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…

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{ 172 comments… add one }
  • Mark September 15, 2016, 7:33 pm | Link

    Hi we have received our sponsored visa acceptance today and moving out in November. My company however have now changed the destination from Port Macquarie (which we researched) to the central coast, so due to short notice could you/anyone please advise on best suburbs or places to live on the Central coast. My wife has quickly looked on dated posts and the feedback is not so good with high levels of anti social behaviour in certain areas. I know there is good and bad in every area but the feedback Is completely different to what was read about Port Macquarie. All I want to find is a nice safe area for my wife to feel comfortable in with the thought of paradise, while I am obviously doing the considerable hours working in a new country for a new employer. We have seen that Terrigal, Avoca, Copacabana and Green Point are the best places to live is this correct please? I am not bothered about commuting or entertainment, just want safe and hopefully picturesque area to rent.


    • BobinOz September 16, 2016, 8:08 pm | Link

      I’ve driven through the Central Coast, it’s a very pretty part of the country, but I’m afraid I have absolutely no idea what it’s really like to live there. So I’m afraid I will have to pass on this question Mark, but hopefully somebody who does know the area well will see this and help you out.

      Anybody got any advice for Mark?

      • Rafael September 21, 2016, 12:05 pm | Link

        Hi Mark,

        I live in Umina Beach. The places you mentioned Avoca, Terrigal, Copacabana, Green Point, all beautiful, if a little pricey. Green Point has no beach, the other 3 do. Most places in the Central Coast are fairly tranquil, Umina is quiet, there is the odd hoon who does a burnout up the road, but generally it’s peaceful. The places you mentioned are areas that are generally middle to upper socio economic level, but are also furthest from the motorway, if you need to travel for work. The lower socio economic areas tend to have more crime, the worst I heard of is Charm Haven / Blue Haven area.
        The Entrance, Long Jetty, Bateau Bay are also very nice. The whole area has lots of trees, lakes and beaches and is a great area to live.
        Rafael Furniss

  • Jacqueline September 14, 2016, 2:50 pm | Link

    Hi there,
    I am planning to migrate to the Far South Coast in NSW – the region we have chosen is Nowra which also consist of four cities, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Sapphire, Illawarra. Which of these would you recommend as the best in regards to accommodation, transport, jobs and other facilities etc.? I have a 2 year old Toddler and would prefer a place where it would be easier for her to adapt.

    Thank you very much.

    • Tanay September 14, 2016, 6:09 pm | Link

      Hey Jacqueline,

      When do you plan to move? I plan to move there very soon too. I heard Shoalhaven is relatively safer and seems to have better infrastructure. Moreover, it is close to Sydney too.

      • Jacqueline September 14, 2016, 6:50 pm | Link

        Hi Tanay,

        Thank you. Yes I am looking to move somewhere next year in June or July if all goes well. Would be great to be closer to Sydney though considering job opportunities and so on and also the house rentals and public transport does matter too. I will research more on Shoalhaven.

        Thank you once again and hopefully we would bump into each other when in Aus 🙂

        • BobinOz September 15, 2016, 12:17 am | Link

          I’m afraid I cannot add anything constructive to this discussion, I drove through the area in 2009 on a road trip, I don’t think that qualifies me to give advice on the place 🙂

          So I will need to leave this to the locals, hopefully somebody reading this who knows the area well will be able to help you both out.

          Anybody got any ideas?

        • Tanay September 15, 2016, 12:40 am | Link

          Good luck with your applications, Jacqueline. I have my fingers crossed for my application that is under process. Yes, do your research and let me know too if you come across something interesting in terms of job searching and all. Finances would be an important aspect to consider.

          You are welcome … 🙂 Look forward to bumping into each other in Aus …

          Good luck.


  • rahul September 11, 2016, 4:12 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    How you doing?
    Very much impressed with your forum and its very helpful as well.
    I am planning to migrate to NSW and I have seen that you are not so familiar with the state about expenses, best places to stay etc. But still if you can help me out with some link to find out the best n reasonable place to live in NSW with my family. I am a sailor by profession and most likely would be preferring the place with maximum seafarer on/off shore jobs.

    • BobinOz September 12, 2016, 11:29 pm | Link

      Well, you can use my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship to search for jobs by your profession which would in turn help you decide where to live exactly.

      But nobody can help you with ‘best places to stay etc’ until you define what you mean by ‘best’. For some people, that’s an expensive area and for others it’s the cheapest. Some like the countryside, some like the city.

  • Jon denmark August 7, 2016, 4:00 am | Link

    My whole family are in Australia iam the only one I the uk how hard will it be for me to relocate in Australia I have good skills in construction on on have a drunk driving charge on police record 30 years ago

    • BobinOz August 7, 2016, 11:36 pm | Link

      Well, you would have to speak to a MARA registered Migration Agent to really find out what your chances are, but I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that the drunk driving charge from 30 years ago will not be a problem. Good luck, Bob

  • Sanjeev Uppal May 17, 2016, 6:34 pm | Link

    Hi Bob. How you going?

    Congratulations on this fantastically well done job with this site. It really is a comprehensive one with just about everything one needs to know about making the big move, before and after it.

    My request is for information from someone local or someone who’s recently moved in.

    We’ve secured a 190 PR from NSW and are planning to arrive by Mid August from New Delhi, India. Its me, my wife and our two daughters aged 7 & 13. So far, a Sydney suburb seems the most likely option for us to look at. Just that there are so many of those, it makes it a bit difficult to zero in.

    Typically, we’d be looking for a family oriented place perhaps within a 10 – 20 kms radius from the main city / CBD with train connectivity and some reasonable recreational activities (somewhere the whole place doesn’t shut down at 5 in the evening!! 🙂 Of course, the lower the crime / violence, the better. We could probably afford a $ 400 – 500 Weekly rental for a two bedroom accommodation. So far, I could see places like Campsie, Canterburry, Ashfield, Dulwich Hill, Cammeray Village, Petersham, Neutral Bay etc. But couldn’t really make out much except for indicative rentals. I’m certain there must be quite a few others matching our requirement (Or is it an impractical wishlist!!!)

    Just one last thing. Besides the rentals, how much more would it cost a month to cover basic utilities.

    Shall be much obliged if someone could help us understand this and other important things we may need to know to make an informed decision about the place to chose.



    • BobinOz May 18, 2016, 11:07 pm | Link

      Thanks, glad you like my website.

      Yes, you definitely need a local to help you out with this, I just wouldn’t know. Somebody may see this and help you out here, but I think you would be better off checking out the comments on my page about Sydney as there is a lot of talk about the various suburb and where to live.

      You may even want to post this question on that page instead. Good luck, Bob

      • Sanjeev Uppal May 19, 2016, 12:45 am | Link

        Thanks for the prompt response and the apt suggestion, Bob!

        Shall do that right away.

  • Shreyas Chaurasia May 13, 2016, 12:44 am | Link

    Dear Bob,

    My greetings to you. Well i just needed a small advice from you before applying for GSM subclass 190. I have experience in Sales/marketing and Warehouse Mgmt/ operations. Currently work in Lagos, Nigeria. I had done my Masters earlier from Melbourne and i’m planning to come back by this year end. I have done my online PR points calculation and it says i’meligible for 190 Subclass. However, i’m confused regarding job prospects in my field. Can you advice which State can sponsor me and how positive the job prospects will be in that state? I was thinking to go for NT but have never been there. Do reply. Regards. 🙂

  • Shailet April 25, 2016, 3:54 pm | Link

    Dear Bob,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for providing such a beautiful site with detailed information. I am a single parent of my 10 year old daughter. I have applied for the visa of SC190. I have experience in Administration and Human resource sectors. Kindly guide me to select an area to work and live in Sydney.


    • BobinOz April 26, 2016, 4:16 pm | Link

      You can research jobs on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and I would suggest you decide where to live after you know where you are going to work. You will find lots of advice about the suburbs of Sydney on my main page about that city.

      Thanks, Bob

  • TG February 28, 2016, 2:05 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I am a Sri Lankan, IT professional willing to move to NSW far South coast under 489 regional sponsorship visa.Hoping to bring my wife and two kids.Can you please recommend me a perfect area to settle down in far south coast

    • BobinOz February 28, 2016, 9:31 pm | Link

      Well, Sydney is the obvious choice, especially for finding work, but I’ve heard Newcastle is quite good as well. I’m not local to the area though, hopefully somebody who is will give you their opinion.

      • TG February 29, 2016, 3:08 pm | Link

        Hi Bob,
        Thank you for the reply.


    • TH July 13, 2016, 9:22 pm | Link

      Hey TG, when are you moving? or have you already moved?

  • USA2OZ December 15, 2015, 4:14 pm | Link

    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, 7:14 pm | Link

    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, 8:44 pm | Link

      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, 3:30 pm | Link

      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, 9:41 pm | Link

    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, 8:15 pm | Link

      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, 12:40 am | Link

        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, 7:39 pm | Link

          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, 7:12 pm | Link

            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, 7:47 pm | Link

              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, 4:09 pm | Link

              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, 8:02 pm | Link

                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, 1:33 pm | Link

                  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, 9:34 pm | Link

                    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, 7:28 pm | Link

    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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