I’m originally from the land down under. Back in the early 2000s, I remember loads of people from Europe flocking over to Australia to enjoy their holidays and to even settle over here due to the abundant sunshine and the lower cost of living when compared to Europe. The sunshine is still here, but the cost of living has risen significantly.
Nonetheless, I have chosen to return home to the land of oz. And I still continue to work in a remote working lifestyle, which I would consider myself to still be a digital nomad.
In this post, I want to let you know that it is possible to be a digital nomad in this country. Although you shouldn’t expect to find the ridiculously cheap standard of living when you compare it to places like Thailand or Indonesia. But I can definitely say that the quality of life that you can get over here is almost second to none.
I will talk through some of my observations and you can decide for yourself whether or not you would like to consider being a digital nomad in Australia.
The cost of living.
Australia isn’t a cheap country, but you can live modestly if you look in the right areas. Some of the things that surprised me were the cost of accommodation if you look outside of major cities like Sydney.
Going out to restaurants costs a lot more due to higher staff wages and regulations that restaurants have to abide by. For me personally, opting to give a teenager $15 an hour compared to paying for a cheap meal in Burma where kids as young as 6 years old are being exploited as staff sits well with me. That being said, there are places where you can find inexpensive meals. And if you aren’t a health nut, you can even pickup pizza’s from Dominoes for as little as $5.
They have 24h gyms like Anytime fitness, whose memberships can be as little as $50 a month. When I was in Indonesia or Malaysia, I did pay almost twice as much; even though the gym there was classed as a “luxury gym”.
Right now, I am based in Queensland, Australia and I can say that the rental market isn’t that much different when compared to other places in the world. It does cost more, but then we get much more space and the accommodation is quite modern. For example, it is possible to get a studio apartment for under $300 a week. But it is also possible to get a decent 1 or 2 bedroom place for $300-400 a week, depending on the location and the rental demand. You will also need to factor in another $100 a month in costs.
You need to keep an eye out for where to shop. The two big supermarkets are Woolworths and Coles. There is also Aldi and Spar. You will need to shop around to find the best deals. More often than not, you will be better off buying fruits and vegetables from the farmers or markets, as you will be able to purchase them in bulk.
It is possible to spend about $50 a week on groceries for one person, although for us as a couple, we tend to spend anything from $70-140 a week. You can buy bread for $0.85 and there are always food items on special. You just need to shop savvy.
If you want to stay in hotels or paid accommodation, it will cost you a fair bit in Australia. Weekend getaways can be quite pricey and it is often cheaper to fly abroad and have a luxury trip than to travel within the country.
That being said, you can opt to go camping or caravanning and save a bundle. Many travellers purchase or rent a campervan or motorhome and travel up and down the Australian coast. You could easily travel around Australia for approximately $50 a day. You can park your vehicle at public caravan parks or even nest close to the beach and gaze upon the stars.
Australia is a place that you will enjoy if you like the outdoors.
As I mentioned before, it is a place that is abundant in sunshine and people love doing outdoor activities. You can easily keep yourself entertained with free or almost free activities such as:
- beach activities
The cost of living really depends on the lifestyle that you want to have in Australia. You might not get the $500 a month villa that you would in Chiang Mai or Bali, but if you want to be immersed in the Australian lifestyle, it is possible on a $2000 per person per month budget. Sydney and Melbourne will be the most expensive cities to be based in, but it is possible to live in those places while paying around $2000-3000 a month.
Work from Regus’ virtual office for free.
There are several co-working spaces and coffee shops that you can work from. But I found that it is just as convenient to work from your local library or even the Regus office. They offer a blue membership which provides you with access to their lounge. This membership is free and allows you to work in a corporate setting.
I personally prefer to work in my own home office. So having a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment suits my needs much more.
Finding work and earning an income in Australia.
You can find online work on sites like Upwork or by researching some of the local job boards like Seek.com.au or Gumtree.com.au. Although, I’d recommend referring to my digital nomads job board list as your first port of call. You really need to generate an income of $2000 a month or more to live comfortably in Australia. Otherwise you will find the country too expensive to live and work in.
That being said, Australia is a fairly easy country to earn an income in. Worst case scenario, you can work part time at another company or business and then work 4-5 days a week on your own project.
Do you have any thoughts about being a digital nomad in Australia? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.