A Complete Guide for Students : The Cost Of Living Perth Vs Melbourne


A county has states, states have cities, cities have districts, and then the divisions get narrowed for each and every country. However, as a prospective student willing to study in Australia, it is not just about getting admission into any university, there are more factors that matter when you are trying to relocate in Australia, with living cost being the essential one. Australia emerges as an attractive and favourable choice for students for its quality education, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Among the array of choices, cities like Perth and Melbourne stand out as popular destinations, each offering its unique blend of opportunities and experiences to the students. 


In this blog, we will help you break down the overall cost of living in Australia, which will eventually navigate the students in the direction of choosing the ideal city for their higher education. Understanding the cost of living is paramount and it forms a fundamental aspect of budgeting and ensuring a smooth transition into student life. 


Overview of the city: Perth


The city is nestled on the western coast of Australia, exuding a relaxed vibe, making it an inviting destination for those seeking a balance between academic pursuits and leisurely adventures in Australia. The city provides a vibrant art scene, bustling markets, and eclectic culinary landscapes. The iconic Kings Park and Botanic Garden, are a few of the attractions with charming heritage architecture and bustling waterfront, offering a glimpse into the region's maritime history. 


Overview of the city: Melbourne


The city resides in the Victorian state and is the capital of the state. Offering a dynamic and student-friendly environment that attracts learners from all corners of the globe. It consists of buildings that give the historical context of the past years. At the core of the city is its rich cultural tapestry. The city boasts an array of world-class galleries, theatres, and music venues that make the stay of an individual comfortable. Institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Theatre Company provide endless opportunities for students to immerse themselves in visual and performing arts.


Breakdown of living cost in Australia for international students: Perth & Melbourne


living cost of perth & melbourne


Cost of Living Comparison: Perth v/s Melbourne


Let us compare both cities on various variables such as transportation, accommodation and more. The cost of these variables is expected to be incurred while living in Australia, however, let us understand them in detail and how both the cities have differences in the same factors. 




To find accommodation in both cities is a daunting task however, usually, students choose rental apartments apart from the in-campus hostel accommodation. Here is the average breakdown of rental prices in both the cities:






In Australia, the cost of public transportation varies depending on the location. Since an international student chooses a public mode of transportation, here are the services:


1. Public Transportation System in Perth: It is typically managed by Transperth, offering an integrated network of buses, trains, and ferries. The city is divided into nine fare zones, and the cost of travel depends on the number of zones crossed.


2. Public Transportation in Melbourne: It is managed by Public Transport Victoria (PTV), encompassing trains, trams, and buses. The city uses a zone-based fare system (Zone 1 and Zone 2).

Fares and Coverage in Perth:

1. Standard fare (2 zones): Approx. $4.90

2. Concession fare (2 zones, for students): Approx. $2.00

3. Unlimited travel (day pass for all zones): Approx. $12.80 (standard), $5.20 (concession)


Fares and Coverage in Melbourne:

1. Standard fare (Zone 1+2): Approx. $9.20 for a daily cap

2. Concession fare (Zone 1+2, for students): Approx. $4.60 for a daily cap


Entertainment & Recreation 


As an international student finding solace and activities to divert the mind from the stressful days is also essential. Perth has numerous parks and outdoor spaces, museums, and nightlife including Kings Park and Botanic Garden, The Western Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, bars, clubs, and live music venues respectively. Contrary to this, Melbourne boasts of beautiful green spaces like the Royal Botanic Gardens, Albert Park, and Fitzroy Gardens, museums like The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and nightlife areas like Fitzroy, St Kilda, etc.


Cost of Entertainment 


cost of entertainment


Groceries and Dining


These expenses are counted in the cost of living as these are recurring and are monthly. Food and grocery costs can differ greatly depending on the person’s preferences, eating habits, likes and dislikes, and standard of living. However, here are the general estimated expenses which can occur: 


Cost of Groceries in both the cities:



  • Average weekly grocery bill for a student: $70 - $100

  • Common grocery stores: Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and local markets.



  • Average weekly grocery bill for a student: $80 - $120

  • Common grocery stores: Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and local markets such as Queen Victoria Market.


Cost of Dining Out:



  • Casual meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $15 - $20

  • Mid-range three-course meal for two: $60 - $100

  • Coffee: $3.50 - $5



  • Casual meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $15 - $25

  • Mid-range three-course meal for two: $70 - $120

  • Coffee: $4 - $6


Affordable food options in Perth:


Supermarkets: Coles and Woolworths are the major supermarkets that offer loyalty programs and discounts. Local farmers' markets provide fresh produce at competitive prices.


Student-Friendly Eateries: Areas around universities, like Northbridge and Subiaco, have many affordable cafes and eateries catering to student budgets.


Affordable food options in Melbourne:


Supermarkets: Melbourne's iconic Queen Victoria Market offers a wide range of fresh produce, meats, and speciality items at affordable prices.


Cheap Eats: Areas like Carlton, Fitzroy, and Footscray are known for their variety of inexpensive restaurants, food trucks, and takeaway joints.


Tuition cost


The main aim of an international student is to find a suitable university but the expenses they inculcate are also a crucial matter of fact. Let us find out what the average expense is incurred to study in Australia. 


Perth: The tuition fees vary depending on the institution and the course of study you choose. On average for an undergraduate program, the tuition fee is expected to be between $25,000 and $40,000 per year. You can even opt for scholarships and financial aid if essential. 


Melbourne: The tuition fees in Melbourne for an undergraduate program range from $30,000 to $45,000 AUD per year. Here as well, you can get access to scholarships and bursaries from many institutions to help offset educational costs. 


Here's a comparison of tuition fees for international undergraduate students at a few prominent universities in Perth and Melbourne:


comparison of tution fees for international students


Make sure you choose the universities based on your research as well, tuition fees are approximately based on the specification of the program and then there are additional expenses including textbooks, equipment, materials and student services fees. It is advisable to check with the university directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding tuition fees.




Perth and Melbourne are both the best destinations for international students who are willing to study in Australia. The choices may differ as per the needs and requirements of the students. There are several factors which a student needs to keep in mind while making an informed decision. Here in this blog, we have tried to bring up the main sources which are crucial in determining the living cost of a student in Australia, throughout their stay. We have tried to mention the expenses on a monthly basis, you are the one who needs to budget and understand your financial condition according to which you can find the best place to reside in Australia. 


Lastly, if you feel the need to secure assistance across this, you can read relevant blogs on our website and in case of any academic assignment discrepancy, don’t forget to contact us!