There’s more to Australia than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth

As regular readers will know, we love a good survey or report here on Bobinoz, especially when it ends up with a top 10 list. I am grateful to regular reader Col B who pointed me in the right direction for this one.

Of course, I’ve heard of Suncorp Bank, but I never knew they did a Suncorp Bank Family Friendly Index. Part of that index concludes which city in Australia is the most family friendly of all.

Here’s a glimpse of the winning city from January 2014…

Wagga WaggaAnd this is a picture from the winning city from January 2013…

LauncestonNo sign of the Opera House, the iconic laneways, South Bank Parklands or the Swan River in either of them. That’s because neither of these cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. Gosh, in one of those pictures, people are wearing coats!

There’s a clue.

Australia’s most family friendly city

That’s because in January 2014 Australia’s most family friendly city was found to be the delightfully named Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. In 2013 it was Launceston in Tasmania (that’s the picture with the coats, well it was the middle of winter).

Who would have thought?

I’d love to be talking about the results of this year’s index, but unfortunately Suncorp don’t appear to have released one yet, even though we are now well into March. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it, if it comes I’ll do an update, but meanwhile that’s talk about 2014’s results.

Australia’s family friendly cities, 2014

Here’s the top 10:

1  Wagga Wagga (NSW)
2  Canberra (ACT)
3  Albury-Wodonga (NSW/VIC)
4  Toowoomba (QLD)
5  Sydney (NSW)
6  Hobart (TAS)
7  Ballarat (VIC)
8  Bendigo (VIC)
9  Melbourne (VIC)
10 Mackay (QLD)

As you can see, only four of our capital cities made the list, no room at all for either Brisbane or Perth.

About the index

This index has been created after looking at nine key indicators. I’ll go through them all and tell you which city came top for each.


Here they looked at teacher/student ratios and surprisingly, Sydney came top of the list with 11.8 students per full-time teacher.

Mortgage stress

Stands to reason that the less mortgage stress mum and dad have, the happier the kids might well be. The winner of this one, the place with the lowest outstanding mortgages in all of Australia, was Burnie in Tasmania. Property is certainly cheaper in Tasmania and it would appear that Burnie may well be the cheapest town in all of Australia in which to buy a house. Not surprisingly, not a single capital state city appeared in the top 10 for this one.


Not any old income, dual family income, so households with kids and both parents working. Canberra tops the list on this by some distance with those dual incomes breaking the $3000 a week barrier.


Darwin wins this one, pipping Sydney into second with just 3.8% unemployed (as at June 2013).


What percentage of children aged five are fully immunised? 94.2% in Albury-Wodonga and that puts them top of the list. This is actually two towns separated by the Murray River, and a border, with Albury being in New South Wales and Wodonga in Victoria.

Community involvement

What percentage of people are involved in a not-for-profit organisation? Here comes Wagga Wagga, 45.4% puts them top.


This was based on a self-assessment, people were asked how healthy they think they are. 13.8% of the people of Perth describe their own health as ‘fair to poor’, the lowest in the country. Lowest is good on this one, so Perth tops the list.

Road safety

No self-assessment here, this is the number of people per 100,000 who die on the roads each year. Wagga Wagga again, with just 3.3.

Community safety

The final key indicator is how safe do people feel walking alone at night? Wagga Wagga again, with 54.8%.


These results are surely a victory for what is known as ‘regional’ Australia. Most people who moved to Australia head for the big cities, but as I’ve said, there’s more to this country than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

I’ve driven through quite a few of these regional towns and cities, they have enormous character as well. I was quite impressed by both Bendigo and Ballarat.

This is Ballarat…

BallaratAnd this is Toowoomba (I didn’t take a picture in Bendigo, just driving through)…

ToowoombaI’ve given you quite a bit of information here, but I haven’t even touched the surface. The full reports contains so much more, so if this is something you want to look into, I strongly recommend you download the PDF’s.

You can get them from Suncorp Bank’s pages through the following links…

I don’t know the ins and outs of it, I’m not a MARA migration agent, but as I understand it sometimes it is a condition of a visa that people are only allowed to live in regional areas. Some might be disappointed when that happens to them, but maybe it could be a blessing in disguise.

Visa Assessment Service
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • John Patrick April 8, 2015, 8:02 pm |

    There is no other way to explore ‘regional’ Australia other than staying there and enjoying the bliss. However, most people dread relocating for the stressful process. the stress related to relocation can be curtailed by hiring the best home relocation company. Hiring a logistics company for the relocation of self-packed belongings can be much cheaper than hiring the services of packers and movers. To know more, please visit

  • Kamma March 19, 2015, 9:20 pm |

    Yes, there’s also Adelaide and Darwin! 😀

    More seriously, I do love the names of rural Australia. They’re probably great places to live, too. I especially like the Albury-Wodonga twins. I’m surprised it doesn’t sell itself as the Budapest of Australia. 😉 Looks like an overall win for Victoria, though, they’ve got the most towns on that list.

    • BobinOz March 20, 2015, 7:07 pm |

      Yes, we’ve got some great names of towns and cities here, one of my favourites is Ulladulla, what great name. Victoria did do well, didn’t they?

      • Kamma March 24, 2015, 3:55 am |

        Even better, Eggs and Bacon Bay! 😀 Ulladulla is great, my mother’s name is Ulla.

        • BobinOz March 24, 2015, 5:56 pm |

          Eggs and Bacon Bay, fantastic. Is that with tomatoes and toast?

          By the way, I did check, if anyone wants to know, Eggs and Bacon Bay is close to Hobart in Tasmania. Yes, it really does exist.

          • Kamma March 24, 2015, 10:45 pm |

            I found a goldmine of funny Australian place names! Some of them are not necessarily child friendly, but most of them are. In my opinion, though, they forgot about both Daydream Island, QLD, and Denmark, WA… Hold on, I’m in Denmark! 😀 Funny, it doesn’t look like a small town in Western Australia.

            • BobinOz March 26, 2015, 12:12 am |

              Nice list, there are some beauties in there. I’m not surprised you found a Denmark, we’ve got all sorts of stuff here, including a Texas a Glastonbury and a Tottenham.

  • Astra March 19, 2015, 7:06 am |

    There sure are a lot of strange town names in Australia!

    I’m actually quite surprised to see Canberra so high up. I guess it does have it’s charm and a lot of attractions. But looking at your blog posts, I’m sure you’d think that Brisbane is a great family place to live and deserves to be on the list, at least in your view. Especially considering the fact that you moved there to bring up your daughter there.

    • BobinOz March 19, 2015, 8:54 pm |

      Canberra is a strange place really, some people love it and some people hate it. Some people who live there say is boring, nothing to do, and other people who live there say it’s great, so I think it’s one of those places you have to try out for yourself. It often does well in these kinds of surveys though.

      Yes, I think Brisbane is a great place for kids, so I was a bit surprised it didn’t do very well, but then I think all of Australia is pretty good for kids and not everyone can make the top 10.

      Happy staying where I am, that’s for sure.

Leave a Comment

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