The Best Places to Live and Work in Australia |

The best places to live in Australia

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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:

RegionUnemployment Rate
Australian Capital Territory4.3
Northern Territory4.5
Western Australia5.1
New South Wales5.7
South Australia7.6

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 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.

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.

Moving to Australia? You should start thinking about...

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.

Read our full Sydney guide

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.

Read our full Melbourne city guide

Living in Brisbane

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.

Read our full Brisbane city guide

Living in Hobart

hobart_shutterstock_83513701From 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).

Read our full Hobart guide

Living in Adelaide


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.

Read our full Adelaide guide

Living in Canberra


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.

Read our full Canberra guide

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.

Read our full Darwin guide

Living in Perth

perth_shutterstock_111711725Last 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.

Read our full Perth guide

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257 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    jimSeptember 3, 2019

    We are from Philippines and my wife is having difficulties in choosing a place to take up Master of Social Work in Australia. We are thinking of JCU in Townsville, UNISA in Adelaide and lastly UNE in Armidale. Can u help decide base on weather, low crime rate, inexpensive cost of living and a place which offers more job opportunities especially for me as a supporting spouse.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 4, 2019

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your inquiry. It’s nice to know that your wife is looking to take up her Masteral Degree in Social Work in Australia. While we review the best places to live in Australia, we are not in the position to recommend the best option for you. Ideally, a university that is will fit the budget while maximising what she can learn is best. Also, take into consideration the daily costs aside from the university. It’s helpful to know that ACT is one good option because the employment rate is high.

      Hope this helps and best of luck to you and your wife!


    Default Gravatar
    LilyAugust 29, 2019


    Would like to relocate to Australia but currently do not know which is the best to live in. I have been working in the financial industry for the last 6 years.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Lily,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Choosing the place to live in in a certain country depends on various factors and what you’re looking for in a place to dwell. If you’re looking for a state in Australia where employment rate is high, ACT as of the moment is good state to consider.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    vivekJune 15, 2019

    I am an engineer with the age of 55 and single. Which place is good for me to start a basic living in Australia?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 16, 2019Staff

      Hi Vivek,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Adelaide is generally considered one of Australia’s most affordable cities as well as Perth. I’m afraid that we’re unable to recommend a certain town or area for you based on your age and status. Also, choosing a place to live in ultimately depends on your financial situation and preferences. It would be a good idea to do further research on states/suburbs that you may fit in and live comfortably.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    JennyMay 18, 2019

    Hi there!

    I wish to migrate to Australia from Nigeria. My husband and I are young professionals. News around town is migration to Australia is about the hardest thing. Please What is the easiest way to migrate to Australia and what is the easiest city for a young couple having a fresh start?

    Default Gravatar
    MinnatiFebruary 14, 2019

    I am a young girl aspiring to take fine arts as a career. Is Australia a good place for artists and their work? Do artists fine enough opportunities and a market to sell or a crowd to publicize their work? If so then what is the most suitable location to settle in Australia?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Minnati,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder.

      Australia is a great place for a wide range of performing art groups, dance troupes, musicians, theatre performers, and painters. Generally speaking, Australia is a good place for artists and their work. However, this would still depend on the level of interest of people within an area. There are also different opportunities for artists to hone their skills in Australia since there are a number of arts colleges in the country.

      When it regards where you should settle, I can’t tell you directly. There are different factors that might come into place when deciding where you should stay. I would highly recommend that you get in touch with the Department of Communications and the Arts. They should be able to give you a more personalised answer.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    PaulDecember 19, 2018

    We are a family of 3: Wife, me and a 4-year-old son
    Currently living and working in Mount Isa – QLD 4825 since 2006
    Wanting to relocate because of the isolation in Mount Isa
    Visited Melbourne and loved the city primarily because of the multiculturalism, cost of living, weather, jobs but not cost of housing. Would prefer to rent for at least two years if we move to Melbourne
    Also considering Perth, but it’s too far from the other Metros and more so since it’s economy predominantly runs on mining. Don’t know about job stability and lifestyle outside a mining job
    Thinking of Adelaide because of jobs, cost of living, weather etc
    Please could you advise.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      While we do not provide specific product recommendations, it looks like we are on the right page that gives us an overview of living in each of the states in Australia. You might want to check other review pages or blogs regarding living in these states to know more about the best fir for you and your family. Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    ErinOctober 17, 2018

    Hi! I am currently in the United States, but hoping to find work and move to Australia to start a new chapter! I was wondering the best way to go about finding a company/job to sponsor a working visa? Or how I can best go about searching for a career. Thank you!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Erin,

      Thank you for your question.

      If you are looking to find a job in Australia, you should get a working visa. To get one, you must meet the eligibility requirements. Please note each visa comes with different rights and restrictions. Although there are several types of visas available, most newcomers arrive at the 457.

      Depending on your occupation, you might need to become licensed or registered to be legally allowed to work in Australia. Each Australian state and territory has its own rules regarding licensing and registration. You can start your search for information on the Australian Skills Recognition Information Portal.

      To learn more about visas, you may check our Finder page about finding a job in Australia. On this page, you will find more details about working visas, where to look for work in Australia, educational qualifications for working in Australia, etc.

      You may also consider reaching out to a registered migration agent for assistance with job hunting. They can also help you to apply for your visa and assist you in understanding the ins and outs of finding work on certain visas within Australia.


    Default Gravatar
    EFebruary 20, 2018

    Hi. I have previously lived in Australia when I was in my 20s on a working holiday visa. Since I have been playing professional sport in the UK and France. Post retirement (in the next 2-4 years) I would like to relocate with my family back to Aus.
    What are the visas or requirements available if you are looking to bring you own business to the country? My wife both have our own businesses separately some based in the uk and other bits of it online. Thanks.

    Default Gravatar
    ShenuNovember 24, 2017

    My name is Shenu. I’m living in sri lanka. Actually my dream is to live in Australia. And I want to be a citizen in Australia.I want do a job in Australia but I don’t know what are the rules and regulations to be a citizen and come to Australia . I hope this site will help me to find that informations quickly. I’m waiting for a reply.

      Default Gravatar
      MariaNovember 25, 2017

      Hi Shenu,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may find our moving to Australia guide for your reference.

      On the other hand, you may also read about jobs in Australia regarding highest earning jobs in the country, and migration agents that will help work on different working visas and the legal requirements to work in Australia.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    EmadOctober 14, 2017

    Hi, I’m from Egypt and searching for studying & working in Australia, but confused about where I should start.
    I like quite places like villages & also like beaches, but which place could be helpful to study English and also could find part time jobs.

      Default Gravatar
      ArnoldOctober 15, 2017

      Hi Emad,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      The page above shows information about each location’s transport, working life, universities, and cost of living. You may check them out. desirable features of the places are highlighted so it will be easy for you to decide which one suits your needs.

      Hope this information helps


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