Sydney is one of the world's most iconic cities, host to beautiful landmarks, breathtaking natural beauty and a cosmopolitan and diverse population. Australia's most populous city is also its most expensive. As the 58th most expensive city for expats to live in out of the 227 on Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living Survey, the Emerald City's accommodation prices are about one-third higher than in Melbourne, while the overall cost of living is estimated to be 7 percent higher.

Sydney may be the most expensive city in Australia, but for price-conscious expats, there are plenty of ways to stretch their Aussie dollars.

Cost of accommodation in Sydney

Accommodation in Sydney is typically an expat's greatest expense, particularly in the more attractive areas and suburbs and around the city centre. Expats who want to save on housing expenses should search for a home further out in the suburbs.

Cost of public transport in Sydney

Public transport in Sydney is well developed, making it cheap and convenient to get around the city without a car, though a private vehicle might afford expats more freedom to explore the country. With an Opal card, expats can use the city's integrated infrastructure and make savings on their commute.

Cost of groceries in Sydney

The cost of groceries in Sydney is in line with the national average, and Australian produce is high quality. Seafood lovers should head to the Sydney Fish Market, the largest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere, for inexpensive and fresh fish.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Sydney

Many expats cite the lifestyle as a key draw for Sydney. Expats on a budget should consult a local about the best places to get an affordable bite to eat. Alternatively, they can take advantage of Sydney's wide spread of world-renowned fine-dining establishments. Thanks to the variety of options available in Sydney, expats will not struggle to find something to match their palates and wallets. 

Expats looking to soak in some culture will visit the Sydney Opera House, while those looking to party will head to the myriad nightclubs at Kings Cross. Price-conscious expats can take advantage of the country's excellent climate, picnicking in the park, having a barbecue or visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Cost of education in Sydney

Public education in Sydney is free or cheap for permanent residents, though temporary residence holders will have to pay to enrol their kids.

Faith-based schools, especially the Catholic education system, are popular in Sydney. Expats on temporary residences tend to find the fees lower than those they would have to pay for public schools.

Cost of living in Sydney chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for November 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 2,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 1,850

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

AUD 4,900

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

AUD 3,200


Eggs (dozen)

AUD 5.27

Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.59

Rice (1kg)

AUD 2.69

Loaf of white bread

AUD 3.43

Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 16

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  

AUD 42

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 13

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.26


AUD 4.56

Bottle of local beer

AUD 9.75

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

AUD 115


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.32

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 63

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

AUD 186


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 2.70

Bus/train fare in the city centre

AUD 4.60

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 2.03