The fastest-growing regional areas in Victoria

Aerial view of Torquay in Victoria

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted March 16, 2023

As thousands of people are discovering every year, there's more to regional Victoria than just a home among the gum trees.

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released in 2022, nearly 1.6 million people are now calling regional Victoria home - an increase of 15 per cent from the Census prior.

By comparison, over the same period, New South Wales’ regional areas have grown by 8.6 per cent, and South Australia’s regional population grew by 6.7 per cent. 

Whether they're seeking more affordable housing, a quieter lifestyle, or just the serenity, regional areas are making regional Victoria more appealing than ever before. 

The population of Victoria is projected to grow to 8.7 million by the year 2051, with 2.3 million people expected to live in regional local government areas (LGAs).  

While there are a lot of things to think about before moving regionally, here are the five fastest-growing areas of regional Victoria that you may want to consider.


Regional Victorian LGAs with high population growth

Regional Victorian LGAs with high population growth

Population 2011

Population 2021

Increase (%)

Surf Coast








Bass Coast




Baw Baw








Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

The five fastest-growing areas in regional Victoria

Surf Coast Shire

As one of the most popular holiday and tourist destinations in Victoria, it’s no surprise that the Surf Coast Shire is the fastest growing LGA in the state.

Including popular locations such as RACV's Torquay Resort, Anglesea, Lorne, Winchelsea and Deans Marsh, the population rose by 45.70 per cent between 2011 – 2021. 

The area south-west of Melbourne is known for its fantastic surf beaches, wineries and eateries, pop-up events, and magnificent Great Ocean Road

One area to watch in the Shire is Mount Duneed, which grew from a population of 623 to 6,182 in the space of five years.

As an agricultural area, it has become popular in recent years due to wineries, proximity to the city and beach, the main city of Geelong within 10 kilometres and the surf of Torquay within a 15 minute drive. 

Mitchell Shire

The Mitchell Shire is a an LGA that has seen some of the largest growth of the last 10 years, with population increasing 42.80 per cent from 34,637 to 49,460 residents.

Located just 37 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD and including towns such as Kilmore, Puckapunyal, Seymour and Wallan, the Shire is attractive for those looking to live with access to both the city and country lifestyle.

The suburb of Beveridge is one to watch here. Home to around 4,600 people – perhaps its most famous past resident being Ned Kelly – this town is projected to reach almost 80,000 by 2041.

Preparing for this, the Mitchell Shire is establishing gentrification plans including health and educational facilities, parks, sporting facilities and stadiums. 

Seymour is fast becoming one of regional Victoria's most popular residential areas. Image: Visit Victoria.
The famed holiday spot from The Castle, Bonnie Doon, is on the rise in popularity. Image: Supplied.
The popular Bells Beach in Torquay on the Surf Coast remains a major drawcard for visitors and tree-changers alike. Image: Visit Victoria.
Mt Baw Baw, once just a popular skiing holiday hot spot, is becoming a popular place for people to settle down. Image: Supplied.
Come for the penguins, stay for the lifestyle: Phillip Island is the holiday destination where people are deciding to stay full time. Image: Supplied.

Bass Coast Shire

Coming in hot in third place is the Bass Coast, with a population increase of 37.74 per cent over a 10-year period. 

Roughly 90 minutes to the south-east from Melbourne, the Bass Coast is home to some of the best holiday destinations in Victoria, including RACV's Inverloch Resort, Wonthaggi, Cape Woolamai and the popular Phillip Island.

The population is estimated to grow to roughly 48,000 by 2036, with new housing projects in development to accommodate more affordable housing, local employment, amenities, and the beachside lifestyle. 

Like the Surf Coast, the Bass Coast Shire is known for its beautiful swimming areas, farmers’ markets, wildlife attractions, fishing, whale watching, walking trails, and its local produce. 

Baw Baw Shire

When most people hear Baw Baw, snow season immediately comes to mind.

As the closest downhill skiing resort to the Melbourne CBD, located three hours from Melbourne, the LGA covers over 4,000 square kilometres including Warragul, Drouin, Jacob Creek and part of the Great Dividing Range. 

Growing 34.44 per cent over the past 10 years, this LGA is popular with nature lovers, with the region offering many opportunities for snow activities, fishing, hiking and cycling, as well as a growing agricultural industry and more affordable living in the regions. 

The area is continuing to develop in areas of housing, roads, events, facilities, and healthcare for its ever-growing community.

Best regional pies | RACV

Mansfield Shire

Roughly two hours north from RACV's Healesville Resort, lies the Mansfield Shire, an area of almost 4,000 square kilometres in north-eastern Victoria. 

Home to towns including Mansfield, Mount Buller, Lake Eildon and Darryl Kerrigan’s favourite holiday spot, Bonnie Doon, the Shire had a 28.95 per cent growth over the past 10 years. 

The area is known for its nature experiences, from horse riding to bush walking, mountain biking, skiing and hiking, as well as famed wineries, local produce and burgeoning arts scene. 

Growing at a rate of two per cent each year since 2001, the Shire puts migration down to Melburnians looking for a tree change, with strategies for growth including new housing, extra health and commercial services, schooling, and employment opportunities. 

Seeing if a tree-change is for you?
Try it out with a stay at a regional RACV Resort →