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The Best Australian Soap Operas

Updated November 22, 2019 1.0k votes 111 voters 7.2k views47 items

List RulesVote up the best soaps from Australia

Heightened drama and ridiculously long feuds keep viewers coming back for more in the best Australian soap operas. The top Australian soap opera shows tell ongoing stories about characters who would do anything for each other - and others who would betray their own families to get ahead. This is a list of the best Australian soap operas, including everything from Home and Away to Sons and Daughters.

What series will you find on this list of Australian soap operas? Neighbours first broadcast on Seven Network 1985 before being scooped up by Ten a year later, who then turned it into one of the longest-running Australian soaps. Focusing on stories about the struggles and triumphs of families in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough, actors on Neighbours have included Kylie Minogue and Margo Robbie.

On a list of all Australian soap operas, there are also shows that weren't favorites. Punishment only lasted three episodes but was full of stars like Mel Gibson and Cornelia Frances. But how many episodes a soap ran doesn't necessarily make it the best. Paradise Beach only had two seasons but was able to gain an audience in the United States.

Do you have a favorite Aussie soap? Vote up the best and add any we may have missed.

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  • 1
    48
    15

    Prisoner

    Kerry Armstrong, Betty Bobbitt

    Premiered1979

    Prisoner is an Australian soap opera, set in the Wentworth Detention Centre, a fictional women's prison. In the United States and United Kingdom it was billed as Prisoner: Cell Block H, and in Canada...  more
  • 2
    43
    22

    Neighbours

    Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe

    PremieredMarch 18, 1985

    Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera. It was first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that...  more
  • 3
    37
    25

    Home and Away

    Isla Fisher, Chris Hemsworth

    Premiered1988

    Home and Away is an Australian television soap opera. It was created by Alan Bateman and has been produced in Sydney, New South Wales since July 1987. It commenced broadcast on the Seven Network from...  more
  • 4
    31
    20

    Sons and Daughters

    Judy Nunn, Danny Roberts

    Premiered1982

    Sons and Daughters is a Logie Award winning Australian soap opera created by Reg Watson and produced by the Reg Grundy Organisation between 1981 and 1987. The first episode aired on Monday, 18...  more
  • 5
    24
    15

    The Sullivans

    Sam Neill, Gary Sweet

    Premiered1976

    The Sullivans is an Australian drama television series produced by Crawford Productions which ran on the Nine Network on 15 November 1976 until 10 March 1983. The series told the story of an average...  more

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  • 6
    18
    17

    A Country Practice

    Nicole Kidman, Ryan Kwanten

    Premiered1981

    A Country Practice was an Australian television drama series. It ran on the Seven Network for 1,058 episodes at 7.30 pm Monday and Tuesday nights, from 18 November 1981 to 22 November 1993. It was...  more
  • 7
    14
    12

    The Young Doctors

    Russell Crowe, Alan Dale

    Premiered1976

    The Young Doctors was an Australian early evening soap opera. The series was set in the fictional Albert Memorial hospital and primarily concerned with romances between younger members of the...  more
  • 8
    15
    15

    Paradise Beach

    Isla Fisher, Melissa Tkautz

    Premiered1993

    Paradise Beach is an Australian television series made by Village Roadshow Pictures. It is associated with New World Television for the Nine Network that aired between 1993 and 1994. The series is...  more
  • 9
    11
    12

    Return to Eden

    Wendy Hughes, Chris Haywood

    Premiered1983

    Return to Eden is an Australian television drama series starring Rebecca Gilling, James Reyne, Wendy Hughes and James Smillie. It began as a three-part mini-series, shown on Network Ten in 1983....  more
  • 10
    12
    16

    Out of the Blue

    Zoe Carides, Diane Craig

    Premiered2008

    Out of the Blue is an Australian serial drama commissioned by the BBC, produced by Australia's Southern Star Entertainment. It began screening on BBC One on weekday afternoons on 28 April 2008. The...  more
  • 11
    5
    7

    Pacific Drive

    Melissa Tkautz, Rebekah Elmaloglou

    Premiered1996

    Bold text Pacific Drive is an Australian television series made by Village Roadshow in association with New World International for the Nine Network which screened from 29 January 1996 to December...  more
  • 12
    5
    8

    Punishment

    Mel Gibson, Kris McQuade

    Premiered1981

    Punishment is an Australian television soap opera made by the Reg Grundy Organisation for the Ten Network in 1981. Set in a fictional men's prison, the series attempted to present a male version of...  more
  • 13
    5
    8

    Prime Time

    Chris Orchard, Anthony Hawkins

    Premiered1986

  • 14
    4
    7

    Family and Friends

    Jonathan Hardy, Diane Craig

    Premiered1990

    Family and Friends was a short-lived Australian television soap opera debuted on 7 February 1990. The series was intended to be the Nine Network's response to the already successful soaps on the...  more
  • 15
    9
    16

    Number 96

    Wendy Hughes, Jon English

    Premiered1972

    Number 96 was a popular Australian soap opera set in a Sydney apartment block. Don Cash and Bill Harmon of the Cash Harmon Television production company, produced the series for The 0-10 Network,...  more
  • 16
    7
    13

    headLand

    Yvonne Strahovski, Rachael Taylor

    Premiered2005

    Headland is an Australian drama television series produced by the Seven Network which ran from 15 November 2005 to 21 January 2006. The Seven Network filmed 52 episodes in the first series....  more
  • 17
    4
    8

    The Box

    Judy Nunn, Briony Behets

    Premiered1974

    The Box was an Australian soap opera that ran on ATV-0 from 11 February 1974 until 11 October 1977 and on The 0-10 Network affiliates around Australia. The Box was produced by Crawford Productions...  more
  • 18
    6
    12

    Richmond Hill

    Emily Symons, Maggie Kirkpatrick

    Premiered1988

    Richmond Hill was an Australian television soap opera made in 1988 by the Reg Grundy Organisation for the Ten Network. It was devised by Reg Watson who also created Neighbours. It debuted 27 January...  more
  • 19
    8
    15

    Cop Shop

    Lynda Stoner, Rowena Wallace

    Premiered1977

    Cop Shop is a long running Australian police drama television series produced by Crawford Productions that ran for eight seasons between November 1977 and July 1984. It comprised 582 one hour...  more
  • 20
    2
    7

    Possession

    Anne Charleston, Bryan Marshall
  • 21
    5
    11

    E Street

    Simon Baker, Melissa Tkautz

    Premiered1989

    E Street was an Australian television soap opera created by Forrest Redlich and produced by Network Ten from 24 January 1989 to 13 May 1993. Whereas Neighbours is set in a middle-class suburb, Home...  more
  • 22
    5
    12

    The Unisexers

    Steven Tandy, Tina Bursill

    PremieredFebruary 9, 1975

  • 23
    0
    10

    Until Tomorrow

    Barry Otto, Hazel Phillips
  • 24
    7
    20

    The Restless Years

    Rebecca Rigg, Ron Haddrick

    Premiered1977

    The Restless Years is an Australian soap opera which followed the lives of several Sydney school-leavers and young adults. It was produced by the Reg Grundy Organisation for Network Ten. It debuted...  more
  • 25
    7
    20

    Something in the Air

    Eric Bana, Emily Browning

    Premiered2000

    Something in the Air was an Australian television soap opera transmitted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 2000 and 2002. It was one of the first programs in Australia that was...  more