A Roundup of Top Places to Live Down Under

anz top placesAs you probably know, I write a regular monthly article for Australia and New Zealand magazine. Recently they asked me if I could write a roundup of top places to live down under for a supplement they were including with their October edition.

Oh, and try to make it humorous will you?” they said. So I did. Try that is.

Here’s the article…

Australian cities roundup

I have been to (almost) every capital in Australia since moving here from England about eight years ago. Who better than me to offer a roundup of all these places? So let’s jump in, feet first.


Sydney Opera house frontBusy, busy, busy. Yes, Australia’s busiest city by far. I ran the pedestrian crossing test when I was there, went to the centre of the city, found a crossing and pressed the button. Waited for the beep, beep, beep sound and counted the people crossing the road. There were loads of them! World-class harbour though, which is nice.


MelbourneSometimes really hot and sometimes really cold, often during the same day. I’ve seen people wearing overcoats in the middle of summer. Has some great beaches, it’s just that by the time you get there all flip-flopped and togged up, the weather has changed again. It is the multicultural cuisine capital of Australia though, boasting top international restaurants, and they have trams. Who doesn’t like trams? The coffee is very good too.


South Bank Parklands, BrisbaneSometimes really hot and sometimes just hot. If we had Melbourne’s beaches it would be the perfect city. But we don’t, we have to go to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast for a proper seaside fix. Of course, we do have winters, this year it started on a Wednesday and it was all over by the following Monday.


PerthAll the pubs sell pints which is great news for us Brits. No need to learn the word ‘schooner’. And great pubs they are as well, with the trendy Fremantle about 30 minutes south of the city home to the best of them. Even further south is the incredibly beautiful Margaret River region with more fine breweries and wineries. It’s not just about alcohol though, in the city they have shops that sell other things. Perth also has a stunning coastline, the bluest ocean and great sunsets.


Henley Beach, AdelaideQuiet, very quiet, not much to do. Those are not my words, when I was last there I met an English woman in the street who had recently moved there. We struck up a little conversation. When I asked her what she thought of the place she said “quiet, very quiet, not much to do.” Somebody else said “you could fire a cannon in my street and not hurt anybody”. But with beaches on one side, the Adelaide Hills on the other and hardly any traffic, this could well be paradise for those who don’t want to do much.


Hobart Salamanca Square

Hip and trendy, quaint historic buildings, traditional looking pubs, proper cold winters, it’s just like England. Not all of England though, more specifically it’s like the Lake District. Unlike the Lake District though, it’s an island, so it is surrounded by water as well. Water is everywhere; lakes, rivers, waterfalls, oceans, and the place has the cleanest air on the planet. Perfect if you like England, so not the number-one destination for English expats.


DarwinHot and humid, except in winter when it’s just hot. Australia has two major upmarket department stores, Myer and David Jones, they can be found in every major city. Not in Darwin though. Shopping is not Darwin’s thing. On the other hand, it is the only capital city with crocs. For some Darwin is a living hell, for others it’s paradise. I did the same pedestrian crossing test in the town, no cars to stop let alone people crossing.


CanberraThe only capital I’ve not been to, but my daughter has on her school trip. I asked her what it was like. “Okay” she said. She is not chatty. No beaches, lots of politicians.

Of course, my roundup is very much tongue in cheek. It sounds like I don’t have much good to say about anything, but here is the truth. I would live in any one of these capitals rather than move back to the UK anywhere, that’s for sure. My wife would be the same, except for Darwin. That’s a love it or hate it kind of place; my wife didn’t hate it, it’s just that she wouldn’t be able to use her Myer card anymore.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Tephy January 26, 2016, 11:42 am |

    Nice article! Love it! 🙂

  • djmcbell January 25, 2016, 6:39 pm |
    • BobinOz January 26, 2016, 1:10 am |

      Yes, they do a lot of interesting stuff on The Guardian for potential expats, I even did an interview for them once for a supplement they gave away in their newspaper.

      There is a link on my media page…


      Of course, none of their stuff is as interesting as my stuff, but bless them, they are trying 🙂 🙂

  • Alanfs January 24, 2016, 7:36 pm |

    Did make me chuckle, and a stereotypical view of the cities but pretty much hits the nail on the head. Brisbane is my favourite with the river running through it and the ferries for transport.

    • BobinOz January 26, 2016, 12:38 am |

      If I can get a chuckle out of any of my readers, that makes me happy 🙂 Brisbane is my favourite as well.

  • Dale Reardon January 21, 2016, 11:17 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I’ll admit my bias and say that my wife and I live in Hobart Tasmania and operate a website all about moving to Tasmania.

    However you are selling Tassie short I think – our Summers are really great and it might sound strange but the sun down here is much warmer at the same temperature than on the mainland (that’s what us Tasmanians call the rest of Australia).

    Today is a glorious day in our house by the beach at Kingston Beach.

    The traffic is very light, the houses are way cheaper, commutes are way shorter so what more could you want?!


    • BobinOz January 21, 2016, 4:12 pm |

      I think I’ve sold every city short Dale, even my own. I love Hobart and actually, yes, the weather is quite good, better than the UK I would think. I’m looking forward to visiting again soon.

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