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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{ 936 comments… add one }
  • Susan May 24, 2017, 1:14 pm | Link

    Hello Bob
    any ideas about asthma in Brisbane? We have heard that Rochedale is a bad place for asthma, also the North Western suburbs. Clearly inner city is not on.
    thank you.

  • Katie May 23, 2017, 5:39 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I stumbled across your website today and have been finding it very useful, thanks for taking the time to put this information out on the interweb.
    I am an Aussie, originally from Melb, but am living in France currently. My son is wanting to move back to Australia in September this year, and has chosen Brisbane as his destination, even though he’s never been there. Growing up though, he has spent a lot of time on the Gold Coast, and loves the warmth Sth Qld offers. He wants to find an apprenticeship in Cabinet Making, so wont be earning a lot of money for at least 4 years, so I thought perhaps we might buy an apartment as an investment that he might use for a bit, which we could later rent out. I’m aware there is quite the oversupply of apartments in Brisbane, and it is really difficult to narrow down our search, so I thought you might have some suggestions. Considering I will be living on the other side of the planet, I would like some peace of mind that he is living in a relatively safe neighbourhood, with easy access to shops etc. He will have a car, so regardless of where he gets a job, he can commute, but it would be nice for him to be in an active area so he can meet new people. Having said that, we live in rural France, so he is not used to City living at all, so an area with a village or strong community feel would be ideal, to reduce his culture shock. I hope such an area exists, thanks for your time, Katie

  • Chris May 13, 2017, 3:04 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    I’m moving my family up to Brisbane from Geelong shortly (I’m English, originally from Kent but have lived in Oz for 9 years, wife is from Melbourne). I’ll be working in lutwyche and would really appreciate any information/ guidance on 1. soccer clubs – my 10 year old son plays for the current best under-12 team in Victoria and is sport-mad and 2. Ballet clubs – my 9 year old daughter is ballet and dance-mad and competes at a state-level. She also loves horse-riding. If I can make sure the kids are happy by finding them great clubs and top school (private or state) that just leaves the boss to satisfy:) she is after a beautiful rental house (around $1k per week) in an area with views, a pool, room for the border collie to run in, interesting architecture, green spaces and a great community. As for me if I can get somewhere no more than a 40-min commute to work and I can solve the above then I’m a happy man. Any pointers you can give would be great and keep up the good work!

    • BobinOz May 15, 2017, 5:45 pm | Link

      Well, with that budget, you could probably rent a house with great views overlooking the river from places like Hamilton (probably Brisbane’s most affluent suburb), New Farm or Ascot, but being in the city you might not get the green spaces you want. The Gap to the west would be worth a look, it’s on high ground and there are some very nice houses there with good views and you will have more space around you.

      For even more greenery, and if the commute isn’t too far for you, Samford Village is worth a look, your daughter would love it there, lots of horses. It has a great community feel as well. Unfortunately your dog may restrict you in the rental market.

      Queensland Ballet is located in West End. As for football for your son, have a look at, they have an under 11’s league and you can see the league table so you can pick out the better teams. Good luck, Bob

      • Jeremy May 21, 2017, 7:41 am | Link

        about the soccer club, I’ve heard FC Barcelona will open a new soccer school in Brisbane, very soon!

  • Agnès May 12, 2017, 10:01 pm | Link

    Dear Bob
    Great thanks for your amazing website full of usefull info.
    My son and 2 of his friends are 18 and will go to Brisbane in September for a year to study english and work to pay their living….
    Will that be difficult for them to rent a flat (considering their age?).
    Where is it best for them to live, any specific area that will be perfect for them?
    Thanks in advance for your advice

    • BobinOz May 15, 2017, 5:03 pm | Link

      Hi Agnès, thanks for the kind words.

      I don’t think your son and his friends will have problems renting, plenty of students do and I would advise looking somewhere close to where they will be studying so they can live amongst most of the other students. That will make it easier for them to get to know the others and also to socialise with them.

      If they are attending university, there is usually plenty of housing converted specifically for renting out to students close to the campus, so that’s where I would head if I were them.

  • portu April 30, 2017, 2:41 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Congratulations on your website. It is really helpful.
    We are a Spanish family of 5 moving to Brisbane next July. I will be working at Princess Alexandra Hospital and would like to know about good neighbourhoods to live in. We are looking for a house in a well connected place as I’d rather commute to the hospital easily, not very far from CBD, if possible. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help us out.

    • BobinOz May 2, 2017, 6:35 pm | Link

      Thanks Portu, glad you like my site.

      I don’t really know all of the surrounding suburbs well enough, but I have been to Woolloongabba, Hawthorne and Bulimba and they are all very nice suburbs. On the other side of the river, New Farm, Teneriffe and Newstead are also good.

      For the record, Hamilton is be the most sought after and affluent suburb in Brisbane. So that would be good, but very expensive. It’s probably fair to say that all of a suburbs I have mentioned here are quite expensive, but that’s the price you pay if you want to be close to the city. Hope that helps, Bob

      • portu May 3, 2017, 12:40 am | Link

        Thanks for your time, Bob. Very kind of you.

        • Alan May 6, 2017, 4:14 pm | Link

          Hi Portu,
          Depending on the age of the children in your family, you may like Coorparoo and Camp Hill. We have a young family and find there’s a lot of great parks, outdoor pools and shopping centres with play areas around here. The cost of houses is also a little cheaper than Bulimba, Hawthorne and certainly Hamilton. Commuting to your hospital would also be very easy from Coorparoo with regular buses or easy driving access taking around 5-10 minutes.
          Bulimba and Hawthorne have a little more going on for teenagers. There’s Oxford Street which has a great eating, drinking, cafe culture, as well as parks, a cinema and so on. It’s a little further away on the bus to work for you, but you may find the area is worth it.
          Bulimba ferry also goes to New Farm in around 20 minutes where there’s another great park and an easy walk into the shops and restaurants of James Street.
          Good luck.


  • Sylvia Cuenca April 29, 2017, 2:53 am | Link

    Hi bob,

    Thank you so much for all of the information you have provided.
    I’ve some few randoms questions for you. They might sound a little silly, but i cant seem to find my answers anywhere! That being said, I’ll really appreciate your opinion. 🙂
    Would you say Brisbane is a pet friendly city? I’m planning on taking my dog with me. What can you tell me about green areas? How hard do you think it would be like to find a pet friendly place to live in? And, about the weather. I’m curious. All i’ve ever known are the beaches down in the Pacific and the Caribbean Coast (Latin American beaches – mexicans are my absolute favorites). I love that tropical kind of weather. I know Brisbane is only an hour or so from the beach. How would you describe Australian beaches? Can you get a tan in Brisbane or/and at the beach? (this is really bugging me cause like??? why is it so hard to find an answer for such an easy question?? haha) What about humidity? Would you mind telling me some of the differences between American vs Australian beaches? i also lived for a while in British Columbia, Canada and, ah… around canadian beaches. Can’t (and wont) say I’m a big fan. I just dont really appreciate cold weather.


    • BobinOz May 2, 2017, 6:14 pm | Link

      Well, if I can be frank, I’m astonished you cannot find the answers to these questions because they are all here on this very website. I’ve written about dog parks, I’ve written about how green it is around Brisbane and elsewhere in Australia, I’ve written tons of posts about the weather and even on this page, towards the top, there is a link to a post about the beaches in and surrounding Brisbane.

      I even have a weather chart describing Brisbane’s weather in glorious colour on this very page. It’s all here, you just need to look, or use the search box towards the top right hand side of every page. Good luck, Bob

  • SB April 27, 2017, 7:40 am | Link

    We are moving to brisbane in the summer from the UK. Not sure where to move to. Hubby will be working in Forestlake. I’ve been reading about Springfield Lakes, Forest Lake, Sunnybank hills….not sure how to decide but want to try and get to right as don’t want to move the young kids school too often. We are looking to rent for 6 months then buy. We want an easy place to live and commute to St Lucia…..let’s say max 45 minutes. Any advice???

    • BobinOz April 27, 2017, 5:47 pm | Link

      Well, I don’t really know what any of the places you mention I like to actually live in, but I can tell you that Sunnybank has very much a Chinese/Asian feel about it, and Springfield Lakes is a very new development that is rapidly expanding.

      I think they are both decent enough places to live in, but they would leave you with quite a commute to St Lucia. It might be worth you looking at Jindalee, Mount Ommaney and Middle Park areas, they are quite nice. I know nothing much about Forest Lake, but hopefully someone who does will see your comment and help out on that and maybe some of the other areas you are looking at.

  • Jess April 25, 2017, 1:37 pm | Link

    Hi bob!
    Thanks so much for all of your tips, your website has been so helpful!
    My boyfriend and I (both 26) are planning to move from Canada to Australia in January/18. We had our eye on Brisbane and I was wondering if you could suggest a few areas to live in that aren’t crazy expensive, but near the CBD (I believe where a lot of jobs are?)
    We won’t have a car so somewhere that is easily commutable, which brings me to my second question- is the public transit decent in Brisbane?? Even if you’re looking to take trips to places such as the Gold Coast?
    It also looks like there are several beaches around the Brisbane area like in redcliffe-are these beaches swimmable?

    Thanks for all of your help!

    • BobinOz April 26, 2017, 5:29 pm | Link

      Hi Jess

      Yes, I suspect it’s true to say that there are more jobs available in the CBD than surrounds, but I’m not sure it can be described as ‘a lot of jobs’. The job market here isn’t fantastic at the moment, but there are jobs about.

      Brisbane housing costs are very reasonable though, and being as it is just the two of you, you may want to consider renting an apartment close to the city centre, maybe somewhere like New Farm, Teneriffe or Newstead. All are young and trendy suburbs and close to the nightlife.

      If you want to live further out to bring the costs down, may I suggest you Google the ‘Brisbane railway map’, as getting the train into town would always be much easier than jumping on a bus.

      You can research house prices on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      Gold Coast isn’t easy to get to by public transport, I think it can take up to 3 hours by train and bus, which kind of takes the fun out of it. To take a tour around Brisbane’s beaches, please click on the link towards the top of the above article.

  • Nelina April 23, 2017, 3:56 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I am an Indian presently in Singapore. Both myself and hubby are in to IT field. First of all making decision to mov to Australia from the safety and tc benefits of Singapore was difficult. On top my Husband has job offer from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. My kid has eczema and asthma. May I know your opinion which city will be better. We are not party people. Rather spend time as family. And one more thing is the skin cancer issue is more in Queensland rather than NSWand Victoria.

    • BobinOz April 24, 2017, 8:13 pm | Link

      If you Google it, I think you will find that Melbourne was recently found to be the allergy capital of the world. That may not help with your kids eczema and asthma. Housing in Melbourne and Sydney is extraordinary expensive, so if you’re husband is likely to earn about the same money in Brisbane as he would in the other two cities, then I can assure you your lifestyle will be much better if you choose to come to Queensland.

      As for skin cancer, it’s only an issue if you allow it to be and I’m not really certain there is any difference between the three states. Just use the correct protection, a hat, long sleeves, use a safe sunscreen, or just don’t hang out in the sun for too long and you’ll all be fine.

      Brisbane is a great place to bring up children, and as you are not party people, that’s where I would choose out of the three if I were you.

      • Nelina April 25, 2017, 7:28 pm | Link

        Hi Bob,

        Thank you. Really appreciate the time you are taking to help by replying.

  • Jack April 21, 2017, 11:23 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I just graduated from college in the United States with a degree in Aviation Management. Since I was young, I have always wanted to work for an airline and I have had a passion for geography and travel for as long as I can remember. I’m looking for a new adventure by moving to Australia. I have always admired it. Anyways, I have a job offer from Qantas in Sydney, and from Virgin in Brisbane. I am torn between the two options and don’t know the area well enough to confidently decide. Which city do you think would be better to live in for a newcomer to Australia?


    • BobinOz April 21, 2017, 6:45 pm | Link

      Well, I live in Brisbane, not Sydney, and I love it here so I am naturally biased. If you’re going to be earning the same kind of money from each job, financially you will definitely be better off in Brisbane. It’s a much cheaper city to live in, housing costs in Sydney have got quite out of control.

      If you like your city to be a little bit more laid-back and sprawling with hot summers and warm winters, again, Brisbane wins.

      If you want your city to be busy and a little more crowded, and you want four seasons. Then maybe Sydney his for you. I think it will be worth you reading my page A Quick Guide to Choosing a City in Australia and reading the sections on both Brisbane and Sydney before making your mind up.

      Hope that helps and good luck whichever city you decide to move to.

      • Jack April 22, 2017, 9:49 am | Link

        Thanks, that does help a lot and I would virtually be making the same salary at each company. I was unaware of the living costs differences, and that is a large factor. Again, Thanks

  • Fiona April 17, 2017, 5:30 am | Link

    Hi myself, husband and 3 kids are considering emigrating to Brisbane. I am a nurse, he’s in IT. We have been on a reccy trip to Melbourne which we liked but it’s not very different from UK and not v. warm. I have seen that you recommend Brisbane – could you give us an idea of good suburbs – we need links to city but don’t want to be right in the middle. Thanks, Fiona

    • BobinOz April 18, 2017, 9:10 pm | Link

      Well, I can assure you that Brisbane is every different from the UK and v. warm, you won’t be disappointed. We have lots of suburbs with close links to the city, so you will need to give me more information about what you want from where you live for me to be able to answer.

      Parks, open spaces, nightlife, shops, quiet, expensive, cheap? Do you know which hospital you will be working at?

  • AK April 13, 2017, 7:05 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for all the time and effort you have put into this. Very good procrastination material.

    No doubt you are tired of answering these types of questions but ask I shall 🙂

    We are comsidering a move to Brisbane. I’m trying to convince the better half, whom is happy in London, as we live quite comfortably, in a great area. However, as I was born in Africa I have fond memories of the lifestyle warm weather can provide. The better half, however, is not influenced by weather. In fact the only time she mentions it is when it’s too hot. So that’s is a problem I need to find a solution to as I’m not sure she will be happy in the sweltering heat.

    I’m en devouring to put forward a good case. And my case will use the children, of which we have two. There is the obvious lifestyle benefits for them. However what I am trying to ascertain is whether a £150k salary will allow us to rent a nice 4 bedroom house in the best area and allow us to send the kids to private school. I know it will be tight, but if it is possible then I think I’m onto a winner. The £150k is just what i expect to earn (before tax). Not taking into consideration her salary. She is a qualified accountant, so I assume she could get something decent. However the hope would be that she doesn’t have to work whilst we settle in for the first year or two.

    Thanks in advance.

    PS The reason why we choose Brisbane is because we have family there.

    • BobinOz April 17, 2017, 9:04 pm | Link

      Difficult to answer this one, as you say, I think it will be tight. When you say rent in the ‘best’ area, do you mean the most expensive? For example, the suburb of Hamilton which overlooks the river close to the city is probably one of our most expensive, but I’m not sure it would be best for you. Living in the heart of the city is not always the best place to be for children.

      On the other hand, suburbs like Pullenvale and those that surround it offer wide open spaces, lots of green grass, massive houses with swimming pools, it is also a very affluent area and rents are not cheap, but I think they would be cheaper than Hamilton.

      May I suggest you check houses and rental costs on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia?

      As for private education, again, costs can vary wildly, I wrote about it reasonably recently in this post…

      Prices also vary depending on the age of your children, roughly speaking you can pay anything from around $7000 to probably $20,000+ depending on the school. No matter how much you pay for rent or education though, you won’t be able to do anything about the weather here; it’s gonna be hot.

      Good luck convincing your other half about that 🙂

  • Gbrinda April 13, 2017, 1:40 pm | Link

    Firstly, thank you for the wonderful information.
    Actually, I am from a developing country in Asia.I am planning to study in University of the Sunshine Coast and come with my wife in Brisbane. Where will be the best place for accommodation? And can you tell me about the jobs we can get while living in Australia? What sort of jobs are available in Brisbane? We will probably live for 3 years there in Brisbane. Thank you.

    • BobinOz April 17, 2017, 8:51 pm | Link

      Thank you, glad you like.

      I’m bit confused though about exactly where you want to live though, because if you are going to the University of the Sunshine Coast, you do not want to be living in Brisbane, it would just be too far to travel for the uni.

      From where I live in Brisbane, for example, it would take me a good hour and a half to get to Sippy Downs where the uni is, and that’s by car with little or no traffic problems. So how far away from your uni are you prepared to live?

      As for jobs, your best bet would to be to do some research using the links on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

      • Gbrinda April 17, 2017, 9:41 pm | Link

        thanks a lot, Bob. Actually i have applied to USC South Bank.

        • BobinOz April 18, 2017, 9:36 pm | Link

          Ah, beg your pardon. In that case, try and find out from the uni where the local cheap student accommodation is, I was think is best to try and live close to your fellow students, it helps you to socialise with them.

          Alternatively, New Farm, Newstead and Teneriffe are all quite good suburbs, and Woolloongabba, which is on the right side of the river for you is definitely worth a look.

          • Gbrinda April 18, 2017, 9:40 pm | Link

            Thanks a lot.I will definitely go for it.

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