Brisbane

Living in Brisbane

Brisbane South BankBrisbane is the capital of Queensland and Australia’s third largest city. It has a population of around 2.24 million and is located right in the middle on the east coast. Except it isn’t quite on the coast. It was built on the Brisbane River about 15 kms in from the Pacific Ocean.Brisbane Location

A quick glance at any map of Australia will convince you that all the major cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane are all on the beach. They all are, except Brisbane, which is on a mangrove; if you want to know what I mean about that, check out my post The Beaches of Brisbane: A Quick Tour. Perhaps that’s why Brisbane only came 20th in the Economist’s Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Liveability Survey. But London only made 51st, so…..

Any shoreline about 15 kms either side of the mouth of the Brisbane River is a mangrove. Mangroves are intertidal trees and shrubs growing on tropical and subtropical shores. Basically, trees growing on mud. They are highly productive ecosystems, but you can’t build a sand castle on them.

But you’ll still need to bring your bucket and spade, because Brisbane is ideally located for both the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. This accessibility to beaches is one reason why Brisbane pulls in so many tourists. It also has the benefit of a cooler inland climate.

Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast, south of Brisbane), one of Australia’s best know beaches, is about an hour and 10 minutes drive and Caloundra (Sunshine Coast, north) about an hour and a half. The closest sandy beaches to Brisbane are at Redcliffe (north) and Southport (south).

The city itself is very modern, clean and compact. It is easy to navigate and has its own man made “beach” at South Bank Parklands.

What’s the weather like?

Brisbane Annual Weather ChartBrisbane boasts, on average, around seven hours of sunshine each day. It doesn’t really have a “proper” winter, so if shorts and T-shirt are your thing, you can wear them all year round.

The only time it gets anything like resembling “cold”, is usually around July and August at night time when you may, on occasions, need to find some jog bottoms or a jumper to see you through those winter evenings.

Possible severe weather around the Brisbane area could include cyclones and some flooding. So be especially careful where you choose to settle. Brisbane Council has produced a flood areas map which you can download by specific area from  Brisbane Council’s website.

You may also want to check out my post called Brisbane and Queensland Floods: Should We Avoid Living There? Here’s a clue though, Brisbane is where I live and I love it.

You may think this all looks pretty straight forward, but I didn’t describe them as “sprawling suburbs” for nothing. These areas break down into around 80 or more postcodes and each postcode can have 2, 3 or more places to live. All in all, there are about 250 different places around Brisbane that you can choose from to live.

What’s Brisbane Like?

  • Please note: Brisbane is no longer Australia’s fastest-growing city as stated in the commentary, it was a few years ago, but it’s not now.

Brisbane Suburbs Map:

Brisbane Map
The sprawling suburbs can be divided up into 5 areas as follows.

  • Inner Brisbane – Including City, Inner North, Inner South, Inner East and Inner West
  • Northern Suburbs – Including Moreton Bay Islands, Northern Suburbs, North Eastern Suburbs, North Western Suburbs, Outer North Eastern Suburbs and Outer Northern Suburbs
  • Southern Suburbs – Including South Eastern Suburbs, South Western Suburbs and Southern Suburbs
  • Eastern Suburbs – Including Bayside Suburbs and Eastern Suburbs
  • Western Suburbs – Including Outer Western Suburbs and Western Suburbs

Questions about Brisbane?

If you have any question about living in Brisbane, please please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or if you know this city well, why not tell us what you think of it or maybe even help out by answering some of the questions people have about the area. I’m sure anybody thinking of moving here would be very grateful for any help you can give them.

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{ 808 comments… add one }
  • Celeste January 20, 2017, 5:53 am | Link

    Hi there!

    Thank you for this great resource! I am planning to move to Brisbane with my boyfriend (he via the working holiday visa and me via work and holiday subclass 462) in May. Where would you suggest the best parts of the city to find affordable housing? Have you heard of any anecdotal obstacles for working holiday visa housing pursuers? Any advice for us as we start our research for our one year adventure in terms of finding housing? We hope to rent for the whole year of our stay and will need something that is furnished. Thanks for you help!

    -Celeste

  • Marc Kirton January 17, 2017, 8:00 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Great page looked through this a lot over the last 6/12 months.

    We are moving to Australia in May myself, wife, and what will be then our 10 month old Daughter, we are currently so stuck and divided on where to live, between Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Goldcoast, looking for the best of both worlds really want to be in close distant possible to both the CBD and the beach 30/60 mins either way, mostly we would like a nice safe friendly area which i have read most of these areas are, and good schooling for our Daughter, but we are also very out going so walks and parks scenery, we also like shopping nice restaurants and pubs/bars.

    I work in Oil and gas Engineering so my work might take me away from time to time and my wife is a Radiotherapist so will be looking for part time work in a Hospital or Private cancer treatment centre. We would also be attending lots of activities, groups, especially with our daughter as we feel this will also benefit us on meeting people.

    Any Advice on these Different places and what you would recommend for a young family would be much appreciated??

    Thanks in advance.

    Marc

    • BobinOz January 18, 2017, 1:19 am | Link

      I think all of the places you are considering are great places to live, if I were you though, I’d go to wherever you can find work. Life can be quite difficult if nobody is bringing in any income.

      Brisbane is likely to offer you the most job opportunities, then Gold Coast, but Sunshine Coast is known to be poor for jobs. It can also be a bit quiet, so not great for pubs, restaurants or night-time entertainment. So Brisbane is probably your best bet, but it will take you just over an hour to drive either north or south to get to some decent beaches.

      That said, if you can find work in either SC or GC, they can be great places to live. So I say go where the work is, you can research that on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

  • Natalie green January 15, 2017, 3:46 am | Link

    Hi, me and my wife and 2 kids have wanted to move to australia for a while but have now decided to go for it, we are in the early stages at the minute and just got a migration solicitor to help as its quite a mine field! we live in the UK. Im a qualified air conditioning mechanic so hoping they are jobs out there? We are looking to move to brisbane, any tips on where? Not far from the city but not too close as we are wanting to leave city life behind! Good schools, hospitals, beaches, eating out that type of advice aswell would be good and any other tips would be great too! Thanks Dan 🙂

    • BobinOz January 15, 2017, 7:02 pm | Link

      You might want to check out the link in the above article about Brisbane’s beaches, as we don’t do those very well. If after checking out that post you still think Brisbane is for you, have a skim through the comments here as there is a lot of chat about the suburbs to see if it gives you any ideas.

      For work, obviously that’s a moving target, but you can research opportunities through my links on my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

      Cheers, Bob

    • Allison Kloehs January 17, 2017, 12:25 pm | Link

      There are not actually beaches in Brisbane but you can live close to the water. We like Brighton/ Sandgate but Wynumm seems nice too. If the beach life is what you are after check out the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast.

  • Diana Lyn January 12, 2017, 3:59 pm | Link

    Hello, I am Diana, I received a job offer in Gap Queensland, I am moving there on February 13th, could you please help me find a shared accommodation near to my workplace which is situated in 6 Kilbowie Street, The Gap.

    Thank you very much.

  • Domen January 12, 2017, 6:13 am | Link

    Hi,
    my name is Domen and in june 2017 I’m moving to brisbane for 1-2 years to studdy massage at Australian college of sports and fitness in Brisbane campus.Could you provide me with an advice where to look at for an afordable student shared house or appartement.
    Thanks in advance for the reply!

    Kind regards,
    Domen

    • BobinOz January 12, 2017, 8:03 pm | Link

      I think that’s in St Lucia isn’t it? If so, that’s exactly where I would be looking for cheap student accommodation if I were you, lots of houses and units in the area have been specifically developed for students. By living in St Lucia you will be close to where you will be studying as well as living amongst your fellow students. Good luck, Bob

  • liz January 10, 2017, 8:45 pm | Link

    Hi, my daughter has just been approved for a unit in Water Street, Fortitude Valley, how safe is this area as she will be by herself, attending uni, thanks Liz

    • BobinOz January 12, 2017, 6:18 pm | Link

      Well, first and foremost Brisbane is a very safe city, so I’m sure your daughter will be just fine. But, I do have to tell you that Fortitude Valley is probably (or even almost certainly) Brisbane’s liveliest suburb for nightlife. It’s the place with the most bars, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and music venues.

      The streets can be busy until well into the early hours and things can get a little boisterous at times, which can and sometimes does get out of hand. If you’re daughter likes the quiet life, it’s probably the wrong place for her to be, but if she loves partying late and wants to save having to get a taxi home, it’s ideal 🙂

      Not sure that’s what you wanted to hear, but it is how it is. Good luck, Bob

  • sabina galant January 8, 2017, 10:56 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    First of all I like your site it is very informative and your answered are great. We are an Aussie couple that just came back to OZ after 20 years out of the country. After almost completing a full round around Australia we have decided to live in Brisbane. My work will be in CBD and my hubby will open a food van. We are looking for a suburb that is easy to get to the city by public transportation and we need a place to park the food van. Any thoughts ?

    • BobinOz January 11, 2017, 9:05 pm | Link

      Hi Sabina

      Thanks, glad you like my site.

      Can you tell me more about what you want from a suburb? Close to the coast or the countryside? Cafe culture or quiet life? Big houses on large plots or smaller housing close to the city or major shopping malls?

      Also, knowing your budget would help as prices do vary massively from suburb to suburb.

  • Frankie Morgan January 7, 2017, 8:26 pm | Link

    Hi there – what a great website!!! We are a family of 5 looking to move to the Brisbane area from a north western suburb of Sydney… as my 2 older boys will be post uni, not sure if they will come with us… after years of living in suburbia we are looking for somewhere near (ish) beach and waterways… within 1/2 to 1 hr of Brisbane…. any suggestions of suburbs which could match these requirements….

    • BobinOz January 8, 2017, 2:05 am | Link

      Well, Brisbane isn’t great for beaches, but if you go to Sandgate or any of the nearby surrounding suburbs, you will be on the coast and also have pretty good access to some fantastic beaches on the Sunshine Coast.

      That’s the area I’d be looking in if I were you. Good luck with your house hunting, and thank you for the kind words 🙂

      • Elizabeth January 14, 2017, 8:03 am | Link

        Hi Bob,
        My husband Steve (an Australian citizen, who’s been in the U.K. From 5yrs old) our 3 kids who are 16, 13 and 11 have inherited Australian citizenship now.. just me to get a spouse visa. We really want to move to Australia but I’ve never even been there. Convincing the kids is another story. Our eldest is concerned about her education and thinks she won’t get the choices she has in the UK. I’m not sure which city would be best for their education. Brisbane is at the top of our list and now we’re thinking maybe the Gold Coast.
        You’re right it’s more difficult when they’re older. That’s why we want to be somewhere they would love and make good friends. Could you advise of a good suburb that would be good for secondary school and easy travel to higher education please. We would need affordable housing; would also like to be near cafes, local shops. The kids love out of school activities like football, gymnastics, music lessons etc… Eventually we would like to buy a plot of land to build our own sustainable house.. so being somewhere near that may be of but not a priority.

        I’ve heard mosquitos are an issue in Brisbane, is that true? I’m worried that the kids, being used to the British weather would struggle with the heat. Thank you for being here with such honest and useful information.

        • BobinOz January 14, 2017, 9:18 pm | Link

          Yes, I think I’ve just answered a comment made by your husband, I pointed him to my page called Which school? You can research schools and their performances from there.

          It does get more difficult when they’re older, yours, especially the eldest two, are at that awkward age when they really don’t fancy the change. I think before we start talking about suburbs you need to decide whether you’re going to Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

          My short view on that is Gold Coast would be much more fun for your kids, it’s got great beaches and theme parks, it’s like being on holiday all the time. Brisbane though is one of our major cities and probably would have better schooling choices.

          My preference is Brisbane and just have plenty of days out with your kids to make sure they fall in love with Australia as soon as possible after they’ve got here.

          Mosquitoes are not a specific issue in Brisbane, but they can be in certain suburbs where they have good breeding grounds, places where there might be stagnant water sources nearby. Hope that helps and good luck with your plans.

  • Ruth January 5, 2017, 9:12 am | Link

    Moorooka 6 klms from Brisbane is up a coming .Near buses, trains,schools and parks. Hamilton Road is close to these things.

  • Imran January 4, 2017, 4:19 am | Link

    Hi Mate
    I am planning to relocate to Brisbane this year I am looking for a suburb which has a train station, shopping centre, public school and possibly GP and restaurants within very short walking distances since we will be without car for some time. Safety is also of prime importance.
    Many Thanks for your suggestions

    • BobinOz January 4, 2017, 4:46 pm | Link

      Have a look at Indooroopilly, it has a train station, a bus hub, a state school, a very big shopping centre, doctors, dentists, restaurants, and it’s safe. Well, pretty much all of Brisbane is safe but Indooroopilly is in a very nice area. Hope that helps, Bob

      • Mohammad Imran Shaikh January 4, 2017, 6:24 pm | Link

        Thanks a lot Bob. I am in fact considering Indooroopilly. I was also considering Kuraby area as a friend lives there, is it a good place? I know its quite multicultural and prices are quite decent but could not find it very walking friendly.

        • BobinOz January 5, 2017, 8:21 pm | Link

          I’ve never been to Kuraby, so I couldn’t tell you. I know where it is though, so it wouldn’t be my choice. It would certainly not be compatible with Indooroopilly.

  • Lisa January 3, 2017, 11:59 am | Link

    Hi, we are looking to re locate from Sydney to QLD later this year, looking for a house on 1 to 2 acreages but would still like to be approx 30 mins from Brisbane CBD as I will be relocating to Newstead in Brisbane for my job, any ideas on suburbs to look at?
    We have looked at Eatons Hill but there is not a lot on offer, not too concerned if it is north, south, east or west from the CBD?

    Thanks in advance

    Lisa

    • BobinOz January 3, 2017, 10:01 pm | Link

      Samford Village to the north-west of the CBD is very nice and mostly acreage, definitely worth a look. Southwest you have Pullenvale, Anstead and Upper Brookfield, again all acreage. All are quite affluent suburbs about 30 minutes drive from the city, but that’s with no traffic. So I’m really not sure what the commute time would be, but of course, it’s hard to find acreage much closer to the CBD than that.

  • KLM January 1, 2017, 6:39 pm | Link

    We are a family of five relocating from Melbourne to Brisbane. We have friends in Ashgrove so have found a school for the kids nearby in Bardon. Question is, which suburbs to look in for a good quality rental with a pool? I will likely be working in the CBD so we would like somewhere which is an easy commute to Bardon and CBD, and is a good quality area for a young family (cheap is not necessary). Any recommendations of areas to look at and areas to avoid would be great! Thanks.

    • BobinOz January 2, 2017, 6:13 pm | Link

      I’d take a look around The Gap, I think that would be a good area for a young family. I believe the plot sizes and houses are a bit larger than you would find closer to the city and there will be more open spaces all around.

      Not too far from the city and easy access to Barden, some houses there have great views of the city as well.

  • David December 28, 2016, 11:16 am | Link

    Hi Bob

    I’m moving back to Oz and we are putting Brisbane at the top of the list. Really fed up with Cork Ireland and so looking for advice to start renting.

    As we have 5 kids were looking to rent near park, train station, schools etc.

    Thanks

    David C

    • BobinOz December 29, 2016, 9:48 pm | Link

      Then may I be one of the first to welcome you back 🙂

      Parks are not a problem, Brisbane is literally littered with them, they are everywhere. Schools are everywhere as well, so that just leaves train stations, but we have loads of those as well.

      So I think you need to let us know more about what you want from a suburb, do you want busy, quiet, countryside, coast, shopping, cafe culture, cheap or expensive? Maybe with more information either I or somebody else can help narrow things down a bit for you.

  • Ella Lidis December 25, 2016, 3:02 pm | Link

    Hi,

    I will be relocating from Sydney to Brisbane in 2019 and would like to know areas for families near Brisbane state high school (as I’ve heard wonderful things about this school). I will be selling up in Sydney and buying a house, not renting. Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you

    • BobinOz December 28, 2016, 9:59 pm | Link

      Brisbane State High School is in South Brisbane which is very close to the city centre. If you want a suburb that’s more family orientated, you will probably want to live a little further out I would think. But maybe not?

      For anyone to be able to give meaningful advice on where to live, we would probably need to know more about what you’re looking for. My advice though would be to stay south of the river and maybe try and find out about suburbs that are included on the school bus run, because kids do actually sometimes love the independence of getting the school bus.

  • Sahil December 24, 2016, 12:47 am | Link

    Hi bro,

    Thanks for providing valuable info.

    Soon I will migrate to Queensland with my family. Kindly suggest me the area where I should search rented place to live. Area should be safe, economical and with in approach to public transport.

    Your response would be appreciable

    • BobinOz December 24, 2016, 6:08 pm | Link

      Queensland is a huge state, seven times the size of the UK I think. You will need to be more specific about your needs, otherwise it’s impossible to advise you. Will you be working when you get here and if so, do you know where?

  • Kat November 27, 2016, 9:25 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, thanks for the great site! My partner is with the ADF and hopes to be posted to Brisbane next year. We’re in our late 20s/early 30s and I work in PR, so I’m assuming likely to be working in the city. We like eating out, being amongst at least some nature/exercising/exploring, and I’d love to be near a decent shopping center. We’re not parties/clubbers but don’t mind being near somewhere with a bit of buzz. I’m not fussed if we live in a unit or house. I’ll probably take public transport to work while partner may drive to barracks. We’re in Manly (Sydney) now and love it, although I understand about the beach situation in Brisbane! I know we may be offered ADF housing (which suburbs are these most commonly in?) but if we rent privately where would you recommend? Thank you so much!

    • BobinOz November 29, 2016, 7:26 pm | Link

      Hi Kat and thanks, I’m glad you like it.

      Well, I don’t know where the ADF houses are, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be in New Farm, Teneriffe or Newstead and that’s where I think you should take a look. Lots of apartments around the area and I keep reading Brisbane has an oversupply of those at the moment, so rents should be reasonably attractive.

      These areas are very young and trendy, lots of bars and restaurants, river walks, parks and very good access to the city. Hope that helps and good luck with your move. Cheers, Bob

      • Kat November 29, 2016, 8:29 pm | Link

        Hi Bob, thanks for the response. I’ve had a look and those areas look great, and seem to at least be on the same side of the river as the barracks, which I’m sure is a big plus. Thanks again!

        • BobinOz November 30, 2016, 11:10 pm | Link

          My pleasure, happy house hunting Kat.

  • Neil November 24, 2016, 12:24 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Great Website!

    My family and I are looking to return to Australia in the next 12 months, we previously spent 5 1/2 years in Sydney before returning to the UK when kids arrived. We have become a bit tired of the UK lifestyle and weather again so we are looking to make the permanent move. This time we are thinking Brisbane, as the affordability of buying a house in a suburb that is not too far from the city or the coast really interests us.

    We have 2 young children who will be nearly 3 and 1/2 when we come back, so we are looking for some advice on best places to start looking to live. We realise that we would need to rent and find our feet first (not to mention find work again).

    It is likely that we would both work in the city, but need to find good childcare local to home. I am also a keen golfer, so something close to a decent course would be good for me. Plus all the usual amenities that we would want as adults (cafe’s, gyms) and the kids (parks, clubs, swimming etc.)

    Would be grateful for an recommendations you have.

    Thanks

    Neil

    • BobinOz November 24, 2016, 9:02 pm | Link

      Hi Neil

      Glad to hear you like my website, thank you.

      There are so many suburbs around Brisbane that will fit the bill for you, it’s difficult to point you in the right direction at this stage. We have gyms, swimming pools, clubs and parks everywhere, and almost all suburbs are good for bringing up children. I’m not so up on the best places for golf or childcare, so maybe somebody else reading this can give you advice about that.

      But I think before we can properly advise, we need to know what your budget is, because you can rent here for $400 per week, but in some of the suburbs closer to the city you may have to double that.

      I live in western suburbs, and I can tell you that Bellbowrie has an Olympic size swimming pool and a gym, but is not good for cafe culture and it will take about an hour plus or minus to commute into the city. There is a golf course about 10 minutes drive away in Karana Downs.

      I know there are a lot of comments here, but it would be worth you skim reading through them to see what others have said about the various suburbs to live in Brisbane as I’m sure you will find it very helpful.

      Good luck with your search, and welcome back to Australia when you get here. Bob

  • Domo November 22, 2016, 10:07 am | Link

    hi mate, I’m looking at making the move to Brisbane with my partner and two young kids. we are moving from the Whitsundays in north Queensland. interested on your opinion on where to live as we don’t know the area.
    looking for somewhere very friendly that’s close to the beaches, as well as nice shops and restaurants. your advice would be so grateful. thanks mate

    • BobinOz November 22, 2016, 8:31 pm | Link

      Hi Domo

      Well, I’m afraid we don’t have beaches the like of which you are used to in the Whitsundays, check out the link in the above article (second paragraph) to go on a tour of Brisbane’s beaches.

      That said, I’d suggest you take a look at Sandgate and Cleveland. Both are on the coast, they each have a reasonably lively scene around them with bars and restaurants, are friendly and will give you good access to the motorways so you can escape to either the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast to visit a proper golden sandy beach when you want to.

      Hope that helps, cheers, Bob

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