Living in Canberra: The Cost of Living and Water Costs

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is known for its beautiful parks, top-quality schools, and vibrant cultural scene. As a result, many Aussies are attracted to this well-planned city to enjoy a high-quality lifestyle. However, the cost of living in Canberra can be a significant factor to consider when deciding to move to this charming city. In this article, we will give you an overview of various living expenses in Canberra.

Housing Costs


A major part of your living expenses in Canberra will be housing costs. Renting a house or an apartment in the city can be quite expensive. For a single-bedroom apartment in the city centre, you can expect to pay around $1,800 to $2,000 per month. If you prefer living outside the city centre, the rent for a similar apartment will be about $1,400 to $1,700 per month.

If you are planning to buy a house, the cost will depend on the location and size of the property. On average, a three-bedroom house in Canberra can cost around $700,000 to $800,000. However, there are more affordable options in the outer suburbs, where you can find houses for around $500,000 to $600,000. Keep in mind that these prices can change depending on the housing market and the specific suburb you choose to live in.

Transportation Costs

Getting around Canberra can be done by using public transportation, biking, or driving. If you rely on public transportation, a monthly MyWay card for buses and light rail will cost around $150 for adults and $60 for students. If you prefer driving, petrol prices in Canberra are usually similar to other major Australian cities, averaging around $1.60 to $1.70 per litre. Additionally, you will need to budget for car insurance, registration, and maintenance costs.

Grocery and Food Costs

Groceries in Canberra can be more expensive compared to other Australian cities. For a family of four, the average monthly grocery bill can range from $600 to $1,200, depending on your food choices and shopping habits. Dining out in Canberra is also relatively expensive, with a meal at an average-priced restaurant costing around $40 per person. However, there are more affordable options like cafes and fast-food restaurants where you can have a meal for $10 to $15.

Utilities and Communication Costs


When living in Canberra, you will need to budget for utilities like electricity, gas, and internet. The average quarterly electricity bill for a 2 person household is around $500, while gas bills can be around $172 per quarter. Internet plans in Canberra can vary in price, but you can expect to pay around $60 to $100 per month for a decent connection.

Water Costs

As a resident of Canberra, it is important to consider the cost of water when planning your living expenses. Water costs in Canberra are generally higher than in other parts of Australia, mainly because the city relies on water supplied from a few sources like the Cotter, Googong, and Murrumbidgee River systems. This makes managing water resources in Canberra challenging and requires a well-planned infrastructure system.

The water usage rate in Canberra is divided into three tiers, depending on the amount of water used:

  1. Tier 1: First 50kL per quarter, the cost is around $2.28 per kilolitre.
  2. Tier 2: In excess of 50kL per quarter, the cost is around $4.58 per kilolitre.

In addition to the water usage rate, you will also be charged a quarterly supply charge, which is around $200.

To keep your water costs low, it is essential to use water efficiently and prevent wastage. Simple actions like fixing leaking taps, installing water-saving showerheads, and using a dual-flush toilet can help reduce water consumption and save on your water bills.

Education and Childcare Costs


If you have children, you will need to consider the cost of education and childcare in Canberra. Public schools in Canberra are generally free, but you may need to pay for school uniforms, books, and other supplies. Private schools in Canberra can be quite expensive, with annual fees ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 per child, depending on the school.

Childcare costs in Canberra are also relatively high, with the average cost of a long day care centre being around $110 to $145 per day. However, the Australian government offers financial assistance for eligible families, which can help reduce these costs.

In conclusion, the cost of living in Canberra can be expensive, especially when considering housing, utilities, and water costs. However, the city offers a high standard of living with excellent schools, healthcare, and recreational facilities. By managing your expenses and using resources efficiently, you can enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life in Canberra.

Bogdan Radicanin
Bogdan Radicanin

My name is Bogdan Radicanin, but everyone calls me Boba. I also work as a full-time musician. I approach both jobs with a lot of passion, and I believe that's what makes me successful.