Living in Adelaide

Life in Australia is sunny and relaxed for the most part, and Adelaide is no different with its beautiful beaches and attractive architecture everywhere you look!

Adelaide, SA

As the commercial centre and capital of South Australia, and with an urban area housing over 1.6 million residents, Adelaide is a fast-growing and vibrant city. Despite the bustle, its relatively small size compared to other Australian capitals, and for a major city gives it has a laidback/small town feel while retaining its status as a centre for big business and industry.


$50-$170 per week

While meal prices in Adelaide can vary, the average cost of food in Adelaide is approximately $15-$24 per day. Based on the spending habits when dining out, an average meal in Adelaide should cost around $14 per person.

If you choose to cook and eat at home, you can generally expect to spend around $2 per breakfast, $5-7 per lunch, and $10-15 per dinner. Of course, this depends on your grocery preferences.

It is important to remember that in Australia, waiters and servers get paid a decent minimum wage. This means that your lunch or dinner may cost a little bit more than you expect, but it also means the staff are being paid fairly for their time. Unlike some other places you may have visited, does not have a tipping culture. Places may ask if you would like to tip, but it is not necessary.


$100-$250 per week

Adelaide is relatively inexpensive when it comes to accommodation – especially compared to the other capital cities like Sydney & Melbourne.

In Adelaide, you can expect to spend $100 to $250 per week in a shared accommodation setting (usually living with other students or young working professionals), $190 to $450 per week for managed student accommodation (this price will normally include amenities like security, internet and basic transportation), or $450 to $550 per week a room in a residential college (which tend to be located conveniently close to campuses). Additionally, there are homestay options to live with local families that cost on average $200 to 350 per week.

It is important to weigh up all your options whenever you are making a decision on where to live. Living close to the city can potentially mean less money being spent on public transport and taxi or Uber services, as well as getting home earlier from school. However, living further from the city can mean larger living accommodation choices, more outdoor space, less noise and they will likely be more cost-effective. Living on or near campus (for students) can be quite convenient because your time travelling to and from classes will be greatly reduced!


$25-$50 per week

Adelaide City’s transport network is called Adelaide Metro. You can purchase a metroCARD for all public transport travel purposes – it works on trains, trams, ferries and buses!

For Students: You are entitled to a 50% discounted fare, so make sure you take advantage! Purchase a 28-day metroCARD pass for only $50. This is a major saving and means you rarely need to worry about topping up your card’s balance any time you want to travel on a train, bus or tram. Make sure you carry your student ID with you in case ticket inspectors want to check your credentials. Also, please ensure you get your MetroCard protected so that if you misplace it, you won’t lose any of the credit you’ve purchased.

Most of Adelaide’s education providers campus locations are within the park area of the city’s CBD. This means public transport access is quite easy, accessible, and understandable. For those few campuses outside of the city limits, there are usually frequent buses provided for students.

Luckily for all Adelaide residents, the city has after-midnight bus services on almost every bus route to & from the city. No matter where you live, you can still enjoy a late night of studying or a night out at your favourite. A range of taxis and rideshare services (Uber, DiDi and Ola) are also available with the touch of your phone screen, with prices varying depending on where you live.

Cost of Living

Adelaide is around 5% to 7% cheaper than Brisbane and Perth (2019 Economist Intelligence Unit). It is recommended that individuals budget between $19,500 to $26,000 for annual living costs in Australia.

Adelaide is also quite affordable, compared to its three biggest companion state capitals in Australia. This alone makes it an attractive destination for international students & expats.

Although wages are lower in general than some other cities, there are many key sectors, for which the Australian government is always looking for expats to fill vacant positions that operate in or around Adelaide. The local mining industry is also seeing heavy investment, so economic opportunities are certainly available for expats with the right skills.

Working in Australia

All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to: pay you the right pay rate for all time worked. provide a safe workplace.

  • How to find work in Adelaide:
    • Like most cities around the world, finding work greatly depends on your skill-set, motivation & willingness to learn a new skill as well as personal connections and how you represent yourself (resume presentation, interview experience, etc.)
    • The most common online job-search websites in Australia are: and Applicants can post their resume’s online as well as search for vacancies posted by local businesses.
  • How to apply for jobs in Australia:
    • Click HERE for a link to and their free resume template.
  • Your rights as an employee in Australia:
    • All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to pay you the right pay rate for all time worked and provide a safe workplace.
    • Click HERE for a link to the Government of Australia’s FairWork rights & obligations information page.
  • Average Salaries in South Australia:
    • As with any city around the world, salaries and wage amounts can range due to an employee’s experience, formal qualifications as well as the supply & demand within each industry type for a specific workforce. The average full-time salary in South Australia is $65,000.
    • According to com, the following job positions are noted below with average salaries:
      • Operations Manager: $80,000
      • Project Manager: $90,000
      • Software Engineer: $71,000
      • Civil Engineer: $74,000
      • Mechanical Engineer: $70,000
      • Tax Accountants: $54,000
      • Account/Sales Manager: $71,000
      • Retail Store Employee: $38,000-$52,000

Bank Account in Australia

Foreigners migrating, studying or working in Australia can open a bank account. Those on a tourist or visitor visa can open an Australian bank account by visiting a local branch and providing your passport.

Applicants who wish to open a bank account must arrive in Australia within 12 months of opening their bank accounts.

Here are the basic steps to opening a Australian bank account online:

    • Compare accounts to find the right one
    • Apply for your account online
    • Verify your identity (passport & email required)
    • Your debit card will arrive
    • Start using it!


A Tax File Number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems in Australia. It is free to apply for a TFN online and it is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity in Australia.


In the city and surrounding suburbs of Adelaide you’ll find artisan markets, a wonderland of unique boutiques, sprawling shopping malls and gorgeous heritage arcades.

With over 700 retailers located at Rundle Mall, this is Adelaide’s busiest, most popular shopping destination. Discover boutiques selling local designs and higher-end clothing stores on Rundle Street, one-off, luxe homewares on King William Road, as well as the sprawling Central Market in Adelaide’s CBD.

Burnside Village is Adelaide’s most luxurious shopping mall. Spotless, spacious and gleaming, it’s a mecca for all things glam. Fashion and lifestyle are at the forefront with more than 100 Australian and international brands on offer. The centre is a spectacle in itself, with full glass ceilings and two atriums. Natural light creates an indoor-outdoor feeling, and there are a range of cafés for that well-deserved coffee break.

Jetty Road, Glenelg is the perfect spot for a seaside shop. Only half an hour’s drive from the city on the tram, it’s a charming high street leading to the beautiful Glenelg beach. Dotted with quality restaurants, supermarkets, popular clothing and accessory stories, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your taste. Take a stroll down to the water’s edge, grab a coffee and spend the day. Nearby Holdfast Shores boasts more boutiques, restaurants and bars, overlooking the marina.

For outlet shopping, there’s nowhere better than Harbour Town. It’s only a 15 minute drive west of the city, located near the Adelaide Airport. As part of Australia’s leading direct factory outlet chain, Harbour Town also has supermarkets, cafés, homewares and sportswear.

How to keep expenses down

Everyone has their own personal budget, and the level of expenditure depends greatly on one’s accommodation location, quality and lifestyle. Click below for some basic, yet handy tips for students, families and young professionals.

  • Monitor your expenses
  • Make a workable budget
  • Choose your priorities
  • Let go of small luxuries
  • Find another source of income
  • Choose to do free outdoor activities (visiting beaches and nature parks)

Adelaide Highlights

The city of Adelaide has an an unseemingly amount of free highlights for people of all ages to enjoy! Check out the list below, or for more information please visit South Australia’s official website HERE which has information on must-see points of interest, eating and shopping locations.

  • Adelaide free bike hire down the River Torrens
  • Adelaide Botanic Gardens
  • Shopping for a bargain at the Central Markets
  • Visiting the beach-side village of Glenelg
  • Checking out the Adelaide Himeji Garden (Japanese Garden)
  • Exploring the city on a free walking-tour
  • Walking through Rundle Mall to find your favourite store
  • Visiting the South Australian Museum

More information to get you started in Adelaide


Overseas student health cover is mandatory for your student visa when coming to Australia. Not only is it great for peace of mind, it covers doctors’ appointments, hospital costs, emergency ambulance and portions of your prescription medicine.

Use the Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) tool to check the price and book your overseas health cover today.


Rental Contracts

All residential tenancies in South Australia are covered by standard terms which cannot be altered. It is the landlord’s obligation to put the agreement in writing.

The standard General Tenancy Agreement can be downloaded and used for free from the South Australian Government’s Housing website.

In Queensland, this standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement should be used for agreements between:

  • Landlord and a tenant
  • Landlord and co-tenants
  • Head-tenant and sub-tenants

Click HERE for the Residential Tenancy Agreement provided by Consumer & Business Services in South Australia.

Accommodation Options

Depending on your financial situation and whether you are a student or skilled migrant, there is never a shortage of accommodation options in Adelaide! Students can choose to reside within university accommodation, homestay, or private rentals.

The most trusted and most popular search engines for rental (and sale) or properties in Australia are and

UTILITIES (cost of)

On average, utilities in Adelaide cost around $210 to $230 per month. This includes basic electricity, heating, cooling, and water.

Depending if this is split between five people or just yourself, the average cost of your monthly or quarterly utility bill can range quite a lot! Here are the approximate costs of utility bills in Adelaide:

  • Electricity: $400 per quarter
  • Water: $270 per quarter
  • Gas: $140 per quarter
  • Internet: $120 per quarter


Entertainment is another expense you will want to factor in while you are in Australia. Ranging from going to the gym, watching a movie, taking a trip to any of the world-famous beaches or enjoying a comedy show. Below are a few different options you could add to your budget.

  • Movies (student night): $7 to $10
  • Fitness sessions: $15 to $30
  • Shows (comedy, plays etc): $30 to $50

Are you planning to move to or study in Adelaide? Great choice. Let’s get started – click HERE to get in contact with us today!