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Accommodation options and costs

Temporary or permanent accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is one of the biggest challenges facing a new international student, and finding a place in your price range can be even harder.

There is a shortage of affordable housing across Australia that affects everyone, from international students to Australian residents. It is extremely important that you factor the high cost of housing into your budget before you come to Australia, and have access to funds that will cover possible rent increases.

It is a good idea to arrange some form of temporary accommodation before you come to Australia. This will allow you time to get to know the place where you will be living and look for a more permanent place to stay.

Arranging temporary accommodation before arrival

At the very least, you will need to arrange temporary accommodation for your first few days while you look for something more permanent. Your education institution might be able to help you, or you can look up hostels and book online at www.yha.com.au or www.hostels.com

For last-minute bookings at hotels and short-stay apartments there are a number of internet booking services such as www.getaroom.com.au or www.wotif.com but city hotels in particular are expensive at upwards of A$150 per night, so you should find something cheaper as soon as possible.

Arranging permanent accommodation

Australia has a variety of high standard student accommodation available to suit different budgets and needs and there are several long-term housing options available to you.  As well as rooms or residential colleges available on-campus at some education institutions, there are hostels (rooming houses), Homestay (living with a family in their home), and rental properties (either on your own or sharing with others). Shared accommodation with other students is common and popular and student noticeboards and newspapers often advertise rooms, apartments and houses for rent.

Most accommodation, except homestay, does not include electrical items, household equipment, sheets and blankets etc. Second hand household goods are available quite cheaply, but you may wish to bring some of your own basic items.

You should use the information on this website in conjunction with your own research. If your education institution has an international office, contact them long before you arrive for information on housing options on or off campus. They might be able to provide you with links to accommodation boards on their website or within the community. They will tell you what they can or cannot arrange for you. Also, look at websites like www.domain.com.au and www.realestate.com.au that list accommodation for rent. This should give you a good idea of the type and cost of accommodation that is available.

Another good tip is to get references from people you may already have rented accommodation from in your own country. Providing copies of these to a real estate agent when you apply for a property can show them that you have a proven record of being a good tenant. You should also be prepared to provide them with evidence that you have enough money to pay for your accommodation; for example, with a bank account statement.


Homestay is when you live with a family in their home. It is popular with younger students and those studying short-term English courses. Single or shared rooms are available and the costs vary. Meals are usually included, but cheaper self-catering Homestay is available.  Another option is Farmstay, which offers the same services in a rural setting. Some education institutions maintain a register of reputable families prepared to board international students during the academic year.

You should pay for your Homestay rent and deposit (usually the equivalent of four weeks’ rent) on arrival if you have not paid before you leave home. Make sure you get a receipt each time you pay the rent.

As you will be living in someone else’s home, you will be expected to clean up after yourself, especially in shared areas. You should seek your host’s approval before you install any equipment, such as a television, in your room. If you have any questions, talk to your host and they will try to help you. If there is still a problem, contact your education institution for assistance.

It is a good idea to discuss the following issues with your host family when you first arrive. This will help you to better communicate with them, and to get the most out of your Homestay experience:

  • When should I pay the rent or phone bill?;
  • What are the rules about using the kitchen, using the telephone/internet, washing my clothes, going out and having my friends over?;
  • What time at night should I stop receiving incoming telephone calls?;
  • When is the latest I can return home after school? (For students who are in high school or under the age of 18); and
  • How much notice should I give if I decide to move out? When can I get my deposit returned?

If you’re not getting along with your Homestay family, talk to your Homestay coordinator or student services office at your institution. You won’t get in trouble, and they’ll try to help you find a solution.

Accommodation options Approximate cost
Homestay A$110–270 a week
Homestay is a great way for younger international students to immerse themselves in Australian life, and benefit from the safety and supervision of adults. Meals are usually included in the cost, but self-catering Homestay is sometimes available. Single or shared rooms are available. Institutions maintain registers of families who board international students during the academic year. Institutions check that these families are reputable and offer accommodation at a reasonable standard.
Hostels and guest houses  A$80–135 a week
Hostels are usually run by organisations such as Youth Hostels Australia and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Students share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Shared accommodation
Rental accommodation
A$70–250 a week
A$100–400 a week
Sharing off-campus accommodation is very popular with international students. You should look for advertisements on campus noticeboards and local newspapers. Expect that you will have to provide your own furniture. When renting a house, apartment or bed sitter, landlords require rent to be paid in advance, and will require a security bond equal to one months’ rent.
Boarding schools A$10,000–20,000 a year
Many private secondary schools provide accommodation, meals and laundry services for international students. Note: Tuition fees are in addition to the boarding fees.
Campus accommodation A$80–250 per week
Most universities and some vocational institutions offer a variety of accommodation on or near campus, such as apartments, residential colleges or halls of residence. The cost varies on the type of accommodation. Residential colleges are slightly more expensive and provide accommodation with meals. They may also have sporting and social facilities, tutoring, libraries and computer facilities. Halls of residence are located on or near institution campuses. Students usually have meals and some cleaning services provided. Students need to apply early because demand for places is high.

Living sustainably

Several environmental initiatives have been implemented in Australia to reduce energy and water consumption as well as to minimise waste to improve the environment and sustainability. 

Water shortages for some cities and towns have kept this vital resource as a national priority.  You are encouraged to assist by efficiently using water and power, such as gas and electricity, and separating out recyclable materials from your rubbish.

Read more at www.livinggreener.gov.au

More information

Read more about finding accommodation where you study.


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