The 4 most popular cities in Australia for foreigners: Which one is for you?

/ / Immigration to Australia, Life in Australia

most popular cities in Australia for foreignersYou can find people from all over the world in just about every town and city in Australia. Look at the settlement patterns closely and you’ll see a list of four most popular cities in Australia for foreigners form very quickly. These are the cities expats flock to and they are:

  • Sydney;
  • Melbourne;
  • Perth; and
  • Adelaide

But how do you know which of these four cities is the best fit for you? Could you ever know without actually visiting each city?

Well, you might never know 100% without spending time in each city, but if you research a couple of things, you will definitely get a much better idea of which city you’ll adapt to most easily.

Here’s the good news – we’ve done the legwork for you.

We’ve looked at a couple of basic but important factors, compiled a list and we share this list below. All you have to do is read and compare.

For each city, we’ve looked at:

  • What makes the city popular – The unique things about the city that attracts expats.
  • The lifestyle – How do the people in the city live?
  • How to get around – The public transport options that are available.
  • Accommodation – Who lives where and the affordability of housing; and
  • Living costs – The average cost of 14 items in each city.

Let’s get to our comparison of the four most popular cities in Australia for foreigners…

Sydney

Sydney attracts more immigrants than any other city. This can certainly be prescribed to the dynamic atmosphere and balmy weather of this multicultural city.

Sydney is also known for its vibrant cultural scene and is considered to be one of Australia’s most prominent business hubs.

While some might say Sydney is not the best city for families, many foreigners with children have chosen Sydney and are happy with their new home.

1. Lifestyle

If Sydney’s lifestyle can be described in one word it’ll be ‘laid back’, with many Sydney residents pursuing outdoor activities.

Sydney is also known for providing working professionals with an attractive work-life balance. Australian employees get at least four weeks of paid leave each year, general health benefits and contributions to superannuation.

2. Accommodation

Sydney’s western suburbs are popular with families because you can secure larger properties at good prices. The eastern suburbs and the foreshore of the harbour are the most expensive, followed by the picturesque northern beach suburbs. Students prefer apartment living and often choose Sydney’s inner suburbs.

3. Getting around

Sydney has an extensive public transport, consisting of trains, buses, ferries, light rail trains, trams and taxis. Thanks to this varied public transport system many expats living in or close to the city get by without a private vehicle. Of course the further away you move from the city, the more likely you’ll be to invest in a car, as owning one would make getting around a lot easier.

4. Living costs

Let’s look at some basic costs:

Food

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: AU$16
  • 1L whole fat milk: AU$1.36
  • 500g local cheese: AU$11
  • Bread for two people for one day: AU$2.70
  • 500ml domestic beer in the supermarket: AU$5.13

Housing

  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in EXPENSIVE area: AU$3,713
  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in NORMAL area: AU$2,738
  • 1-month utilities for two people in 85m² flat: AU$273

Transportation

  • 1L of gas: AU$1.43
  • Monthly ticket public transport: AU$165

Healthcare

  • Short visit to private doctor (15 minutes): AU$76

Entertainment

  • Basic dinner out for 2 in a neighbourhood pub: AU$53
  • Two movie tickets: AU$39
  • Cappuccino in expat area of the city: AU$4.29

For more costs under each category, go to the Sydney page on Expatistan.

Melbourne

Melbourne is a fascinating city that blends European style with Australian’s easy-going attitude to life.

This is a city where the citizens like to eat, toast and dance their way through life, so you’ll find a thriving music scene in Melbourne as well as a vast array of cafés, restaurants and bars.

Lifestyle

As mentioned above, Melbourne has a vibrant lifestyle. In addition to dance clubs and places to eat or drink, Melbourne also offers world-class sports facilities, fabulous shopping opportunities and a lively nightlife. As you might be able to guess by now, Melbourne is a very young city.

Accommodation

You’ll find that accommodation in Melbourne vary in range and standard, but it’s becoming increasinly scarce across the board.

Most expats opt to rent property, a common and practical decision due to the expensive costs attached to buying property. Luckily, rent in Melbourne tends to be more affordable than in other capitals.

If you’re moving with a family, you’ll obviously want to look at houses instead of flats. There are houses available in most areas of Melbourne, but to find affordable rentals, you’ll have to move away from the central business district.

Getting around

Like Sydney, Melbourne has a well-developed public transport system, consisting of rail, tram, bus and taxis services. However, unlike Sydney, Melbourne is a bicycle-friendly city, meaning you can also get around on your bicycle if you so wish.

Should you live outside of the city itself, you’d want to invest in a car. The good news is that Melbourne’s city centre is not short of parking, so you could easily drive into town for work.

Living costs

For ease of comparison, we’ll look at the same costs as we did for Sydney:

Food

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: AU$16
  • 1L whole fat milk: AU$1.27
  • 500g local cheese: AU$9
  • Bread for two people for one day: AU$2.53
  • 500ml domestic beer in the supermarket: AU$5.20

Housing

  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in EXPENSIVE area: AU$2,558
  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in NORMAL area: AU$1,983
  • 1-month utilities for two people in 85m² flat: AU$359

Transportation

  • 1L of gas: AU$1.41
  • Monthly ticket public transport: AU$144

Healthcare

  • Short visit to private doctor (15 minutes): AU$64

Entertainment

  • Basic dinner out for 2 in a neighbourhood pub: AU$56
  • Two movie tickets: AU$38
  • Cappuccino in expat area of the city: AU$4.31

For more costs under each category, go to the Melbourne page on Expatistan.

Perth

Perth, situated on Australia’s west coast, is still rather small in comparison to cities on the east coast, but more and more foreigners are flocking here to take advantage of lucrative job opportunities.

It’s especially young families who settle in Perth, as the city is not only beautiful but clean and safe too. Many young people also choose to live in Perth, as the city offer a sedate and wholesome environment with many opportunities for outdoor activities.

Lifestyle

People in Perth are very friendly and it’s probably due to enjoying the best of beaches, food, wine and weather Australia has to offer.

You’ll find that people in Perth like to get together at one another’s houses to enjoy a barbeque, beers and each other’s company. This is not to say that Perth doesn’t offer options for shopping or bar hopping. It’s just that the most people in Perth prefer their social life with a touch of homeliness.

Accommodation

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Perth. It comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from flat and houses to studios and luxury apartments. The standard of accommodation also varies greatly.

Getting around

While the public transport system in Perth might not be as diverse as in Sydney or Melbourne, it is still extensive as well as reliable. The system includes buses, trains and taxis.

As before, you might want to invest in a car if you live outside of the city, especially if you have a family.

Living costs

We’ll look at the same costs as before:

Food

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: AU$18
  • 1L whole fat milk: AU$1.21
  • 500g local cheese: AU$8
  • Bread for two people for one day: AU$1.91
  • 500ml domestic beer in the supermarket: AU$4.82

Housing

  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in EXPENSIVE area: AU$2,192
  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in NORMAL area: AU$1,631
  • 1-month utilities for two people in 85m² flat: AU$505

Transportation

  • 1L of gas: AU$1.37
  • Monthly ticket public transport: AU$100

Healthcare

  • Short visit to private doctor (15 minutes): AU$70

Entertainment

  • Basic dinner out for 2 in a neighbourhood pub: AU$65
  • Two movie tickets: AU$36
  • Cappuccino in expat area of the city: AU$5.00

For more costs under each category, go to the Perth page on Expatistan.

Adelaide

Adelaide is more ‘small town’ than ‘big city’ thanks its sense of space and uncluttered urban geography. Highways aren’t backed up during peak hours and citizens large parks, warm weather and active social lives.

Lifestyle

The people of Adelaide live well! They love good food, good wine and festivals linked to food and wine. Vintage fashion and antiques are other great loves of Adelaide citizens.

At the same time, Adelaide has a reputation for relaxed living. This is evident when you shop at any of the retailers, where casual is king. You won’t find too many high-fashion options here, so you’ll have to head to the bigger cities to get your fashion fix.

Accommodation

Adelaide has the most affordable housing prices of any of the mainland capitals. Houses can be bought for a third to half the cost in the larger cities!

The same goes for rental properties, but overall accommodation in and close the city centre is more expensive than real estate in the suburbs.

When you get to Adelaide you’ll see that a many houses are old, as Adelaide is one of the older cities in Australia. You can choose to keep your house as is or choose to renovate it, as many expats do.

Getting around

While public transport is available in Adelaide, the system is not as extensive as in other larger cities in Australia. You might very well find it best to purchase a car once you arrive in Adelaide.

Living costs

Salaries in Adelaide are generally less than in other areas of Australia, but this is balanced out by a lower cost of living, especially when it comes to accommodation:

Food

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: AU$15
  • 1L whole fat milk: AU$1.53
  • 500g local cheese: AU$10
  • Bread for two people for one day: AU$2.05
  • 500ml domestic beer in the supermarket: AU$5.92

Housing

  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in EXPENSIVE area: AU$1,910
  • Monthly rent for furnished accommodation (85m²) in NORMAL area: AU$1,445
  • 1-month utilities for two people in 85m² flat: AU$344

Transportation

  • 1L of gas: AU$1.39
  • Monthly ticket public transport: AU$99

Healthcare

  • Short visit to private doctor (15 minutes): AU$52

Entertainment

  • Basic dinner out for 2 in a neighbourhood pub: AU$48
  • Two movie tickets: AU$33
  • Cappuccino in expat area of the city: AU$4.78

For more costs under each category, go the the Adelaide page on Expatistan.

There you have it – a comparison between the four most popular cities in Australia for foreigner. If you still can’t decide where to emigrate to, remember that there are many more cities in this diverse and exciting country to choose from.

Sources: ExpatArrivals and Expatistan.

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