Australia’s inland capital, Canberra, has a sophisticated atmosphere that really comes alive when the country’s Parliament assembles. Although it is the nation’s capital, Canberra has fewer than 400,000 residents, giving it an almost small-town charm with its pretty tree-lined streets. Real estate is, perhaps surprisingly, some of the most affordable in the country with average house prices almost $100,000 AUD ($70,500 USD) below the national average at around $480,000 AUD ($340,000 USD).
In summer, Canberra’s residents take to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to enjoy picnics, bike rides, fishing and sailing. The city has a great restaurant and bar scene, some interesting cultural attractions, such as the National Gallery of Australia, and no end of adventure activities in the hills and bushland that surround the city.
Best for: Property Affordability
Historic Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia, situated in the south of the country on the banks of the Derwent River. The city is popular with those who prefer cooler temperatures, with summer temperatures a manageable 68°F, and has a lovely relaxed pace of life. Hobart has a great range of real estate, from the luxurious to the affordable, and its desirable riverside suburbs are popular with families and retirees alike. The suburb of Kingston was recently named the most family friendily place to live in Australia.
Hobart may not have a rapidly growing employment market, but it does offer stable and steady job prospects especially for skilled expats in the industries of construction, viticulture and engineering. On the weekends, choose between the lively arts scene in town, scaling the heights of the spectacular Mt Wellington, or heading down to Sandy Bay to relax on the beach.
Best for: Culture
The multicultural city of Melbourne is widely considered to be Australia’s cultural capital with a strong arty vibe, amazing museums and an endless selection of cool bars, eateries and festivals. It’s also city of sporting fans. The residents of Melbourne come from all over the world, creating many different neighborhoods from the glitzy to the family- oriented. Surrey Hills and Camberwell are popular with expats who have children, while the hipster beachfront suburb of St. Kilda attracts a younger crowd.
On the downside, Melbourne is famous for its changeable weather – you’ll often experience “four seasons in one day”. Cost of living is relatively high, although slightly cheaper than Sydney, and the employment market is buoyant, especially for expats who specialize in aviation, construction, automotive engineering, financial services and technology.
Best for: Job Opportunities
With almost 5 million residents, Sydney is by far Australia’s biggest city – and home to some of its most iconic sights. Cruise through the harbor to see the famous opera house or join the surfer dudes down at the beautiful Bondi Beach. While the bright lights of Sydney’s central district, with its eclectic bars, restaurants and clubs, appeal to younger expats, many families choose to live in the suburbs.
Sydney is a major player on the world stage, which has an undeniable effect on the cost of living here. Real estate prices are on a par with New York, putting it up there with the most expensive cities in the world. Sydney’s successful economy does mean that employment prospects are good, with the financial services, communications technology and creative industries all thriving.