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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.

 

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.

Gold Coast walks

Gold Coast walks. Photo by Yulia Ryding on Unsplash

Adelaide fitness

Adelaide fitness. Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash.

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.

Melbourne sunrise

Melbourne sunrise. Photo by Urlaubstracker on Unsplash.

Perth beaches

Perth beaches. Photo by Nathan Hurst on Unsplash.

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.

Sydney jogger.

Sydney jogger. Photo by Chander R on Unsplash.

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
Darwin 8
Hobart 9
Newcastle 10
Geelong 11
Wollongong 12
Cairns 13
Townsville 14
Launceston 15
Bendigo 16
Gold Coast 7
Canberra 6
Adelaide 5
Melbourne 4
Sydney 3
Perth 2
Brisbane 1

 

Pumping iron at Club Bunker.

IMAGE: Supplied. Pumping iron at Club Bunker.

‘It’s fantastic to see Brisbane getting recognition for taking health and fitness seriously, and it doesn’t surprise us that we’ve beat out some of our southern friends. Better luck next year, Melbourne!’

– Chris Shaw, Director of Brisbane gym, 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
Melbourne 1
Sydney 2
Brisbane 3
Perth 4
Adelaide 5
Gold Coast 6
Canberra 7
Newcastle 8
Wollongong 9
Townsville 10
Cairns 11
Hobart 12
Geelong 13
Darwin 14
Bendigo 15
Launceston 16

 

Personal training at RevoPT

IMAGE: Supplied. Personal training at RevoPT.

Since emerging from lockdown, Melburnians are focusing on their health and fitness more than ever before, wanting to stay as healthy as possible and catch up on lost time. Also, Melburnians are savvy and know the value of professional help.

– Luke Scott, Managing Director of Melbourne gym, 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.

 

Delicious, healthy food from Giri Kana Cafe.

IMAGE: Supplied. Delicious, healthy food from Giri Kana Cafe.

‘The Gold Coast is perfectly located for healthy restaurants. We’re lucky to have year-round access to fresh, local ingredients that delight locals and tourists alike. It’s fantastic for our industry to be recognised nationally with such amazing customer feedback.’

– Mohini 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
Sydney 1
Melbourne 2
Brisbane 3
Gold Coast 4
Adelaide 5
Perth 6
Cairns 7
Canberra 8
Newcastle 9
Townsville 10
Darwin 11
Wollongong 12
Hobart 13
Geelong 14
Launceston 15
Bendigo 16

 

Wood-fired smoked salmon salad with olives, kipflers, soft-boiled egg, and dukkah.

IMAGE: Supplied. Wood-fired smoked salmon salad with olives, kipflers, soft-boiled egg, and dukkah.

‘The lifestyle and weather in Sydney lend themselves to healthy eating. You don’t want rich, dense food in the heat. We have access to extraordinary vegetables and seafood, whereas other places are probably better for meat. Sydney people embrace new things, and getting a lighter, fresher, healthier option is now part of the lifestyle.’

– Michael, Kepos Street Kitchen.

 

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.

 

White water rafting at Tully Gorge.

IMAGE: Supplied. White water rafting at Tully Gorge.

‘Cairns is totally spoilt when it comes to outdoor activities. We’ve got the Great Barrier on our doorstep, spectacular rainforest and hiking trails in every direction, and Australia’s best white-water rafting river just down the road – we’ll take that over a chilly southern city any day!’

– Peta Zietsch, Director of Sales at Cairns Adventure Group.

 

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.

 

Methodology

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.

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