Popular Cities in Australia for Expats

Australia is a fantastic place for expats to settle. The reason for this is that Australia has a high English level, great employment opportunities, a high quality of life, and diverse regions to explore. Expats from around the globe regularly consider Australia as a serious contender for their time abroad. When trying to decide which city in Australia is ideal for your expat experience, consider the cities listed below:

The 20 Best Cities in Australia for Expats


Sydney is one of the most popular cities to live in while residing in Australia for expats. Sydney not only has world-class professional opportunities, but also a close proximity to beaches, fine dining, and vineyards. Sydney has a population of 5.29 million people and is located in New South Wales, Australia. Sydney is famous for its opera house designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Sydney is also home to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which has a nickname ‘The Coat Hanger.’ This bridge is the widest long – span bridge in the world. Here is a list of sites that often get missed in Sydney.


Melbourne is known as the top foodie city in Australia. The city is full of incredible restaurants and nightlife. For expats, Melbourne offers a wealth of employment opportunities and good education options for their families. Melbourne has a population of 4.725 million people and is the capital of Victoria. Melbourne is known for having some of the best coffee cafes in Australia and legalizing graffiti street art because it looked better on Hosier Lane. Learn more about activities in Melbourne here.


Brisbane is a delightful riverside city that is the capital of Queensland. It is known for its impressive science museums and art gallery exhibitions. It is also famous for its stunning gardens that were a part of the World Expo in 1988. The population of Brisbane is 2.4 million people. Brisbane offers a great deal to expat families in that it is a slightly smaller city that still has international amenities along with high quality of education. This site is a great resource for everything to do with what to do in Brisbane.


Hobart is truly a special gem within Australia as it is the main city in Tasmania, which is an island off the immediate coast of Australia. Hobart has a population of approximately 225,000 and is known for its picturesque beauty. Hobart is home to many spectacular seafood restaurants and also museums of local history. For expats that are looking for a tight-knit community, Hobart offers a unique charm that is also a trading hub for import/export. In terms of day trips, there are some fantastic places to see from Hobart such as: Bruy Island, Tasman Peninsula, and Port Arthur. For the ultimate guide to Hobart, visit this site.


Adelaide is one of the most impressive cities in South Australia. Adelaide has a population of roughly 1.3 million inhabitants. Adelaide has a very large potential for expats seeking reliable employment. It is also a city in Australia that is said to have one of the higher qualities of life due to welcoming culture of the local residents there. Adelaide has an impressive collection of indigenous art in their art museum and is also home to at least fifty different vineyards for locals and expats to enjoy. Here is a guide of the best activities to do in Adelaide.


Canberra is located on the Northern tip of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and is the actual capital of Australia. In total, Canberra only has a population of approximately 403,468 people. For expats that are looking for jobs in the Australia government or diplomatic posts should absolutely look into Canberra as it is one of the cleanest and safest capital cities in the world. Canberra is also less than 100 miles from Sydney. Here are some interesting sights to visit while in Canberra.


Darwin is located in the Northern Territory of Australia and has a population of roughly of 145,916 people. It is very remote in comparison to other cities in Australia and even though it is on the coast, it is impossible to swim there the majority of the year due to poisonous jellyfish and crocodiles. For expats that have experience in the mining and oil/gas industry, there are many lucrative positions to obtain in Darwin. In terms of notable places to visit, information can be found here.


Perth is a unique city in that it is quite isolated in Western Australia, yet has an impressive population of 2.22 million. For expats that have a background in engineering, technology or minerals, Perth has a wealth of employment opportunities to consider. In terms of unique facts, Perth is home to the largest number of self-made millionaires in the world along with some of Australia’s most surprising exotic wineries. This guide gives a great description of where to visit in Perth.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a smaller city in New South Wales, Australia, but is home to some of its most gorgeous scenery. The area itself only has a population of 29,209 residents; however, it is quickly becoming a popular place for expats to invest as a second home or retirement option. For this reason, there is a large surfer population and overall small community feel in Byron Bay that produces a quaint, yet tranquil way of life there. In fact, there is a great local blog that provides the inside scoop of everything that is happening in Byron Bay to read and enjoy.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a very famous part of Queensland, Australia with a population of 555,721 inhabitants. The Gold Coast is famous for being the “Miami of Australia” in that it has lively parties, sensational beaches, and great restaurants. The expats that are typically in the Gold Coast are enjoying a working holiday at one of the many restaurants while catching a wave or two. There is absolutely a way to make a living in the Gold Coast, which is why it is a gorgeous place to reside for a time and experience one of the best surf spots in Australia. Here is a great resource for what is currently happening in the Gold Coast.

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is a smaller city that is equidistant between Darwin and Adelaide in the Northern Territory. Alice Springs has a population of approximately 29,000 people. The city is mostly known for having some of the most impressive dessert landscape in Australia. It is also is home to the Aboriginal people who have made their home in this dessert for over 50,000 years. Alice Springs is unique for expats in that there are many unique social work and environmental research opportunities for individuals with qualified backgrounds. Working in a place such as Alice Springs will permit expats to live in one of the most culturally and geographically distinct parts of Australia. To learn more, this article is a great resource for information about Alice Springs.


Cairns is located in Queensland, Australia. Cairns has a population of close to 147,993 people. Cairins is the city in Australia that is one of the closest to the Great Barrier Reef. Since the Great Barrier Reef is so close, there is a natural tourism industry that has formed in terms of working holiday opportunities and diving instructor jobs for both locals and expats alike. For expats that truly love the beach way of life, Cairns is a great choice for a classic small Australian beach town that has some of the best diving in the world. For those new to Cairns, here are some enjoyable activities to try out.


Wollongong is located in New South Wales and has a population of 295,842 habitants. Wollongong has incredible beaches and has been a popular place for expats to settle with families that also want a commute to Sydney. While the commute is long, it is manageable for those that want the mix of the big city and a smaller town for their home. Some great parks for outdoor lovers are located in Wollongong such as: Stanwell Park Beach and Governor Game Lookout. To find out more about what to see in Wollongong, try this article.


Newcastle is one of the more popular places to reside in New South Wales and has a population of approximately 440,000 people. Newcastle is two hours north of Sydney and was once originally a city whose industry was entirely centered around the steel industry. Today, the city has truly flourished into a unique local filled boutique shops and foodie delights. In terms of sights, the Anzac Memorial Walk and Bathers Way are great spots to visit. For expats, Newcastle is a great place to have a family that is still within proximity of a major city such as Sydney. A great article that shares what to enjoy in Newcastle can be found here.


Gosford is located on the outskirts of Sydney and Newcastle in New South Wales. Gosford has an estimated population of 162,440 people. Gosford is famous for its Australian Reptile Park and it is also close to Brisbane Water National Park. The reason why this area is quite appealing to expats is that it is within one hour of Sydney for commuting, yet still has affordable real estate for families. To learn more, about Gosford, visit this site.


Rockhampton is a smaller city in Queensland, Australia with a population of approximately 80,345 people. Within Rockhampton, there are many jobs for expats in the engineering and technology sector. In fact, the government regularly recruits skilled workers for Queensland in these sectors. For expats with families, there are reliable schools in Rockhampton along with a small town comfortable way of life to enjoy. Whether you are interested in visiting limestone caves at Capricorn Caves or the Mount Archer National part to observe Aboriginal culture, Rockhampton has many unique places to explore. A great place to read about Rockhampton can be found here.


Townsville is located in Queensland, Australia and has a population of 180,333 inhabitants. Townsville has a heavy emphasis on mining, engineering, and construction. There are many jobs in this part for expats that have particular skills. This is why Townsville is regularly growing and is developing an expat community. Towsville also has a sizeable tourism industry due to the natural wonders that are both within and just outside of the city. Popular activities include sailing, diving, and taking nature walks. To read more about what to do in Townsville, click here.


Mandurah is tiny city located in Western Australia and has a population of 80,813 inhabitants. The main industry that is in Mandurah is construction. The region is having a boom that requires both foreign and domestic expertise. This is precisely why many expats have come to Mandurah and the population is said to steadily increase by 1.85% annually. Mandurah is only 50 minutes from Perth, which also makes it a great place for families to reside and commute into the city. In terms of activities, Mandurah is famous for crabbing and their unique townships that are full of wineries and unique cafes. More information about Mandurah can be found by reading this article.


Rockingham is a smaller city located in Western Australia that currently has a population of 125,114 people. Rockingham is famous for the penguins and sea lions. Surprisingly, Rockingham has one of Australia’s most promising wine regions. For expats that are looking for a healthy commute to Perth, while still having access to outdoor activities and a community for starting a family, Rockingham truly does provide the best of both worlds. It is highly likely that there will be more expats relocating there to benefit from Perth’s job market and Rockingham’s quaint, yet high quality of life. Click here to read more about Rockingham.


Geelong is a small city located in Victoria, Australia with a population of 177,023 people. Geelong is actively recruiting expats due to the city’s history of being one of the top manufacturing destinations in Australia. Geelong primarily focuses on food, clothing, chemicals, timber, and textile production. Expats will find great employment opportunities and a slower pace of life compared with Australia’s other cities. To learn about wine tasting, great beaches, and other engaging activities within Geelong, read this article.

Final Remarks on the Subject

Australia is a wonderful place to relocate to as an expat. The key to making the right decision for your family is to take a look at what industry you work in and match the proper city that has proper employment opportunities, a high quality of life for your family, and interesting activities to enjoy while you are living in Australia. If you find the right combination of these factors, you will have a wonderful experience while residing in Australia as an expat.