Housing and cost of living in the Northern Territory

Housing

Housing styles vary greatly in Australia's Northern Territory (NT), from large houses and apartments to more compact living.

In the tropical north elevated houses with louvered windows and ceiling fans are common.

Also typical are large outdoor living areas, verandas and swimming pools.

Many houses have tropical gardens with dense foliage.

In the south there are more traditional Australian house designs. These are typically ground-level brick houses with wide shady verandas to keep the house cool.

House and unit prices differ across the NT. For more information about housing costs go to the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory website.

The Northern Territory Government offers a range of incentives to support first homebuyers. Further information is on the Northern Territory Government website.

Cost of living

The small population in the NT and vast freight distances mean you do pay higher prices for many goods.  Shorter travelling distances in urban areas often provide savings.

Depending on where you live in the NT local markets can offer locally grown produce as an alternative to supermarket shopping.

Accommodation options for international students

Options available for international students include purpose-built student accommodation, boarding facilities, private rentals and homestays.

Factors to consider when selecting accommodation:

  • How close is it to your education and training providers?
  • What is nearby? (shops, parks, restaurants, public transport)
  • Does everything work?
  • Is the area safe and is the building secure?
  • Is it noisy?
  • Always confirm the total cost and any other expenses you may be required to pay, such as a bond and utility fees, and ensure they are included in your accommodation agreement.

You’re legally obliged to pay for your accommodation, cleaning and maintenance expenses on time. You also have the legal right to feel secure in your property, and to live in accommodation that is well maintained with working electricity and water.

If you have problems with your accommodation, talk to your real estate agent or landlord (if renting), your international student support staff for on-campus living or your homestay service providers.

Alternatively contact the Tenants’ Advice Service, a Territory-wide, community-based advice and advocacy service for residential tenants.

International students under 18 years of age must have suitable accommodation and welfare arrangements while they are studying in Australia.

On-campus accommodation at Charles Darwin University

International House Darwin is located next to Charles Darwin University’s campus and is home to up to 360 residents from 41 countries. There are a range of cultural, sporting and social activities for residents to engage in, providing relief from the rigour of study.

Find out more on the International House Darwin website.

UniLodge

UniLodge is a purpose-built student home located in the Casuarina shopping precinct just 800m from the Charles Darwin University campus, right next to the Casuarina bus interchange. UniLodge is open to students studying with all education providers.

Accommodation options include self-contained, air-conditioned studios and shared apartments with modern study rooms and common areas.

Read more on the UniLodge website.

Boarding

Boarding facilities are available in Darwin at St John’s College and Marrara Christian College, and in Alice Springs at St Philip’s College Alice Springs.

Private rental accommodation

You can rent or lease a property by yourself or with friends. This can be done through a real estate agent or privately.

Living in a private rental is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Australian culture. To find shared accommodation, check noticeboards on campus, the Saturday edition of the local newspaper, the NT News, or for a list of more than thirty rental agencies, go to Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory website.

If you are renting a property through a real estate agent or landlord, you may be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. This is a contract that will include agreements about how much rent you will pay and whether a bond is required. You will also need to complete an entry condition report that shows any damage to the premises before you move in.

Check out the tips offered by a real estate expert to international students on finding and securing private rental in Australia’s Northern Territory.

View the expert tips to securing private rental in Australia's Northern Territory video transcript.

Homestay

Living with a homestay family gives you the opportunity to learn about the Australian lifestyle and improve your English language skills.

In homestay accommodation, you have your own bedroom and study desk and may share or have your own bathroom. The homestay family provides two meals a day on weekdays and three meals on weekends. Homestay fees vary, depending on the meals and services provided.

Homestay arrangements can include guardianship arrangements for students under 18 years of age. It can be for a few weeks when you first arrive, for a full year or longer.

Backpacker hostels

Backpacker hostels can be a great short-term solution, affordable, while seeking a long-term accommodation option. Most backpacker hostels are located in Darwin city, a short stroll away from the wide range of eateries and shops, and provide air-conditioned four, six or eight bed dorms, double or twin private rooms. Staying in a backpacker hostel on arrival is a great way of getting to know a city and making connections from day one.

View of house in Alice Springs and the front garden