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. Here’s a 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…

{ 140 comments… read them below or add one }

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


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


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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