Which city should I live in in Australia?
I love sentences with in in two places next each other. Anyway…
This is another question I am frequently asked, but like love, cities are also in the eye of the beholder. What do you like? Hot, not so hot or cold? Busy, bustling and crowded or laid-back, quiet with countryside? Beach or mountain? Wet or dry? Dust or rock?
Here’s the BobinOz quick guide to choosing a city in Australia.
But remember, it’s in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder, if he still lived in England, would probably choose Cornwall.
Okay, let’s take a look at some of Australia’s cities. I must make it clear that I have only listed the 8 capital cities from our states and territories here. If you want information about any other Australian city or town, please check out the relevant Australian State and look at the comments on those pages.
If you can’t find any information about the particular city or town you are interested in, ask about it in the comments, somebody who knows it well might see it and help you out.
Sydney is the biggest city in Australia and I have been there a couple of times, but it’s not for me. It’s very busy, verging on overcrowded and traffic is quite congested. Some people love it there but it reminds me too much of all the reasons why I wanted to get away from England. It’s also very expensive.
On the other hand, the people who live there and love it do so for the very reasons I’m not so keen. Some people love buzzing, bustling cities. There is no doubting it is the financial hub of Australia and for many people coming over for their work, Sydney is the only choice.
If I had to leave Australia or live in Sydney, I’d live in Sydney, so it’s not that bad. But I do have a choice, so I don’t.
Update: Then in November 2012 I took a mini break in this city and literally saw The Other Side of Sydney. I also checked out The Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.
Melbourne is a city I really like the look of, full of culture and history with a real good buzz around it. I’ve only been once when I stayed for three days. Not long enough. I loved the trams, the layout of the city with its grid like system, and the diversity of the culture.
There seemed to be a lot going on as well, musically and entertainment wise. Plenty of venues full of character, it has the vibe of a city full of creativity. And as a bonus, within an hours drive you could be at the start of the Great Ocean Road, a stunning six hour oceanfront drive covering some 240 kilometres. It’s one of Australia’s biggest attractions.
But Melbourne is also well-known for his cold winters and four seasons in one day. I prefer my winters warmer, so for that reason, as much as I like it, no, I don’t live there.
Update: I’ve since been to Melbourne for a second time, you can read about it here:
- A Week in Melbourne with a Hint of St Kilda
- The Little Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
- The Australian Bull Ant: A Very Big Ant Indeed
Perth, for me, is way too isolated. Apparently, 40% who emigrate here from the UK choose Perth. I’ve never been, but the people I have spoken to who have, say there is not actually much there. And it is very much separate from the rest of Australia. As I said, isolated.
Did I mention isolated? Let me put that into perspective. Brisbane to Perth is 4341 km.
Sydney is 3957 km away, Melbourne 3425 km and Adelaide 2696 km. It’s about as close to the rest of populated Australia as London is to Moscow. Perth has a wonderful climate and I’m sure the beaches are lovely, but it’s not for me. But what do I know? I’ve never been.
Matt has been though, he’s lived there for 11 years. Click this link to see what Matt thinks of Perth. Elizabeth is also a fan, you can read her views here.
Update: I have now been to Perth, spending five days in the city and a further five days visiting the surrounding areas. If you want to know what I thought of it, have a look at these posts:
- 10 Days in Perth, Western Australia
- Four Days in Margaret River, Western Australia
- Margaret River: A Real Surfers Paradise
- Two Days in Fremantle, Western Australia
- Interesting Signs from Western Australia
- Perth and Western Australia: A Holiday Roundup
I have been to Adelaide, once, and I thought it was fantastic! The people were really friendly and it’s a very compact, small city with great beaches close by. The weather is likened to that of the Mediterranean and it is a much quieter city than the others. Easy to get around, very little traffic congestion and not very expensive compared to the other cities. On the downside, many of the locals there also told me there’s really nothing to do.
One of my readers, who had lived in Adelaide for five years, commented “Honestly, you could fire a cannon down my street most of the day and not hit anyone – and I lived within ten mins of the CBD.” So he thought it was quiet too.
So I wouldn’t cross Adelaide off of your list, but if you’re keeping it on there, you’ll probably need to be the kind of person who enjoys a quiet life. I was there during the summer and loved that it didn’t get dark till about nine o’clock of an evening. But I hated that there were so many flies trying to bounce off of my face.
The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast, believe it or not, is a city. It is famous for Surfers Paradise, but that’s not the only beautiful beach in the area; check out Labrador, for example.
Where Perth and Adelaide are quiet, the Gold Coast is bustling with things to do. Surfing aside, the area has who knows how many theme parks, including, Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild Water World, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, David Fleay Wildlife Park, Australian Outback Spectacular and Paradise Country.
It’s also an area big on sport with the Gold Coast Indy 300, V8 Supercars and the Magic Millions carnival, a major horseracing event here in Australia. Yes, there’s a lot to do, its action town but it also has some glorious hinterland. The property there is quite expensive, but don’t let that put you off. It’s the place to go to live the dream! And if you get bored, you can drive to Brisbane. It’s only an hour and a quarter away.
The Sunshine Coast
But north of Brisbane, about an hour and a half drive, is the Sunshine Coast. More stunning beaches and fantastic hinterland, but this time in more quiet surroundings. Dare I say it, a bit classier than the Gold Coast? No, perhaps not, that would be asking for trouble.
Maybe a better way to put it would be that where the Gold Coast is very commercialised, the Sunshine Coast is much quieter and understated. Of the two, my vote would go to the Sunshine Coast, in particular Mooloolaba and Maroochydore for their great beaches and rivers.
I love the Sunshine Coast but I have heard that it can be quite difficult to find work out that way and the commute into Brisbane is too much.
I’ve never been, but this is what I have discovered/been told. No beach, full of politicians, cold and boring. My best Aussie mate was born there and lived there until he was 18, when he joined the Army. At that age, I think he would have joined anything to escape Canberra.
He left the Army years ago, but never went back to Canberra. Well, he does occasionally to see his mum. So the obvious question to any of you considering Canberra is….. why?
Update: But as I have said, I’ve never been to Canberra, so don’t listen to me. Maybe you should listen to Andrea who has made a comment below, she lives there and she thinks Canberra is one of the best cities in the world; well, her actual words were “when it comes to living and settling down, I cant think of anywhere else in the world!”
I wouldn’t go that far, but having re-read my summary above, I can see I’ve been a bit harsh. To find out what Andrea thinks, click here.
Darwin is supposed to be like paradise, but of course, very hot and humid and home to the crocodiles. Not for the faint of heart. It’s another place I’ve not yet been to, but I’m really looking forward to visiting.
But the emphasis is on the word visiting, I don’t think I could live there. You just about can’t swim anywhere, other than a swimming pool. Sharks, killer jellyfish and crocodiles on the other hand, swim where they like. Who is to stop them? Probably too hot for most people, but you won’t be moaning about the traffic.
Update: I have now been to Darwin, went in the middle of winter, July 2013 and if you want to know what I thought about it, check out the following posts:
- Pictures from a Holiday in Darwin, Northern Territory
- Darwin; What’s It Really like?
- Crocodile Hunting in Darwin, Northern Territory
- Darwin, Northern Territory: How Scary Is It?
Tasmania is an island off of Australia’s mainland with Hobart as its capital, but I haven’t been yet. I’m going in July, so I will know more after that visit and I’ll come back and update this page. What I’ve seen of it, it looks as quiet as Cornwall, but with the remoteness of deepest Scotland.
It would be very cold and quite isolated compared to the rest of Australia, so if you’re going to give it a go, be sure to take a coat. You’ll also need to like boats, fishing and country walks. Not for me, but for some of you I’m sure it would be your slice of paradise.
Update: Well, yes I did go to Hobart and absolutely loved it and all of Tasmania. I could go on about it here, but it’s easier if you go to the following posts if you want to know more about this part of Australia:
That leaves Brisbane, where I live. I do think Brisbane has it all; fantastic climate, a modern look and access to glorious beaches an hour or so drive north and south. It has a suburb to suit everyone. If you like busy, choose one of the inner suburbs. If you like the coast, go Bayside or one of the eastern suburbs. If you like big wide open spaces, go western suburbs and yet still enjoy 35 to 40 minutes drive to the city. I think it’s a great place to bring up children too.
Brisbane is my choice, that’s why I live here. But where YOU live in Australia is a big decision to make and only you can make it for yourself.
So there you have it, my (completely worthless) roundup of the cities of Australia. How can one man who hasn’t been to half of these places (update: I have now) and not yet lived in Australia long enough and is not even an Australian citizen (update: I am now) even have an opinion? I am sure many seasoned Aussies, including my mates mum living in Canberra, would greatly disagree with me.
To those who do, please leave a comment here or on any of the other city specific pages of this website and let me know your opinion. The more opinions we have, the more we are helping others to decide.
But Australia is more than just major cities; there are hundreds more large towns and even more smaller ones to choose from. So I will leave the last word with one of my regular readers AND more seasoned Aussie, Gordon, who said “For me, comparing big cities is like comparing turnips with cow pats regarding which one tastes better.”
Needless to say, Gordon doesn’t live in a big city, and you don’t have to either. Check out my list of towns by state and you’ll see just how much choice you really have.
More useful links:
I have written a couple of posts following surveys about which are the best cities to live in. Be sure to read the comments below each of these posts, they are full of some great additional information …..
- Best City in the World
- Best City in Australia
- Best Cities to Live in: Australia Versus the World
- Who Lives Where? Migrants Settling in Australian Cities
I also have a more comprehensive roundup, which includes annual weather charts and more, for each of the following cities. Please click on a link below to read more.
How is the bushfire scenario this year? Is it the same as almost every year or worse?
Also are there cities with water shortages?
Well, bushfires do happen every year, but this year it has been by far the worst year I’ve ever seen and I believe, even though there is still a good month of summer to go, this year is already the worst bushfire season in living memory.
As for water shortages, nobody is running out yet, but the dam levels are lower than we would probably like to see. Check out the following webpage…
That’s the major cities though, there are probably hundreds of smaller towns in regional Australia that have severe water shortages, with plenty of the country declared to be in drought and have been for a long time.
Thanks for the reply. Just wanted to know whether it was media overblowing things out of proportion.
I think the recent changes in immigration policy favour people settling in the regional areas. How do these areas compare with cities like Adelaide, Melbourne or any other major Aussie city with respect to the water availability,economy, environment, schools, university, grocery shopping , cost of living etc? Any other differences would be appreciated as well.
Are there too many ‘bogans’, which I think is a term used for uncivilised people (forgive me if I am wrong!) in the regional areas. Are they racist, cause harm to immigrants etc.? Is it safe to raise a family, like is drug use, violence , alcoholism rampant?
The new regional visas are the way to go. Regional does not mean remote. I’m sure if you look at the relevant website you will see that many populated centres are regarded as regional. It is all designed to get new immigrants to settle in places other than the capital cities.
Like Bob, I live in Queensland (currently residing in the UK for family reasons) and am 80 kms north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast and it is regarded as Regional. We have a university, two public hospitals and two private, major shopping malls, all the usual stuff that makes a community.
As for Bogans, well you get them everywhere. There are certain areas I would avoid but that is the same anywhere. Same applies to drink and drugs. Put it this way, I have always felt safe in Queensland, it’s clean, great lifestyle with many other pluses. Of course should you wish to mix with the wrong types of people, life will be what you make it.
As for water, the coast has access to a different water source than Brisbane but water restrictions apply at times of shortage.
I can’t talk about lots of other regional towns as there are too many to mention. Universities are mainly capital city centric with a few others dotted around the country and there is also a fabulous ‘by distance learning’ option to take a degree, depending on your chosen topic. As for schools, there are plenty of state schools and many private providing you with a choice.The education system will be different from wherever you are and it may take a bit to get used to in terms of style of education, terminology and the like. All three of mine went through the system and onto university so it can’t be all bad.
Hope this helps.
Overall, I would recommend Australia as a great place to raise family and it has many benefits over other countries.
Cathy has given you a great answer here, and it’s interesting that she comes from Sunshine Coast, because if I had a regional visa for Australia, out of the whole country, Sunshine Coast would be the place that I would head to.
Great climate, beautiful beaches, a couple of hours from Brisbane, good facilities and an all-round great place to live. If I’m not mistaken, at the moment, Gold Coast is not regional, and I can imagine a time when Sunshine Coast would also not be regional.
Get in while you can.
As for you wondering if some of our regional places could have drug problems and bogan behaviour, well yes, for sure. We have plenty of them. But we also have plenty of regional quaint towns with great communities, it would be an impossible task to divide them into good and bad and list them all.
Sunshine Coast is definitely good though.
Thanks both for your opinions. Australia does look tempting to be sure. I think I will make an attempt this year, lets see how it goes.
I have lived in Perth and Sydney, and have visited Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. They are all great, but Perth is well and truly the best place to live! Hardly ever any traffic, a relaxed and easy-going lifestyle, great shops, people are SUPER friendly, jobs are relatively easy to find, housing is much more affordable than say Sydney or Melbourne….and not to mention the beaches are INSANE……!!! White sand, crystal clear water…..you almost could be in Hawaii :D….When we moved to Sydney and went to Bondi for the first time, I was so confused at why it everyone thought it is so amazing, any Perth beach is so much nicer than that!! We are living in Sydney at the moment for business reasons but will be moving back to Perth shortly…and I honestly can’t wait! I love Sydney, but anywhere you go is always so busy, the house prices are incredibly high, and the regular (almost every day) traffic jams are enough to send you crazy…… 😉
As you can see from my write-up above, with the update under Perth, I have been and me and my family had a great time over there. Plenty of good things to say about Perth, and as you say, fantastic beaches that just stretch forever.
The one thing against it, which I have also mentioned above, is the remoteness, it’s really quite separate from the rest of Australia. But if that doesn’t bother you, and it certainly wouldn’t bother a lot of people, then it’s a great place to live.
If I didn’t live in Brisbane, which I love by the way, I would choose Perth over Sydney or Melbourne all day long. But obviously some people like the hustle and bustle of a busy city, but I don’t, and the laid-back lifestyle of Perth would suit me fine, although Brisbane is laid-back enough for me as it is, which is why I’m staying put.
If I did have to move from Brisbane though, Perth would be a contender, I also love Hobart, but I don’t think I could do the winters.
Sorry I posted the same comment twice
I am from the United States and am considering moving to Australia after my masters degree in clinical psychology. I want to visit Australia first, before I make this kind of life changing decision. I want to visit the cities I am considering moving to. The problem is that I have considered moving to several Australian cities all across the country. These include Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and Newcastle etc. I like warm sunny weather I want to live as close to the beach as I can get. I would like to be able to go to the movies every once in awhile and to be able to get what I need as far as groceries and the like. I do need a city with a decent dating scene since I am single. Anyway, I hope my expectations of Australia are not too high. I do have a fair amount of money to travel and settle in.
I don’t blame you, it is a big move and one you don’t want to get wrong. If you have the money and the time, then yes, visit as many cities and places that take your fancy and have a good look around. Nothing beats walking the streets to get the feel of what somewhere is like to live.
Might be worth you looking into the working holiday visa, see Working Holiday Visas and Backpacking in Australia
I think there is a new visa for graduates which gives up to 4 years residency. Check it out on
Hope this helps
I think i’ve read all info on Australian cities that I could find online but I still am not able to decide which city would best suit me. Maybe you can help me.
Melbourne sounded great with its food options and culture but then it seems to be just like Manhattan NYC, and NYC for me is too busy and dirty, and the opposite of layed back. Everyone is always in a hurry there and the tourists and the noise never stops. Also its a concrete jungle.
Im looking for a European feel like Prague or Italy and I also want nature and greenery. I love Italy’s culture of eating with the entire family and giving food so much importance.
I’m planning to work as a canine rehabilitation therapist, and will have to work at a vet’s clinic or other dog rehab facilities in the city. And eventually open my own. I am 36 years old and single. I am not into crazy partying but I also don’t like to live in a quiet town. I love my food and wine and hanging out with friends. Throw in a few plays and some creative exhibitions. Meeting like minded friendly people is also important.
Weather plays an important role in choosing a city too. I dont mind a few months of winter, but crazy cold and crazy hot is not preferred. Again, having four seasons in one day which is how Melbourne’s weather is described, sounds not too comfortable.
Which city would you suggest and why?
This is a tough one Myra.
We certainly don’t have anything like Prague with its historic buildings and that amazing bridge across the river, or Italy, which could do with a bit of work, the Coliseum was a mess last time I was there 🙂
Seriously though, we just don’t, in fact what you are looking for only gives you a handful of cities to look at.
Forget Sydney, I think that would be too much like NYC for you, but I wouldn’t discount Melbourne, which in my opinion, is nothing like New York. It does have the culture that you are looking for, it has a great vibe as a city and there’s always plenty going on.
If you can put up with those four seasons in a day, I think it may be your choice.
You can forget Brisbane, I love it here, but I think it would be too hot for you. Perth is too remote and doesn’t have the kind of things you’re looking for. For you though, it may be worth considering Adelaide. It’s not a big city, it’s close to the countryside with Adelaide Hills only about 25 minutes away, lots of vineyards too.
They say the weather is Mediterranean like, not sure that’s wholly true, but it might be close. They tell me the night life is getting better as well. The worst thing about Adelaide is that most people complain it’s hard to get a job. Sounds like you’re looking to be self-employed, so that should not be a problem.
Hobart may also be a consideration, it’s building a reputation for quality food and the arts. Bit colder than most of mainland Australia though.
If I were you, I would check out my pages about Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart, having a good read of the comments. You will learn quite a bit and I think your choice is between those three.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Ok so this time I will go into more detail. Melbourne to me also sounded like my kind of place to live in, but sitting so far away one can really not tell. So my plan is to enroll in a cheap university for the first year, Im changing careers by the way, and since I want to become a canine rehab therapist I need to get a bachelors in physiotherapy first.
After the first year I will most probably get my PR in hand and then I can transfer to a university in a city I like. So the cheapest unis I have found so far are in Ballarat and Newcastle. Can you tell me a little about both these places please.
After that I was thinking moving to Melbourne, but i dont understand is if it is the same living in inner city Melbourne and in its suburbs. Im only familiar with US suburbs and they are quite far from downtown or inner city as you call it. Where in Melbourne would suit me? Im looking to live somewhere I can meet single ppl my age, Im 36, and have options to go out. Suburbs sound like family oriented boring neighborhoods. But at the same time Ive read people complain of how noisy it is living in the CBD, which im assuming is inner Melbourne, and the apartments there are tiny and compact. So yes im quite confused about Melbourne and its suburbs.
My next question is why are there still no jobs in Australia? I mean how are restaurants and businesses running and everyone living and spending and shopping and renting, yet no jobs. After I graduate, which will take 4 years, i will need to work at a veterinarian’s to get experience and save up before I can even think of starting my own business. Any idea what the pet industry is like there?
I’ll be leaving a good lifestyle back home just because Im not happy in my filed of work any more and Ive always been passionate about animals and ive been rescuing them since childhood. I cannot pursue a career in my country if I want to work with pets.
Waiting eagerly to hear from you!
Firstly, those two towns you mention, I have been to Ballarat, briefly, and I’ve driven through Newcastle but didn’t stop. So I really don’t know enough about those places to advise, although I will say this. A friend of mine went to Newcastle for a weeks holiday, and he really liked it. I think you will get a much better nightlife in Newcastle than Ballarat.
Ballarat is a historic town, I think originally it was a mining town. I’m not sure there would be much going on entertainment wise for somebody young like yourself, but maybe. Hopefully someone else can give you an answer about that, might be worth asking on my page about Victoria.
For advice about where to live in Melbourne, check out the comments on my page about it, there are literally hundreds of them talking about the different suburbs and what they are like. I liked St Kilda when I was there, a very lively bohemian suburb. A not too long train ride into the city as well.
Finally, I didn’t say there were no jobs in Australia, I just said that the people of Adelaide complain that jobs are hard to get. The best two cities for jobs though are undoubtedly Sydney and Melbourne, but they are also our two most expensive cities.
Hope that helps, Bob
Good university in Newcastle plus beaches both in city and around. Concerts and arts. Vineyard close. Near enough to Sydney for a day trip or overnight. Good coffee culture and nightlife. Bit of a mess at the moment while they build light rail but that should be sorted soon. Cheaper than Melbourne or Sydney though prices of housing are going up as people are getting fed up with prices in Sydney. Plenty of dogs in area!!
I’ve seen quite a few articles lately suggesting Newcastle is on the up and up as people move out of Sydney. Good choice Sarah.
Hi all I am a 39 year old PE teacher of 12 years and my wife a 33 year old nurse. We have three kids 9, 5 and 3 but we are looking to do a house swap for one/two years in 2021 when they are 12, 8 and 6.
My questions are where is best to teach sports or maths especially and which City do you feel is the best all rounder to do a house swap and bring up 3 children albeit for a year or two.
Thanks in Advance
A lot can happen in three years, especially in the job market and even the housing market. It’s also often not easy for new arrivals in Australia to find work quickly, with many applicants complaining that Australian employers say they need people with ‘Australian experience’.
So my advice would be to try and land your job first, or at least do research to find out which of our major cities will offer you the best work opportunities when you get here. You can use the links on my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship to help you with that.
When you know which is the best city to head for, then you can start searching for a house swap.
Hello, I may be interested in moving to Australia after college and so I’m looking into the cities. I’m going to school for Business, specifically marketing so I would be looking for somewhere with jobs in that field. Also I would really love to be able to live near or relatively close to a beach, and I’m looking for somewhere with a pretty warm climate for most of the year. After reading your descriptions of the cities, I’m interested in Brisbane, Sydney, and for some reason, Perth. Brisbane sounded nearly perfect until you mentioned the beaches aren’t really beaches. So I was thinking if I lived in a southern suburb, maybe I could be closer to Gold Coast? I think I could handle the big city feel of Sydney, but my main concern with it would be, is it regularly warm enough there to go to the beach? Sydney seems to get pretty mild weather for most of the year from what I’ve seen, the summer included. The average high temperature in the summer is listed at about 26°, and where I’m from at least, that would be a cool day at the beach, though the ocean here is probably much colder. Perth sounds interesting with a warmer climate and nice beaches, but I wonder how much opportunity there would be for work there. I’m going to do a study abroad program next year that would probably put me in Sydney for a few months, so I’ll at least get a chance experience life there for a while. Any feedback or advice is very much appreciated.
It may have helped to know where you are from re the weather as you like it hot. I would suggest therefore that you look to Queensland or the Northern Territory, the further north the hotter it gets. Trouble is, the further north you are the greater the danger if you enter the ocean from tiny jellyfish you can’t see, to sharks. If it is just beaches you want, then most of Australia fits the bill. Brisbane has beaches to the north and south of the city as it is a major port. There is also a ‘beach’ in Southbanks… an artificial beach in the parkland area on the south side of the river right in the heart of Brisbane. Very popular.
Any city should have job opportunities for you so best to look into these early. If you manage a work experience, I suggest you have a holiday whilst in Australia and travel up the east coast to get a feel for towns and cities. Places such as Townsville and Cairns don’t really have beaches as they are ports, but the surrounding suburbs do. Job opportunities all depend on so many factors it is hard to make suggestions. It may be a case of you getting a job in a town/city and moving there regardless of the temperature.
I think the most important thing here is that you will need a job at some point, and many people tell me landing that first job as a new migrant coming here can be quite difficult. So I think, in the first instance, you should have a preference towards living in an area or city where you are most likely to secure work than making sure you are close to the beach.
As you yourself have noted, Perth sounds attractive, but would you find work? It’s a fair comment because Perth is going through a bit of a rough time for employment at the moment. I think it would be a good idea if you check out my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and use the links there to see which city might offer you the most job opportunities.
If you are young, and you enjoy going to the beach a lot, and perhaps going out in the evening to pubs and bars, then it might just be that Gold Coast would suit you best if you think you are also able to find work there. I personally wouldn’t go for living in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, because you’d be just a little bit too far away from Brisbane City AND the beach. Kind of the middle of nowhere.
As Cathy has mentioned, you could go further north if you like your weather hot, but go too far north and the beaches are not really swimmable. Crocodiles are rare in Rockhampton, but apparently have been spotted, and the further north you go from there the more dangerous the oceans would become. I think you might also struggle to find work further north.
Sunshine Coast is beautiful, and you may be able to secure work there, with a bit of luck, but the nightlife isn’t as good as in Gold Coast. As for Brisbane’s beaches, this might be worth a read if you haven’t already…
Unfortunately, most job vacancies these days are in either Sydney or Melbourne, our two most expensive cities, and although they have some decent beaches, as you’ve mentioned, they don’t really have the kind of weather that you would want.
Thanks, I appreciate the information. I’m hoping doing a semester abroad there could help me to get a job later, and while I’m there I’ll try to explore a little bit if I get the chance, although it might be hard with how spread out some of the cities are. Is there a train that travels between the major cities?
Hi Cathy, if it’s relevant, I’m from Maryland in the U.S. Our seasons here swing to both extremes. In the summer it tends to be about 28-35°C, while in the winter we get snow and ice with temperatures ranging anywhere from -17-0°C. Spring and fall can be mild sometimes but they’re often pretty erratic. I prefer warmer temperatures and I’m looking for somewhere that’s similar to or warmer than Sydney on average. It doesn’t need to be somewhere terribly hot but I don’t want the freezing cold like I experience now.
Hi Cathy, if it’s relevant, I’m from Maryland in the U.S. Our seasons here swing to both extremes. In the summer it tends to be about 28-35°C, while in the winter we get snow and ice with temperatures ranging anywhere from -17-0°C. Spring and fall can be mild sometimes but they’re often pretty erratic. I prefer warmer temperatures and I’m looking for somewhere that’s similar to or warmer than Sydney on average. It doesn’t need to be somewhere terribly hot but I don’t want the freezing cold like I experience now. I would probably love Melbourne as a city but it looks like it gets a little colder there than what I’m looking for.
I would take Bob’s advice and check out the links he’s posted for getting a job and sponsorship.
The State of Queensland has only two seasons, hot and hotter. As a young person I would suggest you find work in one of the larger towns or cities on the coast. So you are looking from the border with New South Wales right up to Cairns. Be aware that above Rockhampton you are in the tropics where many of the locals think cold is anything under 24 C !. Cairns is a young person’s city with lovely hinterland up on the Atherton tablelands to the west but it gets very humid and subject to cyclone threats every January/February. Down from there is Townsville, a thriving city but again in the tropics. By all means visit them, but the train from Brisbane to Cairns takes 24 hours as does the drive, so you will appreciate the distances involved. Of course you can take a coach/bus and get on and off along the way with backpackers which is a good way to see the country. Flying of course is the alternative and if flying to Cairns, sit on the right hand side and if the weather is clear you should get a terrific view of the Great Barrier Reef.
Otherwise, I would suggest at your age (college) that probably Brisbane is your best bet for work and socialising and getting to know people. It gets cold in the winter – but that cold is relative and from memory (I’m in the UK at present) you need a jacket in the winter months – May – Septemeber and it can get as cold as 5 C overnight but about 18 C during the day. If you are exceptionally lucky, you might once every few years see a flurry of snow! Remember everything here is upside down in Australia. The main thing I noticed is that the hours of daylight come to a fairly abrupt end around 7pm as there is no daylight saving in Queensland.
Do your research, check out Bob’s website and various blogs and links. Google Australia and the various states and cities or check out travel magasines. Towns in Northern NSW might suit you too.
If you manage to get over for an exchange semister, see if you can take holidays after and explore your various target towns. Work will be your main criteria and sponsorship will be most helpful. Check out the Australian Government’s website for information re visas etc.
I just want to ask you for some advice..who knows, maybe you can help me 🙂 Every time, I thought, I found THE place to live for me, I found out facts, I didn’t like about it.
I am looking for a coastal city/suburb where these criteria are fullfilled:
I want to live in a modern city (not that many tourists) in a new building apartment (up to 400$ per week).
On my doorstep should be:
-a beautiful, clean beach (not that many tourists)
-a few restaurants and a few shopping opportunities
I am studying informatics and I want to move there after I finished my studies and got a few years of work experience. It would be great to find a city, in which I could find a job.
I think, I should also mention that I am not able to stand too hot temperatures. It shouldn’t be over 28-30 degrees Celsius that often.
I like bars, pubs, turkish/greek/italian restaurants. It would be awesome, to find some of them in the city. A bit of nightlife would also be great.
I hope, that you can suggest a few cities, in which most of the criteria is fullfilled.
Thank you so much for your website btw!! I am happy, that I fouund it.
I don’t think the place you are looking for exists in Australia. Firstly, not exceeding 28 to 30°C that is close to the beach counts out almost all of Australia.
If you’re looking for somewhere that has an apartment building, bars, pubs, Turkish/Greek/Italian restaurants and shopping, there will be tourists.
Having said that, I’d be looking along the New South Wales coast, from Newcastle, to Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and maybe up as far as the Tweed Coast…
Thanks for your reply!! 🙂
I was afraid of such an aswer 😀 Ok, I looked up the New South Wales coast but didn’t find a place with a beautiful beach (white sand, clear water) with new building apartments nearby. I guess, I have to accept the hot weather and the fact, that there will be more tourists than I wish 😀 So, do you have any suggestions now?
Thank you 🙂
Given that you really want to find a job, I think you need to choose either Sydney or Melbourne. These two cities easily have the most job opportunities in all of Australia.
Both of these cities can get stinking hot in the summer, but overall Melbourne has the cooler climate if that’s what you prefer. Some would say a bit too cold, so if you do want to go to the beach a lot, maybe Sydney would be better.
We are looking to move to Australia to work for few years from UK and we really like Brisbane more than other cities, for his weather and beaches. But what about water-sports, such as windsurfing and nightlife, e.g. restaurants? We do like to do lot of activities so is Brisbane a good city for entertainment too?
Brisbane has a pretty good night life these days, lots going on in ‘The Valley’ (Fortitude Valley), West End and Paddington. Plenty of restaurants and bars around too, but you will need to pick a suburb carefully if you want all this stuff to be on your doorstep.
As for watersports, plenty of that going on. Kite surfing has been popular…
And they definitely have the wind for it down at Surfers Paradise, which is about an hour and a quarter drive from Brisbane. And then there’s the Sunshine Coast an hour and a half north…
I’m looking at moving to Aus from the UK. I seem to be leaning towards Brisbane because I like the look of the weather and the fact that some of the most iconic beaches are just an hours drive away. Just a few things I’d like to know before deciding though. I am currently 21 and looking at moving before I’m 25. I have a HNC (Level 4) in electrical engineering and currently work for a company designing switchgear for the railways in the UK. Does Brisbane have job opportunities in this field? Also one thing that also concerns me is safety. Is there much crime in Brisbane? Basically I would like to know the more in depth parts of actually living there. Like which part of Brisbane is the best and doesn’t pose a big risk to flooding. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Have a look on my main page about Brisbane, you will find some interesting links on it including one about how to avoid the flooding. Also have a good read of the comments, there’s lots of talk about what it’s like to live in Brisbane and the various suburbs.
Brisbane is an extremely safe city so you should not be concerned about that at all. As for work, that’s impossible to answer. You can check out opportunities through my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship but that won’t help you much, because you’re not moving now.
What things will be like in three or four years time is impossible to predict. Good luck with your plans, Bob
Hi there cyber world!
My partner and I are coming to Aus in November and I have a few things (okay a lot of things) that I’m looking for advice on.
Firstly, my partner is a live sound engineer (sadly this doesn’t translate as a skilled visa so we are coming on a working visa to start with) and we are assuming Melbourne would be a good place for him to seek employment? He works at the busiest conference center in the UK and also picks up the odd freelance gig for live music events and sound metering.
He also has a connection at D&B Audio who are based near Melbourne. Are we right in thinking this would be one of the better places for conferences and live music events? My partner’s work is a priority for us as it’s the one we are most likely to gain sponsorship on.
I have experience in reception/admin/events admin roles and hold a degree in human rights. I would ideally like to live somewhere that’s busy enough for me to find these types of roles. I would also really like to try au pairing/nannying as I have 6 young niblings (nieces & nephews) of my own and adore spending time with them! Any advice on locations would be a fantastic help!
John will probably be needing to drive to freelance gigs/events, but I currently don’t drive so would it be fair to say central locations are best in terms of public transport etc?
I am also aware that we will have to complete 3 months rural work to ensure a 2nd year visa. Will we still have to do this if John (partner) gains sponsorship early on? I’m quite happy to do the rural work as it’s something that interests me, but worry about what this might mean for potential sponsorship?
Finally if anyone has any advice they can offer a sound technician/audio engineer, John would really appreciate it! He’s a bit anxious as he has a very good reputation here and I’ve decided to drag him to the other side of the world and make him start again 🙂
Many thanks in advance,
Emma & John
To answer your main question, yes, Melbourne sounds as though it would be ideal for you both, certainly from your partner’s point of view. Melbourne is, without doubt, Australia’s creative arts capital, there are lots of live gigs and events going on as well as TV production work.
Melbourne, along with Sydney, is also the best place to be for the most job opportunities, so I’m sure it will offer both of you the best chance of finding work. As for the rural work, you only need to do it if you want that second-year visa, if your partner can secure sponsorship, then maybe he won’t really need to do that.
As for how doing rural work might affect your partner’s potential sponsorship chances, and also for how he might transition from a working visa to sponsorship, you really do need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent. They are the only people who are allowed to offer this kind of advice.
For exactly where to live in Melbourne, or the possibility of any information on potential employment, it might be a good idea if you ask on my page about Melbourne to see if any of the locals can help with that.
Good luck to you both, I hope it all works out, Bob
Yeah I think we will stick to Melbourne, definitely to start with anyway. I’ll have a look at the Melbourne page and take it from there, thanks!
If we both manage to find employment fairly quickly we may Leave the rural work to the end of the year.
thanks for your help and for putting together a really informative online forum!
Hi Emma & John Id agree Melbourne perhaps just tops the list especially with the TV Music etc etc Dont get me wrong it goes on in Sydney but not as much as Melbourne. Concerts of course do both as a minimum when visiting…Heck even McCartney is on his way…
If you say some details of what lifestyle you like eg beach or city slickers and cafe lovers or green space or of course all four and so on I can help with areas.. Better still have a read through loads of my recent comments on Melbourne page and the various suburbs (you can leave the west off your reading list.
However I have another question.. for John, You are working on conference stuff, so mics and sound projection, I’m guessing, front of house stuff perhaps, maybe a one/two man operation only? again guessing, So imagine there is a whole team on a big live music event. I am just picking Neil Diamond here, (as in that big)… Where is your speciality area then ? Its not a trick question.. Genuinely interested in where youd fit.
Thanks for the reply Mark!
We like a bit of everything to be honest but mostly good brunch, not too built up (I have a love hate relationship with busy cities after living in London) and I like a bit of water in my landscape (being from Scotland I enjoy a nice walk around a Loch!). I wouldn’t mind being somewhere where we could access the beach in a few hours drive, but it’s not essential. We are pretty easy going with location to be fair. As long as there’s good public transport for me, ease the process of finding a job.
John’s reply below:
I have been in the live sound game at a professional level for going on 10 years now. I have a wide experience of all aspects of the the job, FOH, monitors, Systems Tech etc. as well as a bit of Stage Management and Noise Metering thrown in.
I have spent the last 2 and a half years in charge of sound at the Scottish Events Campus. Our site includes a conference centre, exhibition halls and the SSE Hydro arena. Needless to say I encounter a large variety of situations ranging from very small to very large events.
Coming to Australia I am looking to take the next step in my career based on the experience I take with me.
Thank you so much for the feedback as it really is invaluable. The positive responses we have received have been overwhelming and I know we’re making the right decision.
Cannot wait to be in Oz!.
– Mark just a note that if you know anything about John’s field/sound engineer type jobs then any advice would be a great help. Even if it’s just the name of a few company that are worth looking into when we get there. Thanks 🙂
Hi Emma John As you have gathered yes I am somewhat to do with the stuff John does but bear with me, I am not saying too much as dont want hopes up. I do however feel it would be pretty impossible for him not to land a job somewhere here. I know of a few people who might use John’s talents, thats why I asked where his speciality might fit at a big concert.. Its not my speciality area though I sometimes watch what they are up to as all my job entails sometimes is answering questions .(my sarcastic humor) .. Came in handy a few weeks back at a school event when no one could get the mic amp and surround hooked up all in one…I heard the words ‘you must have an idea how this lot works’…Amazing I did. This is perhaps too specific for on here. Ask Bob for my email if you wish. Dont go busting a gut though Your a way of landing
Thank you Mark,
Have dropped bob an email asking for that. Look forward to chatting with you more. 🙂
Hello thinking about moving to Australie, i like beaches, warm stabil weather and small towns within 30-60 min drive of a larger city. I want it to be quiet and calm but not too much, i also want like a good friendly local community where we help each other.
Have a look at anywhere along the Queensland coast, the further north you go, the warmer it gets and the smaller the towns get. It’s all broken up by bigger cities like Mooloolaba, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Townsville, well, you’ll see them on the map.
Best not to go too far past Hervey Bay if you don’t want crocs in the sea, if you want to be closer to Brisbane, go somewhere in Sunshine Coast. Hope that helps.
As pointed out by Bob, I would head for Queensland if you want great beaches, warm water, city access within an hour, and reasonable living costs. If money is no object, and you want access to the largest of cities, then have a look at New South Wales. Sydney is obviously the big city in NSW, but you can just over an hour to the North or South of Sydney and be in much cheaper locations, with amazing beaches. This is also true in Melbourne, Vic but the ocean there is too cold for my liking. In NSW you can look North at places like the Central Coast (Gosford, Umina, Avoca Beach and Terrigal) or South (Bundeena, Stanwell Park, Coledale, Austinmer and all the beaches down to Wollongong). Actually South is probably better because there are train stations all the way down to Wollongong. IMO those who can live outside the city in Australia are the luckiest people in “The Lucky Country” . Good luck with the search.
If you like small towns maybe check out Toowoomba. Its a sweet small town about an hour and 45 mins from Brisbane and a couple of hours from the coast. Its not particularly interesting but has some sweet culture, famous for its annual flower festival. It also has an annual street art festival to keep the cbd walls looking vibrant. If you like a somewhat regional area, without the commitment of having to drive to another city for decent shopping, Toowoomba has got you covered. It’s recently renovated and added a whole new section to its main shopping center so it has all your mainstream brands there now (although I haven’t been since the new section opened to see it, but I hear it’s good).
I am planning to move to Australia. I am 35 years old, love live music, trying new restaurants and the ocean. Where in your opinion would be a great fit for me? Thank you. Vanessa
Melbourne probably has the best nightlife in terms of live music and restaurants, and you will have easy access to some great beaches. But not the best beaches in Australia and it’s certainly not the best weather to enjoy it.
Better weather and beaches can be found in Sydney and it does also have a very lively nightlife, but some rather stupid lockout laws at the moment. Both Sydney and Melbourne though are our most expensive cities when it comes to accommodation.
When you say you like live music, do you mean you want to see big bands when they visit Australia? If you do, you really only have the choice of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and possibly Perth, because the really big acts don’t seem to go to the smaller cities.
Brisbane is a great city but doesn’t do beaches very well, although an hour and a half by car away in each direction there are great beaches on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
So it’s a tough call, but I hope this helps you in some way.
Sydney has some of the best beaches in Australia, and reasonably warm sea temperature for the months of the year when you probably want to go swimming. Victorian waters are breathtakingly cold, even in very hot weather, but they do have some nice beaches (not so much in Melbourne) down the eastern and western coast lines. If you want to live near the beach, in Sydney particularly, although this comment applies also to Melbourne somewhat, you will be paying handsomely for rent. My advice, like Mark’s, is to consider where you are going to work and how much money you will need to allocate to rent. You can go to http://www.realestate.com.au to check out rental prices all over Australia. Try to avoid living anywhere that dictates you will have to drive a car to work (especially in Sydney). The further away from the CBD and beaches you get in Sydney, the cheaper your rent will be. Melbourne has the best variety of nightlife and restaurants with “real” music, although Newtown and Marrickville areas in Sydney are also pretty groovy. My opinion of a majority of Sydney’s nightlife is that it’s mainly full of massive carbon-copy beer/sports bars, frequented by blokes who want to knock somebody out, and girls who who want to be friends with those kind of blokes….and with no atmosphere. Melbourne’s bar’s and pubs, to me, seem to have a much more lively and authentic feel and edgy yet friendly atmosphere. Like I’ve said in previous posts, Melbourne is the more arty, indoor kind of place, while Sydney has the weather, beaches, harbour and superficiality. If you don’t need to work, take a look at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. World’s best beaches, amazing weather, warm ocean, maybe not as much choice in bars/restaurants and nightlife and a bit quieter overall….but great lifestyle.
A bit more information about your work ambitions and rental budget will help us give you better advice.
Hope that helps
Hi Vanessa… I chip in with some comments mostly on Melbourne.. If you cna narrow donw your other wants from a city, like climate, budget, etc and maybe even what profession your in to point you in the best direction..What I can also add is yes the ‘names’ in music are certainly Sydney and Melbourne..Brisbane, Perth, it then somewhat runs out, that’s just down to population and filling seats. Having eaten and walked along the South bank area of Melbourne many a day there is restaurants everywhere. .Many a street music of some decent nature at times…
Hi, This is a very nice blog for someone who is moving to Australia. I am planning to move there in next couple of months with my Family (I am father of two). What city is offers best opportunities in film making, media, culture etc.
I think the answer to this one is Melbourne, but I don’t know for sure. If I’m not mistaken though, Sydney is best known as Australia’s financial centre and Melbourne has the edge when it comes to the creative arts. Both of these cities, in the current climate, far and away offer the most job opportunities in Australia.
Hi Kamran and Bob,
I’d agree with Bob. If you are in the creative sphere Sydney and Melbourne are the places to be (for jobs anyway) and Sydney probably has the edge these days in terms of where the production companies and media organisations are based. That said, I still find more Melbourne a more edgy creative and arty culture than Sydney.
Hope that helps
I wanted to know if Australian cities /suburbs have any city centre/high street like U.K. Has? All things at one place.
It really depends on the city or suburb.
Most country towns will have a main street which is the main shopping and business area, In the big cities the inner city suburbs will likely have main streets with a very similar feel to the high streets in the UK. Out in the sprawling expanses of suburbia, the big shopping centres like Westfield seem to be more dominant.
Thank you so much David for your prompt reply. I was having my doubts since Australia is so vast unlike UK and was assuming it won’t have population concentration at one place and one might have to travel far off distance to have access to such facilities.
Hi Erica The UK is not much different for shopping as Australia its just a smaller more compact scale. As David has said High Streets mostly called Main Street here exist and as do shopping centres….But small villages still exits with two or three shops, small suburbs with a dozen shops and some places with no shops at all again just like the UK It also depends on where you live . Australia has a population concentration but its nowhere near as compact as the UK so the shopping areas are a bit more spread out Google Toorak and drive down using street view Toorak Road over 270 shops all down or just of one road Then google Chadstone Mall in Chadstone these are both Melbourne based but it gives you an idea. Drive on street view around say Torquay in Victoria again a main street
Thank you Mark for the reply. Yes I get the idea. I love U.K (except for the weather)but I’ll be shifting to Australia with my husband for sometimes. And wanted to have a fair idea about shops/malls /streets dedicated for food, shopping etc. Thanks again.
Bear in mind that although Australia is a vast continent, by far most of the population lives in urban areas.
Yes, 80 to 90% I believe.
If you live in the middle of nowhere, or ‘Woop Woop’ as it’s known here, it’s a different story. I remember hearing about someone called Outback Maggie, she had a 40 minute drive in her Jeep to get to the front gate of her property, but then it was just a couple of hours to the grocery store from there 🙂
With all the hasstle of navigating my self to work and having to listen to people give me a hard time all day, only to end up crawling home at 40km per hour through traffic, I think Outback Maggie was onto something there 🙂
Yes, there’s something to be said for not living in one of the major cities, much evidence suggests the happiest people in Australia live in small towns…
Thanks David. We’ll be living in urban areas for sure.
Thank you Bob for your amazing work.This site has everything under one roof.
I am so glad I found it and I think it has answered most of my questions.
Thanks Erica, glad you like and please to have helped.
May I ask you a question. I work in Construction/Architecture industry. What is the best city in Brisbane district area that has plenty jobs of this kind?
Best regards for the site
I’m not sure what you mean by the ‘Brisbane district area’, but Brisbane itself would almost certainly be where the most job opportunities are in Queensland. I don’t know how things are in your particular industry, but you can research the latest vacancies from my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.
i’m planning to move Australia, can you please suggest me which city to prefer from Brisbane & Adelaide ? I’m from India, my wife is a teacher and i’m from business background, we have 2 kids (7yrs & 4yrs).
That’s really down to personal preference, so I can’t give you an answer. I prefer Brisbane, I’m sure the vast majority of people who live in Adelaide prefer Adelaide otherwise they’d be here in Brisbane as well.
Both are fine cities, I’d go where the most work opportunities are if I were you.
Hi Bob, just thinking to move to Australia and I was checking teh differents cities and city life. What about finding a job for an Expat in Brisbane? Any kind, Tourism, IT, office…
Jobs are hard to find, even harder if you are not yet here in this country. I couldn’t find one for you, that would be impossible, if that’s what you’re asking. I do have a lot of pages about finding jobs though, for example, Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.
Hello i am planning moving to Australia for study industrial design i am also a latín and a lot of universities offers the career so what cities do you recommend for an immigrant or a student?? I was googling and i read about perth but also read bad things inclusive from people that live in Perth xD hope you can help me and advice me
I think our most popular city for students is Melbourne, but personally I’d go to wherever you think you might get the best education and if you have choices of several unis, just pick the city that you like the sound of most from the descriptions on this page.
Hi Bob my husband and I have found your information very useful and very interesting reading. My husband is retiring from work in 5 years time and we have talked about nothing else for a couple of years about emergrating to australia and the gold coast in queensland australia is our favourite, I know that we will be very happy here . Thank you very much for all emails but would it be possible for you to get me some information about retirement visa’s. Finance information and how much we would need to support our self’s etc. We have been looking at properties for sale but maybe this is to early Lol. we are planning on visiting for a 2 week stay within the next 2 years as we want to have a look around the area .we look forward to hearing from you soon .
I don’t give out information about any kind of visa at all, only MARA registered migration agents are legally allowed to do that. You can look into the criteria yourself and a video on my page about Visas will show you how to do that via the government’s immigration website.
Alternatively, you could speak to a MARA registered migration agent about your situation. I think it’s important that you find out whether or not you can qualify for one of these visas before you go through all the effort of looking into how you support yourselves and the finance.
Good luck, Bob
Hi bob. Me, my husband and our two little boys are moving to Australia later this year but haven’t decided where yet. My mother wants to move to Perth in the future so she really wants me to go to Perth but my concern is that with climate change it is going to become too darn hot. Any comments on that from anyone? Also (again factoring in future climate instability) Brisbane may experience more extreme flooding. Granted you can buy a house on a hill but the whole city takes a knock when a flood like 2011 happens … So I’m thinking the best long term city is Melbourne. Any thoughts? People have said housing is expensive – is there a useful website that compares housing prices? Thank you.
realestate.com.au is a decent site for house sale prices. You can see whats available in any area. I wouldn’t get too hung up about climate change thats my own personal opinion and im no expert but you have to live the life without worrying to much about that. Similarly I woudl not be moving where my mother wanted me to move to. Again the climate change may not have an effect and your mother may not move…Move for yourselves whats best. Im assuming you have your Visas. Grandma or Nanny is always great for child minding but unless you have a specific reason …..move for yourselves. Perth is a great place but its too isolated for me and too British some may say. A familiar sight of the black cab OK white version at the airport says it all to me.
I agree. You can’t be worrying about potential climate change or what your mother wants, go with your heart.
My most recent article about house prices is here…
And, of course, I have my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.
I find your article informative and convincing. I am planning to move to Brisbane with my family. After reading your article, I’m pretty much convinced that it’s a good choice.
What is your opinion about finding job in Brisbane as a civil engineer? Do you know anyone that has Australia Residents can find job with government? Is January a good time on searching for jobs?
Thanks in advance!
I think there are some restrictions with government jobs, in particular I’m pretty sure you need to be a citizen to get a job within one of the defence departments. I can’t imagine such restrictions apply to civil engineers though, so you may be okay with that.
I’m not sure how easy or not it might be to get a job as a civil engineer at the moment, but you can research the current vacancies through links on my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.
Hope that helps, Bob
In reply to Teresia’s question re jobs with the Australian Government as a former Pubic Servant (or Civil Servant as in the UK) many are open to Commonweath citizens as well as their own. All depends on the department but worth looking into. January is also the time most Australian’s change jobs (New Year and all that) plus when graduates get employed as their final year ends the previous November so they are all out job hunting. To avoid paying for the Christmas holidays, most employers interview but will not employ till January. Hope this helps.
Hi Bob, thanks to this article, it was very useful for us! I was exactly looking for descriptions about cities and advise where to live. My wife and I are planning to move from The Netherlands to Australia for quite some time now. We have to wait a bit longer until we can apply for a permanent residence visa (work related experience as a web developer).
We had our eye on Brisbane before, because we want to live close to the beach and our family in Elanora qld. For working purposes it’s important to live close to the city (to find work and keep the daily travel distance short), however we really love both the beach and living big and quite.
So after reading your article, I guess an eastern or western Brisbane suburb would be the best for us. Do you have an advise for us which suburbs would exactly be the best for us? We love the beach, but most important for us is to live nice, large and quite (for an affordable price :)). Maybe we’re looking for the holey grail, but I’d really appreciate your advice.
Thanks Martijn, glad to hear this has been helpful to you. You will certainly be able to live in a quite large and affordable house here in Brisbane if you choose the right suburb, but access to decent beaches from here isn’t that great.
Have you read my article about Brisbane’s beaches? If you haven’t, you can access it here…
Living in an eastern suburb of Brisbane would get you close or even on the coast, just be aware though that there aren’t too many golden sandy beaches around here. If you choose a suburb with good access to the Pacific Highway though, you will be less than an hour away from decent beaches about an hour north or south.
Have a read of that article and if you have any other questions, just let me know and I’ll see if I can help.
Very useful. Thanks
I am now really attracted to Brisbane . I am Indian moving from UK to Aus , work as GP. Trying to choose city. My daughter is 11 so want good schools, reasonable cost of living , warm weather for walks. Seems Brisbane is good choice. My aunts live in Melbourne & Adelaide , Sydney , Canberra . The reason I am moving from Uk is I wanted to be near by extended family to socialise better .please suggest your thoughts
Brisbane is a good choice. As you would have seen from Bob’s posts, it’s a brilliant city for a family and has some of the most affordable house prices and rents in Australia. If you are a GP you will have no trouble finding work as we need more doctors – provided you have all the right paperwork of course. A word of caution about distances in Australia, especially if your family are in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Canberra. Many people coming from Europe to Australia don’t understand how big Australia is. It’s roughly the same size as Europe or the USA and the distances between major cities are vast. Melbourne and Adelaide are a long way from Brisbane. Sydney is the closest capital city and it’s over 900km away eg: London to Inverness in Scotland. Brisbane to Melbourne or Adelaide is a similar distance as London is to Rome. You won’t be popping by for a cup of tea! Flying is the most practical way to move between these cities, as driving will take you days, and cost a lot in fuel. All of that said, I’d still go to Brisbane as the weather is brilliant and the pace of life there much more relaxed than Melbourne of Sydney.
I hope that helps.
Paul is spot on with his answer, and he is absolutely right to point out the huge distances between our major cities. Flying between them isn’t cheap either, we don’t have a Ryanair price structure here I’m afraid.
Flights between cities are always quote prices of one-way, and can vary massively depending on the route but budget anything between $200 and $700 for each flight. So as Paul says, you won’t the popping round your aunts for a cuppa.
I think Brisbane is a great choice though, I’ve been here for nine years and I’ve not been tempted to move to any other major city even though I have seen them all, almost. Just Canberra left on my list.
Brisbane is great for the weather, being laid-back and a wonderful place to bring up kids. Good luck, Bob
I love your website – it has been a great source of information!
My husband and I live in London, UK … but have decided to trigger our article 50 in the next few months and move to OZ. My husband is a GP and he is getting many offers to work all over Australia (apart from Sydney, they seem to have enough doctors). However, we are struggling to decide which city to choose and I was hoping to get your advice on that. We have a 2 year old girl and I am currently 7 months pregnant so we will have a newborn soon too. Therefore, I won’t be working in 2017 and 2018 but will be looking to continue my career after that (corporate/management job). Therefore, we need a place which is family friendly but also offers good job opportunities. Brisbane seemed like a great choice …. until we saw your videos about the floods in 2011 and the snake!! Being Londoners, we are not used to getting in touch with nature that much! Is it really that bad? Also, the floods worry us – are there parts of Brisbane less likely to get flooded (on a hill)?
Melbourne might be a good choice but I am worried that the weather is not much better than in London so the kids and I would be limited to indoor play areas etc and that’s not ideal. I would prefer to live in a place where I can take them to the beach (or at least outdoors) every day. Is the weather in Melbourne really that bad? Also, Melbourne seems too similar to London, very urban and I am worried that lifestyle is as hectic as it is in London. So in a nutshell, we’d like a place with nice weather, outdoors lifestyle, good job opportunities but no snakes, no floods. Is that possible to find? Or are we being unrealistic.
Many thanks in advance for your answer.
Ah, yes, there is just one problem with your comments and questions Diana, it’s that little bit where you say ‘but no snakes’. Nowhere in Australia does no snakes, although in fairness I’ve yet to see one in the cold room of the bottle shop. So that’s one safe area I suppose.
Oh, there’s another thing, floods. I’m not really convinced there’s anywhere in Australia that doesn’t do floods every now and again either. Even cold rooms in bottle shops get flooded occasionally.
The good news though is that you can minimise the risks of encountering both snakes and floods. If you haven’t yet seen these two articles, I’m sure you’ll find them useful:
Whilst both of those articles are particularly about Brisbane, they can be adapted to apply to any city in Australia.
So, which city should you go to? To be fair to Melbourne I don’t think you will find it too much like London, but I do agree with you that the weather isn’t great. It most certainly would be an improvement on London’s weather, but Melbourne’s weather is unpredictable, so if good weather is on your A list, it’s probably not the best choice for you.
On the other hand, the weather in Brisbane is, in my view, close to perfect. Brisbane is also a quite laid-back city, nothing like London at all in that respect, and it is a great place to bring up kids. If your husband can get work here, Brisbane would certainly be my choice. I am biased though, I’ve lived here for nine years now.
The floods we had were what they called a one in 100 years event, so flooding on that scale doesn’t happen very often. And my house, I’m pretty sure if that got flooded it would be a one in 100,000 years event, because my house is, you won’t be surprised to hear, on a hill. Snakes aren’t really a problem either, I reckon I see maybe one year. I don’t think there is anybody living here in Australia who wakes up each day worrying if there’ll be another flood or if they will see a snake.
It’s just not something Australians think about on a daily basis, so these things are probably not worthy of a top slot on your worry list. Hope that helps and good luck with your move. Cheers, Bob
sorry I missed your original post however it sounds like you haven’t moved yet so I’ll have a crack at giving you some answers. I agree with Bob about floods and snakes. Very rare to see a snake in any of the capital cities, and flooding seems to be a problem that is mainly peculiar to Brisbane, and only it’s river flats at that. Compared to the UK, Melbourne’s weather is positively Mediterranean. I lived in Melbourne for 20 years and can say it is a delightful city that has many advantages over Sydney ie: less congestion, better public transport (mostly), better cafes and restaurants (and cheaper) better arts/music scene, better sporting culture and facilities. Yes the weather is slightly cooler, more windy and more changeable than Sydney or Brisbane, but it’s still pretty darn good. If it’s beaches you want, Melbourne has plenty, but the water is much colder than Sydney or Brisbane (Gold Coast). I’ve lived in Sydney for the last 15 years and can say that it’s weather is perhaps perfect, it’s beaches amazing, and it’s harbour beautiful. But then there is the traffic, the congestion, the urban sprawl, the astronomical cost of living…nowhere is perfect, but Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are all pretty good. All 3 regularly make it into The Economist’s annual top 10 most liveable cities in the world list.
Sydney and Melbourne have an edge over Brisbane when it comes to professional employment opportunities, with Sydney being both the financial capital (sorry Melbournians) and the main commercial centre of Australia. Most global companies have set up their head offices in Sydney for one very simple reason. There are more international flights that terminate in Sydney than any other location in Australia, so international visitors/managers don’t need to take another flight once they get to Australia, having often been in the air for 20 hours or more.
I think you’ll be really happy with any of the 3 main cities, and even the other capitals although I’m not qualified to comment on what it’s like to live in them, Perth and Adelaide also hover around the Top 20 most liveable cities list. If you want to buy a house, and you are not fantastically wealthy, I’d chose Brisbane. Melbourne and Sydney housing costs are close to ridiculous.
I hope that helps.
I do have to correct your error of fact, Melbourne and Adelaide are both within the Economist top 5 ranked most liveable cities, Perth is at number 7, Sydney has fallen out of the top ten and Brisbane has always rated significantly behind the other four cities.
Mind you, I think these rankings are somewhat artificial.
Yes, the rankings are somewhat artificial, for example I don’t believe they take into account the cost of housing. Melbourne has won it every year for as long as I can remember, but as Paul says, housing costs there are close to ridiculous.
Sydney though, has dropped out lately and Brisbane does usually make the top 20.
Links to the rankings and the latest positions can be found here…
Come to Perth. This Bob guy doesn’t know of that which he speaks. I’ve lived in Brisbane for nearly 5 years. Brisbane makes you realise how much better Perth is. So-called “isolation” is not an issue, except Sydney and Melbourne are isolated from Perth.Until recently more UK persons settled in Perth than any other place. Let me tell you, you stubble over them everywhere in Perth. Plus we speak better proper English and are the most civilised of all Australians
Ah, nice to have a member of Perth Tourism pop by, thanks for taking the time 🙂
By the way, I love the ‘better proper English’, that’s a classic.
Hi Diane Apologies meant to reply to this when you posted but a loss of family member in UK sidetracked me as it would. I was replying for your Melbourne questions and can say it is absolutely nothing like London I have now worked in both…London is far far far busier with over double the population if statistics are correct, id personally say triple, it feels like it. Not at all urban like London..There is a freshness a feeling of space a feeling of not having to watch the person coming towards you for fear they will walk into you The trick with anywhere is dont head for the city, live outside many business are outside it as well and a GP well wherever there is people you will need a GP. so look at Greater Melbourne if you are still looking this way…as an example head down the Mornington Peninsular, its called mini ‘pohm land’ Again like Perth which has a lot of Brits the area of the Mornington Peninsular has become a magnet in Melbourne though of course they are everywhere…. Weather well its not as good as Brisbane but its way better than UK ..It has been a particularly bad winter, It certainly can change here they say with justification it can experience four seasons in one day That’s true but its almost like being in Madeira or Southern Spain The rain comes you get wet you dry out, .We are a lot more outdoors sorts since moving. I think the chances of flooding here are remote (impossible where we live, unless Noah is arriving) Melbourne will offer probably more corporate places than Brisbane,for you. As a final tip I spent hours driving round on google street looking Its not ideal but gives ab idea…One things for sure you will be far happier here than UK if you can adapt.
This post is super helpful. Thank you. My husband and I intend on moving to Australia in a few years time and would like your opinion on the best city to move to between Melbourne and Brisbane. We are from the Caribbean and enjoy everything nature including the beach, rivers, fishing, hiking etc. We want a place with lots of entertainment and activities both indoor and outdoor, like parks, zoos, museum, pubs, great dining etc. We wish to be close to the city but also enjoy a little peace and tranquility preferably with some tree or park surrounding. I’m a finance professional so would need to be in a city with corporate feel but not as hectic as Sydney. Being from a tropical island we would prefer warmer weather but if we an adjust to the unexpected weather of Melbourne that would be ok. We also would like the area to be a great place to start a family. Grateful for your opinion.
Thanks Kella, glad you like it.
Disclaimer first, I am rather biased, I live in Brisbane and love it. From what you are looking for, Brisbane would have everything you want and you will also have a better chance of living close to the city here. Melbourne is a much bigger city and I would think living close to the city there would be quite expensive. The cost of housing in Melbourne is definitely a lot more expensive.
Melbourne though would probably win out in terms of job opportunities and definitely wins on nightlife entertainment, it is probably the capital of the performing arts in Australia.
Brisbane wins on the weather though, by a long way as well, you can wear shorts and a T-shirt all year round. It is also a much more laid-back city. If you can get work in Brisbane, that’s where I’d go if I were you, but as I’ve already said, I am biased.
Thanks Bob will take that into consideration. Seeing as I’m from the Caribbean maybe Brisbane will be as close to I’m used to as possible. I will probably have to spend some time in both of the cities with my husband to see what suits us. But laid back and shorts sound great to me. Thank you so very much.
Yes, for sure, that’s the best thing to do if you can, spend a bit of time in each city. Nothing beats checking out a city for yourself before deciding where to go. Good luck with your plans, Bob
I’m a GP in the UK and have a few job opportunities in Australia (DWS areas mainly)
There are jobs all over at the moment, so it’s kind of down to me where in Australia I’d want to apply. Me and my wife enjoy our peace and quiet, but like to be close enough to big cities with lots happening, so we can dip in and out. We do love the beach, and would love to live somewhere with a view/pool. Any thoughts on which cities fit the bill? At the moment we’re thinking around Melbourne or Gold coast. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance
Melbourne is a great city, but housing is expensive and if you prefer your weather a bit warmer, then you may well be better off positioning yourself close to Brisbane. If you do that, I’d suggest you take a look at the Sunshine Coast instead of the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast is not the place to go for peace and quiet, and you’d get a much nicer house with a view and a pool by choosing the Sunshine Coast instead. Both are the same distance from Brisbane for when you need your injections of city life.
Hope that helps, Bob
Thanks Bob, given me some food for thought. 🙂
I am 19 years old and i’m from The Netherlands. I loved reading your website, very interesting.
I have the thought about moving to Australia for a very long time and have the plans to move too.
But like i said, im just 19 and i do not really have explored ‘life’ very good.
The plan is to go for ‘a year off’ very soon. Probably when im turning 20 or 21. My first thoughts about moving would be Brisbane or The sunshine coast(when i was reading the blog). This might be a big question to answer, but where do you see the best opportunities for me and what place should be the best to explore the life in Australia?
Thank you in advance!
You might like to read my pages about Working Holiday Visas and Backpacking in Australia.
Lots of youngsters come here for a year on that kind of visa, it’s a great way to see this country so you can get to decide whether you want to live here more permanently or not. It’s difficult to say where the best opportunities might be, but generally they are in Melbourne, Sydney, perhaps Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
It’s not just about opportunities though, it’s also about having fun and I’m sure you’ll have that in all of those places. Hope that helps, Bob
Hi! I am looking at moving to Australia. Its just an idea at the moment but all my family want this. I am an Early years teacher and my partner is an external plumber and can do all aspects of street works. I have two children 10 and 8. Which in your opinion will be the best place for us to live that will have work for us both and good schools whilst still having good weather and lots to do for the children? Thank you in advance
My advice would be to go to whichever city you have the best opportunity of finding work in, and that is often a moving target. To research it, check out my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.
All Australian cities have good schools and lots to do for the children, good weather depends on what you regard that to be. Some cities are too hot for some people, some not hot enough. It depends what you want.
Before you start choosing where to live though, I would check into whether or not you would qualify for a visa first. See my page about Visas.
I am a Nigerian coming to Australia for master in engineering courtesy of Nigerian government scholarship. Can I come with my wife?
What is the financial requirement on my part, since I am the only one being sponsored.
I do not answer these kind of questions, only MARA registered migration agents are allowed to do that. Please see Would I Qualify?
I have lived in both Sydney and Melbourne about 20years and I’m sick of this cold weather. We are thinking to move in Brisbane but I have a question to ask. How often & how bad do you get cyclone or storm during summer? I worried about that. No one complained about that so I guess I’m thinking too much or I don’t need to worry about it at all.. Please give me an answer. Thanks Bob
Do you know somebody called Jennifer by any chance?