* Miners gain 1.8% as iron ore prices rise

* Australia's consumer sentiment for April dipped

* Traders await U.S. inflation data

April 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Tuesday, propelled by bellwether miners as iron ore prices surged, even as investors were cautious ahead of key U.S. inflation data due Wednesday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index crept up 0.5% to 7,824.200 at the close of trade. The benchmark closed 0.2% higher on Monday.

Globally, investors await the U.S. consumer price index data, a key inflation gauge, hoping it will clear the air on the Federal Reserve's monetary easing timeline. Expectations of a U.S. rate cut in June have ebbed after strong jobs data for March.

Back in Sydney, a survey suggested Australian consumer sentiment fell further in April, reflecting the local consumers' lessening confidence on the Aussie economy.

"In a positive for the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia), leading indicators of price pressures – while still elevated – continued to subside. This suggests that inflation is likely to continue trend back towards the RBA’s target," Jarek Kowcza, a senior economist at Westpac said.

"This will be a slow process and upside risks cannot be ruled out, but progress has been positive so far."

On the resource-heavy bourse, heavyweight miners led the charge with a 1.8% gain as iron ore prices continued to rise on hopes for improved demand in top buyer China.

Sector behemoth Rio Tinto rose 3.2% while BHP Group gained 1.8%.

Financials rose 0.5% with the so called "Big Four" banks ending 0.6% to 1% higher.

The utilities sector rose 1% while industrials gained 0.6%.

Bucking the trend, health stocks lost 0.6%, with Australia's priciest stock CSL falling 0.4%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index shed 0.5% to finish the session at 11,916.78, ahead of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy decision. The market expects the island country to cling onto its cash rate of 5.50% on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Rajasik Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)