The vast majority of Australians live in our major cities dotted along the coastlines. With Sydney holding almost a fifth of the population alone, the Australian dream has migrated to the city. In 2019, even with the best mortgage rates, property in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth is still prohibitively expensive for most people. How is the average Australian going to own a piece of this great land?

What about our inland towns and cities? As property prices near the coast soar into the stratosphere, more and more city folk are making a move inland, where the air is cleaner, the summers are meaner, and the prices are way cheaper.

Inland population centers like Bendigo, Wagga Wagga, and even our nation’s capital are bustling, vibrant destinations that echo our history but represent our future. To own a piece of history is one thing, but to buy into our heritage at a fraction of the price of an average unit in a coastal city? That is something special. Let’s have a look at some of Australia’s most exciting inland towns and cities.

Canberra ACT

The average price for a three bedroom home: $650000

Population: 400000

The largest inland city in Australia, and the seat of the federal government, Canberra is a planned city full of artistic flourishes and green spaces. Canberra is quickly growing, with a new light rail system connecting north and south to its vibrant center. 

House prices in Canberra top this list, but you will be living in a truly international city. With a world-renown university and art galleries, Canberra is the number one cultural destination for Australians looking to connect with their history. All the big city conveniences at well below the one million dollars asking price of Sydney.

Bendigo VIC

The average price for a three bedroom home: $412500

Population: 110000

The geographical heart of Victoria, Bendigo, has a long and storied history for both the Aboriginal custodians of the land and the Asians and Europeans who settled there. Bendigo is the fourth largest inland city in Australia and is around a two-hour drive from Melbournes CBD.

Bendigo’s fortunes changed shortly after it was settled when gold was discovered in 1850. Bendigo was the quintessential gold rush “boomtown.” Unlike many other boom towns, Bendigo thrives to this day with rich Chinese heritage and reputation as a foodies dream. Recently Bendigo was added to the prestigious United Nations city of gastronomy list. If its gourmet you are after, Bendigo has you covered.

Wagga Wagga NSW

The average price for a three bedroom home: $495000

Population: 65000

Straddling the Murrumbidgee river,  Wagga Wagga is NSW’s most populous inland city. In the middle of Sydney and Melbourne, Wagga Wagga is an important hub for transport, agriculture, and defense. Wagga Wagga stands as a bastion of education and modern convenience for much of the Riverina region.

Possessing a different character to other inland towns,  Wagga Wagga still draws deep on its Aboriginal heritage. With highway access to all major cities in Australia, Wagga Wagga is a central city with reasonable house prices and job prospects. 

Albury-Wodonga NSW

The average price for a three bedroom home: $490000

Population: 93000

The twin cities of Albury and Wodonga are unique for inland cities as they don’t rely soley on Agriculture. Split in two by the mighty Murray River, Albury and Wodonga have strong cultural ties to Victoria due to the proximity to the Victorian border. A strong industrial sector employs many of the residents here.

Mildura VIC

The average price for a three bedroom home: $310000

Population: 40000

Continuing down the banks of the Murray River, we find the agricultural hub that is Mildura. Responsible for producing over eighty percent of Victoria’s grapes, orchards, vineyards, and rolling countryside surround much of the city.

Mildura’s proximity to the Murray river makes it a dream for those who love watersports. Popular recreational activities include tours of the river on vintage paddle steamers. Mildura has all the modern conveniences of a big city, with none of the hustle and bustle. Oh yeah, and an average house is almost a third of the cost of a comparable property in Sydney or Melbourne.

Toowoomba QLD

The average price for a three bedroom home: $318500

Population: 135000

Known as the garden city, the beautiful city of Toowoomba in Queensland features over 150 parks, gardens, and green spaces. Being the second-largest inland city in Australia, there’s plenty to do and see in this lush piece of paradise.

With a bustling CBD and nature galore, you would think a mortgage here in Toowoomba would break the bank, but prices here have remained pleasantly low. For a third of the price of a cramped unit in Sydney, you could be living it up in Garden City!

Australia is known internationally for its harbourside city Sydney as well as its other harbor cities and a beach lifestyle. While it is true that the majority of us live in these population centers around the coast, much of our history and cultural identity can be discovered inland, in our regional towns and cities. From livestock to farming, fortunes were made and lost in the sometimes unforgiven center of our sunburnt country. 

For your next holiday, why not visit these pieces of Australian history? Our country is vast and unique, full of real Australians with real stories and real heart.  Better yet, why not live a part of this cultural heritage? A three bedroom home in any of our inland cities represents a tremendous value. 

Populating inland Australia has long been the source of contention for our leaders and city planners as worries mount on the sustainability of our major cities, efforts where made to disperse our population. The Whitlam government of the ’70s had plans to build a ring of cities on a vast rail line that cut through the center of Australia. As the global political climate changed, so to did Australia’s priorities, and the quest to bolster our inland population fell by the wayside.

It’s now 2020, and our cities are feeling the squeeze. There has never been a better time to escape the rat race and travel inland.