan or discount)

$0.78

per month

Groceries/Food and drink $560.00 - $600.00

per month

Transport

Public transport (trains, light rail, buses and ferries)

$217.36

for a monthly ticket

Fuel $1.32 per litre av.
Buying a new car

(equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline)

$28,990.00
Dining out for dinner Mid-range restaurant

$25.00

High-end restaurant

$50.00

Average Salary In Sydney

You can expect due to the expense of living in Sydney that average net salaries (before tax) are a bit higher than in some of the other cities. If you are moving to Sydney for a full-time job, your salary may fall somewhere around the average mark of per month.

Housing & Rent

Roughly, if you are single, you should budget around $1,000.00 per month for rent, or if you are a couple, your monthly costs for rent could be around $2,600.00.

Inner city rents are much higher than the outer suburbs, with the exception of the eastern suburbs. If you are looking to rent in the inner city, you can expect to pay around:

Living arrangement Average weekly rent
Share-house $352.00
Serviced apartment $370.00
1 bedroom apartment $815.00
Student home-stay (with a host family including most meals) $320.00

Outer suburbs become considerably cheaper, particularly the more south and west of Sydney city you go. However, you may need to consider transport and accessibility if you need to work or study in the CBD. Depending on your personal circumstances and the area you move, you can expect to pay:

Living arrangement Average weekly rent
Share-house (depending on how many bedrooms and which area) $317.00
1 bedroom unit $540.00

Rent for a family of two adults and at least one child can be up to $600.00 - $700.00 per week for a relatively new basic 2-bedroom apartment in a middle-class suburb (older apartments can range from $30.00 - $100.00 per week cheaper).

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Examples include:

  • Rhodes and Meadowbank (approx. $600.00 per week)
  • Burwood (approx. $650.00 per week)
  • St Leonards (approx. $700.00 per week)

If you are more ambitious and wish to put some permanency to your move, you can buy an apartment in the city centre for around $13689.96 (per square metre) or outside the city centre for $8748.00 (per square metre).

Utilities

The core element of comfortable living is the necessity for heating and power, and in Sydney, the average cost of electricity is around $182.48 per month.

In this day and age, mobile phones and the internet is also considered a necessity of communication in this day and age. In Sydney, an internet plan (for 60Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL) can cost on average $71.49/month and mobile phone data on a local prepaid call with no plan or discount will cost about $0.78 for less than a minute.

Transport

Public Transport relies on the Opal Card, which is used to travel on trains, light rail, buses, and ferries. On Sunday, public transport is charged at a flat rate of $2.70 no matter how far you travel.

The average cost of a one-way ticket on local transport is $4.00, and the regular price of a monthly pass is $217.39. If you drive a lot, the average cost of fuel is $1.32 per litre, if you want to buy a new car when you get to Sydney, you are looking at around $28990.00 (based on a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline (or equivalent).

Average Cost of Living

Sydney is very expensive. The average cost of living in Sydney for one month is estimated to be $2352, including rent, food, transport, personal care, and other items. Average income after tax is $4300.

Accomodation is one of the most biggest expenses people in Sydney have, so it is common for young people to live in shared houses or rooms. More on that below. 

As expensive as it is, Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and chosen by many to visit and live. The iconic opera house, the parks, wildlife, gorgeous beaches, warm climate and nice people, all add up to making Sydney a must on your travel list. 

Cost of Rent in Sydney

Rent is the most expensive part of living in Sydney. The closer you are to the water, the more expensive it will get. Living in the city can also be quite pricey, but moving further away can be more affordable. 

An average one bedroom apartment is around $1800 USD, and two bedrooms can go for $2500 USD, without including utilities. Electricity, gas and heating can be around $150 USD a month. Water is usually included in rent. 

Many young people decide to share houses to lower the prices of rent, and you can find rooms in expensive areas for as little as $850 USD a month.

Cost Of Groceries In Sydney

A good way to save money in Sydney is by buying groceries in the supermarkets. The main supermarkets Coles and Woolworths, always have good sales, so it is also recommendable to stock up on some things if you see them for half price, which is not rare to see. 

The price of fresh produce does depend on the climate, so while an avocado can be $1 USD one season, it can be $2 the next one. All fruit and vegetables are subjected to these changes, so the prices vary a lot from time to time. 

Here is a list of prices of items that are less volatile and pretty steady throughout the year. 

Popular Attractions in Sydney

Sydney Opera House 

The Sydney Opera House is famous for its unique design. It was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and was opened in 1973. It has the shape of a shell and has three major halls: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Concert Hall, and Drama Theatre. The opera house hosts many performing arts events such as ballet, opera, drama plays, and sometimes even concerts. A tour of the theater can be $45 USD, and if you want to attend the opera, you can expect to pay $100 USD.

Sydney Harbour Bridge & Harbor Bridge Climb

The Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in all of Australia. It was opened to traffic in 1932 and was designed by John Bradfield. It has a span of 503 meters (1,650 feet) between its two pylons. The bridge can support up to 80 million kilograms (176 million pounds). You can cross the bridge walking for free, or climb it with tours that start at $80 USD.

Hop-On Hop-Off Buses

The hop-on hop-off buses are a great way to get to all the tourist places without having to get taxis or public transport everywhere and risk getting lost and wasting time. Tickets start at $40 USD and can go up to $72 USD for a deluxe tour.

Sydney Aquarium & Wildlife Park

The Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park is located on the shores of Darling Harbour. The aquarium has over 30,000 marine animals and an amazing 7,500 different species. There are exhibits on the Great Barrier Reef as well as a shark tunnel. It also features a large collection of Australian fauna, such as koalas. Prices for adults start at $27 USD.

Sydney Tower Skywalk

The Sydney Tower is a communications tower located in the central business district of Sydney. At 322 meters (1,057 feet), it is the tallest structure in Australia as well as being one of the tallest observation towers in the Southern Hemisphere. In May 2007, it became home to an observation deck known as "Skywalk". Prices for a tour there go from $25 USD for an annual pass, to $110 USD for VIP tickets.

Taronga Zoo

The Taronga Zoo, is located at Mosman in New South Wales. It was founded in the year 1916. The zoo is one of the most famous zoos around the world, with several animals spanning about 1400 different species. Entry fee is $32 USD and $19 USD for kids, and probably worth every penny!

Transport Costs

Transportation is expensive, but it works quite well in Sydney. Trains, buses, light rail and ferries can almost certainly take you wherever you need to go.

 

Trains from and to the airport will cost around $12.50 USD, but around the city, a ride on the bus or train will be around $2.50 USD to $3.50 USD, depending on time and distance. The good thing is that you can simply use your bank card to tap on and off, or you can buy an OPAL card, the official transport card in Sydney. It is free to get, but you have to get it with money in it. 

The daily cap with an OPAL card is $12 USD, and $36 USD weekly, so that is great news if you are planning on using public transport a lot.

Taxis are very expensive, but companies like Uber, Didi and Ola have apps that can be downloaded, and you can order a taxi for a much more convenient price to take you wherever you need to go. 

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The Cost Of Living In Sydney As A Student

Sydney is Australia’s biggest city and the country’s top destination for international students. The cost of living may be slightly higher in Sydney than in some other Australian cities, but it’s still possible to get by on a student budget.

To help you make the most of your money while studying in Australia, join us as we explore the average Sydney living cost for a student.

Overview of Expenses 

This table offers a general overview of the cost of living in Sydney. All figures are approximate and may vary depending on your location in the city. 

Weekly rent for an apartment $520 
Monthly public transport ticket  $175
Overseas Student Health Cover  $400
Groceries/Food   $257
Meal in a mid-range restaurant $20    
Meal in a high-end restaurant $50

Accommodation 

Accommodation is one of the biggest living expenses in Sydney for international students. The average weekly rent for an apartment in the city is $520, according to rent.com.au. This may sound like a lot, but there are ways to save on accommodation. Consider moving into a shared or studio apartment and choose a place where utilities like electricity and water are included in the cost of the rent. 

Study Costs 

From tuition fees to textbooks, a range of expenses contribute to the cost of studying in Sydney. The price of tuition fees can vary depending on the course you’re enrolled in, but this will likely be the biggest expense you’ll need to cover while studying in Australia. Australian Universities says that, on average, international students pay around $30,000 in tuition fees at Australian universities.  

In addition to tuition fees, Times Higher Education estimates that university students in Australia  need between $500 and $1,000 to cover the cost of textbooks and stationery. 

Transport 

Sydney’s public transport network is made up of hundreds of bus, train and ferry routes, making it easy to get around the city. The price of catching public transport contributes significantly to the Sydney student cost of living, with a monthly ticket costing around $175, according to research by Expatistan

Food And Groceries

Sydney’s multicultural dining scene offers plenty of options when it comes to eating out. If you’re trying to limit your spending, budget eateries serve up lunch and dinner meals for around $20 (fast food chains are even cheaper, although we wouldn’t recommend living exclusively off fast food!). High-end restaurants are much more expensive, with most meals starting at around $50. 

Budget Direct calculates that the average household in NSW spends $257 a week on food, but cooking meals at home and being careful with your grocery bill means you can easily spend less than that. Most Aussies shop at places like Aldi, Woolworths and Coles, although fresh food markets are also a popular place to get groceries 

Insurance

If you’re an international student, it’s a condition of your student visa to have adequate health insurance while you’re in Australia. This means you’ll need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The price of OSHC can vary depending on your circumstances and the level of cover you want, but basic cover typically starts at around $400, according to Canstar

Lifestyle

With its beautiful beaches and great weather, Sydney has one of the most enviable lifstyles of any city in Australia. There are things to see and do in Sydney to suit every budget, but for around $80 to $150 a week, you’ll be abe to experience some of the best sights and attractions on offer in the city. For starters, be sure to explore Circular Quay, take a dip at Bondi Beach, and book a trip to the nearby Blue Mountains. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sydney

Sydney is a vibrant city known for its yacht-studded harbour, superb beaches and the iconic Opera House with its towering sail structure.

Sydney is most famous for: Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney Opera House. Amazing zoos (Taronga & Sydney Zoo) -Iconic Beaches (Bondi, Coogee, Manly to name a few)

The Emerald City. Sydney — a coastal metropolis whose five million residents make it the largest city in Australia — is famous for many things. The glittering harbour, complemented by landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

There are more than 100 picturesque beaches in Sydney – from calm, sheltered bays and secret coves to busy surf beaches and world-famous tourist destinations.

It sits on the south-east coast of Australia along the Tasman Sea like a precious jewel in the wild, and it has everything it takes to be the greatest city in the world: amazing natural beauty, the planet's most beautiful harbor, dynamic arts and culture landscape, innovative fashion scene, exceptional gastronomic.

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