Australian University Cities

International students have a diverse range of university cities to choose from when deciding where to study in Australia.

Australia has a fantastic group of university cities spread across the continent. There are five cities with more than a million people, each with at least three universities. Canberra, the capital, has two universities. Fourteen other cities are home to a single university.

While most cities are on or near the coast, several are built around inland lakes or river sections. The cities generally have a sunny and warm to mild climate - from tropical North Queensland down to the temperate regions of the southern states.

Best Cities for International Students

International students wanting to experience Australian life have plenty of choice since all Australian universities welcome students from overseas.

international students tend to gravitate to universities in the big cities. But there are also regional universities (often with low tuition fees) where you can study in a relaxed, almost rural setting. Twenty-five universities make the cut into our list of universities for international students.

Profiles of Australian University Cities

Here are short profiles of Australia's university cities, which are listed alphabetically. Extra detail about the major university cities is available at Student Cities Australia.

AdelaideAdelaide in South Australia has four universities after the start of classes at Torrens University.Adelaide

Population: 1,200,000    Location: South Australia

Universities: Adelaide, UniSA, Flinders, Torrens

Adelaide is Australia's fifth largest city and the only one in South Australia. It is a planned city that has a grid of wide, tree-lined streets in the city centre.

Education is important to the Adelaide economy and the city is a popular study destination for international students. It has recently added a fourth university with the opening of Torrens University Australia.

ArmidaleArmidale has few university students but is home to the mostly online University of New England.Armidale mall

Population: 25,000    Location: NSW northern tablelands

Universities: University of New England (UNE)

Armidale is a regional centre just over 100 km from Tamworth (Australia's country music capital). It is nearly 500 km from both Brisbane and Sydney. The city is inland and elevated (980 m), giving it a cool climate.

Armidale is home to UNE, a 77% online university with a strength in agriculture. Most visiting students live in the city's residential colleges.

BallaratBallarat in Victoria is home to Federation University.Ballarat's main street

Population: 86,000    Location: 105 km inland from Melbourne

Universities: Federation University (FedUni)

Ballarat is a historically significant city and major regional centre. It rapidly grew after gold was discovered in 1851.

Ballarat is home to FedUni (formerly the University of Ballarat), which has its main campus 15 km from the city centre. The Australian Catholic University also has a Ballarat campus.

BathurstBathurst is a NSW regional centre for education.Bathurst street view

Population: 35,000    Location: 200 km west of Sydney

Universities: Charles Sturt University (CSU)

Bathurt's golden era (literally) was the mid to late 1800s when it was the scene of Australia's first gold rush. Education is now the city's biggest industry.

Bathurst's education services cover all levels, including tertiary. It is the home of CSU, although the 60% online university has several other campuses in regional NSW.

BrisbaneBrisbane is home to two universities, with Queensland Uni and QUT based close to the city centre.Brisbane

Population: 2,200,000    Location: Queensland

Universities: Queensland, QUT, Griffith

Brisbane is Australia's third largest city. The sub-tropical metropolis is built around the winding Brisbane River.

Brisbane is the base for three universities. Queensland Uni is at St Lucia near the city. QUT has an inner city and suburban campus. Griffith has four of its five campuses in the Brisbane area.

CanberraCanberra, Australia's capital city, is the centre of government and the base for two universitis, ANU and UCan.Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

Population: 420,000    Location: Australian Capital Territory

Universities: ANU, Canberra

Canberra is a planned city, created after being selected as the site for Australia's capital. It is built around an artificial lake. Employment is dominated by the public service.

Canberra is home to ANU (near the city centre) and Canberra Uni (a short drive away in the suburbs).

DarwinDarwin in Australia's top end is home to Charles Darwin University.Darwin

Population: 130,000    Location: Northern Territory

Universities: Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Darwin is the major city in the sparsely populated, tropical mid-north of Australia. It is the closest city to Asia and is a cultural melting pot. Housing costs are amongst the highest in the country.

Although it is the base for CDU, Darwin has few university students. CDU is a small university and many of its students study online or at regional centres.

FremantleThe small city of Fremantle within the greater Perth metropolitan area is home to the University of Notre Dame Australia.University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Population: 30,000    Location: Within the greater Perth area

Universities: University of Notre Dame Australia

Fremantle is a city in its own right but is also an integral part of the city of Perth. Positioned at the mouth of the Swan River, it serves as the larger city's port and is a popular tourism spot.

Fremantle is home to the University of Notre Dame, a small, private Roman Catholic university.

Gold CoastThe Gold Coast in Queensland is home to Bond University plus campuses of other Australian universities.Gold Coast

Population: 600,000    Location: 94 km south of Brisbane

Universities: Bond University

The Gold Coast is Australia's largest non-capital city. Famous for its beaches, it merges with the greater Brisbane metropolitan area to the north and crosses the NSW border to the south (Tweed Heads is part of the city).

The Gold Coast is home to just one small university, Bond University. But it has campuses of others, including the largest campus of Griffith University.

HobartKnopwoods is a popular drinking venue for university students in Hobart.Knopwoods - Salamanca Place, Hobart

Population: 220,000    Location: Tasmania

Universities: University of Tasmania

Hobart is the biggest settlement in the small island state of Tasmania. The cool, picturesque city sits between a mountain and deep-water river.

Hobart is a relatively cheap place to live, with low housing costs. The university is in a prime part of the city in Sandy Bay - a short drive (or longish walk) from the city centre.

LismoreLismore in northern New South Wales has Southern Cross University and the Winsome Hotel.Winsome Hotel, Lismore

Population: 33,000    Location: NSW far north east

Universities: Southern Cross University (SCU)

Lismore is a regional centre in northern NSW. It is on cleared land that was formerly sub-tropical rainforest. The city centre is 35 km from the coast.

Lismore is home to SCU, a small regional university that partly specialises in distance education. SCU's main campus is 3 km from the Lismore CBD. Other campuses are in Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast.

MelbourneAlleyways in Melbourne are often the busiest, most vibrant parts of the city.Melbourne alleyway

Population: 4,200,000    Location: Victoria

Universities: Melbourne, Monash, Deakin, La Trobe, Swinburne,

RMIT, Victoria, Divinity

Melbourne is a close rival to Sydney as Australia's largest city. It is known for education, dining, culture, sports and changeable weather.

Melbourne is Australia's biggest student city, with several big universities spread across inner and suburban districts. It has easily the largest number of international students.

NewcastleMain campus of the University of Newcastle in the suburb of Callaghan.University of Newcastle

Population: 540,000    Location: 160 km north of Sydney

Universities: University of Newcastle

Newcastle is a coastal, port city. It is the major urban hub of the many settlements to Sydney's near north.

Although it is bordered by coastline and beaches, Newcastle is spread out and most Novacastrians travel by car. The main campus of Newcastle Uni is in Callaghan, a suburb 12 km from the CBD.

PerthHarbour of Perth City in Western Australia.Perth harbour

Population: 2,000,000    Location: Western Australia

Universities: UWA, Edith Cowan, Murdoch, Curtin

Perth is the major city in the vast, mostly arid state of Western Australia. It is a wealthy, high-growth city that benefits from mining and gas industries. The climate is warm and sunny.

Perth's universities are all suburban and regional, although the main campus of UWA is only a short drive from the CBD.

RockhamptonRockhampton in northern Queensland is home to CQUniversity.CQUniversity, Rockhampton

Population: 62,000    Location: 600 km north of Brisbane

Universities: CQUniversity

Rockhampton is on the Fitzroy River 45 km from the sea. Australia's "beef capital" has a sunny and humid climate that is relatively stable throughout the year.

CQUniversity is based in Rockhampton. However, most of the university's students are distance learners or study at satellite campuses.

Sunshine CoastSippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland is the base for USC.Sippy Downs shopping centre, Sunshine Coast

Population: 260,000    Location: 100 km north of Brisbane

Universities: University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)

Sunshine Coast is not a city as such, but an urban area containing towns such as Caloundra, Maroochydore and Noosa. With a sub-tropical climate and many beaches, it is popular with tourists and retirees.

USC is located at Sippy Downs in a central part of the region. The university backs on to a Nature Reserve.

SydneyGeorge Street on a sunny day in Sydney Australia.George St, Sydney

Population: 4,600,000    Location: New South Wales

Universities: UNSW, Sydney, UWS, UTS, Macquarie, ACU

Sydney is Australia's first and largest Sydney. It is blessed with a majestic harbour and temperate climate.

Sydney's older universities are located centrally in some of the most expensive parts of the city to live. But universities such as UWS and Macquarie cater to the large and growing populations in Sydney's western suburbs.

ToowoombaToowoomba in Queensland is the base for USQ.Toowoomba

Population: 135,000    Location: 127 km west of Brisbane

Universities: University of Southern Queensland (USQ)

Toowoomba, the "garden city", is one of Australia's largest inland cities. Despite being in sub-tropical Queensland, it has four seasons (including cool winters) because of sitting atop the Great Dividing Range.

Toowoomba is a regional education centre and is the base for UQS, a mostly distance education university.

TownsvilleTownsville in North Queensland is home to James Cook University.Townsville

Population: 200,000    Location: North Queensland

Universities: James Cook University (JCU)

Townsville is a tropical, coastal city that is the unofficial capital of North Queensland. It is adjacent to the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.

JCU has been based in Townsville from the university's inception in 1970. The university specialises in marine and tropical biology. It has other campuses further north in Cairns and Singapore.

WollongongWollongong City on the south coast of New South Wales.Wollongong

Population: 288,000    Location: 80 km south of Sydney

Universities: University of Wollongong

Wollongong is a beach-side university city that has Sydney to its north and a series of small coastal towns to its south.

Wollongong has a relaxed, surfer vibe, though the inner city gets busy on weekends and mid-week "student nights". The main campus of Wollongong Uni is in a bushland setting a short bus ride from the CBD.