Australia has no shortage of beautiful places to live. But if you’re choosing between cities, there’s a lot more to consider than just the weather (and who to back come State of Origin).
When it comes to the best city to live in Australia, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each of our eight capital cities offers something the others don’t. They have their own unique culture, their own beloved local attractions, and, in some cases, their own time zone.
From quirky Melbourne to bustling Sydney, laidback Darwin to charming Hobart, there’s so much that makes living in these cities special.
But which of our capital cities best suits the lifestyle you’re looking for?
If you’re struggling to decide where to live in Australia, why not place this life-altering decision entirely in the hands of our ‘where should I live’ quiz?
So, which Aussie city is your perfect match?
Click on your city to learn more about the pros, cons, and what to expect:
Set Sail for Sydney
Making the move to Sydney? Australia’s biggest city continues to grow faster than the national average rate, welcoming hundreds of thousands of newcomers every year. Whether it’s the Harbour Bridge or the beautiful beaches of Bondi, it seems everyone wants to call Sydney their home.
The weather is great
With pleasant, sunny weather for most of the year, and afternoon sea breezes providing some relief on hot days, you won’t have to withstand extreme temperatures here.
Make the most of the great weather with Sydney’s best cycling tracks.
You get the best of both worlds
When you’ve had enough of wining, dining, shopping, and café-hopping, check out some of the country’s best beaches, such as Bondi Beach and Manly Beach.
We didn’t forget about your fur baby. Check out our favourite dog-friendly parks and beaches in Sydney.
Often referred to as a network of villages, each of Sydney’s suburbs has a community centre with family-oriented classes, activities, daycare and new mothers’ groups.
It has great education opportunities
Some of the country’s most prestigious universities, technical institutions and schools reside in Sydney, including Australia’s first ever university, the University of Sydney.
A word of warning: It’s the most expensive city in Australia
Sydney has been ranked the second most expensive city in the world after Hong Kong.
Discover more about life in Sydney – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
You Were Made for Melbourne
Dreaming about planting your roots in Melbourne? With its effortlessly cool culture and endless dining precincts, it’s no wonder hip Melbourne is Australia’s fastest-growing capital.
It’s the sporting capital of the world
Melbourne has been named the world’s sporting capital several times, making it the go-to for sports enthusiasts.
If you’re looking to get sporty yourself, check out Melbourne’s best cycling tracks.
There’s always plenty to do
Whether you’re looking to get back to nature, get your culture fix, or indulge in some retail therapy, Melbourne has a lot to offer to keep singles, couples, and families entertained.
Don’t forget your doggo when you move to Melbourne! Check out the top dog-friendly parks and beaches in Melbourne.
There’s a daytrip for every weekend
Whether you’re tasting wine in the Yarra Valley, taking in the stunning scenery of the Great Ocean Road, or meeting penguins on Phillip Island, Melbourne will have you ticking endless daytrips off your bucket list.
A word of warning: The weather kinda sucks
Known for feeling like all four seasons in one day, Melbourne’s weather is pretty unpredictable. But if you’re trying to escape the sticky summer heat, this could be your ideal destination.
Learn more about Melbourne – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
Pack Your Bags for Brisbane
Thinking about moving to Queensland’s sunny capital? You’re not alone. Brisbane’s population is booming, and with its friendly locals and relaxed lifestyle, it’s no surprise this new world city is fast becoming Australia’s top spot to live (watch out, Melbourne).
Winter isn’t really a thing
Being the capital of the Sunshine State, it goes without saying that Brisbane offers some of the best weather in the entire country.
Enjoy the sunshine with Brisbane’s best cycling tracks.
It’s close to the country’s best beaches
Just a short drive from some of Queensland’s most beautiful beaches at the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, you’ll never run out of ideas for the weekend.
It also has great antique stores. Check them out here.
The job market is pretty good
Brisbane trumps Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as Australia’s fastest-growing capital city for employment. The city’s job market accounts for almost half of Queensland’s total jobs growth.
You get more for less
In comparison to homes in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane properties generally cost less for more space. This makes Queensland’s capital a great spot to both live and invest in property.
A word of warning: Parking in the CBD will cost you
City parking is pretty pricey. If you want to park on the street in Brisbane for less than an hour, it’ll cost you more than anywhere else in the country.
Read up on Brissy’s pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport in our full city guide.
Canberra is Calling
There are plenty of reasons to visit Canberra, home of Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial.
Traffic isn’t a nightmare
If you’re prone to a little road-rage come peak hour, driving in Canberra is sure to lighten your grip on the steering wheel. Traffic jams aren’t generally an issue, and peak hour rarely lasts an hour.
It’s a big city with a small-town feel
Canberra puts you in prime position for shopping, dining, culture and more, with the added bonus of friendly locals.
There’s plenty to do
You might be surprised by just how much is happening in this underrated capital, from museums and theatres to lush parks and a booming dining scene.
A word of warning: It’s a fair hike to the nearest beach
You’re looking at around 2 hours’ drive to Canberra’s closest beach, making it quite the journey for a fun day out.
Get to know more about Canberra – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
You’d Feel Right at Home in Hobart
Known for its natural beauty and laidback locals, it’s no wonder more and more people are planting their roots in Hobart.
Houses are cheap
Tasmania offers the most affordable housing in Australia. In fact, a study has shown the price of one house in Sydney could get you two in Hobart.
Fill your new house with funky furniture from Hobart’s best antique stores.
It’s as pretty as a postcard
Seriously, if you’re into breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty, pack your camera and move to picturesque Hobart.
Make the most of Hobart’s scenic views with the city’s best cycling tracks.
It has a laidback culture
Things are a little slower in Hobart. Known for its friendly locals, this city has more of a country town feel. You can also look forward to fewer traffic jams than in other capital cities.
A word of warning: It’s a little detached from the rest of the country (literally)
As an island, Tassie can feel a little isolated at times. If your favourite band is touring the country or your footy team makes the grand final, it can be a bit of a pain not being able to jump in the car and drive interstate.
Learn everything you need to know about Hobart – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
You’re Destined for Darwin
Living in Darwin isn’t all red clay and crocodiles. The Top End’s capital holds a fascinating history, along with some of the most welcoming locals in the country.
There’s plenty to do
From the bustling city and the calming surf to the lush greenery of nearby Kakadu National Park, Australia’s only tropical capital city offers a range of environments and activities to fill your days – especially if you’re the outdoorsy type.
Check out Darwin’s best cycling tracks for a fun weekend activity.
The education is world-renowned
Charles Darwin University is kind of a big deal. It’s been ranked in the top 2% of universities in the entire world, making the NT a great spot to spend your uni years.
It’s pretty easy to find a job
Depending on your industry, of course. But in recent years, Darwin has been named the best city in Australia to find a job, with 2.24 jobseekers per vacancy.
A word of warning: The wet season can ruin your summer
Darwin’s summer brings high humidity, monsoonal rains, and storms. The wet season lasts from November-April, when humidity can surpass 80%, and the only refuge from the unforgiving heat and stickiness is inside with air-conditioning.
Discover more about life in Darwin – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
Your New Adventure Awaits in Adelaide
Thinking about making Adelaide home? South Australia’s capital may be growing more slowly than some other cities in the country, but that doesn’t take away its charm for the lucky ones who live there.
You get the city and the sea
Living in Adelaide gives you the best of both worlds; you get the convenience of everything the city has to offer while being just a stone’s throw from some great beaches, like Glenelg Beach and Seacliff Beach.
It’s one of the most affordable big cities to live in Australia
That’s right; if you want to live the city life in one of the country’s capitals, Adelaide can offer the city lifestyle without costing an arm and a leg.
You can spend your extra cash on more important things, like antique furniture for your new place! Find Adelaide’s best antique stores here.
The Barossa Valley is so close
Who else can say they’ve got a world-renowned wine region in their backyard? OK, so it’s around 60km north-east of the CBD, but that’s still close enough for one heck of a weekend getaway.
Check out Adelaide’s best cycling tracks – some take you right to wineries!
A word of warning: It can be tough to find a job
Studies show Adelaide’s unemployment rate has been far higher than the national average in recent years. If you want to live and work in Adelaide, it’s best to secure a job before you commit to the move.
Read up on the pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport in Adelaide in our full city guide.
Get Packing for Perth
Thinking about moving to Perth? Western Australia’s charming capital is home to more than 2 million people (and counting). From its beautiful weather to its endless daytrip options, Perth has plenty to offer its locals.
The weather is great
OK, so Australia has pretty awesome weather in general, but Perth’s mostly pleasant, sunny climate gets a huge thumbs up from us for liveability.
Enjoy the sunshine on your face with Perth’s best cycling tracks.
It’s surrounded by awesome beaches
The city has some of the country’s most extraordinary beaches to dip your toes and unwind, including Scarborough Beach and Cottesloe Beach.
It’s welcoming for all ages
From live music to fun playgrounds and pleasant botanic gardens, Perth is a great spot for rowdy 20-somethings, families, and older people alike.
The scenery is beautiful
If natural beauty is your jam, you can’t go past Perth’s national parks and wineries. The Swan River runs right through the city, offering a postcard-perfect sight among the concrete and bitumen.
A word of warning: It’s one of the most isolated cities in the world
One of the most isolated cities in the world, living in Perth can make you feel a bit disconnected from the rest of the country. But if you’re not a fan of people, this could be seen as a bonus!
Learn more about life in Perth – including pros and cons, best suburbs, dining scene, culture, climate, and transport – in our full city guide.
Wherever you’re moving in Australia, be prepared with our moving checklist.