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Best places to live in Australia

Are you thinking of migrating to Australia and trying to figure out where to live? Our city guide will get you started on finding the best places to live in Australia.

We know that affordability is especially important to students, so we’ve included comments about the cheapest (and most expensive) places to live.


Total Population (in South Australia): 1.5 million

Food, wine, culture and spectacular scenery. That’s what draws the tourists, but locals also love Adelaide’s liveability. A laidback lifestyle, mild weather and a low cost of living make Adelaide a great place to live. For students, Adelaide has the added bonus of being the third cheapest university city in Australia. Adelaide is a gateway to exploration – a 3,800 kilometre coastline of beautiful beaches, close to the outback, surrounded by the mountainous Flinders Ranges, and wine country at your doorstep.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 16.7 – 28.6°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 12.7 – 22.7°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 8 – 16°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 11.8 – 22°C

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Total Population (in Queensland): 4.18 million

‘Booming Brisbane’ – that’s the Lonely Planet’s description. They talk about an ‘energetic river town on the way up, with an edgy arts scene, pumping nightlife, and great coffee and restaurants’. But that’s only part of the picture. Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and one of the country’s fastest growing. You’ll see the city skyline dotted with cranes as construction keeps pace with growth. In amongst all this activity, the locals love to rise early and enjoy the many outdoor pursuits Brisbane has to offer. The Brisbane River is a playground for water skiing and kayaking, and South Bank Parklands features an inner-city beach, a must-do if you’re visiting. Brisbane is a great base to explore Queensland, with both the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast a short drive away. In terms of affordability, it sits right in the middle of Australian university cities.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 21 – 29.8°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 15 – 25°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 11 – 21°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 15 – 25°C

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Cairns is well known for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Tropical weather, a relaxed lifestyle and coastal living are the drawcards for visitors who come for a holiday and stay for a lifetime. Cairns’s population is only 152,000, so it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of larger cities. Yet with an international airport and large numbers of international tourists, it’s a stylish city with world-class dining and tourist attractions. The Daintree Rainforest, picturesque Kuranda village and island-hopping are all within easy reach and make for memorable weekend adventures when you’re lucky enough to live in Cairns.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 23.6 – 31.4°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 21.5 – 29°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 17.5 – 26°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 20.5 – 29°C

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Gold Coast

Sun! Surf! Nightlife! You won’t get more of these three anywhere else in Australia. That’s why millions of people visit the Gold Coast every year. And living on the Gold Coast is all about lifestyle, with 70 kilometres of beaches on your doorstep and 100,000 hectares of World Heritage-listed rainforest nearby. Around 30,000 university students live on the Gold Coast, attracted by the unique lifestyle and the cheaper cost of tuition compared with Sydney and Melbourne.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 21 – 28.4°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 18 – 25.7°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 12.5 – 21.5°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 16.9 – 25.4°C

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Total Population (in Tasmania): 209,287

As the capital of the island State of Tasmania, Hobart is a decidedly different city. Far removed from the mainland, it offers immense natural beauty and a quieter, low stress lifestyle. It’s also a city of contrasts – spectacular scenery, cutting-edge modern art, contemporary cuisine and heaps of Australian heritage. Unlike many of the northern cities, Hobart has four distinct seasons and a cooler climate. Housing is cheaper in Hobart than most mainland cities, which is a major factor in Hobart being Australia’s #1 most affordable university city.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 11.5 – 21°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 8.9 – 17.3°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 5 – 12.3°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 7.8 – 16.9°C

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Total Population (in Victoria): 5.2 million

Melbourne is one of the most beautiful cities in Australia, just one reason why it keeps ranking highly on international research on liveable cities. In fact, the Economist rated it as the world’s best city to relocate to. Its busy city centre is perfectly balanced by the natural beauty of the Yarra River and beaches on its doorstep. Melbourne is known for its cafes, culture and nightlife, giving it a uniquely cosmopolitan feel. It’s also Australia’s fashion capital, known for its elegant residents and great shopping scene. Melbourne’s cost of living is a little higher than most Australian cities, but it’s worth it to live in one of the world’s best cities. Plus, it’s a gateway to the wonders of regional Victoria: wine country, ski fields, spectacular peninsulas and the famous Great Ocean Road.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 14 – 25.3°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 10.9 – 20.3°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 6.5 – 14.2°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 9.6 – 19.6°C

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Total Population (in Western Australia): 2.1 million

Perfect Perth. When you’re Australia’s sunniest city, there’s not much to complain about. Split in two by the meandering Swan River, Perth is known for its vibrant dining scene, especially when you can enjoy al fresco eating for much of the year. And when you’re not eating out, you can relax at the beach, with 80 kilometres of pristine coastline to choose from.</p>
<p>Perth is Australia’s (and one of the world’s) most isolated cities of its size. Other capital cities are hours away by plane, and you’re just as close to Bali. But what you do have at your doorstep is even better – the whole of Western Australia to explore. The colonial charm of Fremantle; the flora and fauna of Rottnest Island; the wineries of the Swan Valley; the glorious beaches of the Sunset Coast and much much more. Perth locals are a relaxed bunch, due to their envious outdoor lifestyle and quality of life. As far as affordability goes, Perth is cheaper for students than Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 17.5 – 30°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 13.7 – 26°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 8 – 19°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 11.7 – 23°C

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Population (in New South Wales): 6.89 million

Sydney is an iconic tourist destination. The harbour, Opera House and Bondi Beach all sparkle in postcard-perfect pictures. But what’s it like to live in Sydney? One thing’s for certain, you’ll never be short of things to do. Culture, food, nature, sport, events – whatever you’re into, Sydney has it covered, and with a temperate climate, you can get out and about all year round. Sydney has hundreds of distinct neighbourhoods, like cities within a city, ranging from quaint to quirky. And when you need an urban escape, endless adventures await. From bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, to sipping wine in the Hunter Valley, or chilling out on the Northern Beaches, there’s something for everyone. As you’d expect in such a large city, living costs are a little higher in Sydney, but its size and position as Australia’s business capital mean that jobs and innovation abound.

Summer (Dec – Feb): 21.9 – 23.7°C<br />
Autumn (Mar – May): 14.6 – 22.2°C<br />
Winter (Jun – Aug): 8.8 – 17°C<br />
Spring (Sep – Nov): 11 – 23°C

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