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10 BEST Places to Live in Australia [Feb 2020]

The Outback, the surfing, the cities, the Great Barrier Reef and a laid-back lifestyle, Australia has a lot of points for any visitor – especially digital nomads.

Australia isn’t exactly known for being a cheap place to live. Plus it’s deceptively large! Knowing a place to live that suits you AND your budget is crucial.

To help you at, we here at Nomads Nation have compiled a list of the very best places to live in Australia – so you don’t have to.

Now all you’ve got to do is scroll down and see what takes your fancy!

Staying Safe in Australia

Australia is known for its friendly people, warm weather – and safety.

Generally, you’re going to be pretty fine in terms of being (and feeling) safe in Australia.

What will probably worry you more than the people is the nature of this vast country. Not only are there creepy crawlies like snakes, spiders and even crocodiles, but natural disasters can – and do – happen.

Bushfires can wreak havoc across the land and cyclones can be devastating. Having the knowledge of what to do in an emergency like this is certainly a smart move.

Mostly, however, you’re going to be fine in Australia – it’s pretty safe!

Check out our ultimate guide to Digital Nomad Insurance!

#1 Byron Bay

Byron Bay

From its beaches to its whale watching and organic food, Byron Bay is a popular spot for beach bums, backpackers and nomads alike!

Monthly cost of living in Byron Bay

$3365/ month 

cost of rent
in Byron Bay

$2196/month

Byron Bay draws visitors not just for its rugged coastline, with scrubby cliffs and cool beaches, it’s also got a relaxed atmosphere that keeps people coming back. 

There’s a hippie-by-the-sea vibe here, in a town named after the grandfather of famous poet Lord Byron (previously named Cavvanbah, which means “Meeting Place”).

It’s a relatively small place to live – the kind of town where getting around on a bicycle is the norm. 

But you could choose to base yourself in Sunrise, a cheaper part of town that’s still pretty close to the beach and just a 10-minute cycle away from the centre. Lily Pilly Byron is also a nice place to live, all small houses with cute gardens.

Pros of Byron Bay

  • Real relaxed atmosphere
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Dramatic natural landscape

Cons of Byron Bay

  • Mega expensive
  • The hippie vibe might not be everyone's scene
  • Quite a small town

Byron Bay, the easternmost point of Australia, is also super famous for its whale watching opportunities when the whales pass by from May to November; you can get a boat to go see them or just spot them from the headland.

Surf culture, like in much of the country, is big news in Byron Bay. But when you’re not hitting the beach (or the surf), you can fill your stomach at one the many vegan or vegetarian restaurants, chow down at street food stalls, or have a drink or two at the town’s selection of bars.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Sustainable Valley is a good coworking spot, featuring indoor plants and shared tables. Otherwise, you can hit up The Work Pod, a homely place with a relaxed atmosphere and a vintage feel; nice coffee and good for entrepreneurs.

#2 Sydney

sydney

For nomads who want their slice of big city living, Sydney and its sights are the perfect choice.

Monthly cost of living in Sydney

$2675/ month 

cost of rent
in Sydney

$1634/month

Sydney may not be the capital of Australia but it is the largest city – this is where it all goes down. Just think: you could spend evenings hanging at Sydney Opera House, days surfing at Bondi Beach, and yet more of your time hitting up the Asian food on offer in the city’s Chinatown.

Though the very centre of Sydney itself can be pricey, we would recommend the neighbourhood of Manly; it’s a simple ferry ride to town with all the other commuters. 

Surry Hills is a cool neighbourhood with Victorian houses and a burgeoning hipster vibe, with tons of cafes in this once working-class, now gentrified part of town.

Pros of Sydney

  • There's so much to do here
  • City living
  • Great food scene

Cons of Sydney

  • Too much city for some
  • Can get super expensive
  • Awful traffic

Sydney may have those glossy icons like the Opera House and plenty of shiny skyscrapers, but if you look a little bit closer you’ll find evidence of the city’s past. 

There are plenty of historic buildings to explore in the area called The Rocks: the oldest part of the city.

That said Sydney’s Central Business District is the place to go if you want bars and restaurants galore; we would also recommend hitting up the night market in Chinatown for a foodie buzz after dark. 

Darlinghurst is a diverse area, known formerly as the Jewish quarter of the city and now a liberal LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhood.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Tons of coworking spaces means a lot of choice in Sydney. Some of the best are Fishburners (huge, relaxed, social), Coworking Space Sydney (modern, central), and Tank Stream Labs (easygoing, community-feels).

#3 Hobart

Hobart

The gateway to the natural splendours of Tasmania, the city of Hobart is a good place for a getaway.

Monthly cost of living in Hobart

$1654/ month 

cost of rent in Hobart

$887/month

Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, the island state of Australia, and sits on a backdrop of Mount Wellington (1,270m), which can be hiked thanks to numerous trails of Wellington Park. 

The town itself has many picturesque old buildings, making it a charming place for a wander on your days off, including the 1830s Salamanca Place.

When it comes to looking for an area to live in Hobart, we’d recommend starting your search at North Hobart. 

Close to the CBD (easy to reach on public transport), this relaxed, friendly suburb has parks and a good feel; it was once a little rough around the edges, but no longer. Battery Point is also a good option if a little more pricey.

Pros of Hobart

  • Relatively chilled city
  • Picturesque place to live
  • Plenty of nature on the doorstep

Cons of Hobart

  • Bit isolated
  • Can suffer from extreme weather
  • Not that lively

The colonial style buildings at Battery Point now house a plethora of shops and cafes, making it a cool hangout for nomads who like to sip coffee. 

The Museum of Old and New Art (or MONA) is also a good place to explore, especially if you’re into art, obviously; described by its founder as a “subversive adult Disneyland”.

Port Arthur is another good sight in town; this historic place features British Empire buildings – over 30 of them, in fact. For beer fans (and more history) check out the oldest brewery in Australia, the Cascade Brewery, founded in 1832.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Parliament Coworking is the place to get some work done here. It’s set in a renovated old building, which we think is super cool. There’s also WOTSO WorkSpace, a cool place for nomads with a good atmosphere and friendly staff.

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#4 Perth

Perth

Close to white sand beaches and with historic architecture, Perth is a laid back coastal city escape for nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Perth

$2689/ month 

cost of rent
in Perth

$1765/month

Perth is the capital of Western Australia and one of the most remote cities in the world. When you’re in the city itself, you certainly feel the weight of the natural world around you, with deserts to the north, south and east, and wide open sea to the west; there’s a lot of open space to enjoy if you like the great outdoors.

Head to Maylands if you want a nice place to live in Perth that comes complete with quirky vintage shops and cute bakeries. 

Alternatively, the coastal suburb of Fremantle is a chilled, cheaper place to base yourself complete with surfer-vibe feels.

Pros of Perth

  • Easy access to beaches
  • So much nature to explore
  • Generally open and chilled atmosphere

Cons of Perth

  • Can get a little boring
  • It is literally one of the most isolated cities ever
  • Actually a bit expensive

In the city itself, you can hit up Kings Park; the bold claim to fame here is that it’s said to be one of (if not the) largest inner city parks in the world. 

Here you’ll see people jogging, families enjoying time together, plus you’ll be able to get some great views of Perth from the higher vantage point here.

Perth’s beaches are also part of the lure of the city. Head to Bather’s Beach (named for obvious reasons) and also City and Cottsloe Beach to laze around on the and gaze out on the miles and miles of the Indian Ocean; apart from offshore Rottnest Island, there’s nothing out there till Madagascar!

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Spacecubed is a coworking space that puts on a ton of events; there’s ample space for you to work here. Also, you should check out FLUX, a very cool, very modern space with a convenient location and a top place for productive days!

#5 Melbourne

Melbourne

With its music scene and bohemian vibes, Melbourne is a great choice for nomads looking for alternative city living.

Monthly cost of living in Melbourne

$2234/ month 

cost of rent in Melbourne

$693/month

Victoria’s cool capital, Melbourne is a top Australian city where people from over 200 countries make up a super multicultural urban landscape; you’ll find the largest Greek population outside of Greece here, for instance. 

All of this melting pot-ness is represented in the city’s various festivals, from food markets to cultural celebrations.

For a quirky cool hipster neighbourhood, head to Fitzroy; here you’ll find plenty of street art, vegetarian hangouts and coffee shops. St Kilda is all about healthy living, where everyone jogs and eats in good restaurants. 

For another option, Windsor is home to plenty of students, places with great wi-fi and cheap eats.

Pros of Mexico City

  • Amazing food scene
  • Culture, art, music, festivals - you name it
  • Often cited as one of the world's most liveable cities

Cons of Mexico City

  • Temperamental weather
  • Maybe too alternative for some
  • Expensive cost of living

When it comes to culture, there’s a lot going on here; it’s UNESCO-designated for its literature, believe it or not! Festivals abound, like the Writers Festival, International Jazz Festival and Film Festival to get excited about. 

There’s also markets to delve into. Queen Victoria market is huge, but Camberwell Market is great for vintage finds.

Food is big news in Melbourne. You will find new wave food trucks, high-end dining, late-night snacks – oh, and a ton of places for you to get a good cup of coffee!

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

The Cluster is a relaxing place to focus on your deadlines – beautifully decorated, too. There’s also a Melbourne chain with a couple of spots called The Commons, which is a cool place with hammocks and a shared kitchen. 

#6 Wollongong

Wollongong

A cradle of coastal living on Australia’s Grand Pacific Drive, Wollongong is one for the sea-loving nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Wollongong

$1843/ month 

cost of rent in Wollongong

$884/month

Situated 90 minutes south of Sydney (by car, at least), Wollongong is all about living by the sea – it’s as simple as that. 

Here you will find beaches, rockpools, cliff walks, and plenty of other natural distractions that tend to lean towards the ocean; so if you like surfing, or just staring at the sea, this is the place for you.

The inner suburb of Mount Pleasant is a, well, pleasant place to base yourself. Here you’ll find plenty of malls and cafes – all within a short distance of the CBD. 

In the north, Woonona is another good option for you to live in Wollongong; it’s also right near the beach, with plenty of eateries to sample, too.

Pros of Wollongong

  • Huge amount of great food
  • Fun nightlife
  • Tons of museums

Cons of Wollongong

  • More expensive than rest of Mexico
  • High pollution levels
  • Some areas have high crime rates

The centre of the very relaxed Wollongong is very walkable. It’s not that big, so you will be able to explore this city on foot, hitting up its new, cool and quirky cafe, bar and restaurant scene. In fact, 80 new establishments have sprung up since 2012.

Wollongong City Gallery, in the heart of town, is the place to go to get your fill of Australian and Aboriginal art. 

Each year the city puts on the Wonderwalls Festival, where you can discover huge pieces of art daubed on the walls of the city – pretty cool!

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

SmartSpace offers up a good range of facilities and service – it’s even pretty good if you’re working in a team. Otherwise, you can hit up ZigZag Hub, a coworking space where you can get stuff done without distractions; modern and well run.

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-Aaron Radcliffe (Nomads Nation founder)

#7 Brisbane

Brisbane

Brisbane is the skyscraper clad capital of Queensland and the perfect place to head for everything city living affords.

Monthly cost of living in Brisbane

$2129/ month 

cost of rent in Brisbane

$1068/month

This large city has a lot more to it than first meets the eye. There’s actually a lot of culture going on here, from the Botanic Gardens on Mt. Coot-tha, to the weekend farmers’ markets where you can pick up fresh, organic produce. 

In fact there’s a lot of eating to be done in general, with a healthy restaurant scene to explore. If Brisbane sounds good to you, then you look into living in New Farm; this suburb is all about its parks, nightlife and historic buildings. 

Spring Hill is an inner suburb, featuring yet more park and clusters of Victorian buildings for a decidedly picturesque place to base yourself in Brisbane.

Pros of Brisbane

  • Affordable rent for a large city
  • Loads of great beaches nearby
  • Warmer weather

Cons of Brisbane

  • Very humid in summer
  • No daylight savings mean no long summer nights
  • Nightlife not so good as other cities

For music fans, Brisbane is a good option; go catch some live music at one of the city’s many venues, like the cool Triffid. For fashion-lovers, shop for trendy new garms on James Street. 

For foodies, there’s Powerhouse Farmer’s Market; not only good for fresh fruit and veg but also gourmet eats as you browse around.

To get to grips with the city, we’d recommend taking a trip along the Brisbane River. It’s a good way to check out all the architectural styles and parks on offer here; plus a pretty chilled way to spend an afternoon.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Entrepreneur Haus is a cool place to get your projects done: super friendly, nice people, a funky place to hang out and get work done. There’s another branch of Fishburners in Brisbane, too, and it’s ultra cool (inside a heritage listed building) and very well organised.

#8 Gold Coast

Gold Coast

A twenty-minute train ride from Helsinki, but much less expensive, Vantaa is a well-located option for budget-minded nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Gold Coast

$1863/ month 

cost of rent
in Gold Coast

$1065/month

South of Brisbane lies the city of Gold Coast. Ever since the Surfers Paradise Hotel opened up in the 1920s, this whole region has boomed as a beach resort, popular with surfers, of course. 

But the very wide beach itself is pretty impressive, stretching for miles and miles, making it perfect for anyone who likes the feel of sand between their toes.

Though Gold Coast can be a little on the expensive side, living in Southport is a lot more affordable. 

It’s still close to the beach, and the town itself, but it’s much more laid back and quiet than other areas (lots of international students live here too). Mermaid Beach is another good option; perfect for the outdoors-lover.

Pros of Gold Coast

  • Amazing beaches
  • Tons of stuff to do
  • Outdoor activities aplenty

Cons of Gold Coast

  • Pretty expensive
  • Busy with tourists
  • Maybe too much partying for some

Being a popular destination for tourists as well as locals, there’s a ton of things that are geared towards visitors in Gold Coast, such as amusement parks like Warner Bros. 

Movie World and Dreamworld, to name just a couple. For something more natural, head to Springbrook National Park for a slice of temperate rainforest.

For fans of food, after a busy day of surfing, navigate your way through the notable high-rise skyline of the city to Miami Marketta. 

Here you will find a whole selection of street eats to the soundtrack of live music – all washed down with freshly made cocktails, of course.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Need to get some work done? Lot 37 is a cool coworking space located near Surfers Paradise. There’s also Burleigh Space: close to the beach (with views of it, too), serves up great coffee, quiet space to work.

#9 Adelaide

Adelaide

Cultural and cosmopolitan, Adelaide is a true city for curious nomads to explore.

Monthly cost of living in Adelaide

$1714/ month 

cost of rent in Adelaide

$1064/month

Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and the place to go if you’re a fan of old architecture; there’s plenty of that to be found in this interesting and pretty historic city. 

In fact, Adelaide boasts the nickname “the City of Churches” owing to the sheer amount of churches to be found on its planned-out grid system streets. For somewhere to live in Adelaide, check out bohemian Brompton. 

This neighbourhood is a bit of a student hub with plenty of hipster hang-outs; great for cheap eats and drinks, vintage shops, and all pretty close to the city centre. For somewhere near the beach, head to Brighton or Glenelg in the west of Adelaide.

Pros of Adelaide

  • No rat race feel to the city
  • Friendly people
  • Interesting place

Cons of Adelaide

  • Might not be lively enough for you
  • Not as convenient as other cities
  • Conservative

Start your adventures in the city at the 150-year-old South Australia Museum, complete with the country’s largest collection of indigenous artefacts; or the Art Gallery of South Australia, the manicured grounds of the University of Adelaide, or wander around Victoria Square: the focal point for the city in the 1850s.

You should definitely catch a match at the Adelaide Oval – a cricket match, of course. These are rowdy and exciting. After that, fill your stomach at Adelaide Central Market (dating back to 1869) or go enjoy the delicious delights of the city’s historic – and still functioning – Chinatown.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Hub Adelaide is a new, clean and well-organised workspace in a great location in the city. You may also want to check out WOTSO (part of a national franchise), which is located in an old church: fast wi-fi and a rooftop deck. Love it.

#10 Cairns

Cairns

Considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Cairns is popular with people who want to see life beneath the waves.

Monthly cost of living in Cairns

$1623/ month 

cost of rent
in Cairns

$714/month

Set in the region of Far North Queensland, Cairns is where Australia starts to get tropical. People often visit Cairns on their way to the Whitsunday Islands and/or the incredible Great Barrier Reef, which needs no introduction, but Cairns itself has its fair share of natural landscapes, including a reef and rainforest.

Thinking of a move to Cairns? Then you should consider the neighbourhood of Cairns North, a friendly place to live that’s also quite near Flecker Botanical Garden (more affordable than other areas of the city). 

There’s also Edge Hill, a good place if you’re into nature – it’s further from the sparkling sea, but cheaper than coastal neighbourhoods.

Pros of Cairns

  • Easy to meet people
  • Right near the Great Barrier Reef!
  • Good quality of life

Cons of Cairns

  • Rainy season is very rainy
  • Can get super humid
  • Not overly exciting

There is a lot of nature to be hand in this northern part of the country. For example, for a gorgeous part of the nearby Daintree Rainforest, head to the Mossman Gorge, where you’ll find trails that wind through the lush jungle. 

After a sweaty hike, your efforts will be rewarded by the chance to swim in the cooling waters of the gorge itself.

The city itself has more culture than you’d expect. Get your art on at the Cairns Art Gallery (CAG) and then head to one of the many cafes at the city to fill your stomach with good eats.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

For coworking in Cairns, nomads should make a beeline to theSPACE – a cool, creative place. Otherwise, there’s Cairns Student Hub (not just for students); you can even take classes here and develop your professional skills!

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to live in all of Australia

That was it, people – the top spots to for digital nomads to live in Australia.

Every single one of them boasts a coastal location and easy access to nearby beaches and nature. That’s Australia for you though, plenty of hiking, surfing, biking and general beachside lazing around to get up to!

You could go for the bohemian vibe of Melbourne, or really get stuck into beach culture at the very popular Gold Coast; alternatively, you could hit up Adelaide for cosmopolitan vibes.

Can’t make your mind up? There’s always Sydney to start you off.

Good luck down under!

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -