Living in Darwin

Darwin is both modern & multicultural, featuring a population made up of people from more than 60 nationalities and 70 different ethnic backgrounds. The city is characterised by its many exciting cultural festivals and weekly food and craft markets.

Darwin, NT

Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and is also a gateway to the popular Kakadu National Park. The city’s popular waterfront area has several beaches and outdoor parks. Near the waterfront is the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, displaying Southeast Asian and Pacific art, plus a pearling lugger and other seafaring vessels.

It is estimated that in 2019, there were over 2000 international students enrolled to study in the Northern Territory of Australia. The top five countries represented by international student enrolments in 2015 was Nepal, India, Philippines, China and Indonesia.


Average of $73 per week

Food. This is where budgeting gets tricky. With the rise of UberEats and MenuLog in Australia, it is getting harder to save our money and cook or prepare meals at home.

However, buying groceries and meal prepping is the most cost-efficient method. The Average cost of buying food when living in Darwin is approximately $45 to $200 per week.


Depending on your taste preferences and whether you are eating salmon or sticking with canned beans for dinner, the average meal at home will cost you much less than if you were eating out all the time.


Eating Out

Eating out will cost you a significantly more than cooking at home, with the average prices of meals in Darwin:

  • $10 for breakfast
  • $12 for lunch
  • $20 per meal at dinner.

Drinking Out

Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE. If you are a coffee drinker and you have an acquired taste for barista-made coffee, you will know we are looking at a budget killer here. An average cup of coffee in Australia is $4.20 per cup. Depending on your weekly threshold you could be looking to spend between $655 to over $1500 a year!

To save some money, you can make your own coffee at home – it is FREE.

Other than coffee, the average Aussie loves a social glass of wine or beer with their lunch. On average in Australia, a glass of wine, beer or cider ranges between $8 to $12 each, with spirits being on the more expensive end costing around $11 to $18.


Average of $175 per week

Depending on your financial situation and whether you are a student or skilled migrant, there is never a shortage of accommodation options in Darwin!

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


$25-$50 per week

When it comes to getting around, public transport is a good start and, in some areas, students travel cheaply or for free! All buses and timetables within the Darwin & Palmerston zones can be found by clicking HERE for the map and further details.

But remember, Darwin is a small city so it is easy to get around! So enjoy the bike and walking paths or hop on a bus and start exploring!

Even with its diverse suburbs and attractions, Darwin is easy city to get around. The centre of the city area offers a great network of public transport. But remember, Darwin is a small city, so it is easy to get around! Enjoy the bike and walking paths or hop on a bus and start exploring!

Have a look at the Darwin and Palmerston Timetables & Maps HERE.

Cost of Living

When you move to a new city, there’s a lot to learn about your new area – including the average costs of EVERYTHING, and it can be a lot to take in if you’re not prepared.

To make your transition into your new home in Darwin easier, it is always a good idea to know the ins and outs of the cost of living in Darwin. You can use the information on this webpage as a guide to help you prepare for your move to the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory.

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 Darwin:
    • 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 the Northern Territory:
    • 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 the Northern Territory of Australia is $68,000.
    • According to com, the following job positions are noted below with average salaries:
      • Operations Manager: $76,000
      • Property Manager: $61,000
      • Mechanical Engineer: $77,000
      • Registered Nurse: $68,000
      • Tax Accountants: $56,000
      • Account/Sales Manager: $66,000
      • Retail Store Manager: $50,000

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.


Shopping in Darwin is no great shakes as a designer shopping venue, except in terms of outback necessities, aboriginal artifacts and surf gear!

The main shopping areas are Mitchell Street and the parallel pedestrian precinct of Smith Street. Mitchell Street offers mainly tour excursion shops, cafés, bars, Internet cafés, aboriginal art and artifacts and a few other miscellaneous shops. The Smith Street pedestrian precinct is a more relaxing retail environment with fountains, outdoor cafés, bookshops, shoe shops and tourist stores.

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)

Darwin Highlights

The city of Darwin has an has no shortage of activities and adventures for absolutely everyone! Check out the list below, or for more information please visit the city of Darwin’s official website HERE which has information on must-see points of interest, eating and shopping locations.

  • Watch a tropical sunset
  • Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
  • Take a road trip to Litchfield National Park
  • Go for a swim at Berry Springs Nature Park
  • Relax at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct
  • Stroll through the Botanic Gardens
  • Spot Australian wildlife at East Point Reserve
  • Meander through the markets

More information to get you started in Darwin


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.

UTILITIES (cost of)

You can’t forget to factor in utilities. Utilities may or may not be included in your housing option. Electricity, water, gas and internet are generally split between tenants, but if you are planning on renting by yourself, this will be more costly. An average home in Darwin costs between $50 to $150 per week, however keep in mind that if you are sharing accommodation with 2 or 3 other people, the cost will greatly be reduced!


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 Darwin? Great choice. Let’s get started – click HERE to get in contact with us today!