Cost of Living in Melbourne

Melbourne is the second most expensive city in Australia, coming in just after Sydney. However, for expats who need to stick to a budget and a low cost of living, there are plenty of opportunities to save money in the city, particularly when it comes to life’s 'non-essentials'. 

Melbourne is ranked as the world's 58th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed for Mercer's 2018 Cost of Living Survey. It ranks as cheaper than Sydney but more expensive than Perth,  Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

Cost of accommodation in Melbourne

The biggest outlay for expats in Melbourne will be the cost of accommodation. Rental prices near the city centre can be particularly high. As with most cities, the further outside of the city one is, the more money one can save – but there are nonetheless some "hotspots" with high prices even an hour or more outside of Melbourne's main centre of activity. 

Cost of public transport in Melbourne

To get around, most people in Melbourne find public transport to be the cheapest and most convenient option. To avoid traffic jams, high parking fees and fluctuating fuel prices, it’s not uncommon for city-dwelling expats to avoid owning a car altogether. 

Cost of food in Melbourne

While it is home to a plethora of fine dining restaurants, Melbourne also has an assortment of great places to eat out without breaking the bank. In the city centre and the suburbs, diners will find restaurants where they can eat fantastic food for little more than the cost of a fast food meal. Locals are very proud of the city's "cheap eats", and will probably be very happy to provide recommendations.

Grocery prices in Melbourne are largely in line with Australia’s average pricing, but for expats who want great fresh produce, a lively atmosphere and lower prices, visiting the markets will be the best option. Fresh food markets can be found in the city centre and suburbs all around Melbourne, and it is usually well worth taking the time to explore these bustling food centres.

Cost of living in Melbourne chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for November 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rental costs)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 2,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 3,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 2,200


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.30

Rice (1kg)

AUD 2.75

Loaf of white bread

AUD 2.60

Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 10

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  

AUD 30

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 11

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.15


AUD 4.15

Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

AUD 85


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 71

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

AUD 200


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 1.65

Bus/train fare in the city centre

AUD 4.30

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 1.50

Ren Atkins Our Expat Expert

Ren Atkins is a freelance copywriter who specialises in helping small businesses and start-ups find their marketing voice and get heard. Originally from Sydney, Ren is now a devoted Melbourne-dweller who appreciates the city’s love affair with coffee, food and all things cultural and creative.

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