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The Top 8 Australian Cities to Retire to

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Australia boasts great weather, a vast and varied landscape, modern infrastructure and a wonderful lifestyle, and it isn’t hard to see why increasing numbers of people are choosing to live there in their later years. There are many countries around the world that make ideal places to retire to, but Australia is hard to beat.

There are many different cities to choose from when it comes to considering where to settle, and here’s our selection of a few of the best. You should note, however, that you need to be over 55 to retire here, and are also required to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself. There are retirement visas available and if you qualify it is very simple to renew the visa every subsequent year.


Kangaroo Island, South Australia

For purposes of broad comparison of the cost of living in the various cities, we’ve shown average house prices, and a consumer price index, a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries restaurants, transportation and utilities, all in Australian dollars (AUD). Again, for comparative purposes, we’ve included crime and safety indices – the Crime Index is an estimation of overall levels of crime in a given city; levels up to 50 are reasonable, and crime index levels of more than 100 are too high. The Safety index is, on the other hand, the opposite of the crime index. If the city has a high safety index, it is considered very safe.


Island Remarkable Rocks, South Australia

1. Sydney

This is the largest and possibly most cosmopolitan city in Australia. With a population of over four and a half million people, there is a significant international contingent, where Brits live alongside Greeks, and Indians alongside South Sea Islanders.

There is easy access to world class beaches, such as Bondi Beach, many prominent attractions, and people considering retirement are drawn by aspects and facilities such as world class museums, operas, plays, sporting events and, of course – the beaches.

Average apartment price per square meter $10,000 (city center), $6,000 (outwith city center); consumer price index $145.20.

Crime index 29.18, Safety index 70.82

2. Melbourne

Melbourne also offers a number of activities that will keep retired people as busy as they wish to be. The ‘second city’, as it is sometimes called, is often referred to as the cultural capital of Australia, and many Australian film and television shows are made here. Melbourne has a thriving festival scene, including, amongst others, The Melbourne International Arts festival and International Film Festival.

Average apartment price per square meter $8,500 (city center), $7,000 (outwith city center); consumer price index $136.74.

Crime index 50.21, Safety index 49.79

3. Brisbane

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, has an excellent infrastructure, and there are a number of cultural highlights. In particular, the city is renowned for its live music scene, ranging from classical music through to rock. It’s the perfect city to relocate to for those people seeking year-round good weather, without too many extremes and offers easy access to spectacular beaches and swimming, combined with sporting opportunities such as fishing or golf.

Average apartment price per square meter $4,250 (city center), $4,000 (outwith city center); consumer price index $141.61.

Crime index 48.11, Safety index 51.89

4. Perth

Perth has more of a British feel than the other Australian cities, and this makes it a particular favorite with Brits who are retiring to Australia. Its position on the west coast has seen it develop its own identity, taking pride in its many parks, recreation areas, and variety of museums and art galleries. Described by one writer as a ‘cheery and welcoming place’, it boasts one of the largest public parks in the world; Kings Park covers around 1000 acres, and, in the same writer’s words, is “so big that you can never feel as if you’ve seen it all”.

Average apartment price per square meter $8,078.50 (city center), $7,500 (outwith city center); consumer price index $150.56.

Crime index 47.21, Safety index 52.79

5. Adelaide

Adelaide is also worth considering when thinking about retirement in Australia. As the fifth-largest city in Australia, it is certainly a desirable place to live, and in 2010, according to The Economist magazine, was voted within the Top 10 ‘most liveable’ cities. The climate is Mediterranean, there is good access to all the facilities and amenities that might be expected of a world class city, and there is a comprehensive arts and entertainments industry.

Average apartment price per square meter $3,200 (city center), $3,000 (outwith city center); consumer price index $136.72.

Crime index 33.40, Safety index 66.60

6. Canberra

Many people find Canberra to be a very appealing city, as the pace of city life is all but absent in this political center. Although Canberra is the capital city of Australia, it is far smaller than the cities already mentioned. There are many museums, art galleries and other national monuments to be found here, with a good number of recreational parks alongside golf courses and gyms.

Average apartment price per square meter $5,500 (city center), $4,500 (outwith city center); consumer price index $151.01.

Crime index 31.25, Safety index 68.75

7. Hobart

In 2012, Hobart was singled out for praise by the Lonely Planet travel company for its arts, food and scenery, making it a city to definitely consider for those trying to avoid the hectic pace of modern life, whilst still having access to world class services and amenities. Cricket is the sport of choice here, and like Perth, many Brits have settled in Hobart.

Average apartment price per square meter $4,800 (city center), $2,200 (outwith city center); consumer price index $149.13.

Crime index 25.78, Safety index 74.22

8. Darwin

The capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin is the most northern of the Australian cities, retaining something of a pioneer outpost feel, with a population of barely more than 125,000 people. With mile upon mile of clean beaches and warm waters, fishing is a popular way to pass the time, although there are of course many other leisure activities to participate in.

Average apartment price per square meter $6,550 (city center), $4,790 (outwith city center); consumer price index $147.47.

Crime and Safety indices are not available for Darwin.

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