How Many Towns and Cities in Australia and the UK Compared

We’ve done quite a lot of driving out of town recently. We first went Driving Out Of Town in Australia in January when we drove out of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

In February we drove out of Darwin and Adelaide along several Australian Roads with Very Few Cars on Them. Sandwiched in between those two post was Avoiding the Motorways and Taking the Back Roads in Australia with more pictures of empty roads and green lush and/or dusty and dry countryside, like this one…

Alice Springs and Uluru 041That made me wonder if I’d given you the impression that once you leave any of the major cities in Australia and drive anywhere, there is nothing. That is simply not the case, we have quite literally thousands of small towns dotted around this huge country.

For those of you who want a number, it’s at least 10,000, maybe as many as 15,000 when you include all cities, towns, suburbs and settlements.

For example, here’s what happens when you drive west out of Brisbane for about an hour along the Warrego Highway.

gatton mapFor an interactive view of that, visit Google maps.

If you click on the image to enlarge it, you might just about be able to make out that this journey will take you through (each town’s population is in brackets) Muirlea (282), Ironbark (846), Haigslea (414), Marburg (567), Minden (1093), Prenzlau (1120), Hatton Vale (1138), Plainland (1672) and Crowley Vale (1668) before you arrive at Gatton.


With a population of 6869 as at the 2011 census, Gatton is huge compared to those smaller towns we passed through on the way. It is also the home of a University Queensland campus with its state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in agriculture, animals, veterinary science and the environment.

Here’s what Gatton’s town centre looks like at around 3:30 PM on a Saturday afternoon…

Gatton1 Gatton2 Gatton3 Gatton4 Gatton5 Gatton6 Gatton7

GattonYes, quiet.

This seems to be the way it is in smaller towns from what I have seen. I have visited quite a few small towns on a Saturday afternoon, they seem to like to get all their shopping done by lunchtime so they can chill out for the rest of the weekend.

Not a bad idea.

Driving back from Gatton, avoiding the highway, will take you through Lawes (304) and Forest Hill (394) before you pass Lake Dyer…

Lake Dyer1 Lake Dyer2 Lake Dyer3

Lake Dyer4Then on to Laidley.

Again, Laidley by comparison with those other small towns is quite big with its population of 3518. This is Laidley…


LaidleyContinuing on our journey back towards Brisbane, we then pass through Grandchester (504), Calvert (281), Lanefield (234), Rosewood (2746), Thagoona (1639) and Walloon (1548). This is the Walloon Saloon…

Walloon SaloonSo, as I’ve said, it’s not just country roads and countryside when you drive out of our cities, small towns are everywhere. We passed through 19 of them during this short journey, it’s easy to see how Australia has thousands of them.

How many towns and cities in Australia and the UK compared

So, how does Australia compare to the UK? Let’s remind ourselves first that the UK can fit into Australia about 31 times.

As I’ve already mentioned, there are at least 10,000, possibly as many as 15,000 towns here in Australia. The higher number comes from a website called Australian Towns List. They sell a downloadable database which they say is “Updated quarterly and containing over 15,000 named locations – from small towns and villages to major cities“.

On a similar website called they sell a downloadable database which they describe as “The most comprehensive database available of all 48,083 UK cities, towns and villages“.


  • Australia = 15,000+
  • UK = 48,083

Just imagine for a moment if both of our countries had the same population density. If the UK had Australia’s population density, it would have something like 1500 towns. If Australia had the UK’s population density, we would have just over 1.49 million towns.

Remember that, it just might come up in a pub quiz one day.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Ogieva Peter August 6, 2017, 9:23 am |

    Quite interesting, I will like to have that book. Where can I get it?

    • BobinOz August 7, 2017, 6:58 pm |

      If you’re talking about the Australian Towns List, click on the link in the above article and it will take you to their website where you can pay for and download the book instantly.

  • Joshua February 23, 2017, 10:34 pm |

    Are towns in Australia as nice as those in the uk with as many services and stores? (Small uk towns)

    • BobinOz February 27, 2017, 8:52 pm |

      That’s not really unanswerable question, some people may prefer small Australian towns, some small UK towns, it’s subjective. It also very much depends on the town itself, whether in Australia or the UK.

  • Ronny March 1, 2016, 3:58 am |

    My first (and sole) question while reading your interesting article is : what are all these people jobs ? or where ?

    I mean, small towns like that are perfect for retirees : quiet.
    But are there factories, suppliers, medical facilities, civils servants, … schools ?

    Maybe all these people have to commute to Brisbane or Toowoomba to work ?

    • BobinOz March 1, 2016, 4:26 pm |

      It depends on the size of the town really, but there will certainly be schools and medical facilities nearby. For example, I suspect a lot of the smaller towns listed above go to the larger ones for main services, so they’d go to Gatton or Laidley.

      I suppose it is fair to say though that finding work in some of these areas can often be challenging.

      • Luke Scott June 19, 2019, 10:15 am |

        In this area there are also a lot of farmers as well. The area around Gatton is home to hundreds of fresh produce farms.

        • BobinOz June 19, 2019, 8:35 pm |

          Yes, that’s true, good point.

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