New South Wales

New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s fifth biggest state and covers an area of 801,428 km². If it were a country in its own right, it would probably be the 37th biggest in the world, just behind Pakistan but ahead of Turkey. The UK could fit into NSW about 3 1/4 times and it is bigger than California and New Mexico put together.

It has a population of around 7.41 million people. It is known as “The Premier State” and the residents are known as “Cockroaches” – very nice!

New South Wales LocationThe second most visited location in NSW is why Byron Bay, Australia mainland’s furthest point east. But the main attractions are, of course, Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, both in Sydney.

Famous Australians originally from the state include Clive James, satirist, Paul Hogan, comedian turned Crocodile Dundee, Kerry Packer, media magnate and film directors Baz Luhrmann and Peter Weir.

Places in New South Wales

Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, but there are plenty of other towns and localities with a population in excess of 10,000 people.

Populations of places change on a daily basis. When I compiled this list in 2011, I got my population figures from various sources and some of them are from the census of 2006. I have decided not to try to constantly update these population numbers, so if you are interested in a certain city or town, then you may want to search online for updated information about the population.

That way you can see if the population is growing, unchanged or shrinking.

Here’s the list….

  • Newcastle – about 289,000
  • Gosford – around 283,000
  • Wollongong – about 235,000
  • Maitland – over 60,000
  • Albury 48,000
  • Wagga Wagga – about 47,000
  • Port Macquarie – roughly 40,000
  • Tamworth – about 33,000
  • Orange – just over 31,000
  • Dubbo – around 30,000
  • Bathurst – 29,000
  • Nowra-Bomaderry- over 27,000
  • Lismore- about 27,000
  • Coffs Harbour – 26,000
  • Richmond-Windsor – 25,000
  • Goulburn – just over 20,000
  • Armidalle – nearly 20,000
  • Broken Hill – 19,000
  • Forster-Tuncurry 18,000
  • Cessnock – 18,000
  • Grafton – 17,000
  • Taree – 16,000
  • Ballina – 16,000
  • Griffith – 16,000
  • Sawtell – 15,000
  • Singlet – nearly 14,000
  • Raymond Terrace    – 12,000
  • Kurri Kurri-Weston – 12,000
  • Kiama – 12,000
  • Bowral – 11,000
  • Lithgow – just over 11,000
  • Batemans Bay – about 11,000
  • Ulladulla – just over 10,000
  • Muswellbrook- just over 10,000

Then, of course, there are all those towns with a population below 10,000, including the already mentioned Byron Bay, which has about 9,000 residents. Perhaps you live in one of these towns, and if you do, why not tell us about it in the comments below…

{ 149 comments… read them below or add one }

USA2OZ December 15, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Found this map image comparing NSW to Texas in size:

And a whole website, if you just want to compare Australia as a whole to any country and to any U.S. or Canadian state, is “mapfight” e.g.:

Very nice visuals to get a sense, though I hope some day they will add the option in the pulldown menus to choose an Australian state/territory as well, so one doesn’t need to mine google images on a case by case basis as I did for the first url above :-)


tiffany rawlings October 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Hi Bob,
We are about 6 months away from completing our long awaited visas. My husband is a builder and has been offered sponsorship in NSW. I wanted to move to Melbourne. Can you yell me what are the best family suburbs to bring children up in please? we have two boys aged 14 and 7 who are in very good football clubs so will need to have that here if at all possible? we have a 2 year old girl too. Our main aim is living in a suburb which has teenagers for my son as he does not want to move away from his friends here in the UK, and good schools? any help would be greatly appreciated as i am loosing the will with all this at the minute.

Many Thanks


BobinOz October 9, 2015 at 8:44 pm

I will leave this one to the locals Tiffany, I don’t know New South Wales well enough to help. Maybe you could clear up exactly where in NSW you’ll be moving to? If it’s Sydney though, you may be best off asking this question on my page about Sydney and also reading the comments that have already been made there.

For schools, you may want to check out my page Which school?

Good luck, Bob


Mike December 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Hi tiffany..

Sutherland shire in the south has good schools and a pretty large weekend sports program for teenagers, close to good beaches it is a typical middle class area with good transport links to Sydney cbd..but it depends on how much money you have…for some it is too expensive for others too cheap…the further south and west you go the cheaper things get which is typical for sydney..further west is cheaper..until you hit the blue mother and sister still live in the sutherland shire i haven’t lived there for near on 15 years..


Amvb August 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Hello, young family relocating from Melbourne to Northern Rivers of Nsw. Location flexible. Possibly Lismore, Ballina or Byron Bay.
Worried about the crime, everything I read on the internet suggests it’s pretty rough and drugs are a huge issue. I know you can’t believe everything you read, so would love to hear from people familiar with the area to shed some experience?


BobinOz August 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Yes, there is a bit of a mention of that in earlier comments in this thread. Byron Bay is well known as a bit of a hippie town, so no surprises there. It’s quite a nice town to visit for a holiday, been there a few times myself, but I don’t think it sounds like the kind of place you would want to live in.

It’s a fair bit quieter slightly further up around Kingsciff to Tweed heads, so may be worth having a look that way. Other than that, hopefully somebody who knows the area better than I do will help you out here.

You might also like to read the following post…

And the ones linked from it at the foot of that article. Good luck, Bob


Wanda November 22, 2015 at 12:40 am

Hey Bob,
The Northern Rivers region covers Lismore, Ballina, Yamba, Maclean … yeah and that place called grafton we dont speak about hahahaha
The first four are definitely lower in crime than Melbourne!! Unfortunately drugs seem to be an issue every where ….. Even in the outback.
Yamba was voted the most desirable place in Australia to live a few years back.
Hope that helps.
cheers Wanda


BobinOz November 30, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Yes, I remember the Yamba vote, it was Australian Traveler magazine and I wrote about it at the time…

Maclean is pretty much the Scottish capital of Australia, see…


Sharon December 5, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Re Maclean Scottish capital. Places like Glen Innes have a celtic festival every year and have replicated Stone Henge there. There is also a place south of Bowral as well which celebrates Scottish ancestry. Also Highland games are celebrated in Qld too.

As a true blue Aussie I can honestly say to all people emigrating here, Qld is the most difficult state to settle in. If you think it is a culture shock, so do we who move there and return back to our home states after a few years. As for Gold Coast stick with Coolangatta/ Tweed area or Kingscliff, close enough to be far away from the GC strip.

Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay nice places.

As for NSW, population in Newcastle over 1 million. Beaches great in NSW and plenty of them accessible compared to Qld, with some beaches too remote and can’t swim due to jellyfish or crocs.

But if you deem it necessary to live up north I suggest try before you buy. If you harken for snowy slopes then Canberra, Riverina and Vic are the go. If you wish for rural, well houses, rates and fuel cheaper at the moment than the major cities and towns.

My suggestion is research where you intend to go. Ask questions to people on swap and sell sites on Gumtree. Better hearing it from the locals. Good luck to each and all with your emigrating here.


BobinOz December 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Well I had no problems at all settling into Queensland, and I love it here, I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I must stress though, I’m talking south-east Queensland, specifically Brisbane. If you want to go further north or into remote Queensland, yes, I can imagine it would take some getting used to. But Brisbane and the south-east is fine.


USA2OZ December 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Sharon, thanks for sharing these personal observations. I do have one question…having planned on NSW but with me being advised (by agent Bob works with..I’ll skip the technical details) that for my case an initial 2 year stay in NT may be my best shot…I am wondering about your statement: “As a true blue Aussie I can honestly say to all people emigrating here, Qld is the most difficult state to settle in.”

I’m wondering whether you meant, literally, when you said “state”, meaning you were only comparing to other states, or whether you were also comparing to NT.

The latter interpretation of your comment, if correct, would be at least a bit comforting to hear: that NT is at least a tad better than the parts of Qld (not counting Brisbane and SE, perhaps, per Bob’s remarks) so is Darwin and its suburbs, better than the “most difficult” aspects of Qld? Or just as difficult or too hard to compare? As I said that’s been advised to me but I’m a bit concerned about how isolated it may be..not as bad as rural Qld? Your thoughts more generally on the non-rural parts of NT? Thanks


BobinOz December 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm

In the absence of a reply from Sharon, may I offer my two cents worth?

Generally speaking, when people talk about states in Australia, they are also talking about territories as well. Even so, I’m not sure you could conclude that Sharon thinks NT is easier to settle into in some parts of Queensland, it’s more likely that she has never tried to settle in NT.

Of course, I’m guessing, hopefully at some point Sharon will read these updates and get back to us.

As for Northern Territory, I assume you will be looking to live in Darwin? I’ve been to Darwin for 10 days, it’s certainly different. You can definitely class it as a large country town rather than a city, and it is most definitely an acquired case.

It’s one of those places that you will either love or hate. Some people say it’s paradise, others a living hell. Two years isn’t a long time, and I could certainly live in Darwin for two years, not sure I could live there for 10 years or more though :-)

If it does represent your best opportunity of getting to Australia, I would certainly take it, it would be an interesting experience. That way you could find out for yourself if you end up being one of those people who think it’s a paradise or a hell.

If you want to find out more about Darwin, maybe you should add a comment on my page about the city and asked for opinions from people who live there. Good luck, Bob


USA2OZ December 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Thanks Bob, your comments are helpful. When I am at least a little bit further along in the process I may well post on your Darwin page. Your comments are somewhat similar on the love or hate aspect, as those I got from an older Australian couple I am fortunate to have gotten to know. He recommended to, if possible, arrive in the dry season first adding that if I survive the first “wet” (season) then I might fall in love and not want to leave as he’s under the impression that that happens to more than a few. Apparently the temperature doesn’t get much above 90 (about 30.6 to 32.6 in Celsius…year round) but the humidity can be an issue..I’ll be following that by remote through a website I’ve found ( but I’m cautiously optimistic about at least “surviving” for two years..the visa side I’m still at an early stage…but finally taking more definitive steps forward with fingers crossed..

He also mentions Darwin is “extremely multicultural, lots of Aboriginal Australians, many islander people, South-East Asians and Chinese – and very tropical” comments and questions about which I may share on your other page as I said though, will hold off until I’m a bit further ahead

Best wishes to you and your family Bob..and best wishes for your health..

Also to all your readers whether they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah (just ended), Kwanzaa (is mostly USA/Canada I think, but maybe spreading) Winter Solstice or several of these..and definitely New Years..and you all get to do so during your summer..lucky Aussies! Cheers :-)


BobinOz December 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Yes, everything you’ve been told by your Australian friends about Darwin is true. Personally I think it would be interesting to live there for a couple of years to see what you think of it. I’d give it a go if I needed to.

Seasonal greetings to you as well, have a good one. Cheers, Bob


Dorota July 31, 2015 at 7:28 pm

I will be moving with my family to Port Macquarie , can someone say something about this city. Is it good place to live with the kids, what about school, which are better public or catholic, which area is safe and good to live in Port Macquarie, any comments , advice will be very helpful and appreciate
Best wishes


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