The Top 5 Cities Australia, as determined by myself, an Australian, on my own personal experiences visiting and living in these places. The land Down Under (which by the way Australians barely call it) is a country proud of it’s land, it’s multicultural beginnings and, of course, world domination in sport. So with no further adieu…….
Here Are My Top 5 Cities Australia
1. Melbourne, Victoria – Animal Kingdom (2010), Chopper (2000), Romper Stomper (1992)
It was a battle for top spot but I’ve decided Melbourne should take it out. Melbourne’s full of sport and culture and the place where the notorious bush-ranger Ned Kelly said his final words “Such is Life.”
The CBD is full of swanky little bars and restaurants, I suppose every city sort of does but I can’t explain how Melbourne one’s are better. They just are. But I think what separates Melbourne from the rest is its culture, a unique vibe. Anyone visiting must go to Chapel Street which is packed full of shopping and clubs.
It is the only Australian city to still operate trams (cable cars) and I think that really distinguishes it from anywhere else.
The Melbourne Cup held every year obviously is iconic, also known as the race that stops a nation. And it does. Melbourne hosts the one of four tennis grand slams, the Australian Open, usually held in January. It is also the birthplace of the Australian Football League (AFL) which for half of the year is the absolute lifeblood of the city.
Melbourne is consistently ranked at the top of the most livable cities in the world. I, myself, can understand why. If you’re coming to Australia, Melbourne should be on the top of your list.
Melbourne and Sydney are pretty much tied for the biggest city in Australia by population, making it a center for film-making. The award winning film Animal Kingdom takes place across the city including Richmond and South Yarra. Russell Crowe in Romper Stomper cracking skulls took place in Footscray. Bojangles nightclub in St Kilda was famous for Chopper‘s little fiasco (shooting someone in the face) played by Eric Bana.
2. Sydney, New South Wales – The Great Gatsby (2013), The Matrix Trilogy (1999 – 2003), Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Bondi, Manly, Darling Harbour, the Harbour itself and Cronulla. Sydney’s gorgeous. I think it’s a bit more busy than Melbourne and the everyone seems to be in a tad of a rush but still, it came close to knocking Melbourne of the top spot.
I lived in Sydney before I lived in Melbourne so Sydney was my favorite spot in the world for yonks. Bondi Beach is one of the most eye opening places you’ll ever go in your life. The water is cool, the beer is cold and the sun is warm, and the ladies are hot.
As most will know Sydney is home to the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Olympic Stadium and Sydney Harbour. It was the first place to be colonized by the First Fleet and that’s a penal colony I might add. We are convicts. But anyway it means Sydney has some fascinating history.
Sydney also has a thriving sport scene with 9 out of 16 National Rugby League (NRL) clubs based across the city. It’s where Australia held the Olympics in 2000, at suburb called Homebush.
Things to do can revolve around the beaches which are stretched along the entire coast of Sydney. Or, if you’re a nightfox you can hit Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, the CBD and if you’re game enough Kings Cross (the red light district) *pretty much where dreams go to die – or come alive*. Whatever your cup of tea, Taronga Zoo is a must.
Fox Studios has camp set up in Sydney and is the place where international hits are made. Leonardo in The Great Gatsby, Keanu in The Matrix or our dearest Nicole in Moulin Rouge!!!!!
3. Gold Coast, Queensland – Gettin’ Square (2003), Kokoda (2006), Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
I lived at the Gold Coast and went to university here for 2.5 years. Sun, sand and supermodels. It’s nowhere near as big as Sydney or Melbourne but is definitely a must see.
Surfers Paradise is exactly that, paradise. It’s the nightclub strip sitting there right on the beach. Every year in November, every high school graduate from all over the country makes their way there for some fun. Gold Coast surfing, sunbaking and general beach going is well renowned, with some of the biggest waves going.
What I really like about the Goldy thought is the theme parks; Dream World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, and my favorite Warner Bros. Movie World. Brisbane (1.6M pop.) is just up the road too.
The GC having Movie World means some serious film-making. Other films made there include Pitch Black, Scooby Doo, House of Wax, Ghost Ship, Peter Pan and Nim’s Island.
4. Cairns, Queensland – Fool’s Gold (2008), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Island of Dr Moreau (1996)
I grew up on a sugar cane plantation not far from Cairns. I studied little in Cairns as well when I did my electrical trade so I know it well. Cairns, in itself, probably hasn’t got much going for it apart from its incredible nightlife and casino.
However, if you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef, you have to go to Cairns. And you have to go to the Great Barrier Reef, it is a different world and the closest you’ll get to pure ecstasy.
I once heard from an English Backpacker that when he flew into Cairns, he thought he may have been flying into Jurassic Park. This city is nestled within the Daintree. An inescapably beautiful, mountainous, lush rain-forest benefiting from a tropical climate nurtured by year round rain.
You can imagine how green this place is.
Movies have been made here to capture the climate and the beauty. Most of the movie Fool’s Gold was filmed in Cairns and the surrounding areas. I remember it well, the whole buzz of the town because Matthew McConaughy and Kate Hudson were coming.
The Thin Red Line and The Island of Dr Moreau were also made nearby but to be honest I didn’t really know that until a few weeks ago.
Cairns, definitely check it off your list. Oh yeah, I do suggest visiting Tjapukai, a fantastic Aboriginal Cultural Park, and the Kuranda scenic railway.
5. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – Jindabyne (2006)
My nation’s capital, an entirely planned out city from scratch full of memorials and museums…….*ahem* and bars. I love Canberra. It has a ton of accumulated knowledge and wealth from all of the country in the one city.
Most of the streets are named after famous Australian, towns and cities. Canberra is inside what’s called the Australian Capital Territory, which isn’t exactly a state but you can think of it as one.
I like to collect coins so I found the Royal Mint fascinating.
I’m into my WWI & II history so the war museums were absolutely sensational; I couldn’t get enough of the ANZAC. Parliament House, I also found intriguing, especially the House of Representatives where the Prime Minister and the Opposition battle it out.
Canberra is cold though, real cold. It’s surrounding areas are known tourist destinations where you can find probably the only snow in Australia. Canberra is also home to the National Gallery and the National Museum too.
I couldn’t really find much in terms of movies made here though. Which to be honest, surprised me. A few scenes from Jindabyne were apparently shot in the area though. Jindabyne stars Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney.
What Didn’t Make It And Why They Didn’t Make It?……..
6. Adelaide, South Australia – Breaker Morant (1980), Gallipoli (1981), Bad Boy Bubby (2002)
I would also one day like to go to Copper Pedy, and entire town underground. Houses, shops, the lot. It is a big opal mining town or was……not sure now.
I tell you what though, it’s had 2 of Australia’s most iconic films, Gallipoli and Breaker Morant. Not so much Bad Boy Bubby, in fact, I hate that movie.
7. Townsville, Queensland – Beneath Hill 60 (2010)
I went to boarding school in Townsville so if it wasn’t for that, I probably would like it. But there is something about Boarding Schools that leave a bad taste in your mouth. Don’t get me wrong, it was an experience and I made some close mates. However, privacy is non-existent and the food isn’t that crash hot.
Townsville’s night life isn’t really that great, especially when compared to the other North Queensland city, Cairns. Magnetic Island though is a good to visit and is only a short ferry ride away.
I know some scenes of Beneath Hill 60 were filmed in Townsville. I love Beneath Hill 60, great Australian war film about Aussie diggers in WWII fighting Germans from beneath the ground.
8. Darwin, Northern Territory – Australia (2008), Balibo (2009)
Never been but I know it’s hot. I’ve had friends who’ve moved there and are still there now and they love it. I’ve been meaning to visit for awhile now but, you know how it is, real life gets in the way.
Balibo was made there, and it’s an okay movie. But the Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman epic, Australia, is the main boogie. A film about Darwin, social issues of the time and the Japanese WWII air-raid. A great film which fully represents what we’re all about.
9. Hobart, Tasmania – The Hunter (2011), Arctic Blast (2010), Van Diemen’s Land (2009) *not in Hobart, but in Tasmania and I felt this movie needs a mention
I don’t know much about Hobart at all but I would like to go one day just to check it out. It’s a bit out of the way though.
The Hunter was made there starring Willem Dafoe. Arctic Blast as well, but I’ve never seen it to comment. Van Diemen’s Land wasn’t filmed in Hobart but in a national forest in Tasmaina, I felt it deserves a mention because it’s a ripper. It’s about a group of escaped convicts tracking through the bush in the 19th century when things were really rough.
They end up eating each other.
10. Brisbane, Queensland – Daybreakers (2009), Swimming Upstream (2003), Streetfighter (1994)
The Gold Coast and Brisbane are an hour’s drive from each other and if you’ve lived in one your are biased against the other. I lived in the Gold Coast. Brisbane
is alright I suppose, it’s just that there isn’t really much going on there that any other city doesn’t have.
The State of Origin rugby league match is played in Brisbane once or twice a year depending on the year. Personally, that’s unmissable. I have some family and friends who live there though and they love it so I guess it just comes down to the good ole’ each to their own rule.
Oh yeah, probably don’t miss out on River Fire either, if you’re in Brisbane get a good view of the city to see the fireworks.
11. Perth, Western Australia – Thunderstruck (2004), Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), Lets Get Skase (2001)
I didn’t really like Perth when I went there. It is unreasonably pricey because of the higher wages that side of the country as a result of the mining industry. The Swan River I admit is quite nice, so I recommend a a boat ride.
Fremantle, which is close by, is a great spot too; you have got to see the statue of AC/DC’s Bon Scott there. Wicked.
12. Alice Springs, Northern Territory – Kangaroo Jack (2003), Samson and Delilah (2009)
In the middle of nowhere, the isolated city in the country, maybe the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps even the World. I would only go to Alice Springs on my way to see Ayers Rock/Uluru. Sorry, but the Alice isn’t my cup of tea.
Well that’s my top 5 cities in Australia, I don’t think I have much to conclude here……..a list kind of concludes itself. However, I will do my part for Tourism Australia and say come and visit, you won’t get eaten, bitten or stung by any wild animals. Or, lost in the outback. We’re a friendly bunch and love a good brew, with some cities that has something for everyone. Come on down!!!!!!………………….
By the way, if you feel like that another city needs a mention or one of my cities should be left out then say so! We’d love to hear from you!
Cheers MCM’s Rohan