Best places to live in Australia on your overseas experience
Looking for where to eat, sleep, work and play in Australia’s cities? Join the backpacker brigade in some of the best places to live in Australia.
Great for: Brunch spots and night life
Whether you're coming to Australia for a relaxed, sand and surf lifestyle, or prefer to be in the thick of things, Sydney has it all. The country's most famous beach suburb, Bondi, is a popular seaside locale for working holiday makers, making it an easy place to befriend like-minded travellers at one of the many iconic brunch spots. Sydney's inner-city suburbs are among the country's coolest neighbourhoods, where you'll find a lifestyle centred around friends and food. Picture rustic pubs on almost every corner, an endless supply of cheap eats and a vibrant LGBTQIA+ nightlife scene.
Great for: Outdoor activities and weekend markets
Whether you're strolling to pick up your morning coffee or taking a quick ocean dip after work, living in Perth is all about enjoying the best of nature and the city. Thrive amid the youthful hub of Northbridge, where you'll find fun hostels, bars and nightclubs, or find your home in historic Fremantle to spend weekends exploring markets, craft breweries and food trucks. If you're a bona fide beach lover, you might prefer to base yourself along Cottesloe Beach, where you can swim, surf and snorkel to your heart's content.
Great for: Museums, galleries and events
Ranked as one of the world's most livable cities more than once, it's no surprise that Melbourne's vibrant live music scene and jam-packed events calendar promises a thriving destination to work and play all year round. Just twenty minutes from the city centre is the creative neighbourhood of Fitzroy, a precinct filled with trendy restaurants, art galleries and hipster cafés. The beachside neighbourhood of St Kilda is also a bustling destination for travellers to settle for a while, where the palmtree-lined promenade acts as a haven for active locals.
Great for: Architecture and the arts
Craft breweries, towering modern architecture, world-class sporting venues and a man-made beach – you'll find it all sprinkled along the banks of the landmark Brisbane River. Fortitude Valley (just the Valley to locals) is where you’ll find Brisbane’s counterculture and nightlife pulse. The suburb is brimming with fashion boutiques, theatres, live music venues, and most of the city's best bars and restaurants. If you're among the arts obsessed, the city's West End could be your dream spot – think buildings adorned with murals, an eclectic array of eateries and quirky street festivals.
Great for: Bars and national parks
Darwin's backpacker scene is alive and kicking on Mitchell Street – a palm-shaded strip of hostels, hotels, bars and cafés in the city centre. You’ll find most of your fellow travellers here, making the most of the watering holes, pool bars, open-air pubs and budget restaurants that are all within easy reach. With the constant excitement in this part of the city, there's really no need to leave – unless, of course, you're taking the chance to visit abundant wildlife and ancient landscapes in nearby places like Kakadu National Park.
Great for: Wineries and live music
With all the laid-back charm of a seaside location and the cultural attractions of a major city, Adelaide is a great choice for working holiday makers. Recognised as one of the best festival cities in the world, events like Adelaide Fringe will be a highlight of your stay. In the cosmopolitan East End of Adelaide's suburbs, you're in walking distance to most of the city's lively attractions. Spend weekends visiting galleries, museums and elegant colonial buildings along North Terrace, ride hire bikes through Rymill Park, and tuck into some of the country’s best wines on Rundle Street.
Great for: Nightlife and nature
During the day, Cairns is the definition of relaxed – with warm weather, friendly locals and gorgeous scenery – but at night, the city comes to life. The esplanade is lined with upmarket hotels, restaurants and bars, while the back streets are packed with more budget-conscious venues. Hop between the hostel pool bars, enjoy live music in a beer garden or dance to local DJs. When you're not busy partying, you're sure to fall in love with the nearby Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest.
Great for: Museums and local breweries
Australia's capital city of Canberra is constantly growing its status as a culture and lifestyle hub. The city is a playground for students, backpackers and young professionals who fill local breweries, galleries and bars and can be found picnicking beside the picturesque scene of Lake Burley Griffin in summer months. Canberra's suburbs are among the most affordable places to live in Australia, meaning you'll have plenty of cash left over for spontaneous trips to wineries, national parks and ski resorts.
Great for: Wilderness and historic pubs
Living in Tasmania is like living in several places at once. Cities rest at the foot of epic wilderness and weekend breaks can lead to everything from coastal cliffs to innovative museums. Hobart's Salamanca Place is one of the best places to live if you want a little bit of everything. The area's galleries, theatres and historic pubs are sure to keep your social calendar full, but nature is at your doorstep for weekend escapes. If you spend winter living in Hobart, be sure to get amongst the excitement of the Dark Mofo festival.
Great for: Beaches and local music
With its glorious beaches, new-age lifestyle and energetic music scene, Byron Bay is a time-honoured stay for travellers who choose Australia’s east coast. Along with the surfers who are drawn by the waves of the Pass and Wategos Beach, artists, writers, hippies and healers make Byron Bay their home. On any given day, you'll find gifted buskers putting on a show – best enjoyed while seated outside at a welcoming vegan café. If you're after the ultimate Aussie beach town – Byron Bay is it.