Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and sits on the east coast, enjoying a subtropical climate. The city is surrounded by national parks and beautiful beaches. Its relaxed atmosphere attracts visitors and hopeful immigrants from around the world.
If you are considering moving to Brisbane, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved in living in Australia’s third-largest city.
Quick Brisbane Facts:
- Population: 2.47 million (2022 estimate).
- Official Language: English (de facto) with many other languages being spoken around the city, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Samoan, Filipino, Spanish Hindi, Italian, Greek and many others.
- GDP Per Capita: $67,300 USD (2016)
- Macadamias: The world’s first cultivated macadamia tree was planted in Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens in 1858 and it’s still going strong.
- Currency: Australian Dollar ($, AUD). As of early 2023, £1 = $1.80 AUD, $1 USD = $1.49 AUD, €1 EUR = $1.58 AUD, $1 CAD = $1.09 AUD.
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Brisbane
Below are sample international container shipping rates to Australia from various countries around the world.
2. Brisbane Housing Costs
Renting or buying a house in Brisbane isn’t cheap, but it is far more affordable than renting or buying in Sydney or Melbourne. Prices obviously vary from area to area, but the figures below will give you an indication of what’s available at what price.
Monthly Rental Prices in Brisbane:
- 1 bedroom flat (apartment) in City Centre: A$2,400+
- 1 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: A$2,000+
- 3 bedroom flat in City Centre: A$3,900+
- 3 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: A$2,400+
Brisbane Home Purchase Prices:
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: A$13,200+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: A$9,600+
Brisbane Housing Cost Comparison:
This is how rents in Brisbane compare with other cities around the globe.
- London is 36.3% more expensive
- New York is 58.1% more expensive
- Los Angeles is 43.3% more expensive
- Sydney is 25.3% more expensive
- Melbourne is 6.7% cheaper
- Toronto is 13.7% more expensive
- Paris is 2.7% more expensive
- Dubai is 15% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs:
- Share a Flat or House: The turnaround on rental properties in Brisbane is very quick. The minute they go on the market, they are snapped up. Being first in the queue at the Saturday showings is the way to bag a flat, whether you are the sole tenant or sharing. With a house share you will have your own room, or, for a cheaper option, you can share a room. The bathroom/s will be shared with other people in the house. Most people find that Domain is the best place to find rentals but there are also Flatmates, Gumtree and Flatmate Finders.
- Different Areas – Different Prices: Like all cities, Brisbane has its expensive and cheaper areas. Favourite upmarket areas in Brisbane are Tenerife, Bulimba, Ascot, Hamilton, Chandler and Kangaroo Point. The cheapest areas are Ellen Grove, Inala, Pinkenbar, Wacol and Archerfield. Tenerife is where some of Brisbane’s best restaurants are located. Paddington and Fortitude Valley are where you will find the arty crowd, enjoying the galleries and antique shops.
3. Brisbane Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Brisbane has a good selection of restaurants from fine dining to takeaways.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: A$25.00 – A$30.00
- Takeout Coffee: A$5.00 – A$6.00
- Bottle of Coke: A$4.50 – A$5.00
- 1L of Milk: A$2.50 – A$3.00
- Loaf of Bread: A$3.70 – A$4.00
- 12 Eggs: A$5.50 – A$6.00
- 1kg Chicken: A$12.00 – A$13.00
- 1kg Beef: A$23.00 – A$25.00
- 1kg Apples: A$4.00 – A$5.00
- 1kg White Rice: A$3.50 – A$4.00
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- New York restaurants are 23.4% more expensive and groceries are 23.3% more expensive than Brisbane.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 13.6% more expensive and groceries are 1.5% cheaper than Brisbane.
- London restaurants are 0.4% cheaper and groceries are 44.3% cheaper than Brisbane.
- Sydney restaurants are 2% more expensive and groceries are 0.7% more cheaper than Brisbane.
- Melbourne restaurants are 2.5% cheaper and groceries are 0.3% more expensive than Brisbane.
- Toronto restaurants are 1.2% cheaper and groceries are 15.4% cheaper than Brisbane.
- Paris restaurants are 11.3% cheaper and groceries are 5.4% cheaper than Brisbane.
- Dubai restaurants are 6.9% cheaper and groceries are 59.5% cheaper than Brisbane.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries:
- Know Your Supermarkets: Coles, Woolworths and Harris Farm Market are the major supermarket chains in Brisbane. There are some good independent food shops around the city, selling good quality food, including organic and whole foods. Visit Green Edge for vegan and vegetarian food and lots of fresh fruit and veg. Try Clancy James for some of the best meat in town. There is a good selection of farmers’ markets in Brisbane, where you can buy a wide range of foods.
- Find Cheap Eats: Must Do Brisbane, Visit Brisbane, Gourmand and Gourmet, and Trip Advisor all have their own guides to cheap eats in Brisbane, which include everything from fine dining to raw food.
4. Brisbane Alcohol Costs
Like all Australian cities, Brisbane has a wide selection of bars, pubs and clubs.
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: A$10.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: A$11.50
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a supermarket: A$6.70
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: A$7.80
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: A$20.00
How To Drink For Less in Brisbane:
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials.
- There are many pubs, bars and clubs that offer specials every day. Have a look at the following sites to find one which takes your fancy – Facebook, The Urban List, Oz Bargain and Yelp.
- Scour the areas around the university to find the best alcohol deals.
5. Brisbane Transportation Fares
Brisbane’s transportation system consists of a network of trains, buses and ferries. TransLink controls an integrated ticketing system for all modes of transport.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult single – A$5.75
- Monthly season ticket for bus, tram and train – A$208.70
How To Save Money on Public Transport:
- Buy a Go Card, this will give you discounted fare depending on the number of trips you make
- If you have a business where you need more than 10 tickets, buy a Go Business card to save money
- Travel free to various sporting events
- Travel off-peak and save at least 20% on your fare
- Buy a bike. Brisbane considers itself a bike-friendly city and there are lots of cycle lanes. Brisbane also has a bike share system
- Walk. If you live close to your place of work, then walk to work and soak up the sun
6. Cost of Internet in Brisbane
Internet in Australia is expensive. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2023, based on a 24-month contract:
- Dodo: A$55.00 a month for 15Mbps
- Telstra: A$80.00 a month for 25Mbps
- Optus: A$80.00 a month for unlimited data
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Brisbane has a subtropical climate, and receives a minimum of 7 hours sunshine a day. January is its hottest month, with an average high of 26°C. The lowest winter temperatures are in July where the average is 15°C. February is the wettest month with 130mm of rain falling. The sea reaches 26°C in January.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: A$100.00 – A$120.00
- Summer Dress: A$35.00 – A$90.00
- Running Shoes (Trainers): A$190.00 – A$210.00
- Business Shoes: A$180.00 – $200.00
- Short Doctor’s Visit (15 mins): A$70.00
- Deodorant: A$4.50
- Shampoo: A$6.00
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): A$2.80
- Gym Membership: A$32.00 – A$80.00 per month
- Movie (cinema) Ticket: A$12.00 – A$18.50
Source: Numbeo and Expatistan
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Brisbane
Everyone in Australia drives on the left. Traffic in Brisbane gets very congested during peak periods and parking is limited and expensive.
If you’re moving to Brisbane from another Australian state or from overseas, you will need to get a Queensland driving licence after you have been living in Brisbane for 3 months. You may need to take a written test and a driving test before you can be issued a license. This depends on a number of factors, such as how long you have been driving and the nationality of your license.
You can also get an International Driving Permit before you leave your home country and this will allow you to drive in Australia for 12 months without getting an Australian licence.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Brisbane:
- Volkswagen Golf: A$35,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of Gas (petrol): A$2.09
- Vehicle Registration Duty: The amount varies depending on the vehicle. Go to QLD.Gov to find out how to calculate the amount payable on your vehicle
- Other Fees (if any): See Queensland Gov
Source: Expatistan, Queensland Gov
Ways To Save Money on Driving in Brisbane:
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Carpoolworld, Go Get and Gumtree.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber.
9. Taxes in Brisbane
No matter where you live in Australia, you will pay the same rate of tax. To learn more about the different taxes in Australia, go to this site – the Australian Taxation Office.
Sales Tax in Australia is 10% and is added to most goods and services throughout the country. Unlike in some countries, it is always included in the marked price.
Whether you own or rent your home, you will be subject to the payment of rates based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about rates in Brisbane at Brisbane rates.
If you decide to buy a flat or house in Brisbane you’ll have to pay Stamp Duty.
10. Flight Costs from Brisbane
If you do make the move to Brisbane, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2023:
- New York: A$1,200
- Los Angeles: A$1,100
- Toronto: A$1,200
- Vancouver: A$1,300
- Dubai: A$1,500
- London: A$1,000
- Sydney: A$80
- Melbourne: A$100
- Cape Town: A$1,200
- Hong Kong: A$800
Other Tips on Moving to Brisbane:
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Brisbane but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Moving to Brisbane Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city can be rather daunting. Here are a few tips about settling into Brisbane alone.
- Meetups: Brisbane has lots of free meetup groups you can find on Meetup. Find groups such as Happy Hikers, Brisbane Startups, Brisbane Geeks, International Friends in Brisbane and more.
- Attend Local Events: There’s always a lot going on in Brisbane. Find out what’s going on from Visit Brisbane, Timeout, Weekend Edition and Must do Brisbane.
12. Moving to Brisbane with a Family
Brisbane is a relaxed city for families. It has a wide selection of neighbourhoods which are family-friendly, plus the beach, parks and countryside.
- New Parents (or parents to be): Check out Mater Mothers, My Midwives and Wesley Maternity.
- Live in a Family-friendly Area: When you move to a new city with a family, you want to live in an area which is safe, and has good schools, parks and lots of recreational activities close by. Holland Park is just 6 miles from the CBD and is an older suburb with affordable housing and is close to the beach, shopping centres and parks. Wilston is an expensive suburb which sits on a hill overlooking Brisbane. It has good schools, shops, parks and beaches. Sandgate is an unpretentious suburb enjoyed by families who love the quiet life. Graceville also has a country atmosphere and is one of the areas preferred by families. If you work in the city and like taking the ferry to work, move to Bulimba. It is an expensive suburb which has everything for those who want to be away from the buzz of the city.
- Find Things To Do With The Kids: Brisbane Kids, Visit Brisbane, Must do Brisbane, Blog.QLD and Family Days Out all have great ideas for activities and events your kids will love.
13. Moving to Brisbane for Work
People generally move to Brisbane for work or to join the family. If you want to work in Australia, you need to ensure you have the right visa. Visa conditions have changed recently, making it more difficult for people to live and work in Australia.
Business services, such as architecture, legal services, consultancy and engineering, make up 25% of the job market in Brisbane. Construction, education, mining, finance, retail, tourism, transport, health and government make up a large chunk of the rest.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea of how much more you’ll want to be making, to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to Find Work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Brisbane, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Indeed, Seek and Jora. You may also want to Google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Brisbane from the United Kingdom
There are lots of Brits living in Brisbane. If you are thinking of joining them, here are a few things to consider.
- Size Comparison: If you compare the population size of Brisbane with a city in the UK, you would be looking at a city twice the size of Birmingham.
- Join Expat Groups: Internations and Meetup offer ways of meeting up with other Brits in Brisbane.
15. Moving to Brisbane from Canada
There’s a large group of Canadians living in Brisbane. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size: If you compare the size of the population of Brisbane with a city in Canada, then you would be looking at Vancouver.
- Expat Groups: If you want to find fellow Canadians in Brisbane, have a look at Internations and Meetup.
16. Moving to Brisbane from the United States
There are a fair number of Americans living in Brisbane. If you’re considering making the move from the States to Brisbane, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: If you compare the population size of Brisbane with a city in the States, you would be looking at a city a little smaller than Chicago.
- Expat Groups: Meeting up with fellow Americans who have been living in Brisbane for a while can greatly assist the integration process. Sites such as Internations and Meetup will help you connect with people from back home.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Brisbane you can start by comparing moving quotes here.