Ever thought of studying in South Australia? The capital of the ‘Festival State’, Adelaide, might just be the place to go. Adelaide is well-known for its diverse cultural scene, classic architecture and unique city planning that sees the Adelaide CBD surrounded by parks on all sides, which makes for a picturesque and thriving place to live and study. Plus, compared to many of the other capital cities in Australia, Adelaide is more affordable to live in. We’ve put together a guide to the cost of living in Adelaide to give you an idea of its affordability.
Adelaide is relatively inexpensive when it comes to accommodation. Like any of the major capital cities in Australia, it’s going to cost more to live directly in the city than it is to live further out in the suburbs.
In Adelaide, you can expect to spend $170-$250 per week in a sharehouse (usually living with professionals or other students), $200-$500 per week for managed student accommodation (this price will normally include amenities like 25-hour support and internet), or $450-$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 $250-350 per week.
It’s important to weigh up these options. 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 spaces, more leisure space, and less noise. Living on or near campus can be hugely convenient, as you’ll have a minimal commute to class.
Almost all of Adelaide’s education providers have their campuses within the park-bounds of the city’s CBD. That means public transport access is very easy. For campuses outside of the city limits, there are usually frequent buses provided for students.
The city’s train network is called the Adelaide Metro. Residents are encouraged to purchase a MetroCard for all of their travel purposes. Because you’re a tertiary student, 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, tram or bus. Just ensure you carry your student ID with you in case ticket inspectors want to inquire. Also, make sure to get your MetroCard protected so that if you misplace it, you won’t lose any of the credit you’ve purchased.
Luckily for Adelaide residents, the city has after-midnight bus services on almost every bus route to and from the city. So, no matter where you live, you can still enjoy a night out at your favourite bar or a late-night study session. Taxis and Uber services are also available with the touch of your phone screen, with prices varying depending on where you live.
If you want to take full advantage of Adelaide’s food scene, you will want to make sure you set aside time to go out for meals. Adelaide is full of world-renowned restaurants, multicultural eateries and busy cafés. Plus, it’s easy to find something affordable, no matter your budget.
It’s important to remember that in Australia, waiters and servers get paid a liveable minimum wage. This means that your sandwich or salad 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, such as the United States, Australia does not have a tipping culture. Places may ask if you would like to tip, but it’s not necessary.
On average, a breakfast at a cafe in Adelaide is going to cost you $15, but be sure to budget a bit extra if you’d like to add a coffee or freshly blended juice. Australia is famous around the world for its coffee and fresh fruit and vegetables, so you can expect to get a high-quality beverage for the price you pay. For lunch, you will likely have to spend around $16, but keep an eye out for meal deals – eateries around the city will usually offer a discounted lunch with extras such as drinks. Dinner might be slightly more expensive at around $25 per meal.
Depending on your circumstances, it’s always worth planning ahead for a night out. You don’t want to accidentally splurge your weekly savings just by walking into an expensive venue! Some bars that feature music or other live entertainment will likely enforce a cover charge, but rarely more than $10. While there, you can expect a glass of wine, beer or cider to cost approximately $12 each. Spirits might be anywhere between $9-$25 depending on the venue and whether you have a desire for cocktails.
Concerts and live music can be more expensive in Australia. Performers have to spend more to travel here, and the costs associated with paying bar and security staff add up. In Adelaide, $50 or more per ticket is an expected figure to pay. For a larger act at a stadium or arena, over $100 per ticket is typical. Other events like dance or theatre performances and dance parties will usually cost $45 or more – if it’s a touring musical, tickets can be well over $100, but you’ll find discounted tickets if you’re happy to sit nearer the back of the theatre. Always make sure you investigate the weekly city guides, as there are plenty of regular free events taking place around Adelaide.
A movie at any of the city’s cinemas will likely cost over $20 for an adult ticket, which may sound like a lot compared to Netflix at home. However, as a student in Australia, you will often find cheaper student or concession tickets available (just keep your student ID on you) – some cinemas even offer ‘student nights’ with tickets as low as $8. Also make sure you take advantage of any cinema membership programs that will get you discounted tickets and free popcorn and drinks.
If you prefer to spend your downtime at the gym, a membership at one of the more common gym franchises like Goodlife, Zap Fitness or Anytime Fitness, will cost upwards of about $15 per week. Make sure to ask about any student discounts on memberships or classes. Alternatively, joining your education provider’s gym or sports teams could be a much more affordable option.
For more information on the cost of living in Adelaide, make sure to check out our Cost of Living Calculator.