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Travel Guide / Australia

Where to live in Australia (that isn’t Sydney or Melbourne)

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We’re not out here to burst your Sydney or Melbourne bubble, both cities are awesome. But if your Australia dream vision board is chokka full of beach snaps, red rock landscapes, kangaroos and surfers, then you’re genuinely spoilt for choice for where you can live and work in Australia.

Now to play your new home matchmaker quiz.

Scroll for our cute and concise list of other places to live in Oz, and the kind of work you can score at each spot.

City life

Perth

If you’re a little bit city but dig the beach life too, Perth could be the spot for you. For a start, with 265 days of sunshine a year, it’s one of the sunniest cities in the world – and has an easygoing attitude and some of the best beaches you’ve ever seen to match. Not to mention, the hipster vibes of Fremantle, furry quokkas of Rottnest Island and sundrenched vineyards of Margaret River are on your doorstep.

Perth may not have the cultural and creative mix of its East Coast cousins (yet), but it also doesn’t have the stresses. Or the Sydney price tag for rented accommodation. Life in Perth runs at a more laidback pace, which is perfect if you’re looking to balance the ‘working’ and ‘holiday’ parts of your visa.

Make it work With a bustling CBD and thriving brunch and cocktail scene, you can pick up anything from longer-term office roles to casual jobs in hospitality, tourism and construction in and around Perth. Hot tip – get yourself a job in Cottesloe and you’re guaranteed a sunset view every day.

Hobart

Not to be overlooked, Tassie boasts some epic scenes with untouched beaches, dramatic peaks and quirky towns to explore. And its capital city has just as much going on. Set along the waterfront against a backdrop of mountains, Hobart is both a foodie haven and an adventurer’s paradise for hikers, bikers, surfers and climbers. For the culture kids, it's also home to one of Australia’s coolest museums, MONA, which hosts the annual Dark Mofo festival where food, music and art all come together.

Make it work From baristas and kayak instructors to working on an oyster farm. Take your pick of longer-term or casual roles depending on your working holiday plans.

Brisbane

Refusing to bring your winter clothes in your backpack? Queensland’s capital Brisbane is going to be right up your street with its warmer climate and close proximity to that quintessentially Aussie coastline. The music, arts and brunch scene may be playing a slight game of catch up with Sydney and Melbourne, but life in Brissie also comes with the excitement of fresh finds at weekends and new talent and taphouses to discover.

Go for a laneway bar crawl, catch live music in a WWII hangar, explore local markets and cycle paths along the Brisbane River, or jump in the car and head to Lamington National Park to chase some waterfalls. Like most Australian cities, unreal nature is never too far away.

Make it work As an expanding city and the business and urban hub of Queensland, you can expect to find work in both the retail, entertainment and food sectors as well as more office-based roles.

Beached out

Byron Bay

If you’ve watched Byron Baes, firstly, sorry. Secondly, this isn’t the Byron Bay you’re likely to encounter on arrival. Yes, it has its boujie influencer side, but at its heart it’s that no-shoe-wearing, nature-loving slow life that will leave you stuck here for a while. If yoga, acai bowls, farmers’ markets and sunrise surfs are your jam – then Byron is your happy place.

Just a disclaimer, rent is on the rise making accommodation more expensive than in other beach towns, something to factor in when you’re budgeting for your trip. It might be worth making sure you have a job locked in before committing to a place.

Make it work We won’t vegan agave syrup sugar coat it, Byron is very popular with Aussies and travellers, so work might come a little harder than in the cities. But it’s not impossible with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bars and boutiques to apply for. As well as adventure activities, jobs in tourism and cool local brands who’ve set up offices here and have that work-life balance down to a T.

Margaret River

Just three hours (ish) from Perth is Margaret River, a hot spot for surfers, wine and nature lovers with its champagne-coloured sands, consistent and uncrowded waves, and colonies of seals. Combine that with world-famous wineries and breweries, some super-friendly locals and a unique live music scene – and you’ll be saying ‘West is best’ in no time. It’s also a great spot for weekend camping trips to Denmark and Esperance, where you’ll have wide white beaches and turquoise waters virtually to yourself (minus the odd kangaroo).

Hot tip – sign up to Margaret River Backpacker’s Facebook group to meet other travellers, plan road trips, find accommodation and be in the know about any cave raves that might (or might not wink wink) be happening.

Make it work It’s on the smaller side, which of course means fewer jobs up for grabs. But it’s also a winemaking and hospitality hot spot, which means there’s usually plenty of seasonal work in the wineries and lodges – often with live in accommodation.

Airlie Beach

Live and work where the tourists pay to go. Palm-fringed beaches, summer all year round and a gateway to the incredible Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef – Airlie Beach is a popular holiday destination that you could call home on your working holiday. Grab a snorkel and explore the marine parks, go on a hike in tropical rainforests, and sip on a fresh coconut while not-so-smugly thinking to yourself ‘yep this is my life now’.

Make it work Casual staff in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, cafés and bars will be the most abundant. Living on land doesn’t float your boat? Get a job as a hostie on one of the many boats that offer trips to nearby islands.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgie Birch

Jenza Staff

in, Melbourne

Originally from Oxford, our favourite UK import got the Australia bug and never left. Her happy place is the ocean and chasing waterfalls on hikes. Can also be found in Melbourne sipping on (extra) spicy margs with mates.

Follow Georgie on Insta @georgiemaybirch

"If your Australia dream vision board is chokka full of beach snaps, red rock landscapes, kangaroos and surfers, then you’re genuinely spoilt for choice"

Wild Card: Darwin

Want to get lost among red rock giants, see blankets of stars at night, and hear Dreamtime stories from incredible Aboriginal communities? Head north to Darwin – the closest big town to Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield National Parks. Where you can swim in thermal springs, hike along gorges, marvel at rock art and spot crocs in billabongs on your days off.

Once seen as little more than a jumping off point for the national parks of the Northern Territory, Darwin has its own unique vibe with some of the best Laksa in Australia, bustling bars on the waterfront, whip-cracking shows, Aboriginal art shops and the Mindil sunset market every Thursday. While that ocean may look tempting, steer well clear. This is crocodile land. And yep, they’re not only in the rivers and waterfalls, but the sea too.

Make it work Being so close to the national parks makes Darwin a popular holiday pitstop, so there are plenty of cafés, restaurants, shops, hotels and hostels to try and find work (the dry season from May-Oct is the busiest). We’d recommend getting a car to make the most of your surroundings and give you more options to find work.

Feeling inspired to pack up and head Down Under? JENZA Work Australia includes your working holiday visa, work essentials, arrival week and unlimited working holiday jobs.

Georgie_Profile_JENZA.png

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgie Birch

Jenza Staff

in, Melbourne

Originally from Oxford, our favourite UK import got the Australia bug and never left. Her happy place is the ocean and chasing waterfalls on hikes. Can also be found in Melbourne sipping on (extra) spicy margs with mates.

Follow Georgie on Insta @georgiemaybirch

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