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If you’re considering moving to Australia but aren’t sure where to live, this Melbourne vs Adelaide living comparison aims to help you work out which city better suits your needs.

I moved over from the UK in 2015, and after travelling much of the coastline, have found that Australian states and cities vary enormously. Choosing where to live in Australia can be tough in such a large, diverse country.

In this post, you’ll find out important differences such as Melbourne vs Adelaide cost of living, real estate costs, climate, rental prices and general lifestyle. Keep reading to learn more or watch my YouTube video below!

1. Where are Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia?

Adelaide and Melbourne are both located on the eastern end of the south coast of Australia. Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, and Adelaide is the capital of South Australia.

The distance between Melbourne and Adelaide is 735 km via the shortest, inland route, which takes over 8 hours to drive and 1 hour 15 minutes to fly.

For a more in-depth overview of each city, check out my blog posts on Adelaide lifestyle and Melbourne lifestyle.

Melbourne Adelaide map.

2. Melbourne vs Adelaide Population

With around 5.2 million inhabitants, Melbourne is significantly more populated city than Adelaide, which only has approximately 1.3 million residents. You’ll find Adelaide a lot easier to drive around, as it’s more compact.

Shoppers in Melbourne city on a sunny day.

3. Adelaide vs Melbourne Weather

Melbourne and Adelaide sit relatively close together in Australian terms, but there are some differences in their climates. Here are some stats from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Summer Temperatures & Humidity

In Adelaide’s hottest month, January, the average maximum temperature in Adelaide is 29.6 degrees, and the average minimum temperature overnight is 17.3 degrees.

In February, Melbourne’s hottest month, the average maximum temperature in Melbourne is 25.9 degrees, and the average minimum temperature overnight is 14.6 degrees. So, you’ll find summers cooler in Melbourne than Adelaide.

Whilst it’s hotter, Adelaide has less humid summers than Melbourne, with 3pm relative humidity of 36% in February, compared to 48% in Melbourne. Both cities are less humid than many of the more northern cities though, such as Brisbane.

The Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia.
Melbourne in the summer

Winter Temperatures

In the coldest month, July, the average maximum temperature is 15.4 degrees in Adelaide, and the average overnight minimum temperature is 7.6 degrees.

The average maximum temperature in Melbourne in July is 13.5 degrees and the average overnight minimum temperature is 6.0 degrees.

So again, Melbourne is cooler than Adelaide in winter, but only by a couple of degrees.

Infographic of temperatures in Melbourne vs Adelaide.


One of the biggest differences between the climate in Adelaide and Melbourne is the amount of sunshine the cities get. While Melbourne only gets an average of 49 clear days per year, Adelaide enjoys an average of 89 sunny days per year!


Adelaide is also slightly less rainy than Melbourne, with an average of 82 rainy days (>1mm) and 541 mm per year, compared to 100 rainy days and 648 mm in Melbourne.

For comparison, Brisbane has 1,149 mm of rain per year and Sydney has 1,213 mm.

Adelaide and Melbourne both have rainier winters than summers, the opposite of some of the more northern cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.

Infographic of the sun and rain per year in Adelaide vs Melbourne, Australia.

Weather Summary

In summary, Adelaide has warmer weather than Melbourne year-round with more sun, less rain and lower humidity.

4. Beaches in Melbourne v Adelaide

If you’re wondering whether Melbourne or Adelaide is better for beaches, you’ll find that both cities have a decent selection.

People on Henley Beach in Adelaide, South Australia.
Calm water at pretty Henley Beach, Adelaide

It’s worth noting that most of Melbourne’s beaches are situated along Port Phillip, and Adelaide’s beaches lie along the St Vincent Gulf. These protected locations makes the water much calmer than it tends to be at beaches in Sydney or Perth that face directly out on to the crashing ocean waves.

This is great for swimmers but means you may have to travel further from the city to reach surf beaches.

People walking along the promenade at St Kilda beach in Melbourne.
St Kilda Beach in Melbourne

5. Melbourne and Adelaide Time Difference and Daylight Savings

Melbourne and Adelaide both have daylight saving and a similar number of daylight hours. The Melbourne Adelaide time difference is 30 minutes, with Melbourne being ahead of Adelaide.

In the height of summer, sunset is around 8:45 pm in Melbourne and 8:30 pm in Adelaide.

6. Melbourne vs Adelaide Cost of Living

Let’s find out if the cost of living in Adelaide or Melbourne is lower.

Property Prices in Melbourne Versus Adelaide

According to this CoreLogic property report from February 2024, the median house value in Adelaide was $774,969 in January 2024, compared to $942,750 in Melbourne.

That means that Melbourne houses are 19% more expensive to buy, on average, than those in Adelaide.

The median value of a unit (flat) in January 2024 was $490,313 in Adelaide and $608,181 in Melbourne.

This makes Melbourne units 24% more expensive to buy, on average, than units in Adelaide.

Learn more in my blog post on Australian property prices and trends.

A suburban street in Adelaide.
The Adelaide suburbs

Rental Prices in Adelaide Versus Melbourne

From this Corelogic report for Melbourne, the median weekly rent in January 2024 was $550 for houses and $540 for units in Melbourne.

This Corelogic report for Adelaide states that the median weekly rent in January 2024 was $570 for houses and $480 for units in Adelaide.

Read my blog post on rent in Australia to learn how rent compares across the Australian cities and how to find a rental property.

Cost of Utilities

According to Numbeo, the average cost of electricity, heating, water and garbage for an 85 metre-squared apartment in Melbourne is $311 per month, compared to $462 per month in Adelaide.

Public Transport

The same article calculated the average cost of a monthly public transport pass in Adelaide to be $121, compared to $200 in Melbourne.

Food Prices

The article also found that groceries are 13.1% cheaper in Melbourne than in Adelaide, and that restaurant prices are 25.5% lower in Melbourne.

In summary, Melbourne is more expensive than Adelaide for buying property but cheaper than Adelaide for utility bills. Renting a house is more expensive in Adelaide, but renting a unit is more expensive in Melbourne. Food is cheaper in Melbourne, but public transport costs more.

7. Living in Adelaide vs Melbourne – Lifestyle

With a long run of beaches on one side and the beautiful Adelaide Hills on the other, Adelaide offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, particularly with its sunny, dry climate.

Adelaide’s relatively small size means you can reach attractions quickly and spend less time sitting in traffic. Popular places for day trips include the Adelaide Hills and wine regions such as Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

Leather shop and gallery in Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills.
German-influenced Hahndorf village in the Adelaide Hills

Despite being a lot smaller than Melbourne, Adelaide still has a decent-sized city centre with some beautiful old buildings. You’ll find a choice of shops, restaurants, bars with live music, markets, art galleries and museums.

Adelaide has a strong arts scene and is well known for hosting cultural events such as the Adelaide Film Festival and Adelaide Fringe.

Other Adelaide attractions include Mount Lofty, for amazing views across the region, the botanic gardens, river cruises and wine tours.

Shoppers in Adelaide CBD.
Adelaide CBD

Melbourne is bigger, busier and more hipster than Adelaide. It has a reputation for being very arty and having a sophisticated coffee culture. Try heading to Degraves Street in the city to see typical Melbourne laneway cafes.

You’ll see colourful street art, unique boutique shops, vintage stores and plenty of nightlife in Melbourne. Check out funky Fitzroy to see Melbourne’s quirkiness at its best. Learn more in my list of top things to do in Melbourne.

Suburban cafes in Melbourne.
Cafes and restaurants in Melbourne
Street art down a Melbourne laneway.
Melbourne laneway street art

8. Travel Destinations Near Adelaide and Melbourne

You can reach some fantastic holiday destinations from Adelaide and Melbourne. The drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is pretty stunning too and goes along the famous Great Ocean Road!

If you’re a nature lover, a fun weekend trip just 156 km from Adelaide is Coorong National Park. Camp by the 130 km-long Coorong lagoon that’s separated from the ocean by sand dunes, and check out the salt lakes and nature walks.

Further afield, 450 km from Adelaide, is the unusual volcanic city of Mount Gambier. Top things to do in Mount Gambier include exploring the beautiful sunken garden inside Umpherston Sinkhole and walking the 3.6 km trail around the Blue Lake, which is a bright cobalt colour during the summer months.

Other vacation spots near Adelaide include Kangaroo Island, the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Yorke Peninsula. Head over to my South Australia travel page to discover more destinations.

Stunning bright Blue lake in Mount Gambier.
Blue Lake, Mount Gambier

Melbourne is also blessed with a choice of beautiful destinations nearby. As well as coastal towns and rainforest, you can even drive to ski resorts in the Snowy Mountains!

Gippsland Lakes is a popular coastal park just 253 km from Melbourne and the largest expanse of inland waterways in the southern hemisphere! Sand dunes known as 90-Mile Beach separate the system of lakes and lagoons from the ocean.

Closer by, Wilsons Promontory National Park is only 220 km from Melbourne and has beautiful hikes around bays, beaches and rivers with a backdrop of granite mountains.

A few other popular places to visit from Melbourne are Phillip Island, where you can see the Penguin Parade, the Dandenong Ranges and surf town such as Lorne and Torquay.

Coastal scenery in Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Stunning scenery at Wilsons Promontory National Park

Melbourne or Adelaide, which is better for your needs? If you prefer sunnier weather and don’t mind being in a small, laidback city, Adelaide might be the right choice. If you want a bit more going on and a more hipster scene, Melbourne could be a better option.

If you’re thinking about other cities in Australia, check out my page on where to live in Australia, which has plenty of city comparisons and lifestyle overviews. Here are a few to get you started.

If Adelaide sounds too small and quiet for you, read about the differences between living in Sydney and Melbourne.

To learn about another small city, but with cheaper property than Adelaide, check out my comparison of Adelaide vs Perth or Perth vs Melbourne.

If Melbourne sounds too hectic, and you’re not bothered about beaches, learn how Canberra compares to Adelaide.

I hope that has helped you decide whether living in Adelaide is better than Melbourne or vice versa. Best of luck deciding!

Lisa Bull
Written by Lisa Bull

Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.