Cities in Australia | The Best Places to Live, Work, and Study

Duline Theogene
Duline Theogene

It is well known that the “land Down Under” leads the way in educational programs, language courses, and job opportunities for international students. Therefore, we decided to create a list of some of the most important and beautiful cities in Australia so you can choose the right destination for your next adventure.

Highlights of Australia

kangaroo on the beach in Australia

  • Population: 25,499,884 (as of 2020).
  • Official language: Australia doesn’t have an “official language,” but the majority of the population uses English as the main language of education, commerce, and science.
  • Climate: Spring days are warm (September to November), hot and humid summers (December to February), mild autumns (March to May), and warm and dry winters (June to August).
  • Currency: $AUD (Australian dollar).
  • Cultural diversity: Home to one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world who can identify with more than 270 ancestries.

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Its fabulous scenery, exuberant flora and fauna, and breathtaking architecture – new and old – are worthy of admiration. In spite of its large territory, 90% of Australia’s population resides only in 3% of the total area of the country.

Main Cities in Australia

In a nutshell, the most popular cities in Australia are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Cost, Byron Bay, and Cairns. These are the cities where most of the population resides and where the majority of the economic and outdoor recreational activities take place.

We’ve had the opportunity to witness the wonders of this amazing country while traveling between cities and exploring interesting places. So, trust us. In this article you’ll find the best pieces of advice to help you make up your mind. Take a look at the rundown of these wonderful cities that we’ve put together for you!

Sydney (A.K.A. ‘The Harbor City’)

Sydney, Australia

Population: 4,925,987 (as of 2020)
Climate: Humid-subtropical; temperate and sunny most part of the year. It tends to get rainy from October to March.
Lifestyle: Bohemian and active
Geographic location: Australia’s southeastern coast

Sydney is one of the most popular cities in Australia, and it’s growing at a fast pace. This stunning and cosmopolitan port is the oldest and biggest city in Australia. Its popularity is due to the wide variety of renowned landmarks. Although the list of historical buildings and cultural heritage is quite extensive, here are a few attractions that you’ll be able to enjoy while going for a stroll around the city:

  • Seeing a show at the jaw-dropping Opera House.
  • Enjoying the vibrant night life at the Darling Harbor (a popular recreational complex in Sydney’s center).
  • Taking a walking tour with the “I’m Free” volunteering locals.
  • Admiring beautiful pieces of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
  • Whale watching on one of the daily cruises, sailing from Darling Harbor and Circular Quay.
  • Learning to surf on Bondi Beach.

Also, you can admire one of the largest public collections of Aboriginal art across Sydney’s museums and galleries. Without doubt, you will find ways to keep yourself busy in this exciting city.

‘The Harbor City’ boasts a vast array of TAFE (Technical and Further Education) courses, private institutions, and vocational education providers to choose from. You must know that the qualifications you can receive with a TAFE course are certificates I, II, III and IV, diploma, and advanced diploma. To obtain a Bachelor’s degree, you’d have to attend a university.

Melbourne (A.K.A. “The New Coffee Capital of the World)

bridge in Melbourne

Population: 4,968,000 (as of 2020)
Climate: Variable; hot summers (December to February), mild autumns (March to May), chilly winters (June to August), warm springs (September to November)
Lifestyle: Eclectic, Cultural, and Sporty
Geographic location: Southeast of mainland Australia

The city of Melbourne is often voted as the world’s best place to live. In 2018, it even received the name of the happiest city in the world, according to a survey from Time Out. This art hub – noted for its cultural diversity, vibrant music scene, delicious restaurants, amazing coffee, and sports – boasts an outstanding popularity among tourists and international students.

The central business district (CBD) is Melbourne’s financial center, which operates 24 hours a day. This is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia. The city offers its residents plenty of job opportunities, a well-oiled public transport system, extensive parklands, a large collection of historical landmarks, and numerous natural and cultural attractions.

Here’s a short list of must-see Melbourne highlights:

  1. Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
  2. Queen Victoria Market (the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere)
  3. Eureka Skydeck
  4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
  5. Werribee Open Range Zoo
  6. The Dandenong Ranges
  7. City Circle Tram

If sports is your thing, do not miss the “AFL (Australian Football League)” Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This is the highest attended club championship in the world.

Melbourne’s select coffee brings out the snobby barista we all carry within. You must take your time to enjoy a delicious flat white at any of the hip cafes in Chapel Street or the CBD area. The coffee quality standards in this city are simply over the top.



Population:  2,406,000 (as of 2020)
Climate: Humid-subtropical (an average of 280 sunny days a year); dry winters, hot and rainy summers
Lifestyle: Relaxed and social
Geographic location: South East Queensland

Brisbane is the third most popular city in Australia, and it’s also the capital of Queensland; Australia’s second largest state. This exciting city is very popular among young people for its bohemian and relaxed lifestyle. It is very common to see its locals wandering along the scenic beauty of its surroundings, and admiring places such as the City Botanic Gardens, the Museum of Brisbane, North Gorge Walk, and River Quay Green (Brissys’ favorite picnic spot).

In comparison to Sydney, Perth, or Melbourne, Brisbane is fairly cheap. Which is why international students consider it as the go-to place to start their educational journey. The only downside for beach lovers is that Brisbane is not a beach town. However, there are several options nearby for you to take advantage:

Surf beaches

  • Ocean Beach
  • Cylinder Beach
  • Frenchmans Beach

No-wave beaches

  • Sylvan Beach
  • Bongaree Beach
  • Bulwer

Dog beaches

  • Raby Bay Foreshore Park
  • Nudgee Beach
  • Red Beach

Just like other cities in Australia, the food and coffee scenes in Brisbane are constantly growing. So, make sure to stop by these places to enjoy a brunch on a weekend: Coffee Anthology in Brisbane City, Told You So in North Lakes, Big Bad Wolf in Hendra, or Salt. Coffee Roasters in Newstead.

Bon Appers! (the Aussie version of ‘Bon appétit’)



Population: 2,041,959 (as of 2020)
Climate: Warm most of the year; cool summers and rainy winters
Lifestyle: Laid-back and slow-paced
Geographic location: South West, WA

Perth is the capital of Western Australia; the largest city of this state. It is located on the banks of the Swan River and it is known for being the most isolated city in the world completely surrounded by nature.

Its pristine and gorgeous beaches, galleries, museums, and international cuisine attract visitors from all parts of the world. ‘Perthies’ (a term commonly used for people who live in Perth) take pride in the their intangible heritage and varied recreational options that include water sliding, rock climbing, indoor skydiving, and trampolining.

Currently, salaries in Perth range from 25,800 to 455,000 AUD. This, combined with its affordable cost of living and relaxed lifestyle, attracts professionals from different cultures and backgrounds looking for better job opportunities.

Perth is one of those cities in Australia you cannot afford to miss.


street in Adelaide

Population: 1,336,403 (as of 2020)
Climate: Hot and dry summers (December to February), and mild winters (June to August)
Lifestyle: Active, but at the same time laid-back and relaxed
Geographic location: South Australia

Named in honor of Queen Adelaide, this city is home to some of Australia’s top educational institutes like the Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia. There are several private colleges, and culinary and hospitality schools for you to choose from.

The inner-city trams and pinteresque streets, add a unique charm and peaceful vibe that anyone coming from a hectic city would definitely appreciate. The city bursts with culture and recreational activities. With plenty of inner-city boutiques, renowned restaurants, important museums, bohemian beach bars, street markets, and festivals, there’s not even a slight chance that you will get bored.

Adelaide is one of the cities in Australia where the cost of living is way below the national average, and the hourly rate is about 30 AUD. So, you are guaranteed a comfortable and stable lifestyle.

On a weekend getaway, you can explore Adelaide’s top attractions that are just a short distance from downtown. Make sure to visit the leafy Adelaide Hills, the Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the surf-free seaside village of Glenelg, which is 25 minutes away from Adelaide.

Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia

Population: 699,226 (as of 2020)
Climate: Warm most part of the year; hot and humid summers, tropical storms from January to March
Lifestyle: Easy-going, sporty, and vibrant
Geographic location: South-southeast of Brisbane

Out of all the amazing cities in Australia, Gold Coast is a heaven on earth for beach lovers and people of all ages. From theme parks to exhilarating rides, this cosmopolitan city has plenty to offer. Surfers Paradise, also known as ‘Surfers’, is a coastal suburb of the city which encompasses a combination of water sports, beach-side shopping, dining, bars, and clubs.

Gold Coast’s white-sand beaches are famous worldwide. And international students, especially surf enthusiasts, choose this destination to start their educational journey.

These are some of the most popular TAFE courses in the Gold Coast:

In addition to being an exciting and bohemian place for international students, there are plenty of job opportunities in the touristic sector, particularly in hotels and restaurants. So, if you’re into surfing and want to make some extra cash while attending university, you can take advantage of the great opportunities this place has to offer.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay, Australia

Population: 9,720 (as of 2020)
Climate: Subtropical; humid and warm all year-round
Lifestyle: Alternative and laid-back
Geographic location: North of NSW (New South Wales)

Byron Bay is a small town located in the northern part of New South Wales; it is located 800 km north of Sydney and 175 km south of Brisbane. This is one of the exclusive cities in Australia that has been gaining momentum due to its sublime beaches and breathtaking natural attractions, like the Killen and Minyon Falls, Mount Warning, and Julian Rocks (a common place where people go scuba diving).

The region’s exotic wildlife attracts many visitors from both Australia and other parts of the world alike. Seeing koalas, snakes, wallabies, echidnas, and pythons wandering around is commonplace, and, from June to October, humpback whales pass by the bay. Whether you decide to live there or not, a trip to this place is something you cannot miss.

Living in Byron Bay comes at a high price. People pay around 200 – 250 AUD per week for a room in a shared house in town. Therefore, many students choose to live in adjacent towns like Lennox Head or Brunswick Head where housing is pretty affordable.

It is important to mention that Byron Bay tends to get very crowded due to its magnificent weather and various recreational attractions. However, it is the perfect destinations for adventurous souls like you.

Pick one of our Experiences and learn more about this thrilling city!


Crystal Cascades, Cairns, Australia

Population: 154,230 (as of 2020)
Climate: Tropical; mild to warm in winters (June to August), hot and humid in summers (December to February). The wet monsoon season goes from November to April.
Lifestyle: Laid-back & Tropical
Geographic location: East Coast of Cape York Peninsula

Cairns is one of those cities in Australia that reminds us of fairy tales. It is Queensland’s fifth most populated city, and in comparison to Melbourne or Brisbane, Cairns is very affordable and quite safe.

Some of the great advantages of living in a smaller place like Cairns is that you’ll get to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle with quiet streets (with a few exceptions), lots of greenery, endless opportunities for day trips, great community feel, and easy access to transport. Plus, the city meets the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier reef. What’s not to like?

If you consider planting your roots in this magical city, here are a few things you need to take into consideration:

  • Humidity can be unbearable during wet season. Some people love it, however. It depends on your personality and preferences.
  • During peak season, streets get very crowded; so, traffic becomes a problem.

The culture scene is constantly growing. You can enjoy quality shows at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, and spend an evening admiring great pieces of art at the Cairns Museum and the Cairns Art Gallery.

If you’d like to start your educational journey in Cairns, these are some courses you can find at  TAFE Queensland. Click here to find more courses, or choose any of the Experiences below:

Top Cities in Australia: Choosing the Best Place to Live

girl moving to a new city in Australia

Moving to a different city within the same country already entails a series of challenges. Imagine the list of travel arrangements that you’ll need to have in place before moving to one of the cities in Australia we just mentioned before!

Don’t let the excitement fool you into thinking that you won’t face any drawbacks along the way. Remember, these decisions require a whole lot of thinking, planning, and saving. Therefore, we suggest taking the necessary precautions to ensure a smooth sailing.

If you are considering embarking on this rewarding journey, here’s a list of useful tips for international students and adventurous souls like you:

1. Set goals based on your budget

Besides from falling in love with any of the cities in Australia, you need to make sure that the cost of living in that place is within your means. Remember that prices always vary from town to town and taking the following expenses into consideration will help you make realistic decisions:

      • food
      • studies
      • housing
      • basic utilities
      • health insurance
      • transportation
      • recreation

That being said, the most affordable cities in Australia for international students are Brisbane and Gold Coast.

2. Search for courses

Some cities in Australia may be more appealing than others, but if you are seeking to obtain a specialty or a training in a certain area, the city that you choose must provide you with the educational offering to help you reach that goal.

Tip: Take a look at our GrowPro Experiences, and find the best courses for your budget needs.

3. Look for a job in your niche

Most international students are open to take side jobs to make ends meet. However, eventually you’ll want to put your skills into practice in a job that will prepare you for your future preferred niche.

For example, if you want to get a certificate in Travel & Tourism, living in Gold Coast or Sydney may be your best bet.

4. Pick a city with plenty of recreational options

If you are an active person, a slow paced environment could affect your mood and motivation. On the other side, choosing a vibrant place with plenty of recreational options will keep you healthy and in good spirits. This is also a great way to meet people and make friends.

5. Take the climate of the region into account before moving

The weather in most cities in Australia is pleasant and warm all year-round. However, for some people, humidity is not their cup of tea. Although it may sound a bit superficial, climate plays a big role in deciding where to start a new life. Therefore, make sure you are well-informed about this important aspect to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

6. Find a place with quick access to other cities in Australia

You may want to explore new places on your free time. Therefore, we suggest you have this in mind before deciding to live in a remote location, secluded from civilization.

We Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

girl meditating in Australia

At GrowPro, our main priority is to help you achieve your goals. Now that you know a little bit more about the different cities in Australia, you can choose the one that fits better with your personality and professional interests.

If you want to learn more and get a customized plan, pick any of the Experiences above, fill out the form, and one of our representatives will contact you shortly. Our team of experts will help you make the right decision by creating a plan tailored to your budget and needs.What’s your pick?

About the author

Duline Theogene
Duline Theogene

Duline Theogene is a content writer and copywriter, with an extensive background in language teaching. Throughout her professional career, she has used her storytelling skills in marketing for different industries such as: logistics, fitness and health, tourism, ecommerce, fintech, video production, and media. She loves to travel and enjoys the gastronomy of the places she visits and considers herself a dog lover, but has a particular weakness for Shih Tzus.

Loading comments...