Living Costs

When working out a budget, please remember to factor in essential costs such as accommodation; local travel; food; phone and utility bills (though these last three are often included in accommodation costs if you choose to live in catered halls of residence) and money for going out.  Bear in mind that all the figures quoted here are approximate, and the cost of living will depend very much on your location and lifestyle (particularly accommodation) choices.

Find out more about choosing your accommodation

Please check the university websites carefully for more detailed cost breakdowns, including student accommodation costs. Remember that a university will usually only give the cost of living for the academic year (typically between 38 and 40 weeks) so if you want to stay on at university over the holidays, you'll need to budget extra.  If you’d like advice or information about the estimated cost of living at any particular university, then speak to one of our student advisors.

An overall guide

Australian universities recommend that international students budget between AU$18,000 and AU$28,000 per year for living expenses. Some cities are more expensive to live in than others.

According to NZ universities, you will need to budget between NZ$15,000–$20,000 (South Island) and NZ$18,000 – $25,000 (North Island) per academic year for living expenses, depending where you live.

Australian and New Zealand student visas allow you to work part time, which for many students is an essential way of helping out with living costs. Please bear in mind, however, that part time jobs do not usually bring in enough money to contribute toward tuition fees. You will be allowed to work full time during holidays, provided your course meets Immigration requirements.

How much do things cost in Australia?

Loaf of Bread $2.50-$3.50
Milk (litre) $2.90
Packet of Kelloggs Corn Flakes 220g $5.40
Slice of pizza $3-$3.50
Takeaway coffee From $3
Bowl of noodles $4.50-$8.50
Newspaper $1.25-$2
Cinema ticket (student concession) $10-$15
Backpacker accommodation From $30 per night
Internal flight from Sydney to Melbourne From $60
A diving course $650-$900
Trip to the Great Barrier Reef (from Cairns) Around $150
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb From $200

*All costs in the table are given in Australian dollars and the figures quoted are only approximate.  Check out currency conversion rates at

How much do things cost in New Zealand?

Takeaway Pizza (large) $16
Milk (litre) $2.50
Can of Coca Cola $2
Coffee, cappuccino or latte $3.50-$5
Jug of beer at a student bar From $5
Glass of wine $8
Cinema ticket $14
Main meal at a restaurant (off campus) $15-$40
Backpacker accommodation From $30 per night
Bungee jumping in Queenstown $180
Swim with the dolphins at Kaikoura $165
Ticket (foot passenger) on the ferry between North and South Islands Around $60
Rental car Around $50 a day

*All costs in this table are given in New Zealand dollars and the figures quoted are only approximate.  Check out currency conversion rates at

Long distance travel and other adventures!

Studying on the other side of the world does mean that you will have to travel a very long way to get to university, and the cost of multiple flights can easily add up over time.  Some students are happy to stay away from home for the entire duration of their studies, but if you think you want a trip home to see the family and friends at any point, it's worth planning ahead and booking early.  The price and availability of flights varies dramatically at different times of the year.  The Study Options team travel back and forth to Australia and New Zealand regularly, so if you need some flight booking tips just ask!

Last but not least when you are planning your budget, don't forget that as well as studying hard and getting a great qualification, you will be living in Australia or New Zealand and you should make the most of it!  If you've always wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef or take a helicopter ride over the Fox Glacier, then what better opportunity is there?  It's easy to find out how much these type of activities are, both the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide have some top tips for travel in either country.

Comparing costs

On this website, we've done our best to keep the costs as up to date as we can, but they should only be used as a guideline.  There are differences between which country you study in and between different regions and cities in those countries.  You can use the exchange rates table below to make some rough calculations, but remember that exchange rates change all the time, so keep enough room in your budget to absorb those differences if necessary.

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