Queensland is the second-biggest state in Australia and covers an amazing 1.72 million square kilometers. Now, finding a place to live in such a large area might seem a little daunting but most of the options sit on Queensads 7,000 kilometer coastline.
Queensland is home to some of the best ecosystems and surfing beaches in all of Australia. It’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns in the north along with the Daintree Rainforest, Fraser Island is just a few hours north of Brisbane, and you’ll also have easy access to some incredible beaches of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and Surfers Paradise.
The state of Queensland is less urbanized than any other in Australia with the majority of its residents living outside of the capital Brisbane. The excellent year-round weather means the locals tend to live a more coastal lifestyle, outside of the heat and traffic of the cities.
When living in Queensland, you truly will have access to the best of what Australia has to offer with beautiful beaches and surf on your doorstep and the chance to explore the wonderful nature surrounding you on the weekends. But, where are the best places to live in Queensland? That’s what we are here to find out.
Just a short drive south of Brisbane will find you in Surfers Paradise which is a great place to live in Queensland if you want to be in amongst it all, all the time.
Surfers Paradise is a busy, young town full of outdoor enthusiasts who love spending time in the ocean swimming, surfing, or fishing, and when they’re not doing that, they’re probably skateboarding, walking, or cycling along the boulevard.
The beach is covered in white sand, the seas are blue, and you have everything you could possibly need right on your doorstep. Wake up in the morning for a refreshing swim, catch some waves, and then you can get stuck into all the beachside amenities. There are cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, and of course a buzzing nightlife.
Just south over the border into New South Wales is the famous town of Byron Bay, closer you’ll find the legendary surf spot of Burleigh Heads, and of course, Brisbane is never far away when you need to hop on a flight home or explore the rest of Australia.
Finding a basic job in Surfers Paradise isn’t so hard but the cost of living is quite expensive due to its popularity. This also causes house prices to be quite high and it does get busy with tourists from all over the world.&
If you’re looking for a place to be in amongst it all and get a real taste of Australian beach/city life, then Surfers Paradise might be for you. But if you’re looking for peace and quiet, then looking for something more remote might be a better option.
If you want to live somewhere in Queensland that isn’t quite as busy as Surfers Paradise but still has enough going on to keep you entertained, then heading to the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane is a pretty good shout, particularly the small-ish town of Mooloolaba.
The area around Mooloolaba is stunning. You have access to white-sand beaches right on your doorstep, the beautiful pacific ocean, and the stunning Maroochy River. Then, if you hop in your car and drive for less than half an hour, you’ll find yourself in the magical hinterland with views of rolling hills, and then a bit more time in the car will have you in the stunning Glass House Mountains.
The Sunshine Coast is a very friendly place with a lot to offer socially as well as all the access to nature I just described. There are lovely shops, restaurants, fun bars, and it has a lovely laidback vibe to it that is a whole lot less busy than the Gold Coast.
Every Wednesday and Saturday the famous Eumundi Markets are open. There you’ll find over a thousand different arts and crafts stalls, excellent food, and a great vibe that is always accompanied by live music. Wandering around the market is a great experience and it’s a favorite local hangout for Saturday mornings and lunchtime.
Being a little less busy and popular than the Gold Coast makes the Sunshine Coast a lot more affordable when it comes to renting and day-to-day living costs. Finding a job is also possible, but with Brusabne just over an hour away, the commute isn’t so bad, and you’ll have access to all the job opportunities of the capital as well.
The sunshine coast is also a great place to live in Queensland if you have kids. There are some good schools in the area, it’s easy for them to make friends, and the activities are endless so they’ll always be entertained, especially if they love being active in the outdoors.
Russel Island is quite unique as a place to live in Queensland with everything from easy access to the capital Brisbane to the quite isolated living of island life. Russel island sits just off the coast of Brisbane and is a 15-minute boat ride from the capital. It’s a part of an archipelago of islands that make up some of the South Moreton Bay Islands National Park at the estuary of the Long River.
The island offers a slow pace of life with access to the sea all around. It’s particularly great for fishing as you are never far from a place to cast a line but there is no surf, so you’ll have to venture further to find that, via a boat ride to Brisbane.
Russel Island is not very populated but it’s slowly becoming more and more popular as everyone realizes the benefit of living in such beautiful natural surroundings while having a state capital like Brisbane on their doorstep.
This means rental and property prices are rising but it’s still a lot more affordable than Brisbane, with even more benefits in my eyes. How nice would it be if your commute to work was a boat ride around some islands? Much better than a train or driving.
Understandably, island life, however close to a city, is not for everyone, but if you have to work in Brisbane and miss the simple life, then Russel Island is probably one of the best places you can live in Queensland.
The small town of Seventeen Seventy is about an hour or two’s drive from the city of Rockhampton and if you’re looking for a quiet life away from the business of cities, it’s a great place to live in Queensland.
Seventeen Seventy has been described by many as what Byron Bay used to be like. The area is surrounded by stunning beaches that are great for surfing and fishing, the town sits on a beautiful creek with a great anchorage, there are stunning forests down the road, and Eurimbula National Park is right on your doorstep.
You can spend your weekends camping and exploring the coastline to the north and south, the Great Barrier Reef actually starts right offshore of Seventeen Seventy, and if you plan to own a boat, then you have hundreds of creeks and beaches to explore too.
Seventeen Seventy is small but you have access to all the shops you need and the local residents are welcoming and friendly. There are no cinemas, theatres, or art galleries though, so if you’re looking for a touch of culture in your daily lives you will have to look elsewhere.
The cost of living in Seventeen Seventy is very affordable when compared to the likes of the Sunshine or Gold Coast but the chances of finding a job there are pretty much zero. If you’ve made your money already and are looking for a beautiful place to be or can work remotely from anywhere, then it’s certainly one of the best places to live in Queensland.
On the northeast coast of Queensland between Mackay and Cairns is the town of Townsville. Townsville has everything you could want from somewhere like Brisbane (maybe not as many shops) but with a much more relaxed lifestyle and incredible access to nature.
The area surrounding Townsville is home to some incredible white-sand beaches and coves that are no more than a few minutes away, there are islands to explore, and you couldn’t have better access to the Great Barrier Reef which sits right offshore.
The sea around Townsville is brimming with life so so much so they even have a Turtle hospital and it’s also home to the famous marine research Uni, James Cook University. If you love fishing, diving, snorkeling, and having your toes in white sand on a daily basis, then Townsville might just be the place for you.
As well as being surrounded by nature, Townsville also has quite a lot going on too. There are plenty of shops, some great restaurants, fun bars, and it’s also home to a few theatres so you can even get your cultural fix too.
Porptey prices in Townsville are about half of what you’d pay in Brisbane but rental prices are almost the same due to the town’s popularity. One of the biggest issues with Townsville is that it’s one of the hardest places to get a job in Australia, so make sure you have one lined up before making a move there.
Weatherwise, Townsville is hard to beat with temperatures in the 20’s or above most of the year. But, you can get some serious monsoon rains come wintertime, so be sure to have a good rainjacket with you.
If you’re looking for the perfect balance of nature with everything you want from urban life, Townsville hits the nail on the head, just make sure you have a job before you move there.
Cairns is the northernmost big city in all of Queensland but it isn’t really a big city in its style at all. Being so warm all year round, life in Cairns is slow and laidback but with all the benefits of city life along with unparalleled access to some of the best natural surroundings, Australia has to offer.
Where the Daintree Rainforest ends Cairns begins, the Great Barrier Reef is right offshore, plus there are tons of national parks to explore, and you’re never far from a white-sand beach either, so it has almost every aspect of nature covered within an hours journey.
You can spend your weekends diving on the GBR, snorkeling, camping in the national parks, walking through the rainforests, and really taking in some of the best nature Australia has to offer.
If you love fishing, then you couldn’t be anywhere better than Cairns. It’s the hub that all the charter boats use to access the Giant Black Marlin fishery of the Great Barrier Reef plus there are tonnes of inshore options too and island to explore with a fly or spinning rod.
When it comes to the city, you won’t be left wanting either. Cairns is home to all the shops you could ever want to visit, amazing restaurants (particularly if you like seafood), fun bars, good nightlife, and there are art galleries, museums, and good shows on at the theatres too.
If living in downtown Cairns isn’t your style then you can look to the suburbs which are all under 30 minutes drive out of town. Quiet leafy streets, uncrowded beaches, local shops and restaurants, and even a primary school are what await you in Kewarra Beach just north of Cairns.
There are only two downsides to living in Cairns and they are the traffic and the humidity. Getting in and out of Cairns during the daily commute or during school holidays when everyone is moving around a looking for adventure. The humidity is serious too, especially in the summer went temperatures hit the 30s daily combined with heavy rainfall that makes for a very sweaty environment.
You might think of Cairns as being a little too far north but with so much around it to explore, there isn’t much need to leave. And the best thing is when you do need some time away, the international airport is right there connecting you to the rest of the world and Australia within a few hours.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!