Adelaide vs Melbourne Cost of Living: Unveiling the Student Budget Choice

Planning your Australian study abroad adventure? While the world-class education and vibrant culture are undeniable draws, understanding the cost of living (Adelaide vs Melbourne) plays a crucial role in choosing the perfect city for your needs. Adelaide and Melbourne, two captivating options, might seem worlds apart when it comes to living expenses.

The Numbers Speak:

  • Adelaide: With an average annual cost of living at AU$31,104, Adelaide offers a seemingly costlier lifestyle compared to Melbourne.
  • Melbourne: Melbourne presents a more budget-friendly option, averaging AU$22,152 annually.

These figures might seem like a significant gap, leading you to instantly consider Melbourne. However, don’t jump to conclusions just yet! Adelaide and Melbourne offer vastly different experiences, and the living costs reflect that.

Before making a decision, delve deeper with our guide as we explore the various factors contributing to the cost of living in both cities. We’ll compare:

  • Accommodation: From trendy apartments to student-friendly options, we’ll uncover the housing landscape in each city.
  • Transportation: Discover the cost and efficiency of public transport infrastructure and alternative options.
  • Food and Groceries: Explore the affordability of groceries and dining out experiences in both locations.
  • Additional Expenses: We’ll shed light on miscellaneous expenses like entertainment and utilities.

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the cost of living breakdown in Adelaide and Melbourne, you can make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your budget and lifestyle preferences.

So, buckle up and embark on this cost-of-living exploration! We’ll ensure you choose the city that offers the best value for your study abroad journey.

Breakdown Of Cost Of Living Adelaide Vs Melbourne

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

ParticularsMonthly Living Expenses in Adelaide (AU$)Monthly Living Expenses in Melbourne (AU$)
Off-Campus Accommodation AU$ 796AU$ 596
On-Campus AccommodationAU$ 1,278AU$ 1,460
TransportationAU$ 105AU$ 159
Food CostAU$ 812AU$ 754
Utility CostAU$ 327AU$ 160
EntertainmentAU$ 97AU$ 66
GroceriesAU$ 450AU$ 160
ClothesAU$ 110AU$ 110
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation AU$ 2,592AU$ 1,846
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation AU$ 3,074AU$ 2,710
Annual Cost of LivingAU$ 31,104AU$ 22,152

Cost Of Living Adelaide Vs Melbourne

The total living expenditures in Adelaide and Melbourne have a significant difference, as demonstrated in the table. We can deduce that this difference arises mainly because of accommodation prices, utilities, and groceries. While tackling such high living costs can be challenging, we can start by exploring the individual costs and determining how to save on them. Follow our comparison of the cost of living Adelaide vs Melbourne.


Although the overall cost of living is relatively high in Adelaide, studies show that rent prices in Melbourne are around 14.03% higher than in Adelaide. The primary reason is attributed to the rental rate decreasing drastically over the last few quarters. However, mortgage rates are still higher in Adelaide.

For students, on-campus accommodation seems a safe and secure option. However, as elaborated in the first section, it is considerably more expensive than off-campus housing options. As you gain more experience in the city, you can explore private housing to save on your monthly budget. Check out the average prices here.

ParticularsLocationCost in Adelaide (AU$ )Cost in Melbourne (AU$ )
Rent of 1BHKIn city centreAU$ 1,604/monthAU$ 1,609/month
Outside the city centre AU$ 1,211/monthAU$ 1,369/month
Rent of 3BHKIn city centreAU$ 2,572/monthAU$ 3,168/month
Outside the city centreAU$ 1,797/monthAU$ 2,048/month
Total cost of an apartmentIn city centreAU$ 5,073/sq. m.AU$ 9,346/sq. m.
Outside the city centreAU$ 2,676/sq. m.AU$ 7,875/sq. m.
Mortgage rates3.14%AU$ 2.98%


Transportation in Australia Affective the Cost Of Living Adelaide Vs Melbourne

Commendably, Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world. It is a very well-connected city with rails, buses, biking pathways and similar options for public transport. Similarly, Adelaide has a connection of metro system that connects all the major hotspots of the city. In addition, there are taxis, buses, rail and more. Public transport is a huge aspect for students since it allows them to save money. Moreover, students can opt for monthly passes for buses or metro as these are even cheaper.

ParticularsCost in Adelaide (AU$ )Cost in Melbourne (AU$ )
A one-way ticket for local transportAU$ 4.75AU$ 4.5
Monthly Pass AU$ 105AU$ 156
Fuel/litreAU$ 1.64AU$ 1.70
Taxi (1km)AU$ 3AU$ 3.25
Taxi – startAU$ 5AU$ 6.5
Gas – 1 litreAU$ 2.02AU$ 2.05


Utilities are one of the most prominent aspects in Adelaide vs Melbourne cost of living, which creates a huge margin. Although we cannot accurately quote the prices of utilities like electricity, heating, or water, we can determine an estimate. Check out the following table to get an insight.

ParticularsMonthly Cost in Adelaide (AU$)Monthly Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Basic utilities like electricity, heating, water and garbageAU$ 287.52AU$ 212.18
Internet – 60mbps+unlimited dataAU$ 73.77AU$ 75.51
Mobile data – prepaid plansAU$ 0.44AU$ 0.22

Food And Groceries

Though we are charting out the average expenses for the cost of living Adelaide vs Melbourne, food and grocery costs can vary greatly depending on the person’s preferences, eating habits, likes and dislikes, and standard of living. So, the final figure can be different for everyone. But, we can study the standard prices of basic groceries to get an idea.

ParticularsCost in Adelaide (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Milk – 1 litreAU$ 1.48AU$ 1.68
White Bread – 500gmAU$ 2.93AU$ 3.05
Eggs – one dozenAU$ 4.97AU$ 5.23
White rice – 1kgAU$ 2.60AU$ 2.55
Potatoes – 1kgAU$ 3.13AU$ 3.21
Lettuce – 1 headAU$ 3.18AU$ 2.61
Tomatoes – 1kgAU$ 5.63AU$ 4.61
Chicken – 1kgAU$ 10.66AU$ 11.13
Beef – 1kgAU$ 20.39AU$ 18.23
Cheese – 1kgAU$ 10.65AU$ 12.49
Apples – 1kgAU$ 4.35AU$ 4.16
Bananas – 1kgAU$ 3.73AU$ 3.19

In addition to this, let’s explore the prices of takeaway and alcohol. Consider the following table for the same.

ItemsCost in Adelaide (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Inexpensive meal – 2 peopleAU$ 36AU$ 40
Mid-range meal – 2 peopleAU$ 90AU$ 100
Mcdonalds mealAU$ 12AU$ 13
Coffee – Regular cappuccinoAU$ 4.47AU$ 4.56
Water – 0.33-litre bottleAU$ 2.93AU$ 2.76
Cold drinksAU$ 3.59AU$ 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

Along with studying, entertainment and recreation are major parts of a student’s life. Exploring the city and making memories is a part of the student experience. Additionally, you’ll also need to buy basic necessities like clothes, shoes and accessories. To get an estimate of how expensive these things are, follow the below table.

ParticularsCost in Adelaide (AU$)Cost in Melbourne (AU$)
Pair of JeansAU$ 102.16AU$ 101
Dress (from chain stores)AU$ 73.79AU$ 56.04
Nike shoesAU$ 135.28AU$ 137.28
Business shoesAU$ 139AU$ 153.86
Movies – 1 ticketAU$ 18AU$ 20
Gym/fitness club – monthlyAU$ 62.88AU$ 69

ROI – Returns on Investment

Different cities hold varied opportunities for career growth and development. Most importantly, similar jobs in various cities can offer flexible pay. Thus, studying the ROI – returns on investment – is crucial in finalising your move and cost of living Adelaide vs Melbourne. Check out the average cost of tuition in both cities and the average salaries offered in the following. 

Tuition & Salary In Adelaide

Here are the average annual tuition fees for some of the popular universities in Adelaide.

University NameAverage Annual Cost of Tuition
Carnegie Mellon UniversityAU$  36,000
University of AdelaideAU$  35,000
University of South AustraliaAU$  34,000
Flinders University AU$  36,000
Torrens UniversityAU$  23,000
TAFE South AustraliaAU$  15,450/Semester

The next step in analysing Melbourne vs Adelaide cost of living is to look at the average salaries offered for popular job profiles. The average annual salary in Adelaide is AU$  80,679.

Job ProfileAverage Annual Salary in Adelaide (AU$)
C Level ExecutiveAU$ 1,19,833
DentistAU$ 1,06,050
PhysicianAU$ 77,654
QA EngineerAU$ 58,106
Data ScientistAU$ 57,841

Tuition & Salary In Melbourne

After analysing the ROI in Adelaide, 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. The following table demonstrates the average salaries for popular job profiles among international students.

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


By observing the data on the cost of living Adelaide vs Melbourne, we can determine that while each city can be expensive, Adelaide is especially more expensive than Melbourne by almost AU$ 9,000. The best way to tackle this is to find ways to save money. For instance, several places offer student discounts and concessions as long as students can produce accurate proof of identification and university. Furthermore, monthly passes for public transport also have additional benefits and discounts for students.

In the end, comparing the cost of living Adelaide vs Melbourne is only the first step to deciding the location of your stay. There are many other aspects that you must consider, like the choice of universities, your eligibility, preferences and career goals.


1. Is Adelaide more expensive than Melbourne?

The annual cost of living in Melbourne is around AU$ 22,152, whereas that in Adelaide is AU$ 31,104. As indicated by the total figures, it is evident that Adelaide is significantly more expensive than Melbourne.

2. Is Adelaide worth moving to?

Although the cost of living in Adelaide is relatively high, it is an incredible place full of exciting experiences. The city has fantastic cafes, restaurants, fine dining, and entertainment options. The city is inclusive to international students, making their stay memorable. Popularly known as the 20-minute city, it only takes around 20 minutes to reach any point in Adelaide!

3. Which city is best for living in Australia?

Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast and Hobart are some of the best cities to live in Australia. Not only do they offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience to international students, but they are also budget-friendly and comfortable for new migrants.

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

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Adelaide vs Melbourne Cost of Living: Unveiling the Student Budget Choice

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