Boasting a vibrant economy, an array of cafes, bars and restaurants of every description, and some of the world’s best beaches just down the road, Brisbane is as close to that ideal city you’ve been dreaming of as it can get!
Living in Brisbane
Sitting on the banks of the river after which it is named and stretching to the coast of Moreton Bay, Brisbane is a city of almost unending waterfront and a wide variety of stunning vistas. While Sydney and Melbourne have long been considered the most impressive of Australian cities, Brisbane has been making waves of late and has become a genuine contender for the title of Australia’s best city by the number of people moving to Australia.
Source: Flickr | Su-Hwan Pyo
Located just up the north eastern coast of Australia from the surfer’s paradise of the Gold Coast, Brisbane is larger, more populous and more economically active than its near neighbour but it also has a distinctly more relaxed feel.
The city sits on the coast of the beautifully blue Coral Sea and is surrounded by national parks. The subtropical climate allows one to take equal pleasure from the city’s many beaches as from the copious green spaces and waterside watering holes. The diversified economy, diverse population and vibrant cultural life creates a prosperous, tolerant atmosphere in which arts and culture are held in high esteem.
Whereas Brisbane may have been overlooked by international movers in years gone by as just a ‘big country town’ it’s now no longer possible to write off a city charging into the 21st century on the back of high-tech industry and judicious re-investment in public works (from roads, railways and bridges to world class arts and sporting venues).
If you are looking for a great place to start a new life you’ll be hard pressed to find a place better than Brisbane.
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The economy in Brisbane is one of Australia’s strongest right now – currently valued at 135 AUD billion, it is expected to reach 217 AUD billion by the year 2031. While the rate of unemployment is hovering around 5.7%, there are still plenty of jobs to be had, with economic growth strongest in industries related to manufacturing, IT, clean energy production, biotech and diagnostics. The ability to speak English fluently is a definite advantage for those seeking skilled positions.
Brisbane plays an important role in supporting Queensland’s mining industry, both in terms of providing essential services as well as the development of specialized technologies.
This vibrant city is also home to a number of industry giants, including Australia’s largest recycling waste management company, Transpacific Industries Group, as well as Australia’s second largest gold producer, Lihir Gold.
While the cost of living in Brisbane is far from Australia’s cheapest, it is considerably less than that of Sydney or Melbourne. In Brisbane you would need only 6,114 AUD to maintain the same standard of living that would cost you 7,000 AUD in Sydney. The median weekly household income in Brisbane is 1,388 AUD, which is more than Melbourne but slightly less than Sydney.
Brisbane’s transportation system may not be as comprehensive as Melbourne’s famed public transit, but you can get virtually anywhere in the city via train, bus, ferry or tram. With a Translink go card, you can save money on fares, though a one-way ticket via Zone 1 currently costs 4.80 AUD.
The city is actively encouraging residents to cycle to work, while many people choose to drive to and from their jobs. New cars can be purchased for 26,000 AUD on average.
A night out on the town for two at a decent restaurant would cost around 70 AUD, while fastfood is under 10 AUD. Knock back a few beers at 6-7 AUD each, or grab a cuppa for just over 4 AUD.
As with most cities, it is cheaper to get food from the markets, with most of the staples (bread, milk, cheese) being cheaper here in Brisbane compared to Melbourne, Perth or Sydney.
Source: Flickr | Nam Ngyuen
Whether your ideal home is an old-style Queenslander, an inner city apartment, or a converted warehouse, in Brisbane, living on a tree-lined street in a community where people actually know each other’s names is an everyday reality.
Renting or buying an apartment in Brisbane is cheaper than in Sydney, regardless of whether you are looking at the inner city or outside of it, with rent in Brisbane on average 27% lower.
Buying in Brisbane
Brisbane’s property market has been slowly chugging along over the past 18 months, and though it has been overshadowed by the frantic growth of Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane currently owns Australia’s third hottest real estate market.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, Brisbane’s house prices have risen by 13.6% annually since the year 2000, though the average house price in Brisbane at the end of 2014 was only 466,500 AUD compared to 850,000 AUD in Sydney. There are also a wide range of housing options available in Brisbane, including apartments, converted warehouses and large Queenslander style homes.
Renting in Brisbane
For a furnished two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in the trendy area of Fortitude Valley, you can expect to pay around 550 AUD per week. As with large cities, the further away from the CBD you live the cheaper the rent; a 3 bedroom apartment inside the CBD can cost 3,100 AUD per month while the same type of apartment can be only 1,700 AUD a month in the suburbs. Use real estate websites to help give you a better idea of what’s available in Brisbane.
Tired of living in a crowded, dirty city where you don’t even know your neighbours? Want to live somewhere that is close enough to work that you can leave your car at home and walk or ride your bike instead? Ever dreamt of having an avocado tree growing in your own backyard?
Brisbane has become well known in recent years for its vibrant communities, so no matter which part of town you move to you can expect a decent welcome. There are parks all throughout the city, most neighbourhoods are close to either the river or the ocean and almost every area has its own annual community festival. This diverse city has an area to suit just about anyone; here are a few good options:
Family friendly: Bardon – featuring wide, tree-lined streets and a country-town feel, Bardon is quiet, pretty and close to shops, transportation and bushwalking trails.
St. Lucia – located close to the University of Queensland and bordered by the Brisbane River, St. Lucia is safe and quiet with plenty of trees and cute 50’s-style houses.
Rosalie – while housing in Rosalie isn’t the cheapest in town it is a great place to raise a family. It is close to shops, cafes, cinemas and lies within walking distance of the CBD.
Upmarket: Ascot – if you are looking for a large house close to private schools with great city views, you will love Ascot. This is one of Brisbane’s oldest and most prestigious neighbourhoods.
Kangaroo Point – formerly a working class area, Kangaroo Point is now home to many of Brisbane’s millionaires. It boasts stunning city views and is close to both rivers and parks.
Bulimba – with wide leafy streets, a relaxed village style atmosphere and its own craft brew pub, this upmarket area feels a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Hip and trendy: Fortitude Valley – known to its hip residents as ‘the valley’, this trendy area is where you will find local designers, galleries, bars, restaurants and New York style converted warehouses.
Tenerife – home to some of the city’s best restaurants, cafes and independent bookstores, Tenerife is close to the Brisbane River and an ideal place for those who are hip and child-free.
Paddington – featuring an artsy vibe, antique shops and a seemingly endless array of bars and restaurants, Paddington is a bona fide hipster’s paradise.
- Up and coming: Kedron – quiet, affordable and close to parks, shops and transportation, this area has a wonder
ful mix of seniors, students and families and is a famously friendly community. Kelvin Grove – one of the city’s most underrated suburbs, Kelvin Grove is close to the CBD and has beautiful tree-lined streets, a wide range of housing and a fabulous weekend market. Indooroopilly – this diverse area remains one of Brisbane’s best kept secrets. It has a wide range of affordable housing, plenty of great cafes and even has its own independent cinema.
Source: Flickr | Nam Ngyuen
Cost of moving to Brisbane
The cost of moving to Brisbane will vary considerably depending on the amount you have to move and the distance it needs to travel. The following are estimates based on the cost of moving a 20 foot shipping container:
|Los Angeles||£2,530 GBP|
Brisbane’s nightlife is considered by many to be as good, or even better, than the likes of Sydney and Melbourne. Home to Australia’s first ever designated entertainment precinct – located in Fortitude Valley – you can find everything from dance clubs and outdoor beer gardens to rooftop cocktail lounges and underground jazz clubs.
In the Eagle Street Pier precinct you will find a huge array of restaurants, bars and cafes, and whether you are after live music, comedy clubs or a friendly pub, Brisbane’s West End will not disappoint.
Catch a day-night game of cricket at the Gabba, get swept away by the sounds of the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra or let loose at one of the many festivals, such as the LUMINOUS Lantern Parade or the Sea n Beats Music Festival.
Schools and education
Brisbane has approximately 544 schools, roughly 2/3 of which are public, and while there is only one designated International school, several others offer International Baccalaureate programs. Students from non-English speaking backgrounds are also eligible for assistance through EQI (Education Queensland International) programs.
Universities in Brisbane
As for post-secondary education, Brisbane provides a wide array of opportunities, ranging from community colleges and technical institutions through to schools for students of hospitality, business and trades. There are also a number of world class universities, the three highest ranked (according to the World University Rankings) are the following;
- University of Queensland (Ranked 43) – Specialties include Law, Governance, Science, Arts, Humanities, Veterinary Science and Public Service.
- Queensland University of Technology (Ranked 285) – Specialties include Education, Health, Science, Engineering, Business and Creative Industries.
- Griffith University (Ranked 324) – Specialties include Nursing, IT, Digital Media, Commerce, International Business, Public Relations, Design and Exercise Science.
Brisbane's ranking against the world
For a city that was long regarded as nothing but a large country town, Brisbane has sure been turning some heads of late. The Mercer Quality of Living Global Survey recently ranked Brisbane the 37th best city in the world for quality of life and Monocle Magazine named Brisbane the 25th most liveable city in the world last year. To compare, Melbourne (1st), Adelaide (5th), Sydney (6th) and Perth (7th) all made it into the EIU’s top 10 liveable cities list.
Brisbane is home to the National Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, the Gabba regularly hosts international sporting fixtures, and, in 2014 Brisbane was the site of the G8 summit for world leaders. The local innovation and technology industries are among the best in the world and energy and resource companies inject an estimated 25 billion AUD annually into the economy in Brisbane.
This vibrant place is also one of Australia’s most diverse cities, with almost 30% of the population born overseas and more than 200 nationalities represented. Fast becoming known as Australia’s World City, Brisbane is an ideal place for expats from almost anywhere who are looking to establish a new home.
A day in the life
Source: Flickr | Rae Allen
Start off your day with a cuppa at your neighbourhood cafe and enjoy some fantastic weather in one of the many parks around the city, before stopping at one of the city’s food trucks. A family cycle around the neighbourhood or to New Farm Park is another option.
If you’re more of a culture buff, Moreton Bay Region has phenomenal and free museums, and there are free screenings at QAGOMA, QPAC and South Bank’s Cultural Centre.
Make sure to catch one of the matches at Suncorp Stadium and cross off the finding your favourite neighborhood restaurant and bars to spend the rest of your evening.
Ready to make the move to Brisbane? Take a look at our guide to Australian visas to see which one best suits your situation