The best places to live in Australia
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Moving to Australia but not sure where to live? Take a tour of the country's capital cities and find out what each has to offer.
Choosing where to live when moving to a new country is a major decision. It can have a big impact on how comfortable you feel in your new surroundings and on how successful your relocation becomes. We’ve put together a guide to some of the best places to live in Australia to help you make an informed decision.
Below you'll find a breakdown of the work and life opportunities in each of Australia's capital cities.
If you've already decided on where to move and are looking to take the next step, each state offers its own migration plan to help you start off on the right foot. Details can be found here.
Which city has the best opportunities for my profession?
If you have a qualification from your home country and are planning to take your skills to Australia, you need to think about the best place to live to find employment in your field.
In 2016, the Australia's national unemployment rate was 6.3% (Australian Bureau of Statistics). This rate has remained fairly steady over the years, averaging 6.9% from 1978 to the present, which is a good indicator of what you can expect in the future.
A more specific breakdown of unemployment rates for each state is as follows:
|Australian Capital Territory||4.3|
|New South Wales||5.7|
What are my job prospects?
Remember that these rates are across all sectors of employment and may not completely reflect the opportunities in your specific field.
The Labour Market Information Portal states that the sectors employing the highest number of people (May 2016) include Health Care and Social Assistance (1,435,700), Retail Trade (1,238,000), Construction (1,037,500) and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (972,300). Areas employing the least number of people include Information Media and Telecommunications (212,000) and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (143,100).
If you want to see what the job prospects are like in your particular field in Australia, have a look at Job Outlook. This is a government initiative designed to provide an idea of how different areas of the job market are performing. It's a valuable resource for people who are looking for a job or considering further education.
There are a number of specific visas available for people coming into the country with particular skills. You can find out from the Skilled Occupations List which professions are currently in demand in Australia.
Occupations currently on this list include: Construction Project Manager, Engineering Manager, Child Care Centre Manager, Medical Administrator, Nursing Clinical Director, Actuary, Architect, Surveyor, Chemical Engineer, Structural Engineer, Veterinarian, Special Needs Teacher, General Practitioner, Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, Software Engineer, Barrister, Social Worker, Carpenter, Chef and Dental Therapist. Click here for a full, current list.
If you prefer the security of having a job to come to when you first arrive in Australia, you can start searching job portals such as Indeed, SEEK and jobsearch.gov.au and apply for any suitable positions. You will also get an idea of what roles are currently being advertised, and which city has the most on offer for your profession.
Savings account offer: Westpac Life (18-29 year olds only)If you’re between 18-29, you can earn a 3% p.a. variable rate each month you grow your balance (excl. interest) and make 5+ settled debit card purchases from your linked Westpac Choice account, up to a balance of $30,000.
What should I be getting paid?
Salaries in Australia may be vastly different from what you would expect in your own country. While there will be variations between companies, positions and genders (yes, it can still happen), you should get a general idea of how much you will be able to earn.
Here, we've mashed together job search website Glassdoor's ratings, average salary ranges and gender breakdown across Australia's largest employees for Australian university students and graduates to give you an idea of how much you can expect to receive.
Living in Sydney
From the sands of Bondi Beach to its iconic harbour, Sydney is famous all over the world. It is Australia's largest and oldest city, and is known for its natural beauty and cultural diversity. It combines the hectic pace you’d expect from a major city with some of the most recognisable landmarks on earth.
Sydney enjoys a temperate climate, the warmest months being from November to February, when temperatures often reach the mid-30s (Celsius) or sometimes higher. Winters are mild, the thermometer rarely falling below 8°C at night.
Living in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and is Australia’s second-largest city. The city's centre branches out from the banks of the Yarra River. It is often referred to as the country's cultural and sporting capital, and is also home to some of Australia’s best dining and nightlife venues. Little wonder The Economist magazine regularly names Melbourne as one of the most livable cities in the world.
When it comes to weather, Melbourne is renowned for having "four seasons in one day". It does have four definite season changes, but conditions can often change unexpectedly within a single day. As it is further south than Sydney, winter daytime temperatures are lower.
Brisbane's weather is what attracts many migrants to Australia’s third-largest city. Temperatures are warmer than in Sydney and Melbourne as it sits in the subtropics, and consecutive days of sunshine are more reliable.
Although Brisbane is a major urban hub, it has a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere. It's also within easy distance of summer holiday spots like the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
From its relaxed country atmosphere to beautiful country surrounds, Tasmania's capital city has plenty to offer. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of Sydney or Melbourne, Hobart moves at a much slower pace. However, it is culturally rich and a food lover's paradise.
Being Australia's southernmost capital city, Hobart has the coldest temperatures of all the capital cities, getting down to as low as 4ºC during winter. Summers are pleasantly warm and can climb into the high 20s (Celsius).
Known for its Mediterranean climate, and with a population of around 1.3 million, Adelaide is becoming an increasingly popular place to live for new arrivals to the country. The capital of South Australia, Adelaide combines a relaxed lifestyle, affordable house prices and enviable weather conditions. The weather is generally very pleasant, only dropping to around 7ºC at night during winter, while averaging in the high 20s (Celsius) during summer.
It’s a common misconception that Sydney, being the largest city in Australia, is also its capital. In fact the nation's capital, Canberra, is one of its smallest cities with a population of just over 373,000. It is part of a federal district known as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Being the home of Australia's parliament, it has a continual influx of workers as well as visitors. Canberra has a dry climate and experiences temperatures as low as freezing in winter and averages in the high 20s (Celsius) at the height of summer.
Living in Darwin
Thanks to its tropical location, Darwin has a laid-back and relaxed environment. It is surrounded by world-class natural scenery, has a buzzing nightlife and enjoys warm weather all year round. There is a tropical weather pattern of dry and wet seasons. The dry occurs between April and October and is the more pleasant of the two, with clear skies and balmy nights. During the wet season there are many storms and little reprieve from the average temperature of around 30ºC.
Living in Perth
Last but certainly not least on this guide to Australia’s capital cities is Perth. Featuring a wonderful climate and relaxed beachy lifestyle, it’s definitely worth considering when looking for somewhere to live. It has a population of around 1.25 million, and although it is the most isolated capital city in the world, it has just as much to offer as its long-distance neighbours. Another consistently warm city, Perth temperatures never drop too low, peaking above 30ºC during summer and dipping to around 18ºC in winter.
More guides on Finder
10 best retro games (and where to buy them)
Retro games players and collectors love classic games; here are the best game picks for the most popular retro systems.
8 Best Table Saws in Australia 2021
Whether you’re a hardened tradie, aspiring apprentice or DIY king, any woodwork project needs the best table saw in Australia.
Best retro game consoles in Australia
Whether you’re looking back on the games of your youth or picking up retro game collecting as a hobby, here’s the best retro games consoles in Australia.
The 15 best shows on Disney Plus Star Australia
The Disney+ streaming service is welcoming a healthy influx of TV shows.
Cost of living comparison
How much could you save if you lived in a different city in Australia? Find out here.
Best sofa beds in Australia
We’ve trawled through hundreds of customer reviews to find the best sofa beds in Australia.
Best earplugs in Australia
These are the 6 best earplugs you can buy right now in Australia.
Online social media courses
Become a social media guru by completing an online course.
Ask an Expert