Are you planning on migrating to Australia? If you’re wondering which would be the best Australian city to migrate to, and having trouble deciding whether you are most attracted to the big cities, medium-sized ones or smaller ones, it might help to reflect on what you believe about urban development.
Australia is booming: the economy and job market are doing well, and immigration is growing. Therefore, city planners are facing the perennial paradox of how to sustain those features of a given city that make it so appealing, while managing a population spurt that won’t end anytime soon. As a potential newcomer, your own vision of the ideal setting for yourself and loved ones is a crucial factor in weighing which city will most feel like home in the long run.
You may know that a number of Australian cities regularly appear on surveys and studies of livability. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide are regular contenders. So how can you decide among them? First, there are attractive elements common to living pretty much anywhere in Australia—many of which contribute to measures of how “livable” a place is. These features appeal to many—but of course, not to everyone.
Great Reasons to Live in Australia
- Mediterranean climate: warm and sunny most of the year, no extreme cold
- Strong economy, plentiful jobs
- High standard of living
- Good infrastructure: modern systems and conveniences
- Excellent quality of life: rich resources, low population density and pollution
- Cosmopolitan array of food, sports, arts and culture
- Natural resources, the great outdoors, breathtaking beaches
- Open-minded, multicultural society that welcomes novel ideas
- Easygoing lifestyle, laid back and friendly attitudes
- Mystique of the exotic
- English-speaking: most common worldwide lingua franca
- Familiar lifestyle for people from Anglophone nations
Sydney and Melbourne, the biggest cities, each have about 4.5 million inhabitants. Each boasts a wealth of cultural resources, stunning scenery, bustling city centres, spectator and participant sporting events (sport is huge in Australia), and jobs in every sector. If you are considering these large cities, ask yourself the questions you would pose about any major metropolitan area: how do you feel about crowds, traffic, noise, pollution, urban sprawl, fast-paced lifestyle and all the elements that one associates with big cities. Sydney and Melbourne have higher housing prices and other costs of living than other cities in Australia. Are the assets enough to balance the negatives?
The medium-sized cities include Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, each of which have between one and two million people. For many, these cities represent the best of all worlds: they have plenty of excellent eateries from a multitude of cuisines, art galleries, music festivals, sporting events, parks and outdoor activities. Yet they are small enough to be manageable: distances are short, traffic is light, as is pollution. There is plenty of breathing space, and the pace of life more peaceful and relaxed.
These cities are the ones now wrestling with the crucial questions of how to handle growth. Adelaide, for instance, has 1.2 million people and is expected to grow by 500,000 over the next three decades. If you are considering these locales, ask yourself what you believe about how urban growth ought to be managed, and what your preferences are. Would you prefer to build the city up, bear with greater population density (and thus more traffic), for the sake of keeping the distances manageable? Or do you think sprawl, if intelligently managed with a view toward environmental sustainability and pleasant life for local suburban residents, is acceptable? Whatever your answers, you can investigate whether each city’s plans are likely to make it more or less pleasant for you in future years.
If you are excited by smaller cities, then development plans might not be as crucial to ponder as the character and personality of the city. The Gold Coast, for instance, has a population of half a million, and is bursting with beaches, surfers, and theme parks. It is thus quite touristy, and very expensive.
Regardless, Aussie is a wonderful place with much to recommend it, as its varied and mostly youthful population will readily attest!