It is a preconception a lot of people have, and yes Australia has for sure things which are more expensive: cars, electronics, beers and cigarettes for example. But depending on your state of life and lifestyle it can be actually pretty cheap. Cheaper than countries in Europe, the United States and some products are even cheaper than in Brazil. Combine it with the fact that the salary is pretty high here and you can save a lot of money during your stay.
Let´s start with the cost of a flight to Australia. People in general (myself before as well) have the idea that a ticket to Australia is very pricey. My plane ticket was €380 total, one-way. From Eindhoven (South of the Netherlands) with Ryan Air for €40 to London, from London with Norwegian Airlines for €230 to Singapore and with Scotch Airlines for €110 from Singapore to Sydney. All booked apart from each other. If you are interested in more tips how to save on flights and traveling in general, I wrote a previous blog about it, which you can find here.
The currency rate is very beneficial at the moment. A$1 (Australian dollar) is around €0,65. This causes very cheap snack and food deals like a Dominos pizza for $5, a sushi menu for $6 or 1 whole roasted chicken for $8! In CBD in Melbourne, there are a lot of 1 dollar and 2 dollar deals like coffee, ice drink, fries, dumplings, spring rolls, ice cream and even oysters. My absolutely favorite store is 7/11. They serve great quality of coffee for $1 Ice drink for $1 and every Wednesday Sandwiches and Sushi for just $2!
Most of the time, these stores are also close to each other, what makes it possible to combine deals. A great cheap student deal is, for example, the combo of a Domino’s pizza and Slurpy for $6, which is less than 4 euro. Also ´heaps´ of (Aussie slang for a lot of) restaurants have their discount meals for a specific day and time in the week. You can find a list here.
Restaurants, in general, are not expensive. A special one to name is the Hawker Chan restaurant which came over from Singapore last year. It is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world and offers menu´s less than $10! Food in grocery has a similar price, some products are more expensive, some are cheaper.
Shops like Target and Big W offer for cheap prices decent quality for almost everything you need. These shoes for example for $3,50. It’s nothing more than ´extra socks´ how my friend it described it but still, just to use it for work is fine. Other cheap things are this bag for $20 (= €13), proper shoes for going out ($30 = €20) and many more. You find here actually pretty proper and fashionable clothes too, but if you wanna go to H&M it´s in CBD around the corner and has similar prices as in Europe. Funny thing I found on the way home is this flip-flop machine below.
The biggest surprise for me was accommodation. Hotels and hostels are quite expensive if you compare to other countries, but apartments can be cheap, mostly when you share it with other people. I live in an apartment in the center of the city, with everything on walking distance. I share my bedroom with 2 other people and a total of 6 in the apartment for $145 dollar a week, this is $580 a month (€375). This includes the bills for electricity, water, Wi-Fi, gym, the swimming pool including jacuzzi and sauna and a fully furnished apartment with everything you need (wash machine, dryer, microwave, cutlery, etc.)
Yes, you share the room, which can be a disadvantage, but I prefer it actually more than living on myself since there is always somebody around you can talk with and with 2 Brazilians, 2 Italians and a Colombian guy I can practice my foreign languages;). And as you can see the view is just AMAZING!
Transportation inside the city is quite expensive to be honest, but has a similar price to Amsterdam $4,10 for each trip and a maximum charge of $8,20 a day. Besides that in CBD, the center of Melbourne, the tram is free to use. As I´m living in this area I benefit a lot from this. Also for long ways, you can book a bus trip for cheap at Firefly or Murrays or take the ´Ryan Air of Australia´ which is Jet Star. In November I flew in a weekend from Melbourne to Sydney for Sensation on Friday and returned on Sunday morning for Creamfields in Melbourne. Exhausting but awesome festival weekend. I bought my return ticket 2 months in advance what was a total of $110 = €71. The only disadvantage of that is that the airport looks like an Aldi supermarket. I have been to many airports in the last few years, but it never looked so poor as this one.
Alcohol & Nightlife
Definitely not a subject to miss out. Beer is in general definitely more expensive in Australia, in the supermarket, you pay $4,50 for a Heineken and at the club $8 for a normal (300ml) tap beer. However, also for this case you need to search a bit more to find to good places to go. A lot of bars offer deals during their happy hours. Asian Beer Cafe for example, next to Melbourne Central, offers during their happy hours between 4 and 8pm beer jugs (1 liter) for just A$8 (€5,20). Plenty of other bars do other deals. You can find a list of them here.
If you are not that much into beer, you can be happy because wine in Australia is actually cheaper. Many stores have a $3 dollar wine bottle. For the very cheap wine drinkers, there are even 5L boxes for $13, what is around €8,50. When you go to a bar or club wine has a similar price to beers.
Last but least the sports tickets in Melbourne. Melbourne is known for his wide offer of sports game. Rugby, Rugby Union, Soccer, Tennis, Horse racing, Cricket and of course Australian Football. In most of these sports, you can find tickets for $20 or even less, even though you will not have the best view of course.
What I was surprised the most of is the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Elsewhere in the world very expensive to visit. Here in Australia a Sunday (Final) ticket General Admission is A$79,00 (51,63 euro) and for students A$57.00 (37,25 euro). Go 4 days and you pay $94 (€61). You can buy them every year here.
There are more things to write about, haircuts from $10 (€6,50), Phone call & data packages 13gb for $20, Oral B electric brushes for $22,50 (€15) and many more but it´s time to drop the pen. So far my second blog about the cost & living in Australia.
Cheers from Melbourne,