Posted in Daily life, Practical - Living in Australia

Cost of living in Melbourne for a family

One of the questions that we had before moving to Australia is what does it cost to live in Australia?

Here is an overview of the costs that we have living in Australia. We are a family of four and live in a suburb 30 minutes from the center of Melbourne.

When we first arrived the exchange rate for the Euro was not very good and we were a bit shocked at prices, like paying $ 4 for a liter of plain yoghurt at Aldi. Cost of living is generally high in Australia, but income is also higher here. Melbourne is still relatively cheap if you compare the cost of living to Sydney.

Our monthly cost of living in Melbourne

Living Average Costs Per Aditional information
rent $ 2,000 month 3 bedroom house, 30 minutes from Melbourne
electricity $ 100 month in winter
gas $ 150 month in winter
internet, tv, fixed phone $ 95 month costs for calls paid separately
water $ 85 quarter
groceries $ 800 month

For electricity and gas you get charged for your actual usage, so the rates vary every month/season. We have only lived here in the winter.  I am expecting the costs for gas (heater) to go down and the electricity (aircon) to go up in summer.

In general the houses in Australia are very badly isolated, so do expect to use a lot more than what you are used to.

Mobile phone contracts you can get in any price range. You can find all sorts of monthly fixed contracts online on compare sites. For the -hardly using their mobile phone people, only on WiFi people- like me, there are also prepaid options for $ 10, valid for 6 months. These I found impossible to find online, as most prepaid cards seem to expire after one month, but Optus does have a six month option.

Car owner costs

Once a year you pay the Vehicle Registration & TAC fees. For the Melbourne Metropolitan Area these costs are fixed at $ 771.60. There are some discount possible, you can calculate the costs on the vicroads website. If you buy a car than it will be specified how long the fee is paid for and you usually pay for the remaining time on top of the cost for the car. Our garage included the costs and specified them in the total selling price, but this is not always common.

If you have a Health Care Card (read: Medicare card) you receive a reduction for the registration fee. As we did not have that at the time of our car registration, we will have to go to a VicRoads Customer Service Centre to register that we do now, so be will be eligible for a discount of $ 150. See, it pays to write a blog!

Mazda 3 - midsize car
Our Mazda 3 – a midsize car

Next to that we pay $ 70 per month in full car insurance for our Mazda 3, a mid size car. Online we have found much cheaper rates, but these usually includes reductions. The reductions are only applicable if you have owned an Australian license for a number of years. So a foreign license does not count. This does not become clear until you really want to buy the insurance.

If anyone knows of an insurance company that does give discounts to foreign license holders, please leave a comment, so we can change this.

The alternative to a car is using public transportation, the costs for a Myki card for unlimited public transportation is $ 1,500 per adult per year. Oliver travels to work by train. Although public transportation is good in Melbourne, it is quite a challenge not to have a car here.

Gas prices

We have paid anything in between $ 1.15  and $ 1.45 per liter. Depending on the exchange rate it is mostly under € 1 per liter! Gas prices are a lot cheaper here then in Europe, but the North Americans are complaining that it is so expensive here.

The fuel prices change as fast as the weather here. Where in most European countries it depends on where you get your fuel, here it matters when you get your fuel. Prices can rise or sink overnight. One day you might still pay $ 1.15, the next it can be $ 1.45 again.


Mother, wife, explorer and loving the outdoors. We recently moved to Australia, so lots to explore here. We are keeping a blog about our experiences of moving and living on a different continent as a family.

3 thoughts on “Cost of living in Melbourne for a family

  1. I think your blog should clarify the difference between a Midcare card and a Health care Card. A medicare card is for all (PR and citizens) but a health care card goes iwth a welfare payment (unemplyment, disability, old-age pension etc) – they are not the same.


  2. Petrol prices, you have to learn the cycles and why, before a long weekend, before Christmas, etc
    Please subscribe to
    to receive daily updates with your choice of updates

    Do a search here

    And use the Petrol vouchers from Coles, Woolworths, etc with 4 cents extra discount

    You mention
    In general the houses in Australia are very badly isolated

    Do you mean
    In general the houses in Australia are very badly insulated
    Yes I agree,

    internet, tv, fixed phone $ 95
    Hummm? well depend of many choices, we use only the free air TV like more than 50% of Australians and we have ADSL2+ with a good speed (if you live close to the phone exchange)

    $88 PER MONTH, Unlimited Downloads, ADSL2+ Wi-Fi Modem Included, Home Phone Line Rental, Local Calls Unlimited, National Calls Unlimited, 13/ 1300 Calls Unlimited, Mobile Calls Unlimited in Australia, International Unlimited Calls to 80 Countries (Includes Germany / Netherlands to fix phone lines and mobiles)

    Gas and Electricity if you do not have a FIX 1 or 2 years contract check the prices here
    or here

    or by phone 131 806


    1. Thanks Camilo for your helpfull reply I will certainly look to all the links you gave! We do not use our phone line for calls to Europe, we only skype, a very good invention.


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