Living in Brisbane

Brisbane South BankBrisbane LocationA 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 WeatherBrisbane 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 MapThe 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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{ 1228 comments… add one }
  • Fiona J Rogers December 12, 2018, 1:44 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    My partner and I are just doing some research on nice family suburbs to live in the Brisbane area. If we were to locate, he would be based at Acacia Ridge which I believe is predominately industrial. We are avid runners, enjoy the gym and enjoy recreational walks etc and out door social activities. We also love great cafes and to sit and enjoy a nice wine with a great meal. We also require high school for children and would prefer to live within a safe family orientated environment.

  • Jay November 24, 2018, 9:51 pm |

    Hi. Myself and my cousin are Looking at moving to Australia from Liverpool, UK in September 2019. we’re 26 and 22 and it will be on a working holiday visa.
    We’re looking for somewhere not to expensive for rent but need to be pleanty of short term jobs. We’ve been looking at areas in and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
    The more we look the more undecided we become any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

    • BobinOz November 26, 2018, 8:49 pm |

      Well, I think the whole point of the working holiday visa is to travel around a bit and explore as much of Australia as you can when you get here. I certainly wouldn’t recommend you going to say, one suburb in Brisbane because it’s cheap and staying there all the time you’re here.

      Most people like to travel up the coast a bit and stay in backpackers, which are cheap accommodation and also a great place to meet other youngsters travelling around Australia. The last thing you want to do is rent a house for 12 months to stay in.

      Check out my pages See Working Holiday Visas and Backpacking in Australia.

  • Guilherme November 1, 2018, 8:23 pm |

    Hi Bob, how’s it going?
    My boyfriend and I are looking to move to Australia and we’re researching about the best cities to work with culture and education. I teach English to foreigners and he works with video/film production, he’s also a photographer and he has experience in show business (as in producing events, concerts etc.). So my question is, which city do you think has a more vibrant cultural life and would present more opportunities for working with culture? We’re thinking about Melbourne or Brisbane. Sydney is way too expensive, but it would also be an option.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • BobinOz November 2, 2018, 9:05 pm |

      Well, as someone who lives in Brisbane and loves it here, it kind of pains me a little to say that the answer is most definitely Melbourne.

      Melbourne undoubtedly has the most opportunities when it comes to show business and film production, it’s the artistic capital of Australia. I don’t think anybody would doubt that Melbourne produces the most TV shows and films of any city in Australia.

      It would also have many more international students and generally more non-English speaking foreigners moving to it than Brisbane, which will mean more opportunities for you to teach English.

      We call it ESL here; English as a Second Language.

      Brisbane is a nicer place to live though 🙂

      Good luck, Bob

      • Guilherme November 2, 2018, 10:01 pm |

        Oh, well.. I really liked the idea of moving to Brisbane, as it is a warmer place and I personally hate the cold =/

        Anyway, thank you so much for the tips!

        • BobinOz November 5, 2018, 6:27 pm |

          Well, if your preference is for Brisbane, and I don’t blame you for that, then I wouldn’t discount it completely. There may be MORE opportunities in Melbourne for both of you, but you only need one good one each.

          I would do some research first to see what Brisbane has to offer workwise, my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship will help with that, and if it does look promising, then why not Brisbane?

          Definitely a warmer place, more laid-back and cheaper housing. Good luck, Bob

  • Rachel October 29, 2018, 3:07 pm |

    Hi Bob
    We are a British family of 5 looking to relocate to Brisbane/surrounds this coming Aus summer 2018.
    We have friends on the Sunshine Coast & in Beerwah. We find the SC a little too remote for us. Ideally we’d like a great communinty around 30-45min from the city itself, preferably North to make access to our friends easier.
    Our children are primary and high school ages. We’re happy to go private with schools to eliminate the catchment necessities and ideally co-ed so all 3 can be in one place.
    We’re open to suggestions as we are new to this location search…..

    • BobinOz October 29, 2018, 6:40 pm |

      I don’t really know the northern suburbs that well, all I can tell you is that I like it around Sandgate and Deagan and location wise, they would probably suit you.

      What it’s really like to live in either of these places, or what the schools are like, I don’t know. I do have a page called Which school? that might help you choose decent schools for your kids, and therefore help you decide where to live.

      People speak well of North Lakes as well, which is very much a new development, so maybe worth a look but I wouldn’t go any further north than that.

      Hopefully somebody else will see your comment and give you more advice, and definitely worth talking to your friends in Beerwah to see what they think, although I’m sure you’ve already done that.

  • David October 17, 2018, 1:44 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    first of all thank you for your great effort with this website and for sharing all this information. I really appreciate it.

    I’ll move to Brisbane from Germany next year and will work as a software developer for our ozzy subsidiary. My office will be located in the CBD near eagle street pier.
    I thought about moving to west end as this will give me the opportunity to go either by bike or citycat to the CBD and west end seems to offer some good lifestyle. I enjoy small Cafés, Bars, markets and a rather alternative lifestyle. But I’m open to nearly every inner city suburb.

    But a detailed research is rather hard. The real estate agencies only mention the silver linings. I once have spoken to a guy who lived in Brissy and he told me for example that you don’t want to live in Fortitude Valley because of a lot of drug and violence problems around there.

    So can you recommend some suburbs close to the CBD (max. 30 min public transport) which are safe and offer some good lifestyle?

    Best regards

    • David October 17, 2018, 4:29 pm |

      Haha, I just found your article about crime statistics

      I will now do some research with the provided Information 🙂

      If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them anyway.

      • BobinOz October 17, 2018, 9:04 pm |

        Hi David

        Yes, that page about crime statistics will help, but I find it a nightmare trying to dig through the information provided by the police for each state. I have another page though, this one comes from information gathered by our latest census in 2016 and highlights suburbs into five categories.

        Basically from the most socio-economically advantaged to the most advantaged and that can tell you a lot about an area. The page is here…

        And the link to the heat maps can be found right at the bottom.

        Fortitude Valley can get a bit lively, it’s where all the nightclubs are and it probably isn’t the best place to live. West End, on the other hand, is probably just what you’re looking for. It’s quite lively, it’ll have the bars and restaurants you want, without the drawbacks. Not that I’ve ever really seen any trouble in The Valley, but then I don’t go there that often.

        Another consideration might be Paddington, that’s got quite a trendy feel about with a cafe culture and some bars, it and is also pretty close to the city.

        Hope that helps and good luck with your search.

        • David October 19, 2018, 8:09 am |

          Hi Bob,

          oh yes, this is even better.

          And I’m glad to hear that my research hasn’t been completely wrong. I read about Paddington one day and it sounded good as well. Will definitely consider it.

          Thanks again


  • Alana October 15, 2018, 8:51 am |

    Hi bob , I live in Adelaide born and bred here. Since travelling overseas and then coming home I’ve realised I need to make a change! Love Adelaide but everyone knows everyone and there isn’t a whole lot to do. Would you consider Brisbane as still being laid back? I’m worried about moving to a city as I’ve always lived on the beach and a very cruisy life style but gc is far too touristy for me. I also work in child protection as a youth worker

    • BobinOz October 15, 2018, 9:13 pm |

      Yes, I’d say Brisbane was still pretty laid-back, but it’s certainly not the country town it was 20 years ago. I’ve visited pretty much every Australian capital including Adelaide, and I’ve still not found a city that I would prefer to Brisbane.

      I really don’t think you would be disappointed. If you think you are going to miss the beach though, because Brisbane really doesn’t have any decent beaches, you might want to consider Sunshine Coast.

      That’s even more laid-back, the beaches are gorgeous, there seems to be a bit of a buzz about the place at the moment and they tell me is getting better for job opportunities. It doesn’t have the nightlife of Brisbane though, but if you’re not worried about that, it might be worth a look.

      If not, live in Brisbane and visit the Sunshine Coast when you need to feel the sand between your toes.

  • Vanessa September 19, 2018, 5:13 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I’ve been an avid reader here in your website and find it truly helpful and informative. I was hoping if I can have a good insight from you as it had been crossing our minds for a long time now, for me and my partner to uproot from Sydney to Brisbane. We are both nurses and were wondering if you would have any suggestion of good locations to start of with in Brisbane. We plan to rent initially then have our first home down the track.
    I was hoping if you can suggest of any suburb close enough to hospitals with good transportation services. It doesn’t have to be that close to the CBD as we also don’t mind being in a quiet area. Any suggestions or insights would be truly helpful and be much appreciated.
    Thanks Bob!

    • BobinOz September 19, 2018, 10:08 pm |

      Hi Vanessa

      Glad to hear my website has been helpful. I think moving from Sydney to Brisbane would be a very good idea, you will enjoy a much more laid-back lifestyle for sure.

      I suppose the answer much depends on which hospital or hospitals you will end up working in, as they are quite spread around the city. We have some in East Brisbane, and then there are hospitals in Herston, Auchenflower and Greenslopes that I know of, there are probably more.

      Without knowing exactly where you’ll be working, it’s difficult to suggest a suburb.

      I’d be inclined to Google ‘Brisbane rail map’ and go to a suburb that does have a station, maybe go somewhere on the Ferny Grove line from say Enoggera to further out, that would be quietish with good transport into the city. I think that would be as reasonable a place to start as any, and then when you do know where you’ll be working, make a more permanent decision then.

      Once you’ve lived here a few months you’ll get a better feel for the suburbs and nothing beats walking the streets before deciding where you really want to live. Hope that helps a bit, Bob

      • Vanessa September 20, 2018, 9:41 am |

        Thanks Bob for the suggestions! Will definitely look into our options in Brisbane and thank you for your website. This is the most comprehensive and informative one I’ve seen. All the best!

  • caleb August 30, 2018, 7:02 pm |

    Hello – I am moving to Brisbane and am looking for work. I am a teacher. I want to be in a good area as I have children but also in an area where there are secondary schools so that I can be a relief teacher if there are no vacancies for me. Can you suggest Suburbs please. Thank you

    • BobinOz August 31, 2018, 4:28 pm |

      Probably best to secure the job first, and then move somewhere close to that. My understanding though is that Kenmore State High has a very good reputation and it’s quite a big school. Nearby Indooroopilly State is also pretty good, and the whole area around both schools is also good. Maybe that’s a starting point for you.

  • Reason August 9, 2018, 7:51 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Me and my wife are planning to move to Brisbane. The problem is, my Job will be based around Brisbane city and my wife’s will be in Broadbeach, Gold Coast. We are looking for a place to rent in Brisbane, not very expensive, such that travel to Gold Coast is easier for my wife. She will only be based in Gold Coast for around 6 months and then her job will also be in the Brisbane city. Any suggestion would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

    • BobinOz August 10, 2018, 6:53 pm |

      This is going to be a tough one, neither of you will have a pleasant commute. I assume you are both driving? I’d be looking somewhere close to Browns Plains, but I have to tell you, there are some not so well off suburbs around the area.

      Parkinson might be better, according to the tool I have to check out the socio economic status of various suburbs which you can find here…

      Choosing somewhere in that area would give your wife an hour’s drive to Broadbeach, and about 45 minutes for you into the city. Add more for traffic 🙂

  • Millie August 1, 2018, 12:35 pm |

    Hi Bob
    my and my partner are thinking about moving to Brisbane from New Zealand. we are both in our 20s and are keen surfers so somewhere near the beach but not too far out of town would be ideal. I’m a vegan and we both enjoy organic, fresh produce so somewhere that has a local farmers market nearby would be a huge plus. We are big on our health and fitness also, so being able to cycle/walk places would be a huge plus!
    let me know if you have any recommendations, cant wait to come to aus!


    • BobinOz August 1, 2018, 8:28 pm |

      I’m just going to deal with the surfing question for now, because Brisbane is not the place to be for that. We just don’t get the waves, being as we are in a bay and we have islands off the coast.

      The nearest places for good surfing are Caloundra about an hour’s drive to the north or Surfers Paradise a similar drive to the south. No guesses which of the two is best, the clue is in the name.

      So, my question to you, is are you happy to drive that kind of distance and live in Brisbane, or do you want to live closer to one of those beaches?

      If you can let me know, we can take it from there.

  • Natasha Harden July 2, 2018, 1:36 pm |

    Hi Bob
    My husband and I are are looking at moving to Oz. Ive lived there before in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne although I can’t really remember brisbane all that much. He’s a graphic designer and Im a hair stylist and have already checked out work possibilities. My question is more aimed at wheres best to live. We prefer semi rural if possible but close enough to a town or the CBD for work. Having researched standard costs of living, Gold coast and brisbane came out one of the best. We would be renting and want a decent area but nothing too pricey. Eating out is a big thing for us as we’re vegan and where we currently are those options are extremely limiting so its very disheartening. As I understand Australia is far more progressive than where we are currently so it’s an important part of our lifestyle change to move somewhere more modern. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

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