Accommodation and Shopping in Australia

Sydney and regional cities and towns in NSW offer a wide range of choices for shoppers:

  • Supermarkets sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, frozen foods, canned goods, bread, paper products, stationery, personal needs and some non-prescription medicines. Many supermarkets have extended shopping hours and are open late at night each day of the week.

  • Large shopping centres are located in Sydney’s central business district, in Sydney suburbs and in larger regional towns. Shopping centres often include major department stores (David Jones, Myer, Target, K-Mart or Big-W), supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, Franklins), specialist retail stores (books, clothing, shoes, sportswear, music, etc), banks, cafes and fast-food outlets, and movie theatres.


  • Markets sell a wide variety of new and second-hand goods. There are a number of weekend markets, and you may be able to bargain at some stalls. Some well-known food and clothing markets in Sydney are:
  • Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket and Flemington
  • The Rocks Markets
  • The Glebe Markets
  • Bondi Markets
  • Balmain markets
  • Sydney Fish Markets

Most stores open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, with the exception of Thursday when trading hours are usually 9:00am to 9:00pm. Shops in the Central Business District and major suburban shopping centres open from 10:00am to 4:00pm Sunday.

Do’s and Don’ts in Australia

The customary enjoyment of tobacco while shopping is not tolerated in any store or restaurant and smoking on any type of public transportation or building is considered to be very unacceptable conduct.

While shopping Australia for many items, there are some tipping rules that will make the shopping go smoother. While dining with friends at lunch or dinner, it is customary to tip all servers and wait staff at least 10 percent of the final bill, and tip the people who help along the shopping path such as porters at hotels and taxi drivers who speed travelers to their next shopping destination.

Taking advantage of many travel discounts will be high on every travelers list. A visitor to Australia will have to be mindful of the time changes throughout the Continent that could have a direct effect on scheduling a vacation or a daily shopping excursion to other parts of the Continent that have not been visited yet. The time changes, in conjunction with the air travel fatigue, might overcome older travelers. It is always a good idea to keep the time factor, and time schedules for transportation and retail locations handy at all times.

Duty-free shopping is encouraged at all major airports throughout the world. For travelers that plan to visit Australia, there are rules that apply to duty-free items that arrive with the passenger at the point of entry. Travelers must declare any foreign currencies that they enter Australia with, and remember to declare tobacco products too because there is a certain limit allowed for each person that travels. Age limits will apply to travelers who bring duty-free items into Australia too.

Major Shopping Centers in Australia

  1. Chadstone Shopping Centre (Malvern East, Victoria)
  2. Knox City Shopping Centre (Wantirna South, Victoria)
  3. Westfield Fountain Gate (Narre Warren, Victoria)
  4. Westfield Parramatta  (Parramatta, New South Wales)   
  5. Westfield Southland (Cheltenham, Victoria)
  6. Westfield Bondi Junction (Bondi Junction, New South Wales)
  7. Westfield Marion (Marion, South Australia)
  8. Warringah Mall (Brookvale, New South Wales)
  9. Westfield Chermside (Chermside, Queensland)   
  10. Westfield Doncaster (Doncaster, Victoria)   
  11. Westfield Carindale (Carindale, Queensland)
  12. Highpoint Shopping Centre    (Maribyrnong, Victoria)   
  13. Castle Towers (Castle Hill, New South Wales)   
  14. Westfield Miranda (Miranda, New South Wales)   
  15. Erina Fair (Erina, New South Wales)   

Getting your furniture

As soon as you find a place to live, you will need some furniture and white goods (for example, a refrigerator) to make it liveable. This will sound obvious for you but sometimes students completely forget that they need a bed to sleep in, a fridge for the food and a washing machine to clean their clothes!
If you choose to live in your institutions accommodation, you will not usually need to buy any furniture as it is provided in on-campus accommodation.
If you choose to live off campus in accommodation you have found yourself, you may need to purchase furniture for your house.

There are different options to furnish your new home which may include renting items, purchasing new goods or buying second hand goods. Usually students choose a mix of all the options.

In this section you can find information for international students who want to buy, rent or sell furniture.

Renting Furniture

As soon as you get your new place you will need a few things like a fridge or a washing machine immediately. A great option is to rent these items for a few weeks. This will alleviate your problems for some weeks and give you some time to get the furniture you desire.

Renting is not so expensive you can get a TV, washing machine and a fridge for AU$20 per week in some stores. You will need a deposit or credit card to be able to rent these items.

Here are some popular companies to rent your furniture:

  1.  Radio Rentals (
  2.  Pabs Furniture Rentals (
  3.  Living Edge Rental (

Buying Furniture

Students usually think that is very expensive to get new furniture in Australia. However, as a student there are two stores that provide good and affordable options to furnish your new home. These stores can also deliver the furniture to our house!

Fantastic Furniture

You can find dozens of these shops around the main capital cities in Australia and they offer packages which are great if you need at lot of furntiure. To find a store near you, you can visit their website:


Everyone loves this shop when you are starting your new life in Australia. At IKEA you can find excellent items at amazing prices. You also have a big range of items to select from according to your budget. IKEA is also a great place to get little things for your house. Unfortunately, there are not many IKEAS stores in Australia yet and sometimes is difficult to get there if you do not have a car. In any case is worth to visit a shop in your city and their website:

Second Hand market

There are usually huge second hand markets for international students where you can find almost everything. Usually you can get items in good condition and at reasonable prices too.

The best way to identify these opportunities is through the signs posted around your institution. If you find something interesting do not wait! Give them a call immediately and try to arrange an appointment to see the items and make the deal.

It is also important to know that you will find high and low seasons for second hand sales. Usually, you will find great deals at the end of each semester because students are going home and need to sell their belongings.

We strongly suggest that you check the condition of second hand goods before buying them.  You should also evaluate how much money you will save if you buy them rather than buying new goods. Sometimes is just better to buy new goods if they are only a few dollars more.

We also suggest you to have a look into the “formal” second hand market. In particular for white goods like washing machines or fridges you can find shops with second hand goods. You can find these shops in the yellow pages by typing “Furniture-Secondhand”.

Selling your Furniture

Please remember that in the same way that you buy your furniture, you can sell it at a later date when you are leaving Australia to return home. This is important because you can get part of the money back if you maintain your items in good condition.

We have a few tips on how to get good money for your items:

  • Sell the items in good time (Avoid doing on the day before you leave)
  • Make a good promotion (eg. Posters with photos, Flyers)
  • Clean your goods and fix them if necessary.
  • Try to make a deal with your close friends

EBay is a good option for selling furniture. Alternatively, putting signs up at your institution can help as many other students may want what you are selling.


Australia is in need of more and more people coming , and this is the reason why there are several housing options available for everyone’s comfort and preferences. People can choose from single room apartments to small houses with yard space to huge areas or condominiums downtown. Most Australians prefer having a house and lot in suburban neighborhoods.

Land is very much in excess in comparison with the actual number of residents in any given state. Housing in major cities will generally cost more compared to living out in the province and farmlands. On average, a family of four will spend around 400 euro every month for rental or mortgage. If you are in the hunt for a house and lot, here are the latest price figures from the major cities are indicated below:

  • Sydney $528,500 (£215,400)
  • Canberra $488,800 (£199,000)
  • Melbourne $398,200 (£162,300)
  • Brisbane $388,200 (£158,200)
  • Adelaide $355,800 (£144,800)
  • Melbourne $398,200 (£162,300)
  • Perth $503,300 (£205,200)
  • Darwin $421,000 (£171,700)
  • Hobart $258,000 (£105,200)

Utilities are very affordable and some states provide free clean water to residents. A typical family will have a bill of around 100 euro every month for electricity and water consumption. Generally, middle class citizens get to buy their own house and lot after eight years. Giving an initial deposit and applying for a bank loan is common practice. Renting apartments and condominiums are not common practice compared to the United Kingdom. Public housing is also offered for lower class citizens. Part of their income automatically goes to rent.

Student Accommodation

There is a wide range of student accommodation available in Australia. These include university halls of residence, university apartments for post graduate students and privately rented independent housing. Students can also arrange a ‘Homestay’ with a local family or board at many of the private secondary schools. Once you get an admission, the university’s international office would help you find a suitable accommodation. Various options:

1. Homestay :Institutions maintain a register of families prepared to board international students during the academic year. Meals are usually included in the cost. Single or shared rooms may be offered. , and the cost will vary accordingly. Homestay is popular with younger students  and those studying short term English courses. Farmstay offers the same services in a rural setup.

Educational institutions ensure that homestay families are reputable, and that they offer accommodation of a reasonable standard. This type of accommodation gives international students access to the Australian lifestyle in a natural and friendly way. Students are often treated like members of the family.Approx. Cost : A$ 150 – A$ 200 per week

2. Share and Rental Accommodation: Students often share accommodation with fellow students. They advertise on student notice boards and in the classified section of newspapers. All members of the household are responsible for cooking and cleaning. Students may have to provide their own furniture.Approx. Cost :  A$ 70 – A$ 150 per week

3. Private Board :Private board is similar to homestay. Students negotiate personally with the landlord about the standard of accommodation and meals they require.
Approx. Cost :  A$ 50 – A$ 150 per week

4. University Apartments: Postgraduate and married students have access to this type of self contained, fully furnished accommodation within the university system.
Approx. Cost : A$ 130 – A$ 215 per week

5. Hostels and Guest Houses :Hostels are usually run by organisations such as youth Hostels Australia, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Students share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Approx. Cost :  A$ 80 – A$ 120 per week

6. University Residential Colleges :Residential Colleges provide accommodation with meal. They are slightly more expensive than university Halls of Residence The college undertakes cleaning and household tasks. Sporting and social facilities, tutoring, libraries and generally computer access are also provided. Approx. Cost :  A$ 150 – A$ 250 per week

7. Halls of Residence:Halls of residence are located on or near university campuses and are generally cheaper than residential colleges. International students find them an attractive option. Students usually have meals and some cleaning services provided. Only full time students are accepted. Students need to apply early because of the high demand for places.
Approx. Cost : A$ 100 – A$ 150 per week

Need help with housing? Looking for rental accommodation? Have a look at these.

Help with finding accommodation

Universities, TAFE colleges and other large education providers in Australia have services to provide information and advice about the different accommodation options and costs, and to help international students find appropriate accommodation to suit their needs.

This service may also be able to arrange temporary accommodation for students when they first arrive in Australia. Students have the option of contacting their Australian education provider’s accommodation service before their arrival in Australia to organise this.

Please note: the range of costs shown above are a guide only. Before you arrive in Australia it is important to contact your university, college or school’s accommodation service and ask about the accommodation options available and the costs involved.

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