Brisbane Vs Melbourne Cost Of Living: Complete Guide 2024

A girl is holding money indicating the Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living

Calling all international students with eyes set on Australia! Brisbane and Melbourne, two bustling metropolises and top study-abroad destinations, beckon with academic excellence and vibrant student life. But before packing your bags, a crucial decision awaits: Brisbane or Melbourne?

While the university of your choice, eligibility factors, and personal preferences play a vital role, understanding the cost of living in each city is paramount. Buckle up as we unveil a comprehensive comparison of Brisbane and Melbourne’s living expenses, helping you navigate this critical aspect of your study abroad journey.

Cost Of Living Calculator

DescriptionCost (£)
Total Cost of Accommodation100
Total Cost of Transport50
Total Cost of Utilities30
Total Cost of Food70
Total Estimated Cost250

The Numbers Speak:

  • Brisbane: The average annual cost of living in Brisbane sits comfortably at AU$20,736.
  • Melbourne: While offering a cosmopolitan experience, Melbourne demands a slightly higher price tag, averaging AU$22,152 annually.

These figures might seem like a single number, but they encompass various expenses you’ll encounter throughout your student life. Dive deeper with this guide as we explore:

  • Accommodation: From trendy apartments to student-friendly co-living options, we’ll compare the housing landscapes in both cities.
  • Transportation: Discover the costs of navigating each city’s public transport infrastructure and potential alternatives.
  • Food and Groceries: Explore the affordability of groceries and dining out options in both locations.
  • Additional Expenses: We’ll shed light on miscellaneous expenses you might encounter, from phone bills to entertainment.

Armed with a clear understanding of the cost of living in both cities, you can make an informed decision about your Australian study destination. So, let’s delve deeper and uncover which city offers the most cost-effective environment for your academic adventure!

Breakdown Of Brisbane Vs Melbourne Cost Of Living

The following table consists of a side-by-side comparison of the cost of living Brisbane vs Melbourne.

ParticularsMonthly Living Expenses in Brisbane (AU$ )Monthly Living Expenses in Melbourne (AU$ )
Off-Campus Accommodation AU$ 556AU$ 596
On-Campus AccommodationAU$ 1,276AU$ 1,460
TransportationAU$ 125AU$ 159
Food CostAU$ 754AU$ 754
Utility CostAU$ 142AU$ 160
EntertainmentAU$ 68AU$ 66
GroceriesAU$ 142AU$ 160
ClothesAU$ 66AU$ 110
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation AU$ 1,728AU$ 1,846
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation AU$ 2,448AU$ 2,710
Annual Cost of LivingAU$ 20,736AU$ 22,152

Brisbane Vs Melbourne Cost Of Living

Several expenses are in closnearby citieses. This similarity could stem from the fact that both locations are highly popular and populated in Australia. They both have a high standard of living and offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences to outsiders. Let us look at each factor individually for a better insight into Melbourne vs Brisbane cost of living.


Although the cost of on-campus accommodation is almost equal in both Brisbane and Melbourne, off-campus housing has a somewhat more significant difference, with the average being roughly AU$ 200 more. However, if we compare on-campus housing with off-campus options in either city, we can notice a difference of more than double. Students can explore private housing options for cheaper rates, more flexibility, and better choices. Check out the following table for average prices.

ParticularsLocationCost in Brisbane (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Rent of 1BHKIn city centreAU$ 1,820/monthAU$ 1,609/month
Outside the city centre AU$ 1,300/monthAU$ 1,369/month
Rent of 3BHKIn city centreAU$ 3,017/monthAU$ 3,168/month
Outside the city centreAU$ 2,017/monthAU$ 2,048/month
Total cost of an apartmentIn city centreAU$ 7,957/sq. m.AU$ 9,346/sq. m.
Outside the city centreAU$ 5,125/sq. m.AU$ 7,875/sq. m.
Mortgage rates3.25%AU$ 2.98%

To help make accommodation search easier, UniAcco is here with its plethora of excellent services! We help you compare all feasible properties in one place so you can compare their rent, utilities and other facilities. To begin with, let’s explore the top recommendations for housing options available in Brisbane.

AccommodationWeekly Rent Starting From (AU$)Room options
UniLodge – South BankAU$ 269Multi-sharing bedrooms, studios
UniLodge – ark CentralAU$ 329Multi-sharing apartments, studios
UniLodge – Herston Quarter Lady LamingtonAU$ 209Single rooms, twin rooms, lofts, bed bunks
Griffith University VillageAU$ 299Apartments, studios
Scape South BankAU$ 249Studios, twin-sharing apartments

To proceed, explore the private housing options available in Melbourne that may suit your requirements.

AccommodationWeekly Rent Starting From (AU$)Room options
UniLodge – Victoria UniversityAU$ 266Twin bedrooms, apartments
Student Living – D2AU$ 411Apartments
Student Living – 570 SwanstonAU$ 376Apartments
Student Living – RiversdaleAU$ 300Studio
Student Living – VilliersAU$ 365Bedrooms/Apartments


Brisbane is well-connected to all the major hotspots of the city through road, rail, rivers, and ferries. Melbourne, too, has rail, tram and buses, which are widespread, Melbourne’s tram network is the largest in the world. Other than these, students can explore bike paths, footpaths and public transport services in both cities. Public transport is also considerably cheaper than private transport. Look at the table given below for a better understanding.

ParticularsCost in Brisbane (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
A one-way ticket for local transportAU$ 4.6AU$ 4.5
Monthly Pass AU$ 198AU$ 156
Fuel/litreAU$ 1.63AU$ 1.70
Taxi (5 miles)AU$ 16.4AU$ 18
GasAU$ 1.37AU$ 1.33

Food And Groceries

A person in serving food indicating the camparision of Brisbane Vs Melbourne Cost Of Living

Food and groceries are highly subjective expenses when it comes to charting out Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living. Not only do these depend on the eating habits, preferences and likes, but they are also influenced by the overall living standards. Surprisingly, the grocery prices in Melbourne are close to 11% higher than those in Brisbane. Check out the following table for detailed prices of basic grocery items.

ParticularsCost in Brisbane (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Milk – 1 litreAU$ 1.65AU$ 1.68
White Bread – 500gmAU$ 2.88AU$ 3.05
Eggs – one dozenAU$ 4.59AU$ 5.23
White rice – 1kgAU$ 2.85AU$ 2.55
Potatoes – 1kgAU$ 3.34AU$ 3.21
Lettuce – 1 headAU$ 2.62AU$ 2.61
Tomatoes – 1kgAU$ 5.16AU$ 4.61
Chicken – 1kgAU$ 11.33AU$ 11.13
Beef – 1kgAU$ 19.08AU$ 18.23
Cheese – 1kgAU$ 9.95AU$ 12.49
Apples – 1kgAU$ 4.50AU$ 4.16
Bananas – 1kgAU$ 3.78AU$ 3.19

Although we could consider dining out, takeaway and alcohol among the expenses of recreation, it’s better to analyse the prices here along with the average food costs. Consider the following table for the same.

ItemsCost in Brisbane (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Inexpensive meal – 2 peopleAU$ 40AU$ 40
Mid-range meal – 2 peopleAU$ 100AU$ 100
Mcdonalds mealAU$ 14AU$ 13
Coffee – Regular cappuccinoAU$ 4.65AU$ 4.56
Water – 0.33-litre bottleAU$ 2.64AU$ 2.76
Cold drinksAU$ 3.63AU$ 3.31
Domestic beer – 0.5-litre draught from market AU$ 8AU$ 5.66
Bottle of wine from the supermarketAU$ 18AU$ 16.5

Entertainment & Miscellaneous

Similar to the costs of food, groceries and dining out, recreation and entertainment are variable depending on the person’s standard of living and choices. For instance, if someone prefers to stay indoors, the cost of going out and entertainment may decrease from the total figure. Despite that, you can explore the basic prices of standard products and services in the table below.

ParticularsCost in Brisbane (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Pair of JeansAU$ 101.41AU$ 101
Dress (from chain stores)AU$ 60.82AU$ 56.04
Nike shoesAU$ 142.29AU$ 137.28
Business shoesAU$ 161.29AU$ 153.86
Movies – 1 ticketAU$ 16AU$ 20
Gym/fitness club – monthlyAU$ 68.19AU$ 69

ROI – Returns on Investment

ROI, or returns on investment, is a term that reflects the amount of payout you receive in your career against the money and effort you invested. It is essential to consider the ROI since it can impact the trajectory of your career. Although the location or city of your choice may not influence the total ROI to a large extent, it is still worthwhile to consider it. Check out the following sections for more information.

Tuition & Salary In Brisbane

When comparing the cost of living in Brisbane vs Melbourne, it is wise to verify the cost of tuition since it’s a significant contributor. Check out the popular universities in Brisbane and their average annual cost of tuition.

University NameAverage Annual Cost of Tuition
The University of QueenslandAU$  35,000
Queensland University of TechnologyAU$  30,000
Federation University Australia – Brisbane CampusAU$  25,000
Griffith UniversityAU$  30,000
Central Queensland UniversityAU$  25,000
University of the Sunshine CoastAU$  17,995
Bond UniversityAU$  86,050

To comprehend the returns, let’s look at the average annual salaries in Brisbane for some of the most popular job profiles. The average annual salary in Brisbane is AU$  78,126.

Job ProfileAverage Annual Salary in Brisbane (AU$)
C Level ExecutiveAU$ 1,18,800
DentistAU$ 95,195
PhysicianAU$ 85,251
QA EngineerAU$ 63,145
Data ScientistAU$ 62,926

Tuition & Salary in Melbourne

Now that we’ve analysed the ROI in Brisbane, let’s look at the average cost of tuition in Melbourne universities and the salaries their degrees can fetch.

UniversityAnnual Cost of Tuition (AU$)
The University of MelbourneAU$ 40,000
Federation University MelbourneAU$ 22,400
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology UniversityAU$ 31,000
Victoria UniversityAU$ 20,000
La Trobe UniversityAU$ 8,600
Monash UniversityAU$ 37,500

The average annual salary in Melbourne is AU$ 87,256. Here are the average annual salaries for popular job profiles.

Job ProfileAverage Annual Salary in Melbourne (AU$)
C Level ExecutiveAU$ 1,41,527
DentistAU$ 73,484
PhysicianAU$ 81,875
QA EngineerAU$ 48,966
Data ScientistAU$ 68,011

Conclusion of Brisbane vs Melbourne Cost of Living

As we can observe through the data, Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living does not have much difference. Ultimately, the major difference arises because of the relatively larger expenses like accommodation, commute and food. Students can analyse these minor contrasts and determine which place is more appropriate for their career and education goals. However, the final decision depends on other aspects, too, like universities, housing options, educational credentials, etc. But the comparison of the Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living can help you make an accurate judgement.


1. Is it cheaper to live in Brisbane or Melbourne?

The annual cost of living in Melbourne is around AU$ 22,152, whereas that in Brisbne is AU$ 20,736. By observing this total figure and other expenses, we can conclude that although Brisbane is slightly cheaper to stay in, the actual cost of living isn’t very varied.

2. Is it cheaper to rent in Brisbane or Melbourne? What’s Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living?

The cost of on-campus student accommodation is slightly cheaper in Brisbane than in Melbourne, priced at AU$ 1,276 and AU$ 1,460, respectively. Off-campus housing costs are almost the same, at AU$ 556 and AU$ 596, respectively. However, if we analyse other housing units, buying or renting a property may sometimes be more expensive in Brisbane.

3. What salary do you need to live comfortably in Brisbane?

The annual average cost of living in Brisbane for a student is around AU$ 20,736. Besides this, a single person can live comfortably in Brisbane from AU$ 400 to AU$ 700 per week, depending on their standard of living.

Thank you for reading our guide to the Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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A girl is holding money indicating the Brisbane vs Melbourne cost of living

Brisbane Vs Melbourne Cost Of Living: Complete Guide 2024

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