Wondering where the best places to live in Australia are?
Australia is a place that many people dream of visiting at least once during their lifetime. However, once you visit as a tourist and see how good the quality of life is, it’s easy to start imagining what it would be like living and working in Australia.
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Australia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and modern cities. There are also endless beautiful beach towns and charming small towns surrounded by vast countryside.
The diverse options in this huge country make choosing where to live ‘down under’ difficult.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the five best places to live in Australia. Read on to discover which Aussie city is best, based on climate, atmosphere, jobs, and cost of living.
Melbourne was recently voted Australia’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and it frequently ranks in the top 10 of the best cities to live in the world.
It has been a firm favorite among expats, backpackers, and tourists for many years, resulting in an incredibly multicultural city.
Melbourne is often referred to as the cultural capital of Australia, thanks to worldwide influences, including Asia and Europe. As a result, you’ll find food from practically every country and many top-class restaurants.
Melbourne has a youthful and hipster vibe; thus, it is easily one of the best places to live in Australia for young expats and digital nomads.
The sprawling city has a picturesque riverside lined with hip bars and coffee shops where residents wind down after a long work day.
Getting around is super easy, too. The extensive tram, bus, and train system cover every corner of the city, and the service is cheap and frequent.
Jobs are plentiful here, with opportunities ranging from entry-level to highly skilled. Foreigners can find employment in all sectors, including hospitality, IT, sales, and healthcare.
Furthermore, as a creative, artsy city, the creative industries are thriving, and new startups are constantly emerging.
One downside of living in Melbourne is that the winters get extremely cold. Thus, you may struggle with Melbourne’s winter if you’re moving to Australia for year-round warmth.
What’s more, the summers get hot and crowded, as tourists flock here to escape Europe’s winter.
Melbourne is not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as Sydney. For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment costs between A$1500 and A$1800.
Luckily though, wages are typically good in Melbourne, making it an affordable place for living and working in Australia.
There is a well-known rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney. People seem to love one city and dislike the other, so if Melbourne isn’t your cup of tea, chances are Sydney will be.
Sydney is a sprawling cosmopolitan city and the economic hub of Australia, which is why many people assume it’s the capital city. Sydney has the most job opportunities and is a top place for those setting up a new business.
There are many international companies in Sydney, so many expats here have transferred across from their home country’s office. In addition, a large community of ex-backpackers found work in Sydney and decided to settle here.
Sydney is not all work and no play, though, as there are some beautiful beach suburbs where residents relax on the weekend.
Bondi, Coogee, and Manly offer a relaxed vibe compared to the business district, allowing you to strike the perfect balance between work and play.
What’s more, like Melbourne, Sydney’s food and coffee scene are exceptional, and each neighborhood is home to some gems.
The city also has a pretty efficient and affordable public transport system, which we recommend using because the roads are often heavily congested.
One significant advantage of Sydney over Melbourne is that the winters are milder here. You may not be able to swim or surf during the coldest months, but the temperatures rarely drop below 10°C.
However, living in Sydney comes with a price as it is the most expensive city in Australia. Rental costs are high, with a one-bedroom apartment costing anywhere from A$1700 to A$2500.
Perth may not have all the glitz and glam of Melbourne and Sydney, but it is still one of the best cities to live in Australia for foreigners as the largest expat community.
It is particularly popular with those looking for laid-back living as the city’s west coast location gives Perth a relaxed and remote feel.
Perth may be far away from other Aussie cities, but it has everything you could ever want or need. The city is clean, green, and beautiful, with stunning beaches and nature.
The climate is pleasant too, similar to Sydney with warm summers and mild winters.
Moreover, you won’t miss out on the cultural attractions, food scene, or sporting events of Sydney or Melbourne as Perth offers them all, although on a smaller scale. You also won’t have to deal with congestion and traffic jams.
Another reason Perth’s foreign community is so huge is the abundance of well-paid job opportunities in the mining industry. Other in-demand sectors in Perth are construction, engineering, and logistics.
The cost of living is much lower than in Melbourne and Sydney, with rent prices half the price of Sydney. What’s more, as the wages are still high, your money will go a lot further in Perth, and you’ll have the opportunity to build savings quickly.
The Gold Coast has gained a reputation for being a sleazy party town, but there is much more to this region than the strip in Surfers Paradise. The Gold Coast sits on the east coast, roughly halfway between Melbourne and Cairns.
Its location gives it a sub-tropical climate where the weather is warm and sunny all year round, and the winters are almost non-existent.
The Gold Coast has a highly laid-back atmosphere, partly because it is a cluster of towns rather than a huge city with a busy center.
It is a popular tourist and backpacker destination thanks to its vibrant nightlife, immaculate sandy beaches, world-class attractions, and theme parks.
Still, there is a significant expat community on the Gold Coast, mainly from Britain, Ireland, the USA, and Canada. Many are ex-backpackers who fell in love with the gorgeous climate, chilled vibes, and slow pace of life and never left.
The most common industry for expats is hospitality, but there are opportunities in other sectors such as health care, tourism, retail, and marketing. However, options for highly skilled professionals are limited.
Rental prices are lower here than in Melbourne and Sydney, and the properties tend to be more spacious. The monthly rental on a one-bedroom apartment is between A$1200 to A$1900.
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As a small city, Adelaide is much lesser known than Sydney and Melbourne, yet it is still one of the best cities in Australia for expats moving ‘down under.’
Its remote location in South Australia creates a unique but lovely blend between metropolitan and country life. In addition, many beaches, coastal towns, and wine regions are nearby, giving you plenty of fabulous weekend breaks.
Despite being the only major city in the state, Adelaide has everything you need. You’ll find rich music and festival scenes, an incredible and diverse range of food, many outdoor activities from hiking to surfing, along with tons of romantic things to do with your partner.
Adelaide is ideal if you want to live somewhere with high-quality facilities and amenities but with a slower pace of life than other big cities. Most expats in Adelaide opt to live in the outer suburbs or by the beach and commute into the city center.
The cost of living is in line with Perth. For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment will cost between A$1100 to A$1700.
However, the downside is that the job market in Adelaide is not as thriving as the other best Australian cities, so finding a job may be trickier.
Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In Australia
Because of the size and diversity of Australia, deciding where to live down under can be overwhelming. However, your reason for moving there should determine your choice.
Melbourne and Sydney are top choices if you want to advance your career or start a business. Or, if you are seeking a laid-back lifestyle by the beach, consider the Gold Coast or Adelaide.
Not sure if Australia is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides: