Study in Regional Australia: Explore the Best Opportunities in 2024

Thanks to its captivating landscapes, vibrant cities, and welcoming multicultural society, Australia has become a top destination for international students pursuing higher education.

While bustling metropolises like Sydney and Melbourne often steal the limelight, there lies a hidden gem in the vast expanse of a low population growth area known for regional Australia – an opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique learning environment and reap many benefits.

The Significance of International Students to Study in Regional Areas

International students play a pivotal role in revitalizing regional communities across Australia. Their presence fosters cultural exchange, invigorates local businesses, and contributes to the overall economic growth of these areas.

By choosing to study in regional Australia, you become an integral part of a close-knit community, fostering lasting connections and enriching your educational experience.

Act education & visa consultants

Understanding Regional Areas in Australia

A regional area in Australia encompasses towns, small cities, or a low population growth metropolitan area outside the major capitals—Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. 

Regional areas of Australia fall into three major categories:

  1. Category 1: Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
  2. Category 2: Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong, and Hobart.
  3. Category 3: Regional centres and other areas.

The Australian Government provides regional incentives for those relocating to Category 2 or 3 areas, promoting migration beyond significant cities. Here is a list of postcodes for more designated regional areas.

Top Benefits to Study in Regional Australia

Studying in regional Australia has advantages for international students. Here are some of the compelling reasons to consider this rewarding path:

Access to Regional Occupations

Regional Australia offers diverse job opportunities aligned with the Australian Government’s Regional Occupations List (ROL). Studying in a regional area can give you access to these in-demand occupations, increasing your chances of securing post-study work and enhancing your career prospects.

Additional Points for Skilled Migration Visa

Studying in a designated regional area grants you additional points towards the Skilled Migration Visa (subclass 189), making it easier to attain permanent residency in Australia. This pathway allows you to establish your roots in Australia, contribute your skills to the regional economy, and build a fulfilling life.

Post-Study Work Opportunities

Regional Australia offers extended post-study work rights, allowing you to gain valuable work experience in your field and enhance your employability. This extended period empowers you to explore career options, adapt to the Australian work environment, and secure permanent employment.

Considerations for Permanent Residency in Australia

Regional areas offer attractive pathways to permanent residency for international students. The Australian Government’s Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) provide specific incentives for skilled migrants to settle in regional areas, paving the way for permanent residency opportunities.

Most popular areas to study in regional Australia listed below with their top university, courses and possible opportunities. Make sure to check the list to get a suggestion for further research.

Sunshine Coast

It offers lifestyle, wise investment, and career opportunities in tourism, healthcare, and construction.

  • Top University: University of Sunshine Coast.
  • Top Courses: Social Science, Business, Tourism.
  • Opportunities: Growing sectors include Tourism, Nursing, Business Management, and Construction.


Regional Victoria offers scenic beauty, wineries, and affordable accommodations for students.

  • Top Universities: Deakin University, University of Melbourne, Monash University.
  • Top Courses: Business, Education, IT, Arts.
  • Opportunities: Victorian Government supports economic growth in Creative Industries, Healthcare, and Digital Technologies.


Queensland, a paradise for quality education, is known for highly ranked universities.

  • Top Universities: Griffith University, University of Queensland, James Cook University.
  • Top Courses: Sports, Psychology, Hospitality.
  • Opportunities: Flourishing sectors include Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and attracting global employers.


Known for vineyards and an affordable lifestyle, Adelaide offers employment opportunities in various sectors.

  • Top Universities: Flinders University, University of Adelaide.
  • Top Courses: Creative Arts, Nursing, Business.
  • Opportunities: Popular job portfolios include Chefs, IT professionals, and Mechanics.

New South Wales (NSW)

NSW, a famous tourist destination, boasts beautiful beaches and diverse landscapes.

  • Top Universities: Australian Catholic University, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales.
  • Top Courses: Nursing, Communication, Environmental Science.
  • Opportunities: Leading the education sector with vocational training options, making it a top destination for international students.

Gold Coast

Famous for beaches, the Gold Coast attracts students with diverse courses.

  • Top Universities: Griffith University, Bond University.
  • Top Courses: Hospitality, Tourism, Design.
  • Opportunities: Ample opportunities in Tourism, Healthcare, and Construction.

Western Australia

Boasts a thriving economy, especially in Mining and Construction.

  • Top Universities: Curtin University, University of Western Australia, Murdoch University.
  • Top Courses: Engineering, Nursing, IT, Finance.
  • Opportunities: Fastest-growing economy, offering jobs in Mining, Construction, Healthcare, ICT, and Finance.


It is an affordable region for nature lovers and food enthusiasts.

  • Top University: University of Tasmania.
  • Top Courses: Education, Nursing, IT.
  • Opportunities: The hospitality sector is thriving, with opportunities in IT, communication, and electrical fields.

Northern Territory

Darwin, the capital, offers essential services and a vibrant culture.

  • Top University: Charles Darwin University.
  • Top Courses: Nursing, Education, IT.
  • Opportunities: Employment opportunities in Agribusiness, Minerals, Tourism, and Renewable Energy.


A tropical area offers a pleasant lifestyle with construction, hospitality, and healthcare career prospects.

  • Top Universities: James Cook University.
  • Top Courses: Creative Arts, Medicine, Business Administration.
  • Opportunities: High demand for trade, healthcare, and business management roles.

Points Test and Visa Eligibility

To be qualified for a Skilled Migration Visa (subclass 189), you must meet specific criteria, including age, English proficiency, work experience, and relevant qualifications. Studying in a regional area can significantly enhance your chances of meeting the points test requirements.

Considerations for International Graduates

International graduates who complete their studies in regional Australia are eligible for additional benefits, such as priority processing of visa applications and access to the Regional Occupations List.

Boost Your Visa Points with Regional Study

Studying in Australia’s low population growth metropolitan areas can significantly boost your chances of securing permanent residency through the Skilled Migration Visa (subclass 189). By looking in a restricted area, you can earn additional points towards the visa’s points test, giving you a competitive benefit over other applicants.

Unlocking Points and Opportunities

Each designated regional area offers a unique set of benefits, including:

  • Additional 5 points towards the Skilled Migration Visa (subclass 189)
  • Access to the Regional Occupations List (ROL), expanding your employment options
  • Extended post-study work rights, allowing you to gain valuable work experience
  • Potential pathways to permanent residency through Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)

Strategically Enhance Your Visa Prospects

By carefully considering your study location and aligning your academic pursuits with the Regional Occupations List, you can maximize your probability of securing a permanent place in Australia’s dynamic society.

Seizing the Opportunity to Study in a Regional Area

Deciding to study in Australia is an exciting step towards a fulfilling academic journey and a promising career. Here are some considerations for international students planning to move to Australia:

Considerations for International Students

Before embarking on your journey to Australia, carefully research the visa requirements, accommodation options, and cultural aspects of regional living.

Living in Regional Australia

Regional Australia offers a unique blend of affordability, community spirit, and access to natural beauty. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture, explore the region’s attractions, and connect with the welcoming community.

Cultural and Social Aspects

Respect local customs and traditions, engage with the community, and embrace regional Australia’s rich cultural diversity. This will enrich your overall experience and foster a sense of belonging.

Integration with Local Communities

Participate in community events, volunteer in local organizations, and engage with classmates and colleagues. These interactions will strengthen your connections and enhance your understanding of regional life.

Final Verdict

Studying in regional Australia presents an exceptional opportunity to embark on an enriching academic journey, gain valuable work experience, and immerse yourself in a vibrant community.


What are the advantages of studying in regional Australia?

Studying in regional Australia offers several advantages, including additional points towards the Skilled Migration Visa, access to the Regional Occupations List, extended post-study work rights, a lower cost of living, and a more relaxed lifestyle.

What are some of the top regional universities in Australia?

Notable regional universities in Australia include the University of New England, the University of Wollongong, the University of Western Australia, the University of South Australia, and James Cook University.

What are some of the most popular regional cities in Australia?

Popular regional cities in Australia include Geelong, Townsville, Wollongong, Newcastle, and the Sunshine Coast.

What factors should I consider when choosing to study in regional Australia?

When deciding to study in regional Australia, consider the location, size of the university or campus, availability of scholarships, job market, and lifestyle in the region.

How can I learn more about studying in regional Australia?

Valuable resources for exploring regional study options include university websites, education departments of state and territory governments, education fairs, and conversations with current regional students.