The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s very own tropical paradise, join us to find out what it’s like to live in north Queensland.

North Queensland is Australia’s very own tropical paradise, located 1,500 kilometres from Brisbane. Also known as the “Far North”, it is home to two regional cities which house the majority of the region’s residents: Cairns and Townsville. As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, north Queensland attracts huge numbers of tourists each year. It also provides an ideal destination for those looking for a slower pace to life in a tropical climate. Conveniences such as an international airport, universities and excellent shopping centres and hospitals are also found around here. Let’s take a look at life in the part of the country.

 It provides an ideal destination for those looking for a slower pace to life in a tropical climate.

Cost of living

The cost of living in tropical north Queensland is comparable to other Australian cities; however, housing is significantly cheaper. Expect to pay an average of $413,500 AUD (£236,000) for a home in Cairns and $350,500 (£200,000) for a home in Townsville. With wages and other household costs comparable to the rest of the country, residents in the region often have a larger disposable income left over to spend on other things. However, grocery items are slightly more expensive than more southern parts of the country due to the cost of transportation.


Cairns is popular with expats



There are plenty of employment opportunities across different sectors, with tourism and professional services being the biggest industries in Cairns, and military and mining being the largest sectors in Townsville. Other employment sectors include higher education, public services and financial services. Although expats are drawn by the climate, many British retirees also choose to live in this area for the employment opportunities.

Where to live

While Cairns (140,000 residents) and Townsville (190,000 residents) are the main population centres, there are several smaller towns that provide excellent places to live in the Far North.

• Port Douglas is an hour north of Cairns and is a fusion of laidback small town living with sophistication and luxury. Popular with celebrities and the super wealthy, it’s a place where flip-flops and stiletto shoes are both acceptable attire. Think super yachts, five-star hotels, beach life and traditional regional pubs. The town has a fulltime population of about 3,500 with lots of transient workers and tourists.

• The Atherton Tablelands is a rural area inland from Cairns, with several small country towns. Also known as the fruit bowl of Australia, there are plenty of farms growing everything from mangoes, to limes, to avocados and coffee. For those looking for a country life away from it all, the Atherton Tablelands is a great option.

• Innisfail is a small coastal town with agricultural roots and an interesting mining history. The coastline surrounding Innisfail is some of the best in the country and you won’t find people more down to earth than in this coastal town.

• Mission Beach is a tropical oasis right in-between Cairns and Townsville. The idyllic Dunk Island, off the shores and the small town, serves as a stop-off point for tourists travelling down the coast. For those looking to live away from it all, Mission Beach truly is a tropical paradise.

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Tropical north Queensland is remote but is a completely self-sufficient area with first-class amenities. With the Great Barrier Reef on the doorstep and outdoor adventure aplenty, life in the Far North is ideal for the British expat or retiree looking for tropical laid-back living in Australia.

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