Estimating the Cost of Living in Sydney Before You Move to Australia

by | May 16, 2021 | Before You Move

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List of Expenses to Help You Estimate Your Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia.

This post covers daily and monthly expenses in Sydney like groceries, utilities, public transport. I also include things like shopping, dining out, and going to the movies at the bottom of the post.

I have a second post that lists rents in Sydney by suburb and the number of bedrooms. I highly recommend checking out that post as your rent will be your top monthly expense in Sydney.

Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia: Average Monthly Utilities

After you have secured your first rental in Sydney, you are going to need to keep the lights on. You will also need to pay for your space heater during the winter months because central heating is rare in Sydney.

This means your electric bill will be more during the winter. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have at least two space heaters, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. No, it doesn’t get that cold in Sydney but after living in Sydney during a hot summer, you will be surprised at how chilly it can get at night in July, the coldest month of the year. (Remember seasons are switched around in the Southern Hemisphere.)

We even own an electric blanket for those chilly nights. It was worth every penny getting one that has a timer. No more getting into a cold bed during the winter months. We both sleep better being bundled up, nice a warm. I absolutely love it and wish I didn't wait a year to get one.

Then there is battling the summer heat in Sydney. Running an air conditioner will dramatically increase your electric bill.

Cost of Electricity, Phone, and Internet in Sydney, Australia

Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment

Median Cost

$176.17

Range of Monthly Cost

$120.00 - $309.09

1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)

Median Cost

$0.78

Range of Monthly Cost

0.20c - $1.00

Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)

Median Cost

$69.97

Range of Monthly Cost

$60.00 - $90.00
That is an average monthly cost for basic utilities in Sydney for a year. As I mentioned before, there will be months when it’s more and months when it’s less. Just like back home. Did you happen to notice the range in monthly cost?

Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia: Groceries, Alcohol, and Cigarettes

Avocados in AustraliaSome groceries are seasonal, so the prices will range quite a bit for the whole year. The table below is very general, but it should give you a basic idea of prices and allow you to compare with what you pay back home.

Of course, where you shop will also have an effect on what you pay. The two major grocery stores in Sydney are Coles and Woolworths (aka Woolies). There's also IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia), Aldi, and Harris Farm Market (great for produce and now has online shopping, yay!). There are other independent markets spread throughout the city, but those are the main ones.

Cost of Groceries, Alcohol, and Cigarettes in Sydney, Australia

Milk (regular), 1 qt (1 liter)

Median Prices

$1.66

Price Range

$1.00 - $3.00

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)

Median Prices

$2.66

Price Range

$1.50 - $5.00

Rice (white), 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$2.48

Price Range

$1.40 - $3.80

Eggs (regular) (12)

Median Prices

$4.83

Price Range

$3.30 - $6.50

Local Cheese 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$11.02

Price Range

$6.00 - $23.00

Chicken Fillets 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$11.00

Price Range

$8.99 - $15.00

Beef Round 2.2 lbs (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)

Median Prices

$18.62

Price Range

$10.00 - $26.00

Apples 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$4.87

Price Range

$2.99 - $6.00

Banana 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$3.28

Price Range

$2.00 - $5.50

Oranges 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$3.42

Price Range

$2.00 - $6.00

Tomato 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$5.28

Price Range

$2.33 - $7.90

Potato 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$3.29

Price Range

$2.00 - $4.00

Onion 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Median Prices

$2.76

Price Range

$1.50 - $4.00

Lettuce (1 head)

Median Prices

$2.58

Price Range

$1.50 - $3.90

Water (1.5 liter bottle)

Median Prices

$1.92

Price Range

0.80c - $4.00

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

Median Prices

$15.00

Price Range

$12.00 - $25.00

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

Median Prices

$4.87

Price Range

$3.00 - $9.09

Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)

Median Prices

$5.77

Price Range

$3.00 - $10.00

Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)

Median Prices

$35.00

Price Range

$30.00 - $46.00

Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia: Public Transport

Public transport in Sydney is pretty good in my opinion but I’m from Seattle where the train is limited and I don’t like taking the bus, pretty much the only option for public transport in Seattle. It’s not really taking the bus that bothers me. It’s more the waiting and the limited number of seats available. The train is faster and has more seating.

When you arrive in Sydney, you will hear many Sydneysiders and expats who have moved from cities with good public transport complain about the public transport in Sydney. But in my opinion, the train is a great way to get around the city quickly. It runs so often that I never feel like I have to wait for long, but I live very close to Bondi Junction Station, and I do not commute during peak hours to get to work.

Public transport is definitely something you need to think about if you are commuting from a distance. Traffic in Sydney is pretty bad, and parking in the city is expensive and limited. There is also the time sitting in traffic stewing vs. sitting on a train reading. I personally prefer the latter.

If you go out for an evening and miss the ferry and bus, a taxi will cost you about $50-65 from the city center to Manly.

It can be hard to get a taxi to Manly late at night because taxis are usually unable to pick up a fare going the opposite direction. Therefore they don't want to be stuck in Manly. Be sure to keep that in mind especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve when it's almost impossible to catch a taxi.

The same goes for Parramatta and Cronulla too.

Train Fares in Sydney, Australia

0 - 10 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$3.61 ($2.52 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$1.80 ($1.26 off-peak)

10 - 20 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$4.48 ($3.13 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$2.24 ($1.56 off-peak)

20 - 35 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$5.15 ($3.60 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$2.57 ($1.79 off-peak)

35 - 65 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$6.89 ($4.82 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$3.44 ($2.40 off-peak)

65+ km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$8.86 ($6.20 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$4.43 ($3.10 off-peak)
Peak hours for all public transport in Sydney: Monday – Friday, 6:30 am – 10 am and 3 pm – 7 pm

Bus Fares in Sydney, Australia

0 - 3 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$3.20 ($2.24 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$1.60 ($1.12 off-peak)

3 - 8 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$3.73 ($2.61 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$1.86 ($1.30 off-peak)

8+ km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$4.80 ($3.36 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$2.40 ($1.68 off-peak)

Ferry Fares in Sydney, Australia

0 - 9 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$6.12

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$3.06

9+ km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$7.65

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$3.82

Light Rail Fares in Sydney, Australia

0 - 3 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$3.20 ($2.24 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$1.60 ($1.12 off-peak)

3 - 8 km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$3.73 ($2.61 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$1.86 ($1.30 off-peak)

8+ km

Adult Opal Card Fare

$4.80 ($3.36 off-peak)

Child/Youth Opal Card Fare

$2.40 ($1.68 off-peak)

Taxi Fares in Sydney, Australia

Taxi Hire Charge

Fare

$3.60

Taxi Peak time hire charge ( in addition to the hire charge, 10pm – 6am on Friday's, Saturday's, and evening prior to Public Holidays)

Fare

$2.50

Taxi Distance rate

Fare

$2.19 per kilometer

Taxi Night distance rate (trips between 10pm – 6am)

Fare

$2.63 per kilometer

Taxi Waiting time (vehicle speed is less than 26 km/h)

Fare

$56.68 per hour (94.4c per minute)

Other Transportation Costs in Sydney, Australia

Gasoline (1 liter)

Median Cost

$1.46

Price Range

$1.10 - $1.60

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)

Median Cost

$30,000.00

Price Range

$25,790.00 - $34,171.00

Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)

Median Cost

$26,957.04

Price Range

$24,000.00 - $30,000.00

Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia: Restaurants and Dining Out

The top, more expensive restaurants are not included in the table below. But just to give you an idea, Tetsuya is one of the best restaurants in Sydney and can cost as much as $250 per person.

Again, these prices are very general but will give you an idea of how much things cost.

I have a list of my favorite cheap eats in Sydney with a map and recommendations on what to order if you are interested in other options.

Cost of Dining Out in Sydney, Australia

Meal at Inexpensive Restaurant for One

Median Price

$18.00

Price Range

$12.00 - $38.00

Meal at a Mid-range Restaurant with Three Courses for Two People

Median Price

$100.00

Price Range

$75.00 - $150.00

Combo Meal at McDonalds for One

Median Price

$12.00

Price Range

$10.00 - $15.00

Domestic Beer 1 pint (0.5 liter)

Median Price

$8.00

Price Range

$5.00 - $10.00

Imported Beer 11 ozs (0.33 liter bottle)

Median Price

$8.50

Price Range

$6.00 - $11.00

Cappuccino (regular)

Median Price

$4.08

Price Range

$3.00 - $5.10

Coke/Pepsi 11 ozs (0.33 liter bottle)

Median Price

$3.09

Price Range

$2.00 - $4.50

Water 11 ozs (0.33 liter bottle)

Median Price

$2.65

Price Range

$2.00 - $4.00

Cost of Living in Sydney, Australia: Shopping for Clothes, Personal Care and Electronics

The first time I went shopping for jeans in Sydney, not only was I in shock from the prices but also in tears.

Tears because sizes in Australia are not the same as in the US.

I am usually a size 8 in the US but a 10-12 in Australia when it comes to jeans.

Every expat from the US I have ever met has had the same experience shopping for clothes in Australia.

Before you move to Sydney, go shopping at home for jeans and shoes. You will save yourself money in the long run.

Cost of Clothes, Personal Care, and Electronics in Sydney, Australia

1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)

Median Price

$105.56

Price Range

$70.00 - $150.00

1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...)

Median Price

$66.40

Price Range

$30.00 - $100.00

1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)

Median Price

$141.71

Price Range

$100.00 - $200.00

1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes

Median Price

$149.42

Price Range

$70.00 - $200.00

Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands)

Median Price

$8.99

Price Range

$5.99 - $13.99

1 box of 20 tampons (Tampax, OB, ...)

Median Price

$7.50

Price Range

$4.99 - $10.99

Deodorant

Median Price

$6.29

Price Range

$4.20 - $11.50

Shampoo

Median Price

$7.99

Price Range

$3.00 - $16.99

4 rolls of toilet paper

Median Price

$3.70

Price Range

$3.15 - $5.00

Tube of toothpaste

Median Price

$3.49

Price Range

$2.79 - $9.99

40” flat screen TV

Median Price

$664.00

Price Range

$499.00 - $999.00

Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands)

Median Price

$195.00

Price Range

$132.00 - $479.00

Ok, that is it. We covered pretty much all your daily and monthly expenses in Sydney except for health insurance and monthly rent.

The cost of health insurance will depend on what options you choose and what visa type you have. Generally, health insurance for those on temporary visas like the 482 work visa is more expensive.

I have a post that lists rents in Sydney by suburb by the number of bedrooms.

I would definitely check that post out since your rent will be your top monthly expense in Sydney. Where did I get this info from?
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Sydney
https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/sydney
https://shop.coles.com.au/a/a-national/everything/browse
https://www.priceline.com.au/
https://transportnsw.info/

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Hi, I’m Lauren.

Lauren Owner of Sydney Moving GuideAnd I’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world move to Australia since starting my blog back in 2009. You can read more about me here, but Sydney Moving Guide isn’t about me. IT’S ABOUT YOU. So, I have one question for you. How can I help you with your move to Australia? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to grab my moving checklist before you go.