Which City to Move to in Australia
Moving to Australia offers a wealth of opportunities for those who live here – so much so that it is known as the “lucky country”. Its eight states and territories have distinctly individual climates, cultures and characteristics, so if you are considering relocating and are deciding where to move to in Australia, you will be spoilt for choice.
Whether you prefer the subtropical climes of Queensland to the cooler winters of Canberra or the hustle and bustle of a metropolis like Sydney to the quieter laid-back lifestyle of Darwin, there is a place for you.
Australia’s richly diverse cities and stunning natural beauty make it perfect for living, working and playing wherever you decide to call home.
Home to around 1.3 million people, Adelaide is known for its Mediterranean climate, relaxed lifestyle and excellent quality of life, so it’s no surprise the South Australian capital has been ranked the fifth-most liveable city in the world for the second time in a row.
World-class winemaking regions – the Barossa and Clare valleys – and kilometres of beautiful beaches and coastline are right on your doorstep.
Often described as a ‘big country town’, Adelaide lacks the hustle and bustle of bigger cities but boasts a great foodie culture, sprawling green parklands, arts festivals, good public transport and affordable housing.
Who should move here: families and young professionals who want to live in a city but without the big city prices.
Brisbane (or ‘Brisvegas’ as it is sometimes called) is Australia’s third-largest city, and with its humid subtropical climate, has warmer weather than both Sydney and Melbourne.
Two million people call Brisbane home, but it is still a much more relaxed and laidback place than you might imagine for a capital city. Brisbane is built around the Brisbane River and is famous for its South Bank - 17 hectares of lush riverside parklands, cultural institutions, restaurants and Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach which is surrounded by white sand and sub-tropical plants.
Housing in Brisbane is much more affordable than in Sydney and Melbourne, with inner city homes still within reach and houses on large parcels of land easily within driving distance.
The Sunshine State’s capital is a favourite with outdoorsy types and young families and there is much here for retirees.
Who should move here: almost anyone thinking of making the move to Australia.
One of Australia’s smallest cities, Canberra is the country’s capital and home to Australia’s Parliament. Its population is just under 500,000 and it has a dry climate that gets its fair share of cold, wintery conditions, including frost.
The Australian Capital Territory capital houses some of Australia’s most important national monuments, organisations and institutions, including the National Library, the National Museum, the High Court, the mint and Australia’s war memorial.
Divided in the centre by Lake Burley Griffin, move to Canberra and you’ll find it is small and compact, works on a grid system and is reasonably flat so many people get around by bicycle. As you’d expect there’s a large population of government workers – both State and Federal – but at least half the working population is employed in the private sector, so there are plenty of business opportunities.
There’s a large student population too, attending the prestigious Australia National University or other tertiary institutions.
Who should move here: families, professional business people and older migrants will feel right at home here.
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Darwin is, without doubt, the most laid-back city in the country. It is by far the hottest Australian capital, with wet and dry seasons thanks to its near-tropical location. It’s hot all year round and benefits from balmy nights, however, the weather can come as a shock to those who are not acclimatised.
Just around 100,000 people live here but for those residents, its size is part of Darwin’s charm. It’s a huge multicultural melting pot which is celebrated through Darwin’s eclectic festivals, markets, food and daily life and it also has the largest Indigenous population of any city in Australia.
The Northern Territory capital boasts incredible natural beauty and remarkable wildlife at every turn and is the gateway superb natural landmarks including the Outback, Kakadu National Park, and Uluru.
Because of its relative isolation Darwin is expensive, a with reasonably high cost of living and a pricey real estate market, but anyone who loves a blend of cultures and relaxed lifestyle should find it worthwhile.
Who should move here: laid-back people who love heat, mid-size city living, and natural and cultural wonders.
The slogan for Australia’s Gold Coast is “famous for fun” and that’s right on the mark. A modern city built on 57km of beautiful coastline with sparkling high-rise buildings, the Gold Coast is a giant playground of water sports, theme parks and exciting nightlife – all with year-round sunshine.
Queensland’s second most populous city is home to half a million people and is a diverse, cosmopolitan place to live. The iconic Surfer’s Paradise is the ultimate beach-to-nightlife destination so it’s no wonder it attracts 12 million visitors a year.
This relatively young area is still growing and evolving but there is significant investment in infrastructure and it will play host to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Aside from eating, shopping and heading to the beach, the Gold Coast backs on to stunning vast subtropical rainforests which can be easily explored.
While cost of living and house prices are still very affordable, the price of real estate is rising strongly.
Who should move here: anyone who loves living in a vibrant modern city with plenty of excitement will be right at home on the Gold Coast.
Australia’s second-largest city is a cultural and sporting mecca and famous for having “four seasons in one day”, where the weather changes unexpectedly and frequently in matters of hours. It is a bit colder than rival Sydney but its four million residents rest easy in the knowledge it has been named the world’s most liveable city five years in a row.
Melbourne is Australia’s most ‘European’ city, with its numerous street art-emblazoned laneways that house bars, cafes and restaurants. It sits on the banks of the Yarra River, has an enviable tram system and is renowned for its coffee culture.
It’s also very multicultural city and has large pockets of Greek, Italian, Chinese and Indian residents. It is home to Monash University and the University of Melbourne and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top cities for students.
Melbourne may not be as expensive as Sydney when it comes to cost of living, but it’s still quite pricey.
Who should move here: the outer suburbs suit families, while up-and-comers and young professionals who can afford inner city living will thrive.
Perth might be the most isolated state capital in the world, but the Western Australian city has come of age in the last few years. Perth gets more hours of sunshine than any other Australian city so it’s no wonder its 1.25 million residents champion the outdoor lifestyle.
Nestled on the banks of the Swan River and not far from the Indian Ocean, the jewel in Perth’s its crown is Kings Park. It’s a popular 400 hectare protected park and bushland, minutes from the CBD, which offers spectacular views over the city, river and over to the Darling Ranges.
The mining boom in Australia’s largest state has brought a wealth of opportunity and investment. The impressive waterfront development is well underway, the eclectic and inspiring ‘small bar scene’ is booming and Perth now claims the largest Fringe Festival in the southern hemisphere.
A few hours south is the famous Margaret River Wine Region, while port city Fremantle is a short drive or train journey. The boom has driven up house prices and the cost of living, however, outlying suburbs on decent-sized blocks are still affordable.
Most people drive to get around Perth and there is a large UK migrant population in the northern corridor by the beach.
Who should move here: families and young couples are especially suited to this city.
Often incorrectly assumed to be Australia’s capital city, Sydney is its most populous, with some 4.6 million people calling it home. The New South Wales capital, Sydney has its famous harbour, beaches and iconic landmarks (think Bondi Beach, the Opera House, Darling Harbour) and is Australia’s oldest city.
Hugely popular with those relocating Down Under, Sydney is a culturally diverse, bustling metropolis and has everything you would expect from a world-class city – and that includes the cost.
It is the most expensive in Australia and regularly features on lists of the most expensive cities in the world, so housing is costly. However, Sydney has vast amounts of natural beauty, a huge cultural beating heart and epic entertainment scene. It also hosts to the famous Sydney Mardi-Gras – Australia’s biggest LGBT parade – and with several world-class universities, it has been named the sixth best city for students globally.
Sydney’s winters are reasonably mild, its summers hot and pleasant and, like its peer cities on the world stage, has something for everyone.
Who should move here: anyone from families and young singles to retirees, students and workers.