Here we explore the best places to live in Australia as an expat taking into consideration climate, properties and lifestyle. Sydney and Melbourne have always been popular, but which is the best city for you?
Deciding to move to Australia is easy, but once you have taken that first step, you must determine where you want to go. With so many stunning cities and states, this can be very difficult.
Sydney and Melbourne have, without a doubt, always been the more traditional choices for those moving to Australia. However, in recent years migrants have become more discerning and other destinations are becoming popular choices.
During the coronavirus pandemic, even Australians have been moving away from the big cities to smaller towns and more regional areas such as Queensland. Other Australian states have much to offer and many advantages for expats and new arrivals. For example, fewer skilled migrants apply for South Australia, so it can be easier to get a state nomination. One advantage of moving to places like Darwin and Tasmania is that they can be easier to move to as part of a regional migration programme.
However, that certainly isn’t to say that both Sydney and Melbourne are not still incredibly popular places. Our statistics support this, with customers at PSS International Removals choosing Sydney and Melbourne as the top destinations to move to, with Perth, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast becoming increasingly popular.
In the end, Australia is a great country wherever you live. In this guide, we will look at the pros and cons of living in some of Australia’s best cities and states so you can choose which is right for you.
1. Sydney & New South Wales
Sydney and New South Wales, located in one of Australia’s sunniest and most vibrant corners, is an exceptional place to reside. It is undoubtedly among the finest locations to call home because it boasts picturesque beaches, an abundance of cultural diversity, and a plethora of activities suited for individuals of all interests.
Whether you are an avid outdoor enthusiast seeking thrilling adventures or a metropolitan dweller yearning for a cosmopolitan lifestyle, Sydney and New South Wales cater to every kind of person. From their iconic landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach to its unparalleled dining and shopping experiences, the region leaves no room for disappointment in the face of its remarkable offerings. Our reasons for moving to Sydney and NSW post will provide further inspiration to make the move.
Greg shares his transformative experience after moving to Sydney “You’re going to turn into a outdoors person. Whether it’s getting up earlier than you ever imagined, and getting in a walk / swim before work. Or, the flip, getting in a swim, stroll, park play after work. You’ll find yourself really lapping up the sun. It’s a bit like the UK gets for those 2 weeks in the peak of summer and everyone’s enjoying being outside? Punting and park days and all that? Except it’s like that, virtually year round.”
What is the climate like in Sydney and NSW?
The benefit of living in Sydney and NSW is that you will experience a humid subtropical climate that shifts from cool and mild weather in the winter, which is relatively short, hot and warm summers. There are no extremes of seasonal differences like you might experience in the UK, and overall, the climate is milder throughout the year.
Properties in Sydney and NSW
You will find a wide range of property types available to rent or purchase in Sydney and NSW. Housing in Sydney is, on the whole, expensive. However, prices are now beginning to fall following the highs reached during the pandemic, and the good news is that it is believed they will continue to fall throughout 2024. Our comprehensive guide to Sydney and NSW housing offers an insight into what you could expect to get for your money in the area.
The northern beaches suburbs of Sydney are particularly popular and have some of the best schools in the area. Family-friendly areas include Ashfield, Lane Cove, Oatley and Wahroonga, with more affordable housing in the outer western suburb of Blacktown City Council.
If you prefer a more rural location, NSW may be for you, with areas like the historic Hunter Valley region or towns like Katoomba in the spectacular Blue Mountains.
Job opportunities in Sydney and NSW
The good news is that there are several in-demand sectors in Sydney and NSW, with jobs in IT and HR poised for a boom. However, if you have qualifications in healthcare, IT, any of the trades (carpenter, construction worker, electrician etc.), teaching or accounting, securing a job should pose little issue.
Pay in NSW is, on average, amongst the highest in Australia, and the region has very low unemployment rates.
Lifestyle in Sydney and NSW
If you have a growing family, Sydney and NSW have a world-class education system with fantastic pass rates for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) and excellent teacher-to-student ratios that will help make the transition from the UK to Australia much smoother for your children.
With over 100 beaches in Sydney and 892 in NSW, plenty of exploration awaits you in the region. As a thriving and bustling city hub, Sydney is also home to the Sydney Opera House and plenty of museums offering plenty of cultural opportunities. Traffic within Sydney can be an issue, as Sydney is one of the most populated cities in Australia, with 8 million inhabitants. However, the pros of city life outweigh the cons.
Sydney itself is a great place for professional couples to live with all the convenience of a modern, thriving city. The suburbs and NSW are more suited to families with younger children, with plenty of places to escape to at the weekend and a smaller community feel.
To learn how to move your belongings to Sydney and NSW, visit our Removals to Sydney and NSW page.
2. Melbourne & Victoria
Melbourne and Victoria are among the best places to live in Australia, offering an unbeatable combination of urban lifestyle and stunning natural beauty. Melbourne has become a magnet for creative types, entrepreneurs, professionals and families alike, boasting a vibrant culture and mild year-round climate.
With plenty of opportunities for employment, education and leisure pursuits, it’s easy to see why Melbourne and Victoria are so attractive.
What is the climate like in Melbourne and Victoria?
Its south coast location makes Melbourne and Victoria a slightly cooler part of Australia. However, the colder season is relatively short, and temperatures overall will be higher than you would expect in the UK. This makes it a good destination for older expats who might struggle with the intense heat elsewhere in the country.
Properties in Melbourne and Victoria
The suburbs of Port Melbourne and St Kilda are amongst the most popular destinations with UK expats; with their proximity to the beach and plenty of restaurants and activities, they have plenty to offer. Port Melbourne is ideal for young professionals with its proximity to the CBD. The suburb of Caroline Springs is particularly family-friendly, as is Cranbourne.
In the wider Victoria area, there are plenty of smaller towns for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a bigger city. Ballarat and Bendigo are historic mining towns roughly 90 minutes from Melbourne. Geelong, the second largest city in Victoria, is an ideal destination if you prefer to be closer to Melbourne.
Housing in Melbourne is not cheap. However, if you are looking for charming and historic property, this is where you will undoubtedly find it. Melbourne is more affordable than Sydney and Canberra, and house prices are falling. If you have a healthy property budget, you can find something if you look around.
Job opportunities in Melbourne and Victoria
Job vacancy rates in Victoria are on the rise, and there are plenty of in-demand sectors. Suppose you have the necessary skills and qualifications to work in healthcare, IT, accounting, business, project management, and teaching or are a qualified lawyer or tradesperson. In that case, you should be able to find a job in the state easily.
Lifestyle in Melbourne and Victoria
Melbourne is known to be one of the most liveable cities in the world. Often called the “Sporting Capital of the World”, it is also famous for its cultural diversity, excellent coffee, stunning scenery and incredible architecture. Its location on the southern coast of Australia means it is also relatively close to plenty of great beaches for you to enjoy.
Callum insightfully captures the essence of Melbourne’s charm, saying “Living in Melbourne is like living in one of the world’s best kept secrets. You feel like you’re on the inside of something that most people on the outside can’t fully appreciate. I too have lived elsewhere in the world, from tiny villages to large cities, and all of those have good and bad things about them. With Melbourne, it’s like the place with far more good than bad.”
There is also a high standard of education in the area, with two Melbourne universities ranking in the top 100 in the world, making this an attractive destination to families with children still in the education system. There is plenty for families to do in the state, so they will never be bored.
3. Brisbane & Queensland
Queensland, known as the Sunshine State of Australia, offers a captivating allure if you are a Brit expat seeking a sun-soaked lifestyle. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and abundant outdoor activities, Queensland has become a favoured destination for those longing for an idyllic coastal lifestyle in Australia.
Located south of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland lies the renowned Gold Coast. Spanning an impressive 52 kilometres, the Gold Coast boasts some of the most breath-taking beaches in the world. Its pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and year-round temperate climate have earned its reputation as Australia’s top coastal destination.
What is the climate like in Brisbane and Queensland?
Brisbane enjoys an average of 300 sun-filled days per year, and temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees, even in what might be considered the colder months. For those who love the sun, the beach, Brisbane and other areas within Queensland are the obvious choice. This is one of the biggest reasons people move from the UK to Queensland.
Properties in Brisbane and Queensland
The good news is that Brisbane, and the entire state of Queensland, have a lower cost of living than many other Australian states. Brisbane, in particular, is one of the most affordable capital cities you will find in Australia.
This means, of course, that property in Queensland is also more affordable. Brisbane offers a suburb to suit everyone with inner city living, hilltop views and coastal suburbs, making house hunting an exciting adventure. Coastal areas like Redland Bay are very popular with those moving to Australia from outside the country simply due to their proximity to beaches. However, Holland Park and Forest Lake are popular family-friendly areas.
Housing in this state comes in various styles, and one thing you will find is that only you can get something with plenty of outside space. Queensland has the highest home swimming pool ownership per capita per capita in Australia; Brisbane is third.
Job opportunities in Brisbane and Queensland
Like many areas of Australia, there is a range of in-demand jobs looking for qualified individuals in Brisbane. With the right skills and qualifications, it is easy to find employment in Queensland if you work in one of these in-demand roles. The unemployment rate in Brisbane is currently around 6% but mainly comprises unskilled workers. The area is rapidly becoming the fastest-growing capital city for employment opportunities.
Lifestyle in Brisbane and Queensland
Brisbane is an incredibly diverse city that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive. The locals are friendly, open-minded, easy-going, and the city has a highly relaxed vibe. The lifestyle in Queensland is also great for those raising families with an excellent health and education system available. It is also worth noting the crime rates are much lower here than in most cities elsewhere. The fantastic weather and diverse terrain make this a great place to get out and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle all year round.
The answer to the question of who might enjoy living in Brisbane and Queensland is simple: it is a popular destination suitable for most individuals.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia and one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia, offers an enviable lifestyle. With its Mediterranean climate, stunning beaches, vibrant culture and diverse outdoor activities, Perth is ideal for people from all walks of life.
From the bustling city centre to the picturesque Fremantle harbour, there are plenty of attractions and activities to keep everyone entertained. This west coast location may be somewhat isolated from much of the rest of the country; however, it has everything that an expat may want to settle in Australia, and if a more rural setting is what you are looking for, then Western Australia and Perth will certainly tick those all-important boxes.
What is the climate like in Perth and Western Australia?
Perth has a more Mediterranean climate than other areas of Australia, with dry, hot summers and wet, mild winters. It is also the sunniest capital city in Australia and boasts clear blue skies for 70% of the year. For people who like good weather but prefer more clearly defined seasons, Perth is a great destination to consider moving to.
Properties in Perth and Western Australia
The good news is that housing in Perth is amongst some of the most affordable in Australia. The bad news is that whilst prices increased during the pandemic, unlike the rest of Australia, they are not predicted to fall over the next couple of years but continue growing. This is partly fuelled by demand created by the state’s mining industry.
A staggering 25% of the population of Perth city’s inhabitants are estimated to be UK expats. The northern suburbs are top-rated, with many choosing to live in Mullaloo, Quinns Rocks and Joondalup, to name just a few of the areas to consider. If you desire a rural property or land, you will need to consider the easter suburbs like Herne Hill, Upper Swan, and Byford.
Western Australia runs from the top of the continent to the bottom, occupying a full third of the Australian mainland. Whilst there are plenty of locations to consider moving to outside Perth, where you live may depend on your employment line. To the north of the state are several mining towns; the same is true for Central southern WA. Inland from Perth, you will find several agricultural cities.
Job opportunities in Perth and Western Australia
Whilst many jobs in demand in Perth and Western Australia are similar to those in the rest of Australia, there are more opportunities in the state for those qualified in a range of roles within the mining industry. Those trained in trades such as bricklaying, stonemasonry, joining, glazing, plumbing and all types of tiling will also find plenty of employment opportunities.
Lifestyle in Perth and Western Australia
The uniqueness of Perth is that it is incredibly isolated, with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Australian Outback on the other. As a result of this, life in Perth is a little slower and laid back. There are not many big events you might find elsewhere in Australia, and the nightlife may not be what many are hoping for. If a quieter lifestyle with a more rural setting is ideal, then Perth should undoubtedly be on your list of places to consider.
5. Adelaide & South Australia
The opal capital of Australia, Adelaide, is not only famous for some of the best opals in the world but many of the other finest things in life; from the best wine country to what is officially the best restaurant in Australia, Adelaide is an incredible place to live.
The region offers a relaxed lifestyle with all the amenities of a metropolitan city, surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including rolling hills, vineyards, beaches and parklands. Adelaide’s temperate climate means plenty of sunshine year-round, perfect for outdoor activities like cycling, surfing and hiking.
The city is known for its vibrant culture, modern architecture and eclectic nightlife. South Australia’s rich history has led to a unique fusion of cultures, providing residents with a diverse and welcoming community. From modern high-rises to iconic art deco buildings, there’s something for everyone in Adelaide and South Australia.
Tony, an expat who resides in Australia, says “To me, Adelaide wins hands down. We have the best lifestyle and lowest cost. We also have beautiful warm weather for 9 months of the year and even the winters are milder. Sure, we don’t have the shopping choices or icons of Melbourne or Sydney but they are superficial things that don’t affect your well being.”
What is the climate like in Adelaide and South Australia?
Adelaide is the driest capital city in Australia, and South Australia is the driest state in the driest continent on earth. The climate here is Mediterranean, with warm, dry weather almost all year round. This is a great place to live for those who love the sun and the beach. Southern Australia is not for you if you prefer a more varied climate.
Properties in Adelaide and South Australia
City-centre life isn’t for everyone, and the centre of Adelaide is best suited to those who are looking to live and work in an urban hub. However, most of Adelaide’s suburbs are family-friendly, located close to the Adelaide Hills or a beach. Aldinga Beach and Welland are great for coastal living, whilst Hackham is close to the McLaren Vale wine region.
Suppose you want to live a little further out from Adelaide. In that case, places like Whyalla, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta are good regional centres with plenty of industries and potential for employment opportunities. Burra is a great rustic destination. The rich heritage of Gawler is something that draws many to this rural settlement.
Whilst the cost of living in Adelaide may be relatively cheap, the surge in house prices during the pandemic has dropped less since compared to the rest of the country. Houses here are more affordable than elsewhere, but as with the job situation, you may find fewer available properties to consider.
Job opportunities in Adelaide and South Australia
When you’re considering where to live in Australia for employment options, Adelaide and South Australia could be your best choice. The state offers many career advancement and business expanding opportunities. It’s also a rewarding place to start the next chapter of your life.
SA has many growth industries, particularly agriculture, wine, food, and environmental research. These offer good employment opportunities for those with the required skills. Other prominent sectors expected to grow over the coming decades include healthcare, social services, retail and manufacturing.
Lifestyle in Adelaide and South Australia
Adelaide might be for you if you want a laid-back city life with stunning beaches within an hour’s drive. South Australia is one of the oldest wine regions in Australia and is home to Barossa Valley, a world-renowned vineyard. The state has world-standard dining and wining, and the dining scene is renowned for being world-class.
Adelaide is relatively uncrowded compared to Australia’s other state capital cities, with only 1.5 million people.
6. Canberra & Australian Capital Territory
Nestled in the heart of Australia, Canberra proudly holds the title of the bush capital, offering a picturesque and tranquil setting for those seeking a rural lifestyle. With its abundant natural beauty, thriving cultural scene, and exceptional quality of life, Canberra is a haven for those looking to embrace a slower pace of life and connect with nature.
One of the key attractions of Canberra is its reputation for high average income and level of education. As the seat of the Australian government, the city is home to numerous public service jobs, research institutions, and universities, attracting a highly skilled workforce.
Alex, a UK expat, has plenty of good things to say about Canberra, “Canberra is a wonderful place to live! We lived there for 3 years and loved it so much that we are considering returning there when we retire. There’s lots to see and do (2 hours to the beach; 2 hours to the mountains; 2 minutes to the bush) and the people are friendly and helpful.”
What is the climate like in Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory?
Canberra is known for its pleasant temperate climate that balances warm summers and cold winters. During the summer months, the city experiences lovely warm weather, with temperatures ranging from mild to moderately hot.
Properties in Canberra and Australian Capital Territory
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, property prices in ACT experienced a record high. Fortunately, the area is expected to experience a significant property price drop during 2024. The areas offer plenty of options for the intrepid property hunter. However, the mean housing price in Canberra is higher than in many other areas within Australia.
Red Hill is a relatively affluent area, so if a pricey property is outside your budget, you may need to avoid this area. For those looking for city centre living, plenty of apartments and units in the suburbs around the centre make this a good place for professional couples or those who prefer city living. Braddon, Turner and Dickson are all affordable and near the CBD.
If you are happy to live a little further afield from the centre, then the Namadji National Park predominantly covers the area, so towns are well spaced out. There are also several smaller settlements on the ACT/NSW border that might work, such as Glendale Crossing, Rovalla and Hume. Make sure to visit our essential guide for moving to Australia if you wish to enjoy these great properties in Canberra and Australia.
Job opportunities in Canberra and Australian Capital Territory
The unemployment rates in the state are below the national average, and the area also has some of the highest average incomes.
If you work as a software or applications programmer, in an ICT business or as a systems analyst, these are the in-demand job skills that could make it easy to secure employment in Canberra.
Lifestyle in Canberra and Australia Capital Territory
The ACT area might be on the small side compared to other states; however, that is not to say that there isn’t plenty to do here because there is. If you want beaches, be warned they are far away, so Canberra is probably not for you. There are many heritage and cultural-related things to see and do in Canberra as well as museums to visit, and for those who love rural life, there’s plenty of outdoor space to explore.
Despite the small-town feel of Canberra, it has fantastic shopping and entertainment amenities and a world-class food scene. The good news for those who love exploring is that traffic jams are almost unheard of in the city as it was planned with navigation and traffic flow in mind.
Situated closer to Indonesia than Sydney, the vibrant city of Darwin is experiencing rapid growth and capturing the attention of visitors and prospective residents alike. Boasting stunning natural landscapes, a unique blend of cultures, and extreme weather conditions, Darwin has earned a reputation as a multicultural haven that warmly embraces diversity, making it an enticing destination for both short-term visits and long-term living.
Darwin’s geographical proximity to Indonesia lends it a distinct character influenced by its neighbouring country. The city is a gateway to Southeast Asia, fostering strong trade, cultural, and social connections. This proximity has shaped Darwin into a melting pot of diverse cultures, with a rich tapestry of languages, traditions, and cuisines. The city’s multicultural essence creates an open and accepting atmosphere where residents and visitors can experience a harmonious blend of different backgrounds and traditions.
Darwin is a wonderful place to live in. Many expats who make the move do not regret it. This includes John, who said “Darwin is absolutely fabulous! I’ve been here over 20 years and love it. You won’t regret the move and everyone is so friendly.”
The climate in Darwin and the Northern Territories
The good news is that Darwin has both dry and wet seasons. However, its tropical monsoonal climate means the temperatures can soar during the dry period. For those who hate cold weather, Darwin may be a good choice as it doesn’t experience significant drops in temperature. Even during the wet season, temperatures remain at around 24 degrees.
Properties in Darwin and the Northern Territories
The population of Darwin grew during the pandemic as it didn’t experience the same restrictions as the rest of the country. House prices have increased and are not likely to drop; however, compared to other areas of the country, house prices are relatively low.
Darwin is a very popular place to live, as are many of its suburbs, particularly those northwest of the CBD. If Darwin isn’t for you, then the satellite cities of Palmerston, Batchelor and Humpty Doo are all within easy driving distance. Of course, Alice Springs is also a popular choice.
Job opportunities in the Darwin and Northern Territories
There are plenty of employment opportunities in the NT, with jobs in many aspects of healthcare, education, IT, mining and hospitality available to those with the necessary skills and qualifications.
Lifestyle in Darwin and the Northern Territories
Darwin is small compared to other capital cities in Australia, with just 150,000 inhabitants, and it also has the youngest population demographically, with an average age of 35. The lifestyle is laid back with plenty of outdoor activities, from festivals to fishing, 4WD adventuring, to camping. This is a great place to live if you love life and being out there so ideal for young couples, adventurous singles and even those with growing families who love nature.
However, there are better spots than Darwin if beaches are your thing. There are crocodiles in many of the waterways in NT and also on the beaches. Caution is a must, and you should carefully note warning signs.
The good news is that most homes in the area have swimming pools, so there are ways around the problem with beaches and plenty of public swimming pools.
8. Hobart & Tasmania
The beautiful and unique island of Tasmania, located off the southern tip of the Australian mainland, is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and distinct way of life. Tasmania offers a unique and laidback living experience that sets it apart from its mainland counterparts, providing a more tranquil and neighbourly vibe.
Kylie, an expat who lives in Tasmania, endorse living in this region – “To live in this amazing part of the country is a privilege. Yes we have unemployment and housing is not affordable to all of us but life is wonderful. Imagine crystal clear air, wilderness that goes for miles and miles and miles, some of the best beaches in the world and the best locally produced food, great wines, beer and whiskey.”
What is the climate like in Hobart and Tasmania?
The climate in Tasmania plays a big part in its choice as a retirement destination. In the south, it can be wet and icy. Summers are not too hot, and the weather is mild and balmy.
Properties in Hobart and Tasmania
Housing prices surged during covid but are finally beginning to drop and look likely to continue. Hobart is the ideal place to live if you want a relaxed lifestyle, and it is close to the CBD and amenities. For spectacular views, people opt for Tolman’s Hill. If beachside living is the thing, then Seven Mile Beach or Blackmans Bay are great choices.
Further out, you will find plenty of great locations, all with a more rural setting but still within commutable distance of Hobart. Launceston is the second biggest city in Tasmania and another great place to consider.
Job opportunities in Hobart and Tasmania
Unsurprisingly, the employment opportunities in Tasmania are different to other destinations within Australia. In-demand roles can be found in hospitality, the food industry, retail, and agriculture. IT skills and nursing skills are also in demand here. This is very much the same all over Australia.
Lifestyle in Hobart and Tasmania
The spectacular scenery is almost certainly one of the area’s biggest draws; much of the island is still pristine and offers a genuinely wild outlook that is not to be missed. Nowhere is too far to travel to, and whilst there might be less in the way of entertainment than on mainland Australia this stunning area certainly is present when it comes to gastronomic experiences.
Require assistance to move your belongings to Australia?
Australia offers diverse lifestyles, from vibrant city living to serene coastal communities or peaceful rural areas. For those who enjoy a coastal lifestyle and value proximity to beautiful beaches, Sydney and the state of New South Wales (NSW) are ideal destinations. With over 100 beaches in Sydney alone and a staggering 892 beaches in NSW, residents can indulge in a beach-centric lifestyle, enjoying water activities, sunbathing, and coastal walks.
Budget is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a place to live. If affordability is a priority, Adelaide stands out as a popular choice. The cost of living in Adelaide is comparatively lower than in other major Australian cities. Furthermore, during periods of economic downturn or housing market fluctuations, house prices in Adelaide tend to be more stable, experiencing fewer drops compared to the rest of the country. This stability can particularly appeal if you want a place to live in without the financial strain typically associated with higher-cost areas.
However, when considering different places to live in Australia, it is essential to acknowledge that each location has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, conducting thorough research on the destination is crucial to ensure it aligns with your needs and preferences.
If you are convinced about moving to Australia and require a reliable removal company to move your belongings, PSS Removals is on hand to help you. Our experienced advisers can provide all the information and guidance to make your move to Australia successful. We handle thousands of international moves yearly, so you can rest assured that you are in good hands.