North Coast

Home to authentic rural communities and stunning beaches

The North Coast offers exceptional study, research and employment in global industries including forestry, marine and environmental science.

About the North Coast

The NSW North Coast is home to authentic rural communities and some of Australia’s most stunning beaches. The region’s distinctive landscape underpins its economy, with tourism, agribusiness, manufacturing and tech among the key industries offering work opportunities in the area. The North Coast offers exceptional study, research and employment in globally important industries including forestry, marine and environmental science due to its pristine coastal and agricultural environment. About 13 million people visit the North Coast each year, making tourism a significant source of employment. The North Coast offers easy connections to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne by air, rail or bus.

Study destinations: Lismore & Coffs Harbour

The university city of Lismore in north-eastern NSW, just 1.5 hours’ drive from the Gold Coast, is a rapidly developing hub that is home to the region’s main hospital and a vibrant CBD and retail precinct. This culturally diverse city has a thriving arts and community sector, attracting musicians, designers, writers, photographers, filmmakers and new media specialists. The celebrity-magnet coastal town of Byron Bay is 40 minutes’ drive away and Lismore airport, 3 kilometres from the CBD, offers fast and easy connections to Sydney. Lismore is the base for the main campus of Southern Cross University (SCU), ranked number one in Australia for international student support by the 2018 International Student Barometer.

On the mid-north coast of NSW, between Sydney and Brisbane, the city of Coffs Harbour is the location of SCU’s prestigious National Marine Science Centre, which offers exceptional learning opportunities within a pristine coastal environment. As a thriving tourism destination, Coffs Harbour is the ideal place for business, tourism and agriculture students to combine their studies with internships and work opportunities across local resorts, hotels and tourist attractions, as well as in nearby rural communities. Coffs Harbour Airport, one of the largest regional airports in NSW, is close to the SCU campus and offers direct flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Top reasons to study in the North Coast

Fast growing population
Easy connections to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
Climate: Lismore 23.5°C summer (Jan) and 13.7°C winter (Jun-Jul), Coffs Harbour 23.1°C summer (January) and 13.9°C winter (Jun-Jul)
Booming tourist destination
Main industries: Healthcare, accommodation and food services, education, construction, retail, agriculture, forestry and fishing, tourism
Biologically diverse area offering an enviable farming or coastal lifestyle

Lismore

  • Distance from Sydney: 7.5-hour drive / 1h 40 minute flight / 13 hours rail or bus
  • Population: 43,667
  • Largest industries: healthcare and social assistance, education, retail
  • Rental prices: $400 per week (3-bed house) / $285 per week (two-bedroom unit)
  • Shared rooms and homestays: homestays from $300 a week, 3-bedroom campus apartment from $205 a week
  • International sister cities: Yamato Takada, Japan; Ujung Pandan, Indonesia; Conegliano & Vittorio Veneto, Italy; Wudi China; Lismore, Ireland; Eau Claire, USA

Biggest employment sectors in Lismore

  1. Health care and social assistance
  2. Education and training
  3. Retail trade
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Public administration and safety
  6. Construction
  7. Professional, scientific and technical services
  8. Accommodation and food services

Study

In the heart of north-eastern New South Wales, SCU’s Lismore campus, just five minutes from the city centre, delivers education and research opportunities across a range of disciplines. Set within 75 hectares of landscaped gardens and rainforest walkways, the University’s globally recognised course options reflect its unique location and the area’s creative heart, including digital media, business and tourism, marine and environmental sciences, engineering, health sciences and music and the creative arts. Vocational education and training organisation TAFE NSW also has a campus in the centre of Lismore. There is a wide selection of secondary schools across the North Coast, including public, private, independent and alternative institutions, with a strong focus on academic excellence and student welfare.

Work

The largest industry employer in Lismore is healthcare, as the city is home to the region’s major hospital. Retail, professional, scientific and technical services, and agriculture, forestry and fishing are growing sectors, offering increasing employment opportunities during and after study.

SCU’s Career Development Service provides personalised career consultations for students throughout their studies. Students can also access the University’s Career Hub to search for part-time work.

Study NSW also offers a comprehensive range of programs to help international students find work during and after study in the regions, including #NSWGlobalConnections, Farm Jobs Connect, Finding a Job, and 2021 Study NSW Employability Program for International Students. For information on your rights and opportunities around working in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.

Live

Lismore has a comparatively young population and is a safe, culturally diverse community. The area has recently been identified as having some of the best-value real estate in the country and is generally more affordable than Australia’s major capital cities.

SCU’s close proximity to the city centre and airport means it is an easily walkable city for students, keeping transport costs down. SCU offers information about on-campus and off-campus accommodation opportunities here. Check Unistays for information and prices for off-campus accommodation, as well as local real estate sites such as realestate.com.au and flatmates.com.au.

Lismore Regional Airport is just 3 kilometres from the CBD and offers daily flights to and from Sydney Airport. More information on regional travel is available from Transport NSW. To find out more about the cost of living in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.

Local government agencies, councils and educational institutions offer a range of support services to welcome international students and other new arrivals to Lismore. Refer to:

  • Southern Cross University’s Bright Futures Student-Alumni Mentor program matches students with alumni in related industries to enable ‘real-world’ learning and work experiences
  • My Community Directory provides information on organisations that provide community support services in Lismore
  • Lismore City Council provides comprehensive information on living, working and enjoying life in the city.

Play

Lismore is the gateway to one of the state’s most beautiful regions, with a well-established arts and culture scene complemented by World Heritage National Parks offering walking trails, waterfalls and panoramic views, beautiful villages and working farms. A packed events calendar features music concerts, theatre, sporting events and a diverse range of food and wine experiences all year round. Find out more at the Lismore & Nimbin Tourism website and Visit NSW.


Coffs Habour

  • Distance from Sydney: 5.5-hour drive or 70-minute flight
  • Population: 77,648
  • Largest industries: healthcare, education, professional, scientific and technical services, construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Rental prices: $475 per week (3-bed house) / $450 per week (3-bed unit)
  • Shared rooms and homestays: four-bedroom campus apartment from $230 a week
  • International sister cities: Sasebo, Japan

Biggest employment sectors in Coffs Harbour

  1. Construction
  2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  3. Professional, scientific and technical services
  4. Rental, hiring and real estate services
  5. Health care and social assistance
  6. Financial and insurance services

Study

In a stunning environment located between pristine forests and the ocean, SCU’s Coffs Harbour campus is home to more than 1200 students and provides a diverse range of learning, teaching and research facilities across business, health, education, information technology and more.

For marine science students at the National Marine Science Centre, the Solitary Islands Marine Park provides an ideal and truly spectacular learning environment. The University’s recently opened Health Sciences Building features advanced laboratories and teaching spaces to meet the community needs of the future. The campus is close to beautiful beaches, as well as the Coffs Harbour city centre.

Work

Coffs Harbour is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas within regional NSW and is a thriving eco-tourism destination, offering students the opportunity to work in local resorts, hotels, tourist attractions and agricultural businesses while they study. Coffs Harbour City Council offers information on employment opportunities.

SCU’s Career Development Service provides personalised career consultations for students throughout their studies. Students can also access the University’s Career Hub to search for part-time work.

Study NSW offers a comprehensive range of programs to help international students find work during and after study in the regions, including #NSWGlobalConnections, Farm Jobs Connect, Finding a Job, and 2021 Study NSW Employability Program for International Students. For information on your rights and opportunities around working in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.

Live

A great climate, laid-back, safe and stress-free lifestyle, stunning beaches and easy one-hour flight to Sydney mean Coffs Harbour offers the best of all worlds for international students.

SCU offers services to help students find private rental off-campus (UniStays) or accommodation at one of its on-campus residential colleges (SCU Village Lismore and Coffs Harbour). Also check local real estate sites such as realestate.com.au and flatmates.com.au

Coffs Harbour Airport is under 10 minutes’ drive from the campus and offers flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. More information on regional travel is available from Transport NSW. To find out more about the cost of living in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website.

Local government agencies, councils and educational institutions offer a range of support services to welcome international students and other new arrivals. Refer to:

Play

A thriving regional centre with easy access to gorgeous beaches, a marine park, stunning farming communities, famous tourist attractions, markets and a bustling shopping and business district, Coffs Harbour is a great place to live and learn. Find out more on the Coffs Coast tourism website and Visit NSW website.