Australia’s top cities for health and wellness revealed
The Gold Coast and Adelaide have been named the healthiest cities in Australia in a new study by Mandoe Media, with Melbourne, Perth and Sydney rounding out the top 5. Brisbane missed a top 5 place, ranking 6th, and the nation’s capital ranked a mediocre 12th.
Where you live can greatly impact your health, wellbeing and happiness. So we dove into the data to uncover Australia’s healthiest cities.
Our wellness index considers factors like access to gyms, healthy restaurants and outdoor activities as key contributors to a healthy lifestyle. Our national ranking reveals a surprising picture of health and wellness across Australia.
Whether you’re looking to move to a healthier city or simply curious about your own, read on to discover which Australian cities are best for living a healthy lifestyle.
Our healthy cities study has revealed some noteworthy differences between the wellness opportunities available across Australia.
- Overall, Adelaide and the Gold Coast offer Australia’s best opportunities for healthy living
- Brisbane’s healthy lifestyle boasts the most gyms in any Australian city
- Melburnians are the most gym-curious Australians
- The Gold Coast has the best-rated healthy restaurants
- Sydney has the best availability of healthy restaurants
- Cairns has Australia’s best access to outdoor activities
The top healthiest cities in Australia
Overall, Adelaide and the Gold Coast offer Australia’s best environments for healthy living.
Adelaide and the Gold Coast have topped the list of the healthiest cities in Australia. Both cities had strong results across all metrics. The Gold Coast is slightly ahead on healthy restaurants, while Adelaide offers better access to gyms.
Melbourne and Perth tie for 3rd place in the list of healthiest Australian cities.
Melbourne and Perth also performed strongly in the national wellness index, ranking among the healthiest cities in Australia. Melbourne’s strong performance was driven by high interest in gyms and excellent access to healthy restaurants, while Perth has great access to gyms and highly-rated healthy restaurants.
Sydney is named 5th healthiest city in Australia.
Sydney achieved a respectable 5th-place ranking in our healthiest cities list. Sydney has the best access to healthy restaurants anywhere in the country, which may surprise Melbourne foodies who like to assert the culinary superiority of their city. Sydney also had strong results in gym availability and interest levels.
For more information about the wellness index, see our methodology.
Brisbane has the best access to gyms, but Melburnians are more motivated
Brisbane’s healthy lifestyle boasts the most gyms of any Australian city.
Brisbanites are spoiled for choice when finding a local gym to improve their fitness, strength and wellbeing, with 451 gyms available. Out west, Perth can be proud of its second-place ranking. Its 397 gyms put it ahead of east-coast cities like Sydney and Melbourne, with 357 and 345 gyms, respectively.
|City||Access to gyms rank|
IMAGE: Supplied. Pumping iron at Club Bunker.
Melburnians are the most gym-curious Australians.
Google search data shows that Melburnians perform over 250,000 gym-related internet searches per month, which is more than any other Australian city. It shows a strong collective interest in wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle.
|City||Gym search interest rank|
IMAGE: Supplied. Personal training at RevoPT.
The Gold Coast has the best-rated healthy restaurants, but Sydney and Melbourne have better availability
Gold Coasters love their healthy restaurants
The Gold Coast has topped a national category ranking with the highest-rated healthy restaurants in Australia. Food-loving Melbourne just scraped into the top 10, while Sydney languished in 12th place. It may have to do with the relatively high proportion of happy tourists rating Gold Coast restaurants, while discerning customers further south are more demanding, with expectations that are harder to achieve.
|City||Healthy restaurant rating rank|
IMAGE: Supplied. Delicious, healthy food from Giri Kana Cafe.
Sydney swipes Melbourne’s ‘foodie-capital’ status
Sydney has better availability of healthy restaurants than Melbourne, according to our study. It has claimed first place in the national wellness ranking, while Melbourne came in second, and Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide made up the top five.
|City||Access to healthy restaurants rank|
IMAGE: Supplied. Wood-fired smoked salmon salad with olives, kipflers, soft-boiled egg, and dukkah.
Cairns has Australia’s best access to outdoor activities
Cairns secures top category ranking in the healthy living index thanks to unrivalled access to outdoor activities.
Tropical Cairns is the top-ranking Australian city for access to outdoor activities, with just 2,187 people per outdoor activity. Residents and visitors can enjoy effortless access to activities like white-water rafting, bungee jumping, sailing and rainforest walks. At the other end of the country, Hobart has ranked second, where activities like golfing, hiking up Mount Wellington and exploring outdoor art installations keep people fit, healthy and happy.
|City||People per outdoor activity||Outdoor activity rank|
IMAGE: Supplied. White water rafting at Tully Gorge.
The best cities for living a healthy lifestyle
Australia has an enviable reputation for its lifestyle, but where you live can determine how easy it is to access opportunities to stay healthy.
Our research has revealed that the Gold Coast and Adelaide are the healthiest cities in Australia, performing strongly across all metrics. But the news is not bad if you live elsewhere. Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns and Hobart also scored well on many healthy living factors, showing just how amazing the opportunities are for Australians everywhere to access a healthy lifestyle.
|Combined wellness index||City||Category ranking|
|Gym availability||Gym interest||Healthy restaurant availability||Healthy restaurant quality||Outdoor activity availability||Total ranking|
How we calculated the wellness ratings:
To find the healthiest cities in Australia, we devised a combined ranking system based on:
- Gym availability: We used Yellow Pages and Yelp to determine the number of gyms available to residents in each city.
- Gym interest: To measure the level of interest in gym memberships, we used Google keyword planner to find out the number of times gym-related terms including ‘gym membership,’ ‘gyms near me,’ ‘gym membership near me,’ ‘24 hour gym near me,’ and ‘24 hour gym’. Searches for these terms were then combined to give a total.
- Healthy restaurant availability: We used Tripadvisor to find the number of healthy restaurants in each city.
- Healthy restaurant quality: We used Google review ratings to determine the relative quality of healthy restaurants.
- Outdoor activity availability: We used Tripadvisor and population data to find the number of people per outdoor activity for each city.
- How we chose the cities: We looked at the 20 most populated cities in Australia but excluded four because of a lack of available data.
Data note: To determine the overall healthiest cities ranking, each factor was individually ranked then a total combined ranking was calculated.