Which is best for international students…..Byron Bay, Noosa or the Sunshine Coast?

10 Reasons Senior Travellers Head To Noosa

Australia, with its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and world-renowned education system, has long been a top destination for international students seeking to broaden their horizons. Among the many attractive cities and regions to choose from, three coastal gems stand out: Byron Bay, Noosa, and the Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore). Each of these locations offers a unique blend of academic opportunities, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. In this blog post, we’ll help you navigate the decision-making process to find the perfect Australian paradise for your study abroad adventure.


Firstly, where are these three towns?

Noosa is furthest North, about 90 minute’s drive from Brisbane Airport.  Maroochydore is a bit further South, and is an easy hour’s drive from Brisbane.  Byron Bay is across the border in New South Wales, and is about 90 minutes from Brisbane.  You can also travel up to the Gold Coast from Byron Bay in about 40 minutes.


Location and Lifestyle in Noosa, Byron Bay and on the Sunshine Coast 

First and foremost, it’s essential to consider the location and lifestyle offered by each of these destinations.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is famous for its laid-back, bohemian vibe. Located on the easternmost tip of Australia, it boasts pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and a thriving arts scene. If you’re seeking a blend of surf culture, yoga retreats, and creative expression, Byron Bay is your ideal destination. The Lexis Byron Bay school’s relatively small size fosters a tight-knit community, perfect for making lasting friendships.  The fact that many students live on-site in our student accommodation also makes it easy to socialise and make friends.


Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast, offers a more relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. Known for its exquisite national parks, picturesque beaches, and upscale dining options, Noosa is perfect for those who appreciate a quieter and nature-oriented lifestyle. The town’s serene environment is conducive to focused studying, while it’s a very easy place to meet locals.  If you’re a surfer, there might be just about nowhere else in the world quite as attractive as Noosa, particularly in the winter months, when Noosa’s northerly location means that you can enjoy warm water all year round!


Maroochydore, also on the Sunshine Coast, is a dynamic and growing urban center. It provides a balance between the tranquility of Noosa and the vibrancy of Byron Bay. With its shopping centers, recreational facilities, and proximity to both beaches and hinterlands, Maroochydore offers a diverse and convenient lifestyle.  Lexis Sunshine Coast is built right on the mouth of the Maroochy River, meaning that you can be swimming or surfing within minutes of leaving your classroom (and the views from the school are amazing!)

Sunshine Coast, From The River Mouth Looking To Lexis English


Cost of Living and Accommodation in Noosa, Byron Bay and on the Sunshine Coast

The cost of living and accommodation can vary significantly between these three destinations.

 Byron Bay

Byron Bay is known for its relatively high cost of living. Accommodation options can be expensive, especially during peak tourist seasons. It’s essential to plan your budget carefully if you choose to study here.  Consider booking ahead with homestay or Lexis’ on-site student accommodation.


Noosa, while still catering to tourists, generally offers more affordable accommodation options compared to Byron Bay. The cost of living is moderate, making it a viable choice for students on a budget.  Almost everything in Noosa is within walking or bike riding distance, making it cheap and convenient to get around.


Maroochydore strikes a balance between the other two locations, offering a reasonable cost of living and a variety of accommodation choices.  As far as cost of living is concerned, it’s generally the cheapest of the three options.  As a larger city, there is plenty of rental accommodation available, though commuting times may be a little longer than in the other two towns.

Byron Bay Sunset


Employment Opportunities in Noosa, Byron Bay and on the Sunshine Coast

Part-time work opportunities can be essential for international students looking to support themselves financially during their studies.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay’s economy heavily relies on tourism, offering part-time job opportunities in hospitality, retail, and entertainment sectors.  There is very high demand for workers during peak tourism season, though it can be a little more difficult to find work during low season.


Noosa’s job market is similar to Byron Bay, with part-time employment opportunities in tourism-related industries. Demand for workers in the hospitality industry (such as in resorts, restaurants and cafes) is very high, and most students find work almost immediately when arriving in Noosa.  There is very little seasonality.  Consider taking a Customer Service and Barista course at Lexis Noosa to maximise your employment opportunities….Noosa people drink a LOT of coffee!!  If you are a bit serious about working in the hospitality sector, you can consider extending your study at Lexis to The Culinary Academy, which is also located in Noosa.


Maroochydore has a more diversified economy, with opportunities in various sectors, including retail, hospitality, healthcare, and education. The job market is relatively robust, making it easier to secure part-time employment.  Many students find work in the Ocean St entertainment district, or across as Sunshine Plaza.  The various surf clubs in the area are also big employers, and your classmates can often help you with introductions.


Really, there’s no ‘wrong’ choice.  Byron, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast are all wonderful choices for international students, combining a great lifestyle, plenty of work opportunities and a great study experience at Lexis.  All three of Byron Bay, Noosa and Maroochydore are considered ‘regional areas’ for immigration, and if you are considering staying in Australia longer term, this is definitely something to consider.

Choosing between Byron Bay, Noosa, and Maroochydore for your study abroad experience in Australia can be an exciting yet challenging decision. Each destination offers a unique blend of lifestyle, educational opportunities, cost of living, and employment prospects.

To make the right choice, assess your priorities, consider your academic goals, and evaluate your budget. Whether you prefer the artistic charm of Byron Bay, the tranquil nature of Noosa, or the vibrant urban life of Maroochydore, Australia has a coastal paradise to suit your needs. Ultimately, your study abroad journey will be an enriching experience, no matter which of these incredible destinations you choose.

If you’d like to learn more, jump onto our website at www.LexisEnglish.com


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