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The basics
Australia: Destination Guides

The comprehensive student guide to South East Australia

Studying in South East Australia could be a dream come true. Start your journey towards it with our expert guide to the region and its universities.

Waves lap onto a clear sandy beach with dunes under cloudy blue skies in South East Australia

From Sydney to Melbourne and everywhere in between, the South East of Australia has more to offer than you could possibly imagine. That's why visitors arrive throughout the year, including both sun-seeking tourists and a large number of international students. With its spectacular nature and top universities, you’ll have a lot to enjoy if you study in South East Australia - and a lot to think about. Get started now, with our detailed guide to the region.


What is South East Australia like? 


Location and demographics



The South East of Australia has two of the biggest and most popular cities in Australia. Melbourne and Sydney are home to over 40 per cent of the entire Australian population and attract international students from all over the world. In fact, more than a third of the students at both cities’ major universities are international. 


The Australian states that make up this part of the country are New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.  


Culture and history 


Over 30 per cent of the people in the South East of Australia were born in another country, and now call this place their home. Due to this influx of people from other cultures, many find Victoria and New South Wales to be very multicultural. This embrace of multiculturalism means that those living in this part of the country can enjoy incredible food, art, entertainment and more from all over the globe. 


What cities are in South East Australia 


As mentioned above, this part of the country is home to two of the biggest and most well-known cities in Australia. Both Sydney and Melbourne are staples when it comes to Australian culture and what the rest of the world think of the ‘Land Down Under’. Whether it’s images of the Sydney Opera House or the Melbourne skyline, it’s very likely that these two incredible cities come to mind when thinking of Australia. 


Sydney and Melbourne accents among English-speaking Australians are some of the most recognisable; but it’s not just Australian English that you’ll hear. Mandarin and Cantonese are widely spoken in both cities, with 40 per cent of Sydney residents speaking a non-English language at home. 



These modern metropolises are minutes from the coast and just kilometres from the Australian wilderness. People living there truly get the best of both worlds as they experience the hustle and bustle of a world-famous city while still experiencing what makes Australia great. 


Taking a look at what other cities this part of Australia has to offer, it’s clear that there is much more than just these two. Newcastle, Wollongong, Penrith and Geelong are just some of the other cities that call New South Wales and Victoria home. 


It’s impossible to mention cities in the South East without also mentioning Canberra. Australia’s capital city is in the heart of the South East and, though it may be much smaller than other cities, it is still a popular destination with visitors.  


How much does it cost to live in South East Australia? 


In Australia, two of the biggest expenses for international students are food and accommodation. These are two of the most costly things Down Under and need to be budgeted for when considering working or studying in the country. 


Naturally, staying in the centre of a city like Sydney or Melbourne will cost more than choosing to live in a smaller city or in the suburbs and commuting in to university. Those looking to stay in private accommodations in these two cities can expect an average monthly cost of AUD450+ for Melbourne and AUD550+ for Sydney. 


Explore how much it costs to study in Australia


What services are there in South East Australia? 


Much of what makes Australia beautiful is how untouched it is. However, those thinking of living in the South East will be pleased to know that this is arguably the most built-up part of the country. 


From great bus and train services to roads that can get you wherever you need to go, the South East is relatively easy to get around. For international students wanting to visit home, there are a number of airports to choose from in New South Wales and Victoria. 


What are the post-study options? 


With so many cities in this part of the country, postgraduates have a number of options when it comes to pursuing a career in Australia. This includes working in education, medicine, media and business


World-famous companies like Canva and Amcor have headquarters in the South East of Australia and are proud to make it the base of their operations. 


Get the information you need to apply for a post-study visa and the top graduate careers in Australia. 


What universities are in South East Australia? 


There are so many great institutions to choose from in this part of the country, many of which are very popular with international students. These include: 



  • Monash University - another great university that sits in the heart of Melbourne, Monash attracts students interested in art, business and nursing, to name a few. 


  • Victoria University - with campuses and accommodation dotted around Victoria, as well as some unique courses on offer, students studying here will really get to see the state. 


  • The University of Sydney - in the heart of this bustling city, students can choose from a wide variety of courses and be on the coast in minutes. 


  • The University of Newcastle - in the quieter and slightly more northern city of Newcastle, this university specialises in Social Studies, Biomedicine and Architecture. 


  • UNSW Sydney - another Australian university in the top 50 of the QS World University Rankings 2023, this university is a great choice for both domestic and international students. 


Become more familiar with the best universities in Australia.  


What are the main attractions in South East Australia? 


With the most people living in this part of the country and a number of incredible cities dotted throughout, it’s only natural that there would be so much to do when visiting. From nature lovers to city dwellers, there is so much on offer no matter who you are. These include: 


  • Byron Bay – a picturesque coastal town just south of Gold Coast that’s very popular among residents and visitors. 

  • The Blue Mountains – see some of Australia’s greenest wild lands in just a short trip from Syndey. 

  • Sydney Opera House – a must-see, world-famous landmark that can be seen from several vantage points in the city. 

  • Great Ocean Road – this road spans so much of the South East of Australia and can make for a great road trip. 


Honourable Mention – Tasmania 



Though the South East of Australia has so much to offer when just considering New South Wales and Victoria, Tasmania is certainly worth a mention.  


The island may look very small compared to its bigger counterpart but it’s actually quite large. Bigger than many European countries, like Belgium, the island has a lot to offer. From its two major cities Hobart and Launceston, to its own university to study at, The University of Tasmania, this small part of the South East of Australia is certainly worth a visit. 


Life in this part of the country can be a very enjoyable one for visitors and international students alike. Find the perfect course in Australia for you with our course matcher tool

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