Cost of living in Melbourne. What you need to know before the move

Roberto Efflandrin

When considering a move to Australia the top choice for many people is Melbourne. This is hardly surprising given that in 2022 the Global Liveability Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Melbourne as being the 10th most liveable city in the world, tied with Osaka, Japan.

This article will take a brief look at the cost of living in Melbourne and how it measures up to other Australian cities. We’ll also let you know how Wise can help make the financial side of moving a bit easier.

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Why Melbourne and the benefits of living here

Melbourne is located on the south east coast of Australia, facing towards the Bass Strait and Tasmania. It’s the capital city of Victoria and is home to millions of people.

The city is known for its thriving restaurant scene, cultural diversity and range of events including sports, art and music. It has many high quality educational institutions including the University of Melbourne and Monash University, and is one of the country's main international business hubs. Like the rest of Australia, business in Melbourne is usually conducted in the Australian Dollar (AUD).

For 2022 Melbourne was ranked 67th on the Mercer Cost of Living Index. This makes it a slightly cheaper city to live in on average than one of its main rivals, Sydney.

The average salary in Melbourne

When planning a move to a new city or country one of the most important considerations is what you’re going to do for income. The jobs available for someone with your skill set, the salaries and hourly rates on offer, and how that compares to your current job are all factors which are likely to contribute to your decision making process.

To make it a bit easier, we’ve found the average salaries in Melbourne for a few different occupations. You can take a look and see how they compare to where you currently live.

Job Salary²
Accountant $67,900 AUD
Project Manager $118,000 AUD
Engineer $96,400 AUD
Chef $61,000 AUD
Nurse $76,400 AUD
Pharmacist $133,000 AUD
Primary School Teacher $69,900 AUD

As seen on 12 September 2022

When looking at these figures you should keep in mind that the salary you’d actually be offered would vary depending on a range of factors including the company, your experience and qualifications, the job market at the time and how the economy is going. Online job sites like Seek are somewhere you could look to see what positions are currently being advertised.

So what’s the cost of living in Melbourne

Aside from knowing what you’d be able to earn in Melbourne, it’s important to have an idea of what you’d need to spend to maintain your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the cost of living in Melbourne and how it compares to other Australian cities.


Cost of renting in Melbourne

When you arrive in Melbourne it’s likely that your first home will be a rental so that you can spend some time settling into the city.

The cost of rent in Melbourne varies depending on the location and size of the dwelling. To give you a rough idea of prices, here’s the median rental price per week for a house in different suburbs around Melbourne.

Suburb Median Weekly Rental Price³
Black Rock $970 AUD
Elsternwick $795 AUD
Elwood $735 AUD
Hawthorn East $690 AUD
Hampton East $650 AUD
Travancore $550 AUD
Southbank $450 AUD

As seen on 12 September 2022

Cost of groceries in Melbourne

For many people one of the main items in their weekly budget is grocery shopping. In Melbourne the cost of groceries can fluctuate due to external factors such as the economy, natural disasters and the farmers yield.

Here’s the approximate cost of some household stables to give you a general idea.

Grocery Item Approximate Cost
Regular milk - 1L $1.92 AUD
Loaf of white bread $3.25 AUD
White rice - 1kg $3.08 AUD
Chicken fillets - 1kg $12.09 AUD
Bottle of mid-range wine $20.00 AUD
Australian beer (500mL) $5.85 AUD

As seen on 12 September 2022

Cost of restaurant and eating out Melbourne

The Melbourne restaurant scene has a reputation for being vibrant and fresh, with a range of different cuisines and dining styles. Prices vary depending on the establishment, but here’s some average price points to give you an idea of what eating out in Melbourne can cost.

Menu Item Approximate Cost
Combo meal at a fast food restaurant $14.00 AUD
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant $20.00 AUD
3 course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant $120.00 AUD
Australian beer (Pint) $10.00 AUD
Cappuccino (Regular) $4.69 AUD
Soft drink (330mL) $3.77 AUD

As seen on 12 September 2022

Healthcare and fitness

Depending on your visa and personal circumstances you may need or want to buy an Australian private health insurance policy. You might also be thinking about getting a fitness or sports club membership.

The costs for these services often vary based on your circumstances, the tier level or extras you choose and benefits the membership comes with. To start, here are some approximate healthcare and fitness costs for Mebourne.

Service Approximate Cost
Hospital and extras insurance (Single <36 years)⁴ $2,218 AUD annually
Hospital and extras insurance (Single 36-59 years)⁴ $2,522 AUD annually
Hospital and extras insurance (Single 60+ years)⁴ $2,758 AUD annually
Membership to a fitness club or gym⁶ $70.83 AUD monthly
Tennis court rent⁶ $18.86 AUD hourly

As seen on 12 September 2022

Comparing Melbourne to other Australian cities

The cost of living data for a city is more meaningful when you compare it to other locations as it provides context.

One tool that’s been developed to compare the cost of living around the world is the Mercer Cost of Living Index. Released annually, this index uses survey data to rank cities based on their cost of living. The most expensive city is number one on the list and it decreases from there.

We’ve collated the Mercer Index and some cost of living data for Melbourne and four other Australian state capitals to see how they compare.

City Mercer’s Index⁵ Meal at an inexpensive restaurant Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment in city centre Monthly transport pass Monthly unlimited internet
Melbourne⁶ 67 $20.00 $1,825.13 $159.00 $76.57
Sydney¹ 58 $22.00 $2,425.98 $217.39 $72.73
Brisbane⁶ 84 $20.00 $1,981.58 $198.00 $73.94
Perth⁷ 97 $24.00 $1,777.06 $130.43 $77.62
Adelaide⁷ 102 $17.50 $1,665.00 $105.00 $71.47

As seen on 12 September 2022

Additional resources — Further reading on cost of life in Sydney

If you have questions or want more information about the cost of living in Melbourne it’s a good idea to speak to people who are living there at the moment, especially expats. To do this, you could try an online group or forum.


As we mentioned, Melbourne and the rest of Australia use AUD. If you’re moving from overseas, it’s likely that you’ll need to convert some currency and open an Australian account to effectively manage your finances. This process can be streamlined if you use Wise.

Wise has a Multi Currency account that enables you to receive, store and send over 50 different currencies. For 10 of those currencies you can get local account details that enable you to send and receive money like a local, and yes, one of those currencies is AUD.

Anytime you need to convert between two currencies it can be done quickly through your Wise online login or the Wise app. Your money is exchanged at the real exchange rate, just like you see on Google, and there’s no hidden fees to worry about.

When you have a Wise Multi Currency account you can also order a Wise Debit card. The card works almost anywhere Visa is accepted and makes daily spending in foreign currencies easy. It will automatically take from your local currency balance and if there’s no AUD left, it will take care of the currency exchange automatically.

Registering for a Wise account can be done in minutes and since there’s no monthly account maintenance fees you don’t need to spend anything to try it out. You may be pleasantly surprised with how easy Wise is to use.

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  1. Numbeo - Cost of Living in Sydney
  2. Salary Explorer - Average Salary in Melbourne 2022
  3. Sydney Morning Herald - ‘I don’t know what to do’: The Melbourne suburbs where rents have risen most
  4. Canstar - How much does private health insurance cost?
  5. Mercer - Cost of Living
  6. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between Brisbane and Melbourne
  7. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between Perth and Adelaide
  8. CNBC - These are the top 10 best and worst places to live in the world

Sources checked on: 8 September 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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