Are you looking to find the best places to live in Australia? We’ve spoken to some of the best British Bloggers in Australia who are here to share where they live and how it compares to back home in UK.
Moving to Australia can be such a huge decision to make, but if you’re unsure where to live in a country that’s 32 times the size of England, it can be a daunting idea to get your head around.
Hopefully this post might help you decide on what city in Australia might be best for you.
Table of Contents
Gaining Australian Citizenship
There are many Australia visas to consider but the Department of Immigration in Australia doesn’t exactly make it easy for anyone to actually understand what the visas mean.
Luckily we’ve written a detailed post to let you know how you can gain permanent residency in Australia. Even if you’re coming over on a Working Holiday Visa in Australia or a Tourist Visa, check out this post.
As we mentioned before, Australia is 32 times the size of England yet there’s a third of the people living over here. That’s right 24.6 million currently live in Australia.
This means that many people live along the coastal areas of Australia because it gets pretty hot the further inland you go.
A lot of people live in the following cities in Australia including regional towns according to wikipedia.
New South Wales
Gold Coast–Tweed Heads
Queensland/New South Wales
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales
New South Wales
When looking at this graph, you’ll see that Sydney and Melbourne are the biggest cities in Australia and home to nearly 40% of the population which is mad when you think about it! As Sydney is the most populated city in Australia, it’s also the biggest and one of the most beautiful places to work in Australia (in our opinion of course!).
Cost of living in Australia – how expensive is it?
If you’re wondering how expensive Australia really is, we wrote a living comparison costs when we lived back in UK last year here. You might be surprised at how much it costs to live in both England and Australia.
With Sydney being the most populated city in Australia, expect housing prices to match. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent or buy with 1 bedroom apartment costing around $500 a week in the popular suburbs.
When you get out of Sydney, housing prices drop, even in Melbourne. We’ve been staying up in Newcastle (just two hours north of Sydney) recently and we’ve been so surprised how cheap it is to rent. But it’s all relative when you match how much you’ll get paid from work in the area.
We chose to move to Brisbane because of job opportunities, the weather, house prices and the lifestyle on offer in Queensland.
Deciding where to live in Brisbane when we got here was so difficult though! I wanted to be next to the beach, but my husband wanted to move inland to get a bigger house and plot of land. We finally agreed to look at houses in a range of areas and see if any houses or suburbs jumped out at us. When we saw our house in North Lakes, I fell in love with it before I’d even stepped inside.
North Lakes is a big, growing suburb about 15 minutes inland from the beach at Redcliffe and about 45 minutes from the city. We live in an older part of the suburb with quiet, wide streets, bigger plots and plenty of space (the newer parts are much more densely packed in).
We’ve got the space we wanted with the convenience of having everything on our doorstep – take aways, restaurants, shops and a cinema plus the lifestyle elements like the parks, bike tracks and lake. The only compromise was being a few minutes from the beach and it was one I was willing to make in the end.
We often chat about where we’d like to live in the future (as we’d love to build our own place one day) but it’s hard to imagine finding a suburb that is as convenient for our family as North Lakes at this stage of our lives. It has been the perfect place for us to get settled and put down roots in Australia. In the long term, the only thing that would tempt us away would be if we could afford an ultimate beachfront plot somewhere like Bribie Island (which is a long term dream for us!)
It’s very hard to compare North Lakes to a UK suburb as I’ve never known anywhere quite like it (it’s more like a little town of its own) but Brisbane as a city reminds me very much of Sheffield in that it is creative and vibrant with lots going on.
Karen runs Smart Steps to Australia, an inspiring blog to help you with everything you need to know about moving to Australia.
Where to live in Melbourne
Emma from The Broke Generation
When I moved to Melbourne from London, I followed a common expat route of heading straight to the St Kilda/Prahran/Chapel Street area. When the time came to buy our first apartment, we opted for Carnegie – aka one of the more underrated areas of Melbourne.
Less than 20 minutes on the train to the CBD, Carnegie’s benefits from the Koornang Road precinct, which majorly delivers on cheap eats. With some of the best Asian cuisine you’ll find in Melbourne, expect dinner for under $10 at a BYO dumpling restaurant, and a hearty selection of good coffee and brunch options.
Also nearby is the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere – Chadstone. You’ll get lost in this retail wonderland, and it’ll take multiple visits to see everything! Buses to the beach, plenty of nearby parks and a tree-lined community feel make Carnegie one of the most homely places in Melbourne.
Emma is a millennial money blogger at The Broke Generation, from Bournemouth in the UK. She moved to Melbourne to be with her Aussie boyfriend four years ago, and is now the proud owner of her 801 partner visa and a happy resident of Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
Where to live in Melbourne
Adam from Welcome to Travel
I’m originally from God’s Country, Yorkshire. It’s that good that I moved 10,000 miles away…
In all seriousness it’s a beautiful place with some wonderful people and I actually always wanted to live in England. It was never my intention to move to Australia, however having visited and then lived in Melbourne on a Working Holiday Visa, I fell in love with the place.
Melbourne has the things I like about Australia mixed with the things I like from home as well as it’s own unique twist. It’s got great Summer’s but it still has seasons, I may romanticise about Winter now but maybe ask me again on July morning.
Melbourne is a working class city with a modern multiculturalism, a love for sport and live music and then it has this obsession for high quality food and drink. It’s also a city with progressive way of thinking, that’s largely down to it’s young in history as a city has been formed by migrants from all over the globe, meaning it can be dynamic as it isn’t steeped hundreds of years of history and tradition.
When people say Melbourne is European, they can’t actually point to one tangible thing, but I think it’s that attitude and vibe its people and businesses give off.
I live in Balaclava, an area that’s rich in food, wine and cultural diversity. It’s a community steeped in Jewish history, home to people from all over the world, specifically Europe. I’m 15 mins (train) from the city and 10 minutes (tram) to the beach and the cafes and bars of the razzmatazz that is St Kilda.
I didn’t hate living England, for me Australia is like England but warmer, more laid back and a better place to earn money. Let’s say if living in England is a 7, I’d say Melbourne is a 9.5. Why not 10? They still say a lot of words funny over here don’t they?
Adam is the co-founder of Welcome To Travel a tour company and blog that’s had a seriously funny viral video on YouTube about being a backpacker in Australia.
When we still lived in the UK and my husband was first approached about a job in Tasmania, the first thing I had to do was Google it: I knew almost nothing about Australia’s island state. We moved here on the basis of a four-day visit, completely charmed by the friendly community, lively arts scene, and delicious food and wine.
We live in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. It’s a city of about 200,000, spread along the banks of the River Derwent and overlooked by beautiful Mount Wellington. In my view, Hobart is a perfectly sized city – big enough that there’s always something interesting to do, but small enough that it’s easy to get around. It’s rare to have a commute here that’s more than half an hour.The schools in Hobart are excellent – there’s a good mixture of state and private – and the university means that there is a diverse student community. There’s a busy working harbour; an abundance of farmers’ markets and small independent shops; and dozens of festivals celebrating everything from visual arts, dance, music and literature, to whisky, gin, apples, and garlic (yes, really!).
If you have a young family, it’s hard to think of a better place to live than Hobart. Within half an hour’s drive of the CBD, you can be on a beach, up a mountain, walking in the bush, kayaking or cycling. Camping is very popular here, and our climate lends itself to outdoor activities. Summers are warm and dry, but not as excessively hot as it can get on the big island, and Winters are cold but crisp and beautiful. Bring your Tasmanian tuxedo (also known as a puffer jacket) and you’ll be fine.
In 2013, Ruth Dawkins moved with her husband and young son from Hertfordshire in the UK to Hobart, Tasmania. You can find her at ruthdawkins.net or dorkymum.com
Regional Towns & Cities in Australia
Whilst regional towns & cities in Australia are often overlooked by many expats, there are some fantastic places to live all over the country. Try to think broader than Australia’s main cities and you could find yourself cheaper places to live and a better lifestyle as a whole.
In 2007 I took six months off work (I was living in Leeds in the UK at the time) and travelled the world. Well, that was my plan! On the second day of my travels, when I was in Beijing, I was introduced to my now-husband. We met up a few times throughout my months of traveling: in China, the Philippines, Thailand and then Australia and, as they say, the rest is history.
For the first six years, we based ourselves in Sydney where my husband had previously lived. I loved Sydney’s vibrancy and nightlife but over time, it started to get a bit too hectic for me. And expensive! I’m from the North of England originally and despite living in busy cities, Sydney just became too busy, especially after the birth of our first baby.
After a working holiday back in the UK, where I had my second baby, the four of us moved back to Australia and decided to settle in Newcastle. It was close enough to Sydney for any work appointments or events, I’m a full-time Blogger, but felt like a million miles away. We’ve never looked back and at times I wish we had moved here sooner.
I’m reminded of the North of England often, living in Newcastle NSW. The people are so similar – very friendly, welcoming and fun-loving. Plus, it’s so family-friendly with a million and one affordable ways to keep the kids entertained with amazing parks and beautiful beaches.
Driving anywhere takes no time at all and getting a car park is never an issue ha ha! As much as I love Sydney and have many happy memories, I wouldn’t move back to a busy city for anything and Newcastle is our long term home.
You can find more of Mim’s work over at Love From Mim which includes planning advice to keep organised in a hectic life.
In 2010 I left Shrewsbury in Shropshire on a bicycle and cycled 38,000km to Sydney, arriving in March 2012.
In 2017 I decided to make the move from Sydney to the Byron Bay Hinterland because I wanted to bring up my new born in the wilderness. Because I run my own business (We Are Explorers), I can work anywhere and I wanted to be able to spend quality time with my child.
Just imagine living in this cabin in the Byron Bay Hinterland like Henry does.
We moved into this a-frame in the rainforest of Huonbrook which gives us access to being immersed in nature at its best. From the rainforest, wildlife, hikes, rivers, mountain biking, you name it… it’s on our doorstep here.
The only way I could describe my life back home to now is literally like chalk and cheese.
Henry runs the wildly popular and fantastic We Are Explorers, a blog every explorer should be reading regularly.
Where to live in the Sunshine Coast
Rachael from Hilltops and Flipflops
I spent 8 months of my one-year Working Holiday Visa living in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. I moved from a mountain resort in Canada, so I decided to look for somewhere the complete opposite – a beach town with lots of sun. I was recommended Noosa by a friend and it did not disappoint.
The main hub of the town sits at the mouth of the Noosa River and looks out onto the sweeping bay of Noosa Main Beach, and as the name of the region suggests, there was a lot of sun to enjoy!
Similar to Torquay in Devon or Newquay in Cornwall, UK, Noosa is a real surf town with a chic beach vibe. It has a unique mix of surf bum travellers and affluent holidaying Australians, so expect pricey accommodation, restaurants and bars. On the flip side, it’s a great base for nature lovers, with plenty of hikes and bush walks in Noosa National Park and the nearby hinterland.
The downsides? Because it’s in Queensland, it’s subject to very hot and humid tropical summers, which are almost impossible to endure as a Brit. Although my body slowly acclimatised, I spent most of the summer uncomfortably sweating unless swimming in the ocean! It’s also a difficult place to make friends, since most people have lived there their whole lives and are very closed off, or are travellers passing through on their way up to Cairns.
Rachael writes about her travels over on Hilltops and Flipflops blog. Be sure to follow along to read more about an expat’s life of travel.
Where to live in Western Australia
Jo from Zig A Zag
I live in a suburb of Bunbury in South West Australia about two hours’ drive south of Perth and moved from Bideford in Devon.
Bunbury is a small city by English standards, and feels more like a regional town. It has an interesting CBD (town centre) with some historic buildings dating back to the turn of the century, while the main drag is only a couple of streets back from some lovely beaches.
We decided to live in SWA because it has a temperate climate, around +30 degrees Celcius in Summer and around 14 degrees in Winter.
Our suburb is a quiet and peaceful place to live, and we have easy walking access where we live to beautiful beaches. My husband cycles to work along cycle paths – and doesn’t have to cycle on a road unless he chooses to. Traffic and long commutes are a thing of the past!
When comparing Bunbury to somewhere in England I’d say it’s similar to a small regional town in England, that’s close to the sea with the benefits of countryside inland. It doesn’t have the same depth of history or historic architecture as most British towns, but it has more sunshine and plenty of beautiful natural spots to visit and enjoy at weekends, especially if you like the outdoors.
Jo runs the brilliant Zig A Zag blog dedicated to all things to do with Western Australia. Make sure you follow along to learn more about life in WA.
We hope you’ve found this post helps you in some way in choosing one of the best places to live in Australia. If you have any questions to ask, please put them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them for you!