And the Best City Ever to Live In is….

Drum roll please…..

Vancouver! Ra Ra Ra!

And the next best city is……..more drums…..

Vienna! More Ra Ra Ra! (at a slightly lower volume)

But I thought this blog was about living in Australia? Well yes, it is. And for those of you who have stuck with this post past the boring bits, that is the bits that are nothing to do with Australia, your reward is here.

And the third and best city in the world to live in is…….. BIG drum roll….. get ready for rapturous applause….




Then in fifth – Perth…..



Then in joint ninth – Sydney….



Then we have Adelaide in 11th place…..



And then Brisbane is 16th…..



That’s ALL of Australia’s top five cities, the ONLY cities we have with populations more than a million, in the top 16 most “liveable” cities in the world. I think that’s pretty good going. We do have other cities, of course, but all with 300,000 people or less. Small cities.

So I’m going to call this result a clean sweep for Australia.

Who decided all this? It was the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2009 Liveability Survey in Britain which assessed 140 cities based on:

  • Stability
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Infrastructure
  • Culture and environment

I have not been to Perth or Adelaide, yet, but I have been to the other three. For what it is worth, I would certainly not disagree with Melbourne being the best city in Australia. The place has bags of character and a really good feel about it. If I were not living here in Brisbane, which I love, Melbourne would be a top contender for me. Sydney I didn’t much care for. Too busy, too big, too much of what I was used to in England.

Who else is in the list? How did other countries fare? Who cares? Grab your togs, hat and shades… and emigrate to Australia.

Or you could move to Manchester (46th) or London (51st).


The Economist’s 2010 liveability survey results are now out. Check the latest positions at my post Australia: Far Too Dangerous and Way Too Liveable

Visa Assessment Service
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • MD ALFU MIAH September 18, 2016, 3:16 am |

    i have some question. plz if you can give answer. i love Australia. but i want to come by thief road. that mean invalid. will i get job opportunity in can i do enter in Australia. because i have no enough money to enter Australia. so i have take decision. i will enter invalid. plz how can i solve my problem. or how can i get work permit in Australia. plz brother would you help time i am very problem live in my country for me.for political.

    • BobinOz September 19, 2016, 2:02 pm |

      Australia is surrounded by water, we do not have a thief road into the country and work permits are not issued to illegal immigrants. I think you need a different plan.

  • Jillian Maskill July 9, 2016, 10:50 pm |

    Hi Bob, My husband & I live in Auckland & like living here. I too think that Sydney & Melbourne are the BEST Australian cities – having done most of Australia. Because we have flexible jobs we travel quite a bit now…. We LOVE New York & we’re looking to buy an apartment there, but we love coming home…..

    • BobinOz July 10, 2016, 8:46 pm |

      It’s always good to travel, I love it too, but as you say, it’s great coming home as well.

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 1:53 pm |

      Melbourne is the cheapest city for food and groceries, sporting events, car registration, water, gas, electricity and trsnsport.
      Cheapest for petrol too.
      The only cities in the world that match Melbourne for quality of life are Montreal, Vienna and Vancouver.
      As an example, I live in Adelaide now and everything is more expensive here and the quality of life is poor. Yet the wages are lower and population is far less.
      Melbourne has been the best city in Australia to live in since the 1860s. When they built the infrastructure they did it very well. and the water quality is excellent.

  • Adam hulm March 26, 2014, 5:08 pm |


    Well I have lived in the Vancouver/Squamish area for the past 10 years. We are waiting for our visa for Australia and will be moving to Brisbane! As a Brit that moved to NZ, then Canada, I feel I in a good position to comment. I can’t understand how Vancouver gets in the top ranks with the rain and generally boring place unless you love the outdoors…while getting wet! And the housing costs are insane compared to what you can get in Brisbane. Looking forward to it for sure! Love the website and candid style.

    Cheers, Adam.

    • BobinOz March 26, 2014, 10:12 pm |

      Well you won’t have to worry about the cold in Brisbane, it pretty much doesn’t exist. Leave your coats behind, you just won’t need them.

      Thanks Adam, and I hope your move goes well.


      • Adam hulm July 17, 2014, 2:25 pm |

        Hi Bob,

        Well we got 2 offers for our place within 24hrs so I bet my mid Oct we will be there. Can’t wait even after reading your recent blogs on spiders…we have bears so I reckon we are ready…kinda!
        Goodbye insane costs of living and hellooooo a better warmer way of life!

        Keep up the great website…it’s always a laugh.

        Cheers, Adam.

        • BobinOz July 18, 2014, 1:52 pm |

          Congratulations Adam, I’d swap bears for spider’s any day, you can’t kill a bear with a rolled up newspaper 🙂 Hope you get to love Brisbane is much as I do.

          Cheers, Bob

      • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 1:54 pm |

        Yeah Brisbane is up and coming for sure however I detest humidity. thats probably the only thing that goes against Brisbane.

        • BobinOz October 1, 2018, 8:07 pm |

          True Gary, and I know a lot of people avoid Brisbane because of the humidity. From my point of view though, I reckon it’s about 5 to 7 weeks when it can be quite difficult, and I am happy to trade that to avoid cold winters which I now realise (having been spoiled by the Brisbane weather) that I just don’t like.

  • Harpreet Singh June 11, 2013, 1:08 am |

    hello i am harpreet from india.i want to live in melbourn because of good infrastucre,good living stlye nd there many other facilities available in melbourn.

  • Lucy May 25, 2013, 9:06 am |

    This article caught my attention, and got me googling.
    This wikipedia page also shows these stats from the EIU:'s_most_livable_cities

    However, since these stats doesn’t include cost of living, I was looking for that too. The results weren’t as great:

    I didn’t look closely where this web page’s information came from, but this doesn’t paint the rosiest picture for the Oz cities in terms of cost of living:

    I’m not really sure what they base this on. I’m from South Africa originally, now living in Canada. I’m shocked every time when I go back to SA about how expensive stuff has became. It used to be great doing shopping in SA with my Canadian Dollars. Now? I’m mostly breaking even. Yet Johannesburg in South Africa is way lower on the list of the last website above than Canadian cities. So how they get their info, who knows.

    What do you think, do you find that a lot of people there complain a lot about how expensive things are, and how hard it is to get by? Or does the salaries earned tie in well with the cost of living? Maybe they just look at the prices of things, without looking at whether salaries are in proportion to those prices. For example, earning $1000 in Oz could mean something totally different than earning $1000 in Canada, even though the exchange rate is pretty close. Perhaps you would earn 30% more for the same job in Oz than what you would in Canada (which might balance out the higher prices for stuff in Oz)?

    Thank you!

    • BobinOz May 27, 2013, 6:58 pm |

      This is what I think: Australian and UK Salaries Compared

      • Lucy May 29, 2013, 12:12 am |

        Ah, that helps, thanks. You are on top of things!

      • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 1:59 pm |

        I cant speak for other Industries but I know Melbourne is the home of the Printing Industry and Warehousing in Australia. If you are involved in Warehousing and Distribution Melbourne is the place to work and live as it has the largest Port in the southern hemisphere and 80% of goods coming in Australia goes through Melbourne.
        Transport and Hospitality are also huge Industries in Melbourne along with Science and Medicine.

  • Nisham October 30, 2012, 8:36 am |

    Hi Bob

    I’m a still a student, but I have plans to move to Australia. I’m in Turkey, but originaly I’m a Maldivian. Australia is like one of my favourite place and after I’ve visited here you made me like it more; so much. I read all of your 20 reasons just now. Amazing! Well would you please suggest me a good city to work as a Naval Architect, I mean the city where all the ships are built mainly?

    • BobinOz October 30, 2012, 9:21 pm |

      I couldn’t tell you offhand, but I would suggest looking at my page about Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and use the 3 links to Australia’s most popular online employment agencies to search for what you do and see which city comes up with the most opportunities. Good luck!

      • Nisham November 2, 2012, 5:26 am |

        Thank you! 🙂

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:02 pm |

      Choose Melbourne mate, its got the best economy and the best accomodation, food and restaurants. also the cheapest city in Australia for water, gas and electricity.
      Brisbane and Perth have a good quality of life.
      I would not choose Adelaide or Sydney, they are both very expensive to live in and no quality of life.

  • Vicky August 18, 2012, 1:03 pm |

    Hello all,

    Great advice here. Looking to move to Cairns or Tasmania in September. Have two job offers, both good but the one in Tas pays higher I’m guessing because it’s harder to get people there? I could save more money in Tassie and go hiking but I’ve heard that its not great for younger people (29 yrs and solo) and cold that time of year. I do like the beach but am not a big water person. But I would like to experience the Reef and be semi warm. Any opinions? Alternatively I could just head straight to one of the bigger cities – Melb or Sydney and find work. Cheers!

    • Vicky August 18, 2012, 1:17 pm |

      Oops think I posted this in the wrong thread?

      • BobinOz August 18, 2012, 8:19 pm |

        I think it’s fine in this thread Vicky, it’s as good as any. It’s a tough decision, I’ve been to Tasmania and I really loved it there, but it is a lot cooler than most of the rest of Australia, whereas on the other hand, Cairns is very hot.

        But your choice isn’t just hot versus cold, Tasmania is very much like the Lake District in my view, and there are only really two big towns, Hobart and Launceston. Cairns, I’m told, is very lively and has the distinct feel of a holiday town.

        My guess is you would have a lot more fun in Cairns, but you would certainly save much more money in Tasmania. It’s a tough choice, but a nice one 🙂

    • Roy December 2, 2012, 10:11 pm |

      Hi Vicky, if you like the heat and humidity then you’ll love Cairns. Personally I cannot stand the cold weather, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are simply too cold in winter and yes Brisbane is too cold for me in winter. The warm weather all year round in Cairns, the tropical surroundings, the reef, the beach, the islands, the mountains, the outback, the rainforest, and the city has a very cosmopolitan feel to it make it you’ll never run out of things to do in this city. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane cannot compete with Cairns natural surroundings. Cairns and its surroundings would have to be the most beautiful part of Australia.

      • BobinOz December 3, 2012, 3:16 pm |

        Now I want to go to Cairns, sounds fantastic. I’ll put it on my list of places to go.

      • Kathryn December 3, 2012, 5:45 pm |

        Cairns is nice but you can hardly compare it to large citis like Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, Roy! I disagree that Sydney cannot compete with gorgeous natural surroundings .. in fact, Sydney has, right on its doorstep, three world heritage listed areas: the spectacular Blue Mountains, the pristine wilderness and virgin rainforests of the Barrington Tops National Park and the white-sanded beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters of Jervis Bay. On top of all of that, Sydney has the most lively, breathtakingly beautiful harbour in the world and it is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan, multicultural cities with world class restaurants, cafes, sporting and entertainment venues. I’ve been to Cairns and, you are right, it is a lovely little town and we had a wonderful time there … but it is not a big international city like Sydney or Melbourne. I know I am biaised but that’s why I live HERE because Sydney is the best city in the world (IMHO) …. this is why MOST people who come to Australia want to live in either Sydney or Melbourne which, of course, has the impact of driving our housing prices upwards. Demand exceeds supply = expensive. However, you get what you pay for and Sydney is SO worth it!

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:05 pm |

      Hi Vicky, well I can guarantee you will have the best quality of life in Melbourne.
      Brisbane would be no 2 now.
      Adelaide and Sydney are the worst cities to live in as they are both very expensive as far as cost of living goes.
      Perth was great years ago now theres no work there.
      I would head to Melbourne if you want good job prospects, low cost of living and quality of life.
      Melbourne wins that hands down!

  • Will August 16, 2012, 9:21 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Time to update this article as the EIU’s 2012 ratings are out and Melbourne is #1. Here’s the top ten livable cities in the world according to their ratings:

    2. Vienna, Austria
    3. Vancouver, Canada
    4. Toronto, Canada
    5. Calgary, Canada
    7. SYDNEY
    8. Helsinki, Finland
    9. PERTH
    10. Auckland, New Zealand

    • BobinOz August 17, 2012, 3:48 pm |

      Hi Will

      Yes, I read about that in the papers at the beginning of the week, and you’re right, I’ll need to do an update post. I might even do it next week.

      I know some people of Brisbane are pretty cheesed off with their low ranking this time round, and on top of that, they can’t understand why Adelaide is so high up.

      Must admit, I find it strange too.


    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:08 pm |

      Hi Will, Melbourne has recently slipped to No 2 behind Vienna however Melbourne is still No 1 by a mile in Australia.
      I would be openminded about Brisbane as its continually improving, only thing that goes against Brisbane is its humidity which a lot of people dont like.
      Ive heard Mackay is great as is Geelong however job prospects are not great in these cities.

  • BobinOz April 3, 2011, 9:22 pm |

    Hi Gareth

    Great summary of Vancouver, thanks for that. You’ve given some good reasons to why it trumps other Canadian cities. Have you seen the film “Bowling for Columbine”? That does a pretty good job of comparing Canada to the USA when it comes to guns and safety.

    You’ve given us a good roundup of some of our Australian cities too, I think I agree with you on everything there as well.

    Sydney a bit rushed, Brisbane like a holiday camp and Melbourne in between. And yes, I thought the people of Melbourne were extremely friendly too, as they were in Adelaide as well.

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:14 pm |

      I would say to everyone, think very carefully indeed about moving to Adelaide.
      Im from Melbourne and Ive found Adelaide very expensive for all utilities, parking, car registration and servicing, sporting events, foid and groceries and restaurants.
      Melbourne is cheaper on all counts.
      Adelaides roads are disgraceful and there is a shortage of essential services here.
      The only difference in the weather compwring Melbourne to Adelaide is Melbourne winter mornings can be frosty whereis Adelaide not so much. Rainy days is about the same.
      Ive found Melbourne people friendlier but once you get to country South Australia the peoole are friendly there, not so much in Adelaide.

  • Gareth March 31, 2011, 8:36 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I think Vancouver is regarded so highly for the following reasons –

    – Only Canadian city that doesn’t freeze over. (hence reason why alot of homeless ppl migrate to that city from other parts of Canada)
    – Modern newer city compared to others.
    – Has a reputation of a city where you can go skiiing and then windsurfing etc all in one day, since closest peak is about 30 mins drive from city.
    – Stunning natural beauty. Imagine snow covered peaks surrounding city in the distance. I was quite amazed when I openned my friends back door to see snow covered mountains nearby..
    – Close by duty free shopping in nearby Seattle (Day trip)

    Definitely ppl here in Melbourne are more friendly, and Melbourne is much more interesting.. Vancouver seemed a little plain on the surface.

    Apparently being so close to USA Vancouver is a major distribution hub for drugs in Canada.. Last time I was there, read the paper about shoot outs between mexican gangs and from time to time condos blowing up from meth lab activity.

    Actually you have to admit, if you had a choice between living in USA or living in Canada where USA is a short drive away I would pick Canada. Heard ppl in USA lock their doors but ppl in Canada don’t, plus you probably feel more unsafe when its a right for a American home owner to own a gun. Thats just crazy..

    I’ve been to Brisbane before, felt totally safe.. Actually feels more like a holiday relaxed city compared to Sydney/Melbourne with summer all year round. In Sydney was a little worried when seeing young gangs hanging outside maccas but its a bigger city and not too bad but I do notice ppl getting on with their day more there.. ie. in more of a rush.

    I think Melbourne has a good balance between big city and all round not bad feeling to it and still friendly ppl, just public transport on the trains is getting worse and property prices getting more expensivem but at least you have a choice of a real house not like Vancouver appartments mainly..

  • BobinOz March 31, 2011, 2:21 am |

    Hi Gareth

    Good to hear from someone else who’s actually been there and seen it. That’s two votes in so far, and two thumbs down for Vancouver. As I’ve said, I’ve never been, but I don’t think it would be my cup of tea. I don’t like cold.

    People seem to rave about Canada as a great place to live and Vancouver always seems to represent the best of Canada. Strange that it’s just a stones throw from the USA. Is that the attraction? It’s not America, it’s Canada, but you can still get to America quickly?

    Or am I talking rubbish again?

    Funny thing, when I was new to Brisbane, I never once felt unsafe here. Sure, I locked my doors at night, but who wouldn’t. Nowadays, I’m not so bothered.



  • Gareth March 30, 2011, 4:11 pm |

    I’ve lived in Melbourne for my whole life 33 years… Went to Vancouver to visit friends for 2 weeks.. Kind of ran out of things to do after the 1st week.. I think within that 2 week period it didn’t rain for 3 days.. The clouds get trapped in by the mountains for days/weeks. Theres only a certain amount of indoor activities that can be done.

    Melbourne has alot more things to do, even when your stuck indoors..

    Vancouver is naturally beautiful especially being surrounded by mountains but you really have to be an outdoors person to benefit from it. At night time I didnt really feel that safe, seems like the homeless elements are concentrated into a single no-go zone street. Had a honeless guy open a 7/11 door for me and expecting tips from me.. Also giving I was a strange in town I probably had the unsafe feeling more so..

    I appreciate Melbournes weather more now.. Dont like the cold 0 to 10 degrees days too much and it was constant cold cold wind..

    To live in Vancouver, think u have to like a little chilly weather, rugging up on cold days when its raining inside, like living in Condos (appartments) proper houses would be toooo expensive there, be an outdoors person (skiing, rollar blading, cycling, etc).

    Job opportunities are much better in Melbourne, here in Australia employers give you a go in Vancouver they keep on doing reference checking and making sure they got the right right person from day one..

  • BobinOz February 20, 2011, 6:55 pm |

    I’ll have to take your word for it about Vancouver, I’ve never been. But from what you say, it doesn’t sound too appealing. I left England to get away from horrific weather.

    I have to say, I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times and didn’t really think much of it. Much preferred Melbourne. But then I think that’s mainly because I don’t like busy cities, but I do like the large town feel of Brisbane. But then I suppose I’m biased too 🙂

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:20 pm |

      I pretty much agree.
      I think Melbourne is still the titleholder in Australia. Has been since the 1860s.
      However I believe Brisbane is the big mover and presents a great quality of life.
      I think Brisbane has overtaken Perth now as Australia’s no 2 city.
      Melbournes population is 4.7 million, Brisbanes is about 2.2 million so Brisbane is well placed over the next decade I think.

      • BobinOz October 1, 2018, 8:39 pm |

        Brisbane offers excellent value for money in the housing market as well. Prices here have been reasonably steady over the last 10 years, whereas in Sydney and Melbourne prices have gone through the roof.

        Over the last year or so though, prices in Sydney and Melbourne have started to fall, so it’s probably not the best time to overspend on housing in either of those cities at the moment.

  • Kathryn February 18, 2011, 8:35 pm |

    Hi Bob, have to disagree with Vancouver, BC as being the best city. Lived there for awhile. The weather is horrific, it never stops raining, the harbour is “dead” and absolutely NO comparison to Sydney harbour where there is so much activity. The only good thing about Vancouver is the backdrop of the Coastal Mountains). There is a lot of homelessness and serious social issues. Canada is an economic basket case and the quality of life is poor (compared to Australia and NZ). I might be biased but I truly believe that Sydney and Melbourne are the absolute best cities in Australia as they are the only two truly international cities in this country. Small cities like Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane are like large country towns. Queensland and NT are too hot (for most people) within cyclonic, flooding zones and without a nice change of seasons (that make southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania so appealing).

    • Gary Newton September 30, 2018, 2:25 pm |

      Hi Kathryn, Im not sure if your aware of it but Canada overtook Australia as the best country in the world to live in around 8 years ago.
      Whether Vancouver is great Im.not sure however I do know that the Canadian economy is doing much better than ours and this is reflected in the current exchange rate ( check this).
      Even Austria has a better quality of life than Australia now.
      The recession of 2009 has unfortunately done permanent damage to our economy and this is why our quality of life has worsened.

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn’t get answered, find out why…..
FAQs and Comment Policy.