Brisbane and Queensland Floods: Should We Avoid Living There?

As most of you will know, last year’s floods were as a result of us being in the middle of a very strong La Niña event. When she is around, it rains a lot. The opposite of a La Niña is an El Niño. When he is around, Australia can go into drought.

I explained it all very briefly in my post called The Australian Climate: El Niño and La Niña. That was written in August 2009 when we were definitely having an El Niño. Despite it being winter, temperatures were hitting 36°C.

Ah, those were the days.

For a while, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to get in 2012, an El Niño or a La Niña.

If you read my post from January 25th this year called Becoming an Australian Citizen, you will probably have worked out that we are in fact in a La Niña. Brisbane was again being bashed by rain reminiscent of the previous year’s floods.

This was what was happening around a week ago…..

Bundaberg, Gold Coast and Burpengary

But since then we have had some glorious weather, temperatures have been around 30°C and it’s stopped raining.

Except it hasn’t really stopped raining, the rain just moved on.

As the weathermen said at the end of the above video, he expected the rains to move west. They did…

St George

Roma, Moree and Mitchell.

All of these towns are around 500 km west of Brisbane, with Roma and Mitchell being slightly North of us, St George’s directly to our west and Moree slightly to our south just over the border in the state of New South Wales.

Brisbane: Too Wet?

Lately, I’ve been getting emails from people who have been thinking of moving to Brisbane, but now think it’s just too wet.

So, should Brisbane or even Queensland be avoided?

Let’s start with Queensland. It’s a big place. As my page about Queensland says, “If it were a country in its own right, it would be the 18th biggest in the world, just behind Libya. The UK could fit into it over 7 times and it is the same size as America’s biggest state, Alaska.

Not everywhere in Queensland is prone to flooding, but some places certainly are. I believe all of the areas mentioned in the above videos have been flooded once or twice before over the last couple of years.

So a bit of research before you decide where you want to settle down would not go amiss.

And what of Brisbane?

Brisbane is subtropical. As such, we get relatively warm winters, to the extent where I wouldn’t call it winter at all, and hot summers. But we can get a lot of rain in the summer, or we can get drought.

It’s all down to whoever is in charge; La Niña or El Niño.

I have now lived in Brisbane for over four years and I wouldn’t go back to the English weather for all the tea in China. And remember, for two of those years Queensland has had some of their worst rainfalls in living memory.

So no, Brisbane isn’t to be avoided. Just do your research before you choose which house you buy and where.

Avoid buying your house in a flood zone or flash flood prone area. When we are having a downpour, stay indoors and don’t try to drive anywhere.

A link to flood maps can be found on my page about Brisbane.

Right now, the residents of St George have been evacuated to shelters set up in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Dalby. I hope they are able to return to their homes soon without too much damage having been done.

For more information about Australia’s extreme weather, please read my post called And Now The Weather: Wet, Hot, Cold….

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • jay July 19, 2018, 12:14 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I have been in Australia for 10 years living in Adelaide, Now I am thinking to moving Brisbane
    Only reason to leave is weather, I suffered a lot of hay fever and allergy of pollen.
    I have settle job and kid in school, but only for humid concern I m thinking to move there.
    How about Logan area? is it safe?? for family
    I dont have enough saving as I hav to find unskilled job like cleaning, process work, taxi etc.

    plz guide


  • Ilyse July 11, 2017, 4:03 am |

    Hi Bob,

    My husband (UK, Naturalised US citizen), myself (US, BRP holder) and our two daughters (2.75 & 1.5 / dual US/U.K. Citizens) and our GSD (we’ve started the tests etc) are going to relocate to Brisbane in the new year. He will be coming over initially when his 457 visa comes through – in parallel we are also having a 186 processed that will hopefully lead to expedited perm residency (and help us when we want to buy a house).

    I’ve read a lot of your website, which is great, and I thought it might be worth asking for advice on a place for him to select to rent. Some bits about us: he will be based from home but will need to travel and go to CBD occasionally. I am also a working professional (HR generalist w/ CIPD accreditation) and when we move I will be actively seeking a new job and ultimately putting our girls back into full time nursery.

    We will be driving and intend to get two cars and fully expect to rent for 6-12 months or however long the fabled 186 takes to process.

    What’s your advice on locations? I really want space and as we’re leaving the UK after 2.5 years I am very open in terms of options to secure it. (Grew up on big American houses). We still own a (big) home in the US and would be looking at a $600k price tag for a place down there. 2.5 years by Cambridge has been more than enough of a tiny house.

    • BobinOz July 12, 2017, 6:00 pm |

      If you want space, and a really nice quiet and family orientated area to bring up your children, then I would look towards the western suburbs. I’m a bit biased though, it’s where I live and I really do like the area.

      If you look around Moggill, Bellbowrie and Anstead areas, you will get more house for your money and usually more land and space around you. It’s about 40 minutes drive from the CBD, longer during rush hour. There are a couple of decent nurseries in the area and plenty of parks and green space.

      Other than that, you might want to check out Mount Cotton, I don’t know much about it myself other than it is quite semirural and somebody else here in these comments spoke quite highly of it, I think it was on my main page about Brisbane.

      Those are my suggestions, but do have a read of the comments on that page about Brisbane as well as many people are talking about the various suburbs and what they’re like to live in. Good luck with your move, Bob

      • Ilyse July 22, 2017, 5:42 am |

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for this! Is there a specific area in the western suburbs you recommend? Also, random…do you know of any short-term furnished rentals (2-bedrooms)? Not even sure where to start.


        • BobinOz July 24, 2017, 7:07 pm |

          Well, I’ve mentioned a few suburbs, but it really depends on your budget and the kind of house you want. If you can tell me more about that, maybe I can point you in the right direction.

          For example, we have lots of areas with housing on big plots of land, an acre plus, or we have houses on smaller plots with small gardens. Which do you want?

          As for short-term furnished rentals, your only hope with that would be something like Airbnb or Stayz, but that won’t be a cheap solution. Australia isn’t big on furnished rentals, almost all rentals are unfurnished with a minimum six month contract.

  • Mohit July 14, 2016, 6:41 am |

    Hi n my wife are moving to south bank area brisbane.we both are physios.i want to know cheap and best area nearby to usc campus for us both and what should be the budget for both of us monthly.And the most important thing is i want to avoid flash flood type of area.

  • Preety May 25, 2016, 11:15 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    We (my husband and 4 year old son) are planning to move to Brisbane till the end of this year. Right now we are settled in Sydney but houses here are so expensive and unaffordable for us. During my house hunting I checked some properties at Bellmere and Upper Caboolture which are very good and with lot of options from which I can choose from. I know its around 45 to 50 kms from Brisbane cbd which I am ready to compromise. I checked mostly positive reviews of bellmere. Please guide me with your experience.

    Warm Regards

    • BobinOz May 26, 2016, 6:12 pm |

      I don’t know the area well enough to comment, but I know other people who have mentioned some of these areas in these comments here before. You may like to have a skim through, but certainly I know that it will be worth you also reading a comment made by CC on a different page.

      Hope that helps, Bob

  • Saro March 3, 2016, 4:17 am |

    Hi bob
    I have been following u for a while , since we planned to move to Aus
    Live in windy Wellington at the moment and it’s been 8 years here , we love NZ
    But the weather here can get worst and windy.
    Aus is our first option and we are exploring all major cities in Aus to move
    We are also traveling to Melbourne in April to see how we feel
    But I hear from ppl Melbourne can be a clone of Wellington in weather.
    Also Brisbane was our initial top option. But thinking it might be very hot for kids and etc
    Help me out here. We are in 2 minds. Like Brisbane for its weather and lifestyle .
    Should I not worry too much about hot summer in Brisbane ?

    • BobinOz March 3, 2016, 8:32 pm |

      If you are looking for better weather, then Brisbane is your place. In a nutshell, on a bad summer you will suffer a maximum of five weeks of too hot and humid. It’s during this time that air-conditioning helps you sleep at night, or at least ceiling fans.

      But that’s it, five weeks top. The rest of the year we just mainly enjoy wonderful sunny and warm to hot weather. I love the climate in Brisbane, I wouldn’t swap it for anything else.

      Melbourne, on the other hand, is much more erratic. I’ve seen people wearing coats in summer and it can also be 40°C or more during a heatwave. So if you like hot weather, don’t be afraid of Brisbane, it’s only a little bit unbearable for a small amount of time each year. I’m pretty sure the weather is unbearable for longer than that in almost all other places for one reason or another. Good luck, wherever you decide.

  • beena manu February 23, 2012, 6:37 pm |

    Im a regular follower of your writings,through ur words we love Australia’s each place,especially Brisbane.But we cant stop natures naughtiness,may be God is balancing each and every corner of earth due his own working in an Australian education related office,so ur blog gives me lots of realistic information.Bob,is there any racial problem towards Indians ?Hope we (me,my husband,and my sweet kid) will meet within 2 yrs.get well soon all the Brisbane people from floods miserable.
    warm regards
    beena manu

    • BobinOz February 25, 2012, 12:50 am |

      Hi beena manu

      Sadly, there are racial problems in probably every country in the world. But of course, some countries are worse than others. Australia does seem to have a bad reputation when it comes to racism, yet on the other hand it really is a multicultural society. Australia has opened its arms to millions of immigrants from hundreds of countries.

      You might get the odd idiot, or quite a few idiots if you live in the wrong area, abuse you in some way. But it’s difficult for me to say, given the colour of my skin.

      But I wouldn’t let the thought of possible racism stop you and your family from living your dream. I hope to see you here someday soon.

  • John V. February 6, 2012, 8:37 pm |

    Well in England it is snowing, Holland cops -22 C and the rest of Europe is experiencing an excuse for carbon tax. It it global cooling so much they are expecting an ice age. All caused by the dramatic change in Queensland, and “Huwey” the weather god displaying his displeasure with the United Nations and the IPCC and their predictions. Until we start sacrificing a few politicians, these problems are not going to go away. Know any good volcanoes we could use? Please remember. the Artic regions melt in summer and freeze in winter. Also, Bob, the rainy season means rain! I thought you might not have understood that last time I explained (grin!) We dont mess around in Australia. Beautiful one minute, and rain at 4 0clock in the arvo!

    • BobinOz February 7, 2012, 1:09 am |

      I thought we sorted all this out? I thought when Julia Gillard introduced the carbon tax this silly behaviour by the weather was going to stop. Wasn’t that the point? Save the world?

      I can’t believe it’s still happening.

      Rainy season = rain. I must try to remember that.

      • WAYNE BONGO June 19, 2018, 10:49 pm |

        I am planning to move to Australia. With 2 little children 8 years old & 5 years old. I love sunny whether but not extreme. I like the whether similar to SA& Mozambique. Brisbane similar to Maputo Mozambique I thinking!! I will love sunny Brisbane whether!! Just little bit disappointed about the heavy flooding in Queensland in General. Any hope ? Help? Thank you Mr BobinOz

        • BobinOz June 20, 2018, 5:49 pm |

          I love the Brisbane weather and I don’t spend any time worrying about flooding. If you follow the guidelines above and choose where you live specifically to avoid any flood prone areas, you’ll be fine.

          I would certainly not describe the weather in Brisbane as extreme, it’s just a regular subtropical climate. I think you will love it.

          • Wayne Bongo Tondeghe June 21, 2018, 12:51 am |

            Thanks you so much BobinOz.
            You are a wonderful person. I got it. God bless us. I will send you a message when I am in down under Aussie sweet Australia. A bientot

            • BobinOz June 21, 2018, 7:56 pm |

              Yes, please do let us know what you think of it when you get here.

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