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Best Places to Live in Australia & New Zealand

By May 7, 2024No Comments
Australia New Zealand

The 5 Best Places to Live if You’re Thinking of Moving to Australia or New Zealand

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand

The Land(s) Down Under

For many, mixing Australia and New Zealand together is—or at least should be—heresy. After all, they’re different countries with different histories and, even more to the point, they’re roughly 2500 miles apart—a distance amounting to one-tenth of the total circumference of the Earth!

But for most of the world, Australia and New Zealand are the countries “down under”; the countries positioned at the very edge of the South Pacific; and countries light years removed, distance-wise, from the other developed nations of the world, the closest of which, Japan, lies at least an incredible 4,200 miles directly north of the Australian Outback.

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For that reason—and for the purposes of this blog—we’re going to mix them together. Part of the motivation could be just to get a rise out of the occasional Aussie or Kiwi reader, but if the writer is pressed on that, he will deny it vigorously.

So here we go. If you’re considering moving to Australia or New Zealand (or both if you’re in an unusual line of work, like pilot or maybe spy), here are the five best places to live across the whole of the two countries:

1. Melbourne

Melbourne Australia

Hot air balloons over city buildings in Melbourne, Australia during daytime.

Competition between Australia’s major cities for the title of “Best Place to Live” in the country is fierce and unrelenting. That said, a hard look at the data really does suggest that—for the time being anyway—Melbourne is king of the hill.

Numero Uno.

Now, there’s no doubt that Melbourne isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Sydney, it can be a bit cloudy and cool by Aussie standards, and its lack of a truly glorious beach does seem to run counter to the popular view—outside the country—of what makes Australia Australia. But Melbourne has a ton going for it.

According to the 2023 Global Liveability Index (GLI), published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Melbourne ranks as the third most livable city in the world, behind only Vienna and Copenhagen—a remarkable accomplishment.

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 3

Shoppers inside boutique shopping arcade in Melbourne.

Here’s the thing: Melbourne offers quality of life on par with, or even better than, Sydney (see below), and at a much more affordable rate.

The Global Liveability Index finds that it’s a full 36 percent cheaper to work, play, eat, and sleep in Melbourne than it is in Sydney—and this jewel of a city on the Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea offers many of the same things that tend to excite visitors to Sydney: an incredibly friendly and welcoming population, wonderful restaurants and cafes catering to every imaginable taste and ethnic preference (Chinese, Afghan, Armenian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Mongolian, and on and on), a vibrant arts and music scene, fabulous shopping (with a large number of boutique, high-end malls in funky old buildings), and a plethora of green spaces and spots for great swimming.

Read Here: What is the Cost of Living in Australia

Almost every visitor to Melbourne notes the city’s incredible number of gourmet coffee shops, so nobody who spends time in the city should be worried about feeling sleepy. The city is ethnically diverse too, giving it a real cosmopolitan character.

university in Melbourne

Students exiting the University of Melbourne, Australia’s best university and one of the world’s finest.

It’s important to note that Melbourne has an incredibly strong system of education stretching from kindergarten to the post-secondary level. The city also has a highly effective mix of affordable public and private health care, and two of Melbourne’s many hospitals were recently included in Newsweek’s list of the very best hospitals in the world.

A private home in Melbourne

A Lovely private home in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote.

Melbourne isn’t the cheapest place to live in Australia—not by a long shot—but it does offer housing in every possible variety and to suit most budgets. The median home price in the city is currently just over $600,000 (USD). Melbourne’s best suburbs include Northcote, Heidelberg – Rosanna, Essendon – Aberfeldie, Wantirna, Montmorency – Briar Hill, and Greensborough, among others. Needless to say, they’re all eminently safe and prosperous.

Ultimately, it’s the balance Melbourne achieves between the best of big-city life and the most pleasing aspects of small-town existence that causes so many people to fall in love with the place.

It fully deserves its position at #1.

Know More Here: A Guide to Moving to Melbourne from the US

2. Sydney

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand

Sydney at night.

What is there to say about Sydney that hasn’t been said before? Sydney is undeniably special. Sure, it’s the most expensive city in Australia, and it’s not a place where you can live as long as a beach bum or struggling artist.

But despite its cost, Sydney is ranked #4 by the GLI 2023 for some very, very good reasons. These include, in no particular order, sunshine; balmy—but extremely pleasant—temperatures; and gorgeous and seemingly endless white sandy beaches bordering some of the Pacific Ocean’s loveliest stretches of turquoise-blue. Bondi Beach, right in Sydney, is the real star here.

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 7

The blue sea during daytime at Bondi Beach, Australia.

Undeniably, Sydney is Australia’s beating heart—its economic and cultural capital and the city that tends to represent the country on the international stage, as it did when it hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Read Here: How much does it cost to move to Australia

Sydney is the New York or London of the South Pacific, with a bit of the allure and glitz of Los Angeles thrown into the mix. It’s a larger-than-life place.

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 8

The world-famous Sydney Opera House.

Sydney isn’t the country’s political capital—that’s Adelaide—but it is the endlessly buzzy center of the Australian economy. Sydney offers employment opportunities like no other place in the country, and in every imaginable field, from advanced manufacturing and cutting-edge IT to food and agriculture and all of the creative arts (especially film and television).

It boggles the mind to think that the city began as a British penal colony in the 18th century, and its success makes it clear just how much work Australians have put into making it one of the five best places to live in the world.
Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 9

The University of Sydney.

Sydney is renowned for its extremely stable and reliable social infrastructure. Social services of all kinds in Sydney meet the very highest of standards, and public education and health care are both first-rate. The University of Sydney ranks just below the University of Melbourne on most lists of the best schools in Australia, but it still ranks well within the top 40 or 50 universities on the planet. Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital is regarded as one of the world’s best teaching hospitals–and is representative of just how good Australia’s healthcare services are across the board.

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 10

Dulwich Hill: The inner west suburb rich with culture infused with an eclectic cosmopolitan vibe.

Real estate is more expensive in Sydney than any other place in Australia, and the median home price now sits at about $1,050,000 (USD). Fortunately, wages and salaries in Sydney are generally high enough to compensate. Some especially family-friendly suburbs around Sydney include Lane Cove, Curl Curl, Dulwich Hill, Kareela, and Glebe.

The Rocks - The Oldest Neighborhood in Sydney

The Rocks – The Oldest Neighborhood in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney, in short, is an incredibly safe, incredibly prosperous, and incredibly invigorating city that’s also renowned for its food, its shopping, its culture, and the beauty of its natural environment. Any recent transplant to the city has to check out Sydney’s historic district (“The Rocks”), where century-old buildings rub up against modern galleries and cafes. And then there’s this little truth about Sydney: where else can you take a leisurely swim in the ocean during your lunch hour from the downtown office, and be back in time to meet with marketing? (The answer, generally speaking, is “nowhere else”).

Read Here: All about moving to Sydney from the US

3. Auckland

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand 12

Sailboats near city buildings under white clouds and blue sky in Auckland, New Zealand during daytime.

Now let’s dart over to New Zealand, a full 2,500 miles away, for an absolute jewel of a city that’s #10 on the GLI 2023 list, but is undeniably one of the best places to live in the entire South Pacific: Auckland, New Zealand.

The whole of New Zealand is breathtakingly (and almost supernaturally) green and gorgeous, and Auckland is a microcosm of that basic reality: a perfect city in a near-perfect physical environment. Auckland, at roughly 1.5 million people, is the largest city in New Zealand. It’s also the country’s most diverse city, with a significant Polynesian and Asian population, a presence that enriches every aspect of the city–particularly its cuisine.

Read Here: Top 10 Countries to work and live abroad

Auckland is renowned for its warm, temperate climate, and its breathtaking scenery featuring lovely harbors, gulf islands, mountains (or maunga), pristine forests, and spotless, under-populated beaches. Residents of Auckland place a premium on their ability to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s the sheer range of healthy outdoor activities in and around the city that helps Auckland place so highly on the GLI 2023 list. From hiking and paddleboarding to surfing and sailing, Auckland offers residents and visitors alike a near-infinite number of ways to keep busy and have fun.

Auckland suburb of Posonby.

Properties for sale in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby.

Auckland is one of the pricier destinations in New Zealand, but the median home price in the city is roughly $630,000 (USD)—a far more manageable figure than you’d like to find in Sydney. Welcoming, family-friendly suburbs include Ponsonby (especially popular with creative types and younger professionals), Remuera, Mount Eden, Howick, Devonport, Grey Lynn, and Takapuna.

Happily, Auckland is a buzzy center of employment and activity. Wages are good, and there’s a rich supply of employment opportunities for people from every background. Job seekers tend to find decent employment relatively quickly.

Auckland offers nothing but abundance when it comes to shopping, dining, fitness, and entertainment. The city boasts an excellent education system—at all levels—and reliable and affordable public health care. In short, Auckland has fully earned its sterling reputation.

Know More Here: All about Moving to New Zealand from the US

4. Perth

Perth, Australia

City buildings on the water during daytime in Perth, Australia.

Australia’s fourth-largest city and the capital of the state of Western Australia, Perth is a relaxed and tranquil but also cosmopolitan city on Australia’s west coast. Looking at any map of Australia, Perth is the one you tend to notice last—the one that makes you suck in your breath a little bit as you realize just how far it is from Sydney, in eastern Australia, to Perth on the far side of the continent.

Trigg Beach, Perth

Beach visitors on the sand and in the water at Trigg Beach, Perth.

With its gorgeous city parks and vibrant economy—based on mining, tourism, technology, and health care—and consistently warm and pleasant weather all year long, life in Perth is best described as “pretty darn sweet.” The city averages 9 hours of sunshine per day!

Shopping arcade in Perth. 

Shopping arcade in Perth.

Job prospects in Perth are excellent and this is undoubtedly part of the reason why the GLI ranked the city as #12 on its list for 2023. Perth is very much a city on the rise, enjoying the benefits of its proximity to Asia and the fact that many of the raw materials needed by manufacturers in China and elsewhere originate in this part of Australia.

mines in australia

Mining operations in Western Australia near Perth.

Perth is renowned for its proximity to beaches, islands, and nature reserves. Young families are attracted to the excellent schools in parts of the city like Victoria Park and Applecross; others prefer the cultural attractions and eateries in Fremantle, a much more bohemian neighborhood abutting the city’s south coast. The median home price in Perth is just a bit over $637,000 (USD).

The people of Perth love to play, whether it’s on the city’s pristine beaches, in the crystalline waters of the Swan River, or at a city landmark like the Perth Cultural Center,

One notable aspect of Perth is that its people are always out and about and making the most of what surrounds them. Who can blame them?

Read Here: All about Shipping Cars to Australia

5. Brisbane

Brisbane City

Skyscrapers in downtown Brisbane, on the water.

Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, and the capital of the state of Queensland (“The Sunshine State”), lies roughly 450 miles north of Sydney–on what’s known as the Gold Coast–and delivers every ounce of what you’d expect to get living in a world-class city, though at a price point infinitely more affordable than what’s on offer in either Sydney and Melbourne. The GLI 2023 puts Brisbane at #16 globally. While the downtown core is dominated by extremely impressive and slightly-intimidating skyscrapers, Brisbane is also ideally positioned for those who want easy access the natural world. And judging by the numbers involved on any given day, that’s everyone in the city!

Gateway Bridge Australia

Woman playing golf near Gateway Bridge over Brisbane River.

Brisbane’s residents are an extremely active and vigorous bunch and spend a tremendous amount of time on—or beside—the lovely Brisbane River, often running along its banks or taking a leisurely afternoon cruise when the mood suits. Brisbane is renowned for its lovely parklands, impressive lookouts, bustling local markets, and energetic waterside districts.

The region’s climate is sunny, humid, and sub-tropical, with temperatures ranging between 15-26 degrees Celsius (59-79 degrees Fahrenheit).
Paradise Beach

Surfer’s Paradise Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland.

From Brisbane, the rest of the Sunshine State’s best features are within easy reach—and these include the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, and the unforgettable Great Barrier Reef.

Read Here: Moving to Brisbane – A Guide for Americans

Brisbane’s economy is extremely vibrant, featuring a wealth of opportunities in industries like hospitality, health, manufacturing, and tourism. The suburbs are tranquil and beautiful – eminently safe and prosperous and perfect for anyone relocating from overseas. If you want to be close to the center of Brisbane’s energy, suburbs like Paddington are especially popular, while families often prefer quieter areas like Morayfield. The median home price in the city is just under $600,000 (USD). Excellent housing can be located in Brisbane’s suburbs, however, where median prices are often as low as $265,000 (USD).

Best Places to Live in Australia New Zealand

Queenslander-style house in Brisbane.

Brisbane may be #5 on our list, but let’s face it — it’s all a matter of taste — and Brisbane has something to please almost everyone. Moving there is a no-lose proposition, any way you slice it.

The International Van Lines (IVL) Advantage: Global Reach and a Range of Services that No Other International Moving Company Can Match

IVL Truck

If you’re thinking of moving to Australia or New Zealand, or anywhere else in the South Pacific or around the world, International Van Lines (IVL) stands ready to help. We’re the international movers who will make your overseas relocation as painless and worry-free as possible. More likely than not, you’re moving across international borders for the first, second, or maybe third time—but we move people overseas every day of the year! We’re old hands, to say the least, and we’ve gotten pretty good at the game.


IVL head office team standing in front of truck in Coral Springs, FL.

So contact IVL today and get your free international moving quote.

There are definitely important things that need to happen before, during, and after your international move to Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else—but when you partner with IVL, it all becomes easy. IVL does it all: we’re a full-service international moving company that can move you around the block, across the country, or between continents. Especially between continents. And, as noted, we do it every day of the year.

International Van Lines

Why International Van Lines?

Because of IVL’s size, versatility, and experience, we can do more than other international movers, but we can do it faster—and better.

IVL has the network, the people, the infrastructure, and the flexibility that so many other international moving companies lack.

why choose IVL

IVL team members are hard at work.

It goes without saying, too, that we treat your personal belongings with the greatest possible care—which means, of course, we treat them as if they were our own.

And when it comes to customer pricing, we always favor transparency. Feel free to use our international moving cost calculator to get a general feel for what it’s going to cost you to move to Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else overseas.

When you want to talk details, contact IVL directly. We’re always happy to chat.

For more information on IVL and international moving, click here and here. IVL’s door-to-door international relocation services are not simply among the best on planet Earth in 2024–they are the best! All of our positive reviews prove it.

How is IVL Rated?

IVL is consistently ranked the very best international moving company by some of the nation’s oldest and most respected publications, including Forbes, USA Today, and Consumer Affairs.

What About Pricing?

Again, when you partner with International Van Lines, you’re never in the dark. Everything is clear from the start of the international move process, something increasingly uncommon in the moving industry. Regarding costs, there are no hidden fees and no “unforeseen” charges. We offer premier international moving services with zero surprises.

How Long Has IVL Been Around?

Josh Morales

International Van Lines has 25 years of experience in both domestic and international moving.

We offer comprehensive international moving services between 180 different countries—a list that expands regularly. And, of course, we offer long-distance domestic moving services inside the United States as well (click here for details).

IVL’s Full Suite of International Moving Services

IVL makes heavy use of ocean freight, which is the least expensive method of shipping household goods overseas.

Here we go:

  • Full-service packing and unpacking services, with special attention paid to fragile personal items (machinery, musical instruments, artwork, antiques, electronics, etc.).
  • Furniture assembly/disassembly.
  • Multiple, full-service storage options if your move dates and move-in dates don’t quite line up. We offer short-term and long-term storage, as well as climate-controlled storage for sensitive items.
  • Debris removal.
  • Ocean freight (i.e., shipping containers) and/or air freight.IVL makes frequent use of air freight on long-distance international relocations.
  • Vehicle transport (most of which occurs via our “roll on-roll off,” or “RoRo,” service).
  • Comprehensive insurance options.
  • Full-service customs clearance management.
  • Comprehensive international corporate relocation and military relocation.
  • Live chat and full-service customer service 24/7.
  • Easy shipment tracking!
  • Transparent, easy-to-understand pricing. Check out IVL’s online pricing calculator to help figure out your potential international moving costs.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
  • In certain regions—and to promote speed and efficiency—IVL works with local partners.
  • IVL asks for a deposit—roughly one-fourth of the total quote–though this is refundable in the event of cancellation. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more company information. Check out the moving tips offered there as well.

Is International Van Lines Licensed?

IVL is licensed by DOT, FMC and AMSA.

What Do IVL Customers Say?

Positive reviews of IVL at Trustpilot average an extremely respectable 4.5-5/5 stars. In short, while truly professional international movers are not easy to find, IVL makes the search much, much easier. If you’re moving overseas, IVL stands ready to help. Call us today.

International Van Lines



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