The best places to live in Australia

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:

Region Unemployment Rate
Australian Capital Territory 4.3
Northern Territory 4.5
Western Australia 5.1
New South Wales 5.7
Victoria 6.0
Queensland 6.3
Tasmania 7.0
South Australia 7.6

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.

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.

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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245 Responses

  1. 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!

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Erin,

      Thank you for your question.

      You may start searching for a job by reading out article on finding a job in Australia. Please click here to view the page. You might be interested in the topic “Where to look for work in Australia”. Hope this helps!


  2. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      MayMarch 12, 2018Staff

      Hi E,

      Thanks for your question.

      Best to check the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) who is responsible for Australian business visas. Although you can get some important guides on Business Government page as well.

      Hope this helps.


  3. 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 Australian Visa and Citizenship Guide helpful as it provides information on the application process as well as links to the government pages concerned.

      On the other hand, you may also read about Jobs in Australia regarding areas of employment, the different working visas and the legal requirements to work in Australia.

      I hope this helps.


  4. 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


  5. Default Gravatar
    PhilisileOctober 6, 2017

    I’m planning to move in to Australia with my husband and 2 kids, we are forex traders. Won’t I have a problem when applying for a Visa?

    • finder Customer Care
      AshOctober 6, 2017Staff

      Hi Philisile,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      You may look into this page for guide in migrating to Australia. And this page for getting a Visa and Australian Citizenship.

      This may also help you in your move to Australia.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.


  6. Default Gravatar
    NgawangGedunSeptember 13, 2017

    Could you do a favour for my family unite? but now i have not enough visa fee.

    • Default Gravatar
      MariaSeptember 13, 2017

      Hey Gedun,

      Based on your comment, you might be looking for assistance for your Visa in order to be reunited with your family.

      As finder is a financial comparison website providing general information, we cannot assist you financially and it would be best to reach out to your local lenders to check your eligibility and options.

      We do have this page on Australian Visa and Citizenship Guide that may be of use to you.

      I hope this helps.


  7. Default Gravatar
    SAKSeptember 12, 2017

    Hello! I am a Manufacturing Engineer currently working in India and have work experience of over 22 years . Last year I applied and got visa under subclass 190 from South Australia. As my job was in demand in the state’s occupation list, I got my visa in very quick time.
    Will it be a good decision to move to South Australia to settle down?
    Since I have a good job here, I am a little reluctant as I am not much aware of the job prospects there in SA. Can somebody let me know whether I can get a reasonably good job in SA in my field?

  8. Default Gravatar
    AnnSeptember 11, 2017

    Hi there I’m currently working here in UAE and planning to move to Australia after my contract. I’m a nurse. What would be the requirements or qualifications?

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleSeptember 11, 2017

      Hi Ann,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page as a reference guide.

      I hope this helps.


  9. Default Gravatar
    PeterAugust 11, 2017

    Hello, I was planning to move from East Africa to Australia. I am a pharmacist, my wife is a nurse and we have a kid of 2 years old. Can you tell me the process?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanAugust 11, 2017

      Hello Peter,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      We have a detailed guide written on this page about moving to Australia. Alternatively, we have a checklist to help you on-board. :)

      Hope this helps.


  10. Default Gravatar
    TravisJuly 31, 2017


    -From the list above, what do you think is Australia’s best place to visit
    -From this list what do you think is Australia’s best place to live
    -What age group are you in 5-10 11-19 20-39 40-59 60 and over

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 4, 2017

      Hi Travis,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      1. Canberra
      2. Sydney
      3. 20-39

      Hope this information helped.


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