Moving to Australia? Want the hot weather? Here’s what you need to know about Living in Darwin and what it’ll cost you. 

The fifth in our series of ‘affordable places to live in Australia’ is Darwin. Darwin is the tropical state capital of Northern Territory (NT). It is the northernmost city in Australia, making the summers very wet, hot and humid. Due to its proximity to Asia and being a popular stopover destination, ‘Top Enders’ enjoy a vast and exciting food scene. It has a world renowned university, extensive wartime history, vibrant markets, expansive national parks and celebrates Australian culture and lifestyle with local festivals. There’s no doubt Darwin is an evolving and liveable city, but what will it cost you? 

The cost of living in Darwin?

Renting Vs Buying Property

The average wage in NT is higher than the national average but renting here can be more expensive than a mortgage! If you’re working in hospitality it can be a lot more chilled and you will generally get penalty rates at weekends, unlike some busier cities. In Darwin, average rental price on a 3 bedroom house is $1952pcm where the average mortgage price is around $1800pcm (down payment depending). In this article we will assume that you are not buying as soon as you move there and will focus on rental costs.

Beers and Coffee

The cost of living in remote Darwin can creep up on you, so here are some basics to consider. Darwinians are paying a massive $5.14 for a medium cappuccino, the highest in the country! An inexpensive meal out could cost around $25 which is high compared to other cities. However, there are a lot of cheaper places to eat including regular markets, so don’t be put off! Thankfully, the price of a draught beer is the lowest in the country at around $7.25. There is another necessity to consider for Darwin. Due to its remoteness a lot of national events or tours include the city on their run. This means if you want to go and see a gig in neighbouring Queensland you will have to catch a 3.5 hour flight to Brisbane costing around $300 return. 

Living in central Darwin

City Centre

The centre of Darwin is relaxed but full of things to do. It has everything from museums, waterfront bars, crocodile attractions and endless diverse eateries. There are lots of beaches and waterfront areas but you won’t be able to swim half of the year because of the jellyfish and crocs! If you want to be walking distance from the action your rental cost will be around $440pw

Inner Suburbs

You may also want to consider some of the inner suburbs like Fanny Bay or Stuart Park. Both suburbs are less than 10 minute drive to Central Darwin and monthly rent comes in around $380pw. Fanny Bay is more ‘Old Darwin’ with more space and historic features, while Stuart Park sits near the highway and is being regenerated with more marina view flats for professionals working in the city.

Other suburbs of Darwin to consider

The great thing about it being such a small city is that the suburbs are relatively close to the centre but still retain a ‘community’ feel to them. 

Wulagi is a beautiful green suburb to consider. It has access to lots of parks and walking trails, whilst still being near roads to get into or out of the city. It is quiet and has great access to the airport and primary schools so is popular with families. Average rent here is around $430pw.

Rosebery ranks highly as a suburb. It is about a 20minute drive to central Darwin and unit rental costs here are about $350pw. It has great access to school and parks making it very popular for families. Most of the residents comment on how clean and safe the streets are here, but you will need to travel for any sort of nightlife. 

Darwin’s cheapest suburbs

Darwin is not the cheapest place to live in Australia. If you’re really looking to save money you can look to one of Darwin’s cheapest suburbs but there are a few to avoid, like Moulden and Karama.

However, you can try somewhere more highly rated but affordable like Nightcliffe. It has good CBD commute time, and great beach and school access. It tends to attract a younger clientele. Average rental costs $320pw.

Always do your research before you commit

Darwin has a reputation for being a large, remote country town with a few issues that are typical of far flung destinations. As with all cities there are some suburbs that have high rates of alcohol related crime and property break ins but Dawin really is a place to consider for that Aussie weather and laid back lifestyle. You can access the sacred, world renowned Uluru in the Red Centre in less time than it would take you to tackle Sydney’s worst commuter traffic!

If you’re moving to Australia permanently, we suggest also having a read of our articles on Brisbane and Perth if you want the weather but still aren’t sure where to go! The rest of our blog posts include other useful things to know about moving to Australia so be sure to have a look through!

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