A great deal is made of Melbourne's "liveability" and Sydney's glam harbourside lifestyle. But for families who grow weary of the rat race, it seems the sedate Tasmanian city of Launceston is the country's most family-friendly place.
A team from Suncorp Bank compared Australia's most populous 30 cities using 10 key criteria, including access to schools, health, childcare, income and housing. Data was compiled from a variety of government resources, including the 2011 National Census, crime statistics, and the Public Health Information Development Unit.
Launceston was rated best, based on its low crime rate, affordable housing, and good childcare availability. The children who live there also attend the least-crowded schools, with about 320 students per school, compared with locations such as Coffs Harbour, which took the last place, with 1521 students per school.
Canberra was second, boosted by its high disposable incomes and good childcare. However, its higher crime rates and high cost of housing kept it from taking the top spot.
Other state and territory capitals trailed behind, with Melbourne ranked 14th and Sydney in the 23rd spot. Scoring a little higher were Adelaide and Perth (equal fifth), Hobart (seventh) and Darwin (equal eighth).
Half of the top 10 family-friendly cities were smaller regional centres. Victoria and New South Wales' top entry was the twin-cities of Albury-Wodonga, which did well on housing affordability, health and a sense of community.
Overall, regional cities had a better balance of job opportunities, income, school sizes and lower crime rates, said Suncorp Bank head Craig Fenwick.
"They're certainly showing up our international hubs like Sydney and Melbourne, which fall short on many of these measures," Mr Fenwick said.
"It's often the state capitals of Australia that win international acclaim in lifestyle and liveability surveys, but our survey bucks this trend."
Queensland was rated as being the most family friendly state overall, with six of its cities making it into the top 20. But it was also home to some of the lowest scoring cities, with Cairns and the Gold Coast placing at 27th and equal 28th.
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