The Getaway
20 Cheapest Places to Live in Australia

Did you know that climbing the Australian property ladder needn't be that difficult? Switching to the suburbs and living outside major metropolitan areas usually offers more bang for your buck. As well as affordable living, these areas typically provide a better quality of life, away from the hustle and bustle but still with heaps to enjoy. From often-overlooked cities and charming coastal towns to rural inland communities, you're sure to find the perfect place to call home. Think a little outside the box to discover unique benefits and an appealing sense of Aussie community without breaking the bank.

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01 Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide city centre bustling with people James O'Neil / Getty Images

South Australia's capital offers lower living costs than other major locations. Boasting an exciting food and wine scene, you'll never be short of a mouthwatering experience in Adelaide. Spend weekends exploring nearby wineries or soaking up stunning views from the Adelaide Hills. Museums, galleries and architectural gems make Adelaide a vibrant cultural hub.

When the sun's shining, hit up gorgeous beaches such as historic Glenelg and Semaphore or if surf's more your jam, catch the waves at Kangaroo Island. Plentiful, family-friendly parks, such as Marshmallow Playground and Thorndon Park, keep little ones happy while leading universities provide excellent educational opportunities for older members of the clan.

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02 Cairns, Queensland

Cairns esplenade

If you're a water lover, a few Aussie destinations top Cairns: the tropical gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel and dive your way around the colorful underwater world filled with wonders. Prefer staying dry? Enjoy stunning seascapes from a glass-bottomed boat, kayak or pontoon. Alternatively, soar overhead in a helicopter.

The city's growing tourism industry brings wide-ranging recreational and entertainment options, including shopping, dining and nightlife, as well as diverse employment opportunities. Plus, the pocket-friendly living costs mean you can really make the most of your downtime.

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03 Hobart, Tasmania

Aerial view of Hobart City. Large cruise ship is docked over horizon. Hobart City, Tasmanian Island. Australia

Blending heritage chic and a modern outlook, Tassie's capital of Hobart offers a laid-back way of life among scenic surroundings. For leisurely fun, stop to smell the roses — literally! — at the expansive botanical gardens, or watch the parrots at the Domain. You'll find no shortage of eye-catching buildings to admire, too, thanks to the likes of Parliament House, St. David's Cathedral and Salamanca Place.

Looking for a culture fix? The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Museum of Old and New Art have you covered. Nearby wineries? Check. You can even hang out at the nation's oldest brewery.

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04 Perth, Western Australia

Ahhh, Perth — the county's sunniest capital. I may be biased, but Perth boasts some of the finest beaches in Australia. Discovering beauties like Scarborough, Cottesloe and Coogee was one of my favorite things to do when living here. Don't miss Yanchep to combine blissful hours at the lagoon with kangaroo and koala encounters in the national park. And, not to forget nearby Rottnest Island, where native quokkas frolic and the beaches beckon.

The local job market is growing, especially in the technology and public service sectors, making it easier to find employment. Throw in cool attractions like Elizabeth Quay, Hillarys Boat Harbor and Kings Park, and you've got yourself an attractive and affordable place to live.

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05 Gold Coast, Queensland

Aerial view of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

A huge hit with tourists and residents alike, Gold Coast is pretty much synonymous with fun! Have thrills galore at Dreamworld, Wet ‘n' Wild and Australia's Sea World. Meet the animals of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and dive into the big screen at Warner Bros. Movie World. Top tip: Save the amusement parks for off-season periods to beat the queues — when you live here, you have all year to play with!

Gold Coast also has a thriving entertainment industry, with captivating shows, high-octane nightclubs, exciting sports games and more. And, when you need an energy refresh, chill on famous beaches like Surfers Paradise and Rainbow Bay. If you're looking for affordable coastal living with plenty of pleasure, Gold Coast has you covered.

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06 Toowoomba, Queensland

Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia - Apr 2, 2021: City Hall building

Nicknamed the Garden City, tranquil Toowoomba has over 150 parks and gardens where you can unwind in nature. Stimulate your senses as you tour big names like the Botanic Gardens and Laurel Bank Park and discover hidden gems such as Webb Park and Spring Bluff Park.

Each year, the 30-day Carnival of Flowers showcases creative and colorful displays and a dazzling street parade. You can also get your fill of food and wine and enjoy unique experiences. The community spirit is strong here; get to know your neighbors and celebrate the friendly appeal while benefiting from lower costs.

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07 Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Aerial panoramic image of ocean waves on a Kings beach, Caloundra, Queensland, Australia

Another affordable haven in Queensland, Sunshine Coast is a cheerful place to live for less. The growing health and education centers enhance the job outlook while increasing essential services for locals.

Nestled alongside the Coral Sea, Sunshine Coast features delightful beach communities, each with its own vibe. Sunbathe on long, quiet stretches of white sands, perfect your surf techniques and wake up early to catch a picture-perfect sunrise over the sea. You'll also have plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, ranging from skydiving and hiking to golfing and kayaking.

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08 Geelong, Victoria

Geelong, Australia. Aerial view of city coastline from drone.

If Melbourne's price tag puts you off, why not consider Geelong? Just an hour away, it offers convenient access to Victoria's capital while also boasting its own identity, a strong local economy and lower living costs.

You don't need to rely on Melbs for fun, either; Geelong has more than its fair share of cultural and recreational offerings. Travel back in time to Geelong Gaol Museum, stroll along the waterfront and admire the works in Geelong Gallery.

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09 Ballarat, Victoria

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia - January 22, 2017: Grand old buildings in Lydiard Street lkonya/Shutterstock

Calling all history lovers! Located in Victoria's Central Highlands, Ballarat gives you a peek into the past. Founded during the gold rush era, the city played a major role in shaping Australian history. Today, it offers fascinating heritage sites and a modern art scene.

Discover life in times gone by at immersive exhibits, follow in the steps of early pioneers and visit medieval-period reenactments at Kryal Castle. It's a top location to enjoy affordable living paired with a high quality of life.

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10 Bendigo, Victoria

Aerial view of Lake Weeroona Bendigo. Sunrise sunset morning evening flight with spectacular views of red purple and blue skies and the Central Victoria Australia landscape.

Bendigo has a family-friendly atmosphere and plenty of community spirit. It's a terrific location if you're looking to combine cost-effectiveness with a close-knit feel.

The Central Deborah Gold Mine offers a window into the city's gold rush past, and the heritage Bendigo Tramways allow you to ride living history while soaking up sights like Pall Mall and Sacred Heart Cathedral. You can also enjoy art and culture — don't miss Bendigo Gallery, one of the biggest and oldest regional galleries.

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11 Wollongong, New South Wales

Low aerial drone view of Flagstaff Point Lighthouse at Wollongong on the New South Wales South Coast, Australia looking toward Wollongong North Beach on a sunny day

Wollongong combines enchanting beaches with bush landscapes, offering the best of both worlds and diverse ways to enjoy your downtime. Catch some waves along the coastline and explore nature reserves and trails.

As an industrial base, the city offers varied work opportunities, and you have terrific educational institutions at your fingertips. If that weren't enough, you'll also benefit from easy access to Sydney while living in a less hectic and more affordable destination.

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12 Newcastle, New South Wales

Nobby,s Beach and Lighthouse, Newcastle, Australia aerial shot

Newcastle is a thriving arts and culture hub where you can explore attractions like the Newcastle Museum, Newcastle Art Gallery and the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. With more artists per capita than any other city nationwide, it's certainly a prime place to unleash your inner creativity among good company.

Rejuvenated city precincts and beautiful beaches, such as Redhead, Newcastle and Mereweather, further enhance the city's appeal. Additionally, the ocean baths are perfect for the younger members of your family to take a dip in the sea in relative safety. And, all for a lower cost than nearby Sydney.

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13 Launceston, Tasmania

City and transportation along Tamar river, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Another Tasmanian destination to make our list of affordable Australian cities, Launceston will delight you with its Victorian-period buildings and the nearby scenic landscapes of the Tamar Valley. If you're a wine lover, surrounding vineyards are also sure to please you. Don't worry if beer's your tipple of choice — Boags Brewery will whet your whistle!

You'll find all the local amenities you need for a comfortable life, and the affordable housing and a relaxed way of life make Launceston an appealing, budget-friendly choice.

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14 Albury-Wodonga, NSW/Victoria

The aerial drone point of view photography of residential house aerial view at Wodonga is a city on the Victorian side of the border with New South Wale, Australia.

Straddling the border between New South Wales and Victoria, Albury-Wodonga promises affordable living in a one-of-a-kind setting. The Murray River runs through the city center, and waterways like Lake Hume offer relaxing boating, fishing, canoeing and other water-based activities.

If you're craving a friendly neighborhood, the community-focused lifestyle of Albury-Wodonga would be right up your street. And, if you need any more plus points, the city has top-notch schools and colleges and lies conveniently close to foodie and wine-lover delights.

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15 Mackay, Queensland

Mackay, Queensland, Australia - December 30, 2017 - Mackay Harbour with yachts and houses

Is a solid economy on your must-have list? If so, look no further than Queensland's Mackay. The sugar and mining town offers inexpensive housing, great services and decent job prospects in various fields.

Whether you're a single professional, part of a power couple or within a family with kids, Mackay's outlook may grab your attention. It's not all work and no play, though; you can easily pop across to the glorious Whitsunday Islands on days off.

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16 Rockhampton, Queensland

Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia - December 2, 2023: Queensland Heritage-listed Heritage Hotel (1898) on Quay St. The grand old corner pub still operates as a hotel, restaurant and accommodation.

Rockhampton proudly wears the crown as Australia's beef capital. The fertile landscapes contribute to a strong agricultural economy, and you'll easily spot evidence of the city's farming heritage. Get to know your home town more at Rockhampton Heritage Village.

The historic architecture also whispers of a bygone age; look out for the Rockhampton Harbour Board Building, Wiseman's Cottage and the Rudd Residence. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the city's affinity with cattle, you'll also notice several bull statues as you wander around.

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17 Townsville, Queensland

Townsville harbor view on the Yacht Club Marina, The Strand and Castle Hill

Sitting on the state's northeastern coast, Townsville boasts low living costs and high employment opportunities. It's a terrific destination for getting ahead in life! A military base, university and large port contribute to the city's success.

Leisure-wise, the Great Barrier Reef is within easy reach, as are the wildlife-filled Billabong Sanctuary and Magnetic Island. Plus, the tropical climate is a huge bonus if you thrive in warm, sunny weather.

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18 Darwin, Northern Territory

An aerial photo of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia showing the central business district and nearby suburbs

One thing that'll grab your attention in Darwin is the unique multicultural community born from the city's close proximity to Southeast Asia. As expected, the area's diversity contributes to rich culinary adventures and vibrant traditions — life here definitely isn't dull.

For fun and adventures, Kakadu National Park and the waterfront Bicentennial Park are popular. Darwin is a great place if you're seeking work in the tourism or marine industry, and the employment outlook is constantly developing. Affordable costs and a tropical climate might also entice you.

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19 Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Aerial view of Alice Springs skyline in Australia from Anzac Hill Memorial lookout with main buildings of Alice Springs city downtown. Red Centre desert with Macdonnell ranges of Northern Territory.

At the heart of Australia and the striking Red Center, Alice Springs should definitely make your shortlist of potential places to live. Here, affordability meets a distinctive way of life, surrounded by the rugged outback.

World-famous landmarks like Uluru and The Olgas are relatively close, letting you experience natural marvels with ease. Discover the indigenous culture and local traditions and immerse yourself in the area's dynamic art scene.

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20 Geraldton, Western Australia

Panorama view of Geraldton, Australia

Geraldton serves as a vibrant hub in Western Australia's Midwest region, balancing its roles in the fishing, agriculture, and mining sectors with a burgeoning interest in renewable energy. Its coastal location offers residents and visitors alike opportunities to engage in various water sports, from windsurfing to fishing.

The city is noted for its picturesque beaches and an array of beautiful wildflowers that bloom seasonally. Cultural experiences are rich here, with the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery and the annual Shore Leave Festival highlighting the city’s diverse community spirit.

Affordable housing and a growing economy make Geraldton an appealing option for those seeking a cheaper but quality lifestyle away from Australia’s bustling capital cities.

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