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7 Best Cities in Australia for International Students 2024-25

Updated on 12 February, 2024

Australia, the land down under, is not only famous for kangaroos and scenic beauty but is also a hotbed for cutting-edge international education. With 9 universities in the Top 100 QS World University Rankings, Australia is a premier destination for students seeking a world-class education with excellent post-study opportunities. Let’s delve deeper into some of the best cities in Australia for international students. 

The vibrant towns and cities of Australia offer a thriving international community with students from over 192 countries. Aspirants can take a pick from over 1,100 educational institutions and more than 22,000 courses. Some of the best courses to pursue in Australian cities are Biomedical Engineering, Actuarial Science, Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering, and Architecture. 

Best Universities in Australia: QS Ranking 2024


World University Ranking

The University of Melbourne


The University of New South Wales(UNSW Sydney)


The University of Sydney


Australian National University(ANU)


Monash University


The University of Queensland


The University of Western Australia


The University of Adelaide


University of Technology Sydney


Macquarie University



 Interesting Facts About Australian Cities

  • “The Pied Piper Show” is Sydney’s Annual Duck Fashion event
  • Melbourne is known as the “ Fox Capital “ of the world, with 6-20 foxes per square kilometer in some parts
  • Brisbane has Australia’s longest cantilever bridge called the “Story Bridge”
  • Canberra’s outskirts are home to more than 30 wineries
  • Adelaide is the first & sole UNESCO “City of Music” in Australia due to its exceptional musical culture
  • Perth is the exclusive Australian home to Quokkas, famous as the happiest creatures on earth
  • Gold Coast is a paradise for surfers with about 70 Kms of beaches


Best Student Cities in Australia

Cities in Australia offer a safe and welcoming environment, high quality of life, and valuable learning experiences to international students. Here are the best cities in Australia for students- 


Featuring at the 4th spot on the QS Best Student Cities 2024 list, Melbourne is undoubtedly one of the best cities in Australia for students. Known as the country’s cultural capital, several reputed universities dot the city, all of which have featured in global rankings. Multicultural exchange is one of the best things about student life in Australia, and Melbourne is no exception. The city was named second on the most livable cities in the world list by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2023 Global Liveability Index, owing to its world-class infrastructure and top-notch education facilities. 

Melbourne also offers a high standard of living with some of the country’s biggest corporations headquartered in the city such as Healthscope, Toll, and Viva Energy. Some unique attractions include the Eureka Tower with jaw-dropping views from the 297th floor, Port Phillip Bay and its penguins, and a wealth of sporting, musical, and cultural events. 


Key Highlights
Average annual tuition costAUD 31,870 - AUD 50,450
QS Best Student Cities 20244
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)71


Another good choice for international students. Sydney  ranked 7th in the QS Best Student Cities 2024 list. It is Australia’s biggest city, offering stunning beaches, greenery, five globally ranked universities, and a cosmopolitan student population. According to the Australian government’s data, New South Wales (whose Sydney is a capital) welcomes more than 208,000 international students annually. Student life in Sydney is a holistic experience as the city is truly diverse and inclusive, making it one of the best cities in Australia for international students. 

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition cost AUD  41,500 - AUD 54,000
QS Best Student Cities 20247
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)56

Numerous eading companies such as Deloitte, Amazon, and Accenture are located in Sydney,which has the biggest economy in Australia.


The capital city of Australia gets more than 15,000 students from more than 100 nations and is home to several reputed institutions. Canberra ranks 30th in the QS Best Student Cities 2024 list. Major attractions in this city include the Black Mountain Tower, Captain James Cook Memorial, an artificial lake in the city center, and more. Students can also enjoy various events, such as the annual Barassi International Australian Football Youth Tournament. 

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition costAUD 19,800- AUD 21,600
QS Best Student Cities 202430
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)94


Another top city in Australia, Brisbane, is student-friendly and welcomes several international students annually. It’s also a popular tourist destination due to its location on the Gold Coast, which features some of the world’s most famous beaches. This new-world city offers a sunny and refreshing climate, buzzing nightlife, and strong sporting culture. Exploring Moreton Bay and Islands will be a fun affair for students to experience, along with the annual Buddha Birth Day festival in Brisbane. While it is not cheap, it is certainly  more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane ranked 82nd in the world for affordability. For example, according to Numbeo, rent prices in Brisbane are almost 43.2 percent lower than in Sydney, with a single apartment in the city center costing.
AUD 2,618.

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition costAUD 20,560 - AUD 27,420
QS Best Student Cities 202422
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)82


Adelaide, one of the best cities in Australia for students, is the fifth biggest city in the country. Nestled on the southern coastline, it offers abundant parklands, open spaces, and a well-planned city center. It is a city with an active lifestyle offering ample options for hiking, cycling, and wildlife-watching in Adelaide Hills. Students can look forward to cultural events, including the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Adelaide Festival of Arts, and Adelaide Writers’ Week. Cricket enthusiasts must pay a visit to the Adelaide Oval and watch a live game.

The city receives students from more than 130 countries. There are ample job opportunities for graduates as several major industries have a presence in the city, including healthcare, manufacturing, and production sectors.

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition cost AUD 39,500 - AUD 60,000
QS Best Student Cities 202426
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)106


Perth is another student-friendly city on the Western coastline, around 2,000 miles from Melbourne and Sydney. Perth is highly ranked in student city rankings, offering abundant cultural, recreational, and culinary attractions. 

Student life in Perth revolves more around university campuses and in-house activities. This is because most institutions are located away from the Perth city center. Key attractions in the city include the Scitech Discovery Center at West Perth, Kings Park, one of the world’s biggest inner-city parks, the Pinnacles, and Cottesloe Beach. 

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition costAUD 18,409
QS Best Student Cities 202434
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)107

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is one of the best student cities in Australia offering a vibrant lifestyle with 300 sunny days annually. It offers 52 kilometers of sparkling golden sands along with a suburb called Surfers Paradise. Along with the lovely coastline, there is a charming subtropical rainforest with three national parks, mountains, waterfalls, and natural rock formations. 

Gold Coast stands at 87th position in QS Best Student Cities 2024. Campuses of 4 leading Australian universities, including Bond University, are located in the Gold Coast. 

Beach lovers and surfers will love the Gold Coast, along with those who enjoy hiking, forests, and mountains. Major attractions include Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves, Dreamworld, Tree Top Walkway, Sea World, and Infinity, which offer jaw-dropping scenes. 

Key Highlights
Average annual tuition costAUD 21,600
QS Best Student Cities 202487
Affordability rank (Mercer Cost of Living Rankings)NA

Top Universities in Australia City-Wise








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





















Gold Coast




QS Metrics for Scoring Best Cities to Live in Australia for International Students

There are distinct factors that play an important role in deciding the best cities for international students. Some of these contributing factors are mentioned below: 

1. University rankings 

This factor portrays the overall performance of a city’s universities in the QS World University Rankings. The rankings are basically decided on the basis of the features of the universities that attract international students from all over the world. 

For example, Sydney consists of five globally ranked universities, which makes it the best city to live in Australia for international students. The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) and the University of Sydney are ranked 19th in QS World University Rankings 2024. 

2. Desirability

When choosing a city to study, students consider various factors such as living conditions and the safety of the area they choose to reside in. The criteria on the basis of which the desirability of the city is decided include safety, pollution levels , corruption, and students’ perceptions of various cities. 

3. Affordability

This factor determines how affordable a city will be, depending upon the tuition fees of the universities and the cost of living for international students. A city's affordability makes it easier for students coming from different socio-economic backgrounds and cultures to access quality education. 

4.Employer activity 

The more recruiters based in the city, the more beneficial it is for international students. The factor basically reflects the employment activity of the city in terms of hiring recent graduates of the city’s universities. 

5. Student mix

This category examines student composition in a city, both in terms of overall student population and from a global perspective. Cities with a higher proportion of international students are more likely to have the requisite facilities and resources to accommodate an even larger number of such students. 

6. Student view

This factor draws insights from the annual student survey conducted by QS that allows students to express their perspectives and experiences related to studying in a particular city. 

Regional Towns and Cities in Australia to Consider

1. Darwin 

Darwin  is one of the most beautiful regional towns in Australia, with high employability rates,  making  it an excellent choice for international students. This town is not surrounded by huge buildings, and there are many activities that students can enjoy taking part in during their vacations. Charles Darwin University, which boasts 2,319 students, is an internationally recognized university located in this region.

2. Tasmania 

Tasmania is an ideal destination for international students seeking an affordable place that can fit their budget. It is widely known for its best air quality index in the world, scenic views, and fascinating history as compared to the other states of Australia. Tasmania is an interesting place to live if you’re a nature lover or a foodie. With the University of Tasmania making an impact on the global scale, institutes in the region are well-known for offering creative and dynamic learning experiences to students. 

3. Sunshine Coast  

The Sunshine Coast is the perfect destination for  students because of the region’s ample study and career opportunities. With a high-paced economy, a desirable lifestyle, and beautiful beaches, the place is eyed by international students and provides an enriching experience. The University of the Sunshine Coast, located in this region, is a top-ranked public university in Australia. With 1667 international students, the university offers courses spanning seven academic disciplines. 

4. Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a haven for students fond of seaside beaches, fine dining, and exclusive shopping experiences. There are plenty of budget-friendly as well as luxurious accommodations to explore. Along with a unique lifestyle experience, the place is home to Australia’s most iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. For design enthusiasts, SAE Institute in the region provides several undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma programs by leading experts in the field.


Australian cities are a perfect choice for international students wishing to study in a multicultural environment at global universities. upGrad Abroad has collaborated with some of the leading universities in Australia to offer cost-effective quality foreign education. Embark on your educational journey to Australia now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which are the top cities in Australia for Indian students?

The top five cities for Indians in Australia are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide. They house the best educational universities and offer the experience of a bustling cosmopolitan.

How is student life in Australia for Indians?

Australia is a student-friendly country that welcomes thousands of international students every year. Indian students can look forward to well-balanced academic and cultural experiences. 

Which cities offer the best jobs in Australia?

Melbourne and Sydney provide excellent opportunities to graduate students with a number of reputed organizations based in these cities.  

Urvi Agrawal

Urvi has 3 years of experience as a content writer and marketer. Over years, she has established herself as a study-abroad expert and is adept at crafting compelling and engaging content for students. Self-driven and passionate professional, she likes writing poetry and has authored a poetry book ‘Thoughts of a Wallflower’.

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