Best Student Cities in Australia

11 minute read
Best Cities in Australia

Australia is home to some of the top cities in the world in terms of higher education and standard of living. Consisting of both rural and urban locations that will leave us amazed. Did you know Melbourne and Victoria comprise the largest Greek population in the world after Athens, Greece? There are many interesting facts about Australia that you can explore while studying in top-ranked universities. Studying in Australia is not only an enriching educational experience but also a cultural one, as the country boasts of some of the finest diversity. Let’s explore some of the best student cities in Australia.


Melbourne is rated as Australia’s top city for students. There are approximately 270,000 university students in Melbourne, with more than a third being international students(91,000). Melbourne is also Australia’s most livable city for a variety of reasons. The arts, fashion, and cultural events form part of the fabric of the city and the city allows artists to flourish. Self-expression is evident in the street art, alternative fashion, live music, and festivals of the country. It is a culture that fits neatly with the preferences of the student community. You can find plenty of cheap, non-manufactured entertainment.

There are niche bars with free live music, cheap eateries with authentic Asian or fusion cuisine, and art-filled public spaces. While culture is one of the reasons why so many students live in Melbourne, the city also suits students in practical terms. It has an integrated public transport system powered by trains, trams, buses and taxis. Travelling from the middle and inner parts of the city is generally easy and cheap.

There is also variety in city accommodation, including a mixture and high-density and low-density blocks near the city centre. Students are normally able to set up affordable living arrangements within a short commute of classes. Staying in Melbourne can be costly, however, with a variety of student discounts available, saving becomes easier.

Student discounts in Melbourne can be redeemed to buy technology like laptops and mobile phones, data services, watch movies, household shopping, cloth shopping, food discounts, fitness discounts and even travel discounts. This process is generally easy and mostly requires only your student ID, but in some cases, it may require a valid e-mail ID and registration to that particular service. The city offers students a wide range of education choices, with 8 universities based in the city.  


Average tuition cost (annually)US$25,000
QS Best Student Cities 20244
QS Affordability rank131

Also Read: Best Student Cities in the United Kingdom


Adelaide is the only city in the semi-arid state of South Australia. Around 70,000 people study in Adelaide, including close to 20,000 international students. Adelaide is the city of choice for many international students due to its low accommodation costs. Consistent with its size, the city has 4 universities. In Adelaide, students may prefer living close to the city centre- as it provides quick access to facilities and the nightlife, and for a chunk of the student population in Adelaide, will place them within walking distance of classes.

On the other hand, they can also choose to live in the outer suburbs for practical reasons as the outer suburbs offer low-cost living and easy parking. Public transport in Adelaide is limited in many places because of the city’s low-density layout. The Adelaide Metro provides whole-of-city bus services, an inner-city tram loop and the Adelaide-Glenelg Tram. A popular weekend destination in Adelaide is the beach-side suburb of Glenelg. It has many restaurants and cafes positioned just a short walk from a beach. These universities offer a balanced set of courses and have a strong representation of international students. These are:


Average tuition cost (annually)US$25,500
QS Best Student Cities 202426


Student life in Perth has a suburban character because all the universities are based some distance from the city centre. Students generally choose to live within walking/cycling distance of classes. There is also an option for public transport, with regular bus services on the weekdays. The universities are generally good at supporting the social side of student life, which tends to be more campus than city-orientated. There are plenty of sports clubs to join through the universities and the student unions organize several events

Perth also has several hotspots for shopping, dining and going out. Living costs in Perth are relatively high. It is the second most expensive city after Sydney. The high living costs do, however, reflect a strong local economy and the job market. Perth is the major metropolis of the vast, semi-arid state of Western Australia and also a major study-abroad destination, with about 35,000 international students attending 4 universities. 


Average tuition cost (annually)US$22,900
QS Best Student Cities 202434
QS Affordability rank100

Also Read: Best Cities in Canada


Students of Brisbane’s universities generally live not far from the inner suburbs, where most teaching facilities are located. The biggest concentration of students is in and around the suburb of St Lucia, which contains the main campus of the University of Queensland. There are good public transport links throughout inner Brisbane, which is relatively compact and pedestrian-friendly.

Getting around by bike is a popular option as well. Although Brisbane is hilly, there are extensive cycle paths along the flat areas on either side of the Brisbane River. The residents mainly travel by car. Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, and Australia’s third-largest city houses at least 100,000 university students who belong to different institutions including the three large universities based in the city. 


Average tuition cost (annually)US$25,600
QS Best Student Cities 202422
QS Affordability rank128


Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and Australia’s largest city and is home to six large universities, each with well over 30,000 students who study on campus. It is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world but the median salary is also among the highest. Sydney also offers plenty of entertainment, including every major musical, theatre or other entertainment act that comes to Australia. Culturally, Sydney has a rich blend of ethnicities due to a strong and steady influx of immigrants over many years.

This shows in Sydney’s restaurant scene, which is diverse, innovative and competitive. However, Sydney is a crowded place, and also an expensive one. Property prices in Sydney are high, especially if you choose to live within the inner city area. Public transport in Sydney can be considered unreliable and the roads are usually congested.

For a university student, Sydney is undoubtedly an expensive place to live in, but there are also certain benefits. Firstly, university campuses are mostly located in inner-city areas which will provide access to multiple cultural entertainments without having to travel far, alongside access to beaches. Sydney’s universities are recognised internationally for academic research.

Here are some of the best universities in Sydney:

  • The University of New South Wales
  • University of Sydney
  • Western Sydney University
  • University of Technology, Sydney
  • Macquarie University
  • Australian Catholic University


Average tuition cost (annually)US$26,700 
QS Best Student Cities 20247

Also Read: Affordable Cities in UK for International Students


Canberra is Australia’s capital and another quality small city for student living. The city is an easy place to live and study and attracts its fair share of international students. It has excellent infrastructure and plenty of space. The city is spread across a wide area, with large tracts of land set aside as parks and bush reserves.

The universities are fairly small by Australian standards, with a combined enrollment of around 35,000. For both universities, around a quarter of students are international students. Canberra is a quiet place to live in, with an efficient road network that ensures that people can travel quickly from the Civic land into the suburbs. The suburban areas are quite self-sufficient, with mini shopping complexes, shopping centres, parks and playgrounds spread across the city.

Since many universities are located near the Civic, the suburban lifestyle of Canberra does not affect students very much. Canberra has a fairly standard mixture of Asian and European restaurants, Irish and boutique bars, and nightclubs. It also has licensed clubs that are virtually free to join and offer cheap meals and drinks. It also has an environment that is conducive to studying, as it is relatively free of distractions. The parks provide a sense of tranquillity within the city. Canberra houses two universities, both of which are within a short drive distance from each other. These are:

  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • The University of Canberra


Average tuition cost (annually)US$25,700 
QS Best Student Cities 202430
QS Affordability rank104

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a dream city for university study if you can find a good course for you. The city is Australia’s most popular tourist destination and an increasingly popular study destination. It has great weather and beaches, and plenty of entertainment. CQ University and Southern Cross University are two of the cheapest universities for international students in Australia.

Although rental costs can be high, tuition fees at public universities are relatively low and one can save thousands of Australian dollars as compared to those studying in Sydney or Melbourne. University students living on the Gold Coast get the great weather and beaches, the canals and nature reserves, plus the entertainment and nightlife. Over 30,000 university students live on the Gold Coast, which houses campuses of four Australian universities. 

  • Bond University
  • CQ University
  • Griffith University
  • Southern Cross University


Average tuition costUS$21,200
QS Affordability rank98


Hobart could be a good choice for students looking for a cheaper city. It comfortably has the lowest accommodation costs of the university cities. Hobart houses the main campus of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and is also home to the majority of Tasmania’s 20,000 university students. The University of Tasmania is Hobart’s and Tasmania’s only university. It offers a broad range of courses – both general and specialised – and has facilities spread across the state. More than 1 in 5 students are international students.

As well as a sizable study abroad program, UTas also offers a wide range of courses by distance education. Student accommodation is generally plentiful, which helps make up for the lack of good public transport in the city. Buses can be hard to find away from the main roads. Students often live in shared houses between the university and the city, making “everything” within walking distance.

Also Read: Best Cities to Study in USA


Wollongong is said to provide an excellent environment for study and living. The natural surroundings, temperate climate and small population make it an easy place to live. At the same time, it is well-connected to a major city and has high educational standards. It is rated as Australia’s most livable small city and the best small city for students. The University of Wollongong is one of Australia’s top universities.

It has an international research reputation and is rated highly by local and international students, as its graduates are successful at finding work or going on to further study. A high proportion of the student body studying abroad in Australia, especially at the postgraduate level, choose the University of Wollongong.

The city has a great range of affordable eating options due to its migrant history, with strong influences from the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Asia. The pubs also have discount prices for students, with Wednesday labelled as “student night”. Students with cars can also explore Wollongong and its adjacent regions with ease as the city is part of a  long coastal drive (the Grand Pacific Drive).

Public transport is also available for students who don’t walk or cycle to the campus. There is a free city loop bus operating between the university and the city centre. Due to the lack of on-campus parking, driving there is not a popular option

Tuition Fees

An undergraduate degree costs between 20,000 to 40,000 AU$ (10,71,952 – 21,43,905 INR) per annum, while a postgraduate degree costs between 22,000 and 50,000 AUD $(11,79,148-26,79,881 INR). The cost varies from university to university, and degrees in Science can be more expensive than degrees in Art. A budget of books is expected to cost between 500-1000 AU$ (26,798-53,597 INR) per year. 


Accommodation costs in Australia vary, depending upon the type and region a student resides in. The more rural regions, in the western and southern side, are cheaper in comparison to the more urban areas like Sydney, which are expensive locations. While studying in Australia, there are three types of accommodation you can seek:

On-Campus Accommodation – Some universities provide on-campus through residential colleges, halls of residence or apartments. These can cost about 440 – 1100 AU$ (23,582 -58,957 INR) per month, with the price varying with the universities and so do the services that are offered alongside them. These on-campus accommodations are limited and require students to apply early for them

Off-Campus Accommodation – Students can rent shared apartments together or live in guesthouses or hotels. A hotel will cost them around 80-135$ (4,287-7,235 INR) a week, while shared accommodation can cost 100 – 400AU$ (5,359-21,439 INR) per head per week. Rented Accommodation may or may not have utilities like gas and electricity, water services and internet included; these services can cost around 300-400 AU$ (16,079-21,439 INR). Students will also have to provide either some or all of the furniture as these accommodations are rarely furnished. 

Homestays – Students can choose to live with local families residing in Australia. Homestay is a great way of integrating into Australian life and can cost about 110-270 AU$(5,895-14,471 INR) a week, depending upon the type of rooms.  While food is usually covered by the rent, students also have the option of cooking for themselves.

Also Read: Student Accommodation in London

Additional Expenses

The Australian Department of Home Affairs advises that an international student requires approximately AU$ 21,041 (11,27,747 INR) per year in terms of living costs. These figures have popped up following the addition of several essential factors, like the tuition and study fees, alongside accommodation costs, food, textbooks, transport and other costs. In the case of International Students, they are required to pay for study-related expenses alongside Overseas Health Student Cover, which costs 478 AU$(25,619 INR) for a single cover and other fees associated with their particular course.

To know more, Register here for UniConnect by creating an account and interacting one-on-one with top university representatives, apply with one click and secure on-spot offers and scholarships.

Related Articles:

PhD Psychology Australia: Universities, Fees, Scope, EligibilityAustralian Aboriginal Culture: Facts, History, Traditions, Beliefs, Culture
Top Hangout Spots Near Australian National UniversityOptometry Courses in Australia (UG, PG): Eligibility, Application Process, and Fees
Top Nursing Universities in Sydney, Australia for International StudentsTop Cybersecurity Courses in Australia for International Students: A Comprehensive Guide


Which city is better for students in Australia?

The major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are popular destinations for overseas students. On the other hand, regional areas like Wollongong, Hobart, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra provide a more relaxed study environment.

Which city is cheapest for international students in Australia?

Canberra, Australia’s capital city, is one of the most affordable and livable cities for international students.

Which city has most jobs in Australia?

Both Sydney and Melbourne have the most job opportunities in Australia.

So, this was all about the best cities in Australia. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *