Living in Brisbane

If you are a fan of sunshine, lazy afternoons, easy access to tropical rainforests and incredible international restaurant choices then you’ll love the capital city of Queensland!

Brisbane, QLD

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, Australia, and is the country’s third largest city with over 2.5 million residents in the metropolitan area. The city’s central business district, Queen Street and the popular Southbank area just some of Brisbane’s highlights, along with its contemporary art museums, river activities, many outdoor parks and markets.

A culturally diverse city with nearly 33% of its metropolitan population being born overseas, Brisbane ranks highly in the global ratings of liveable cities around the world. The city is well known for its distinct Queenslander architecture which exists throughout the city’s residential & suburban areas. Among many things, Brisbane is noted for its laid-back social scene, outdoor dining, and chic rooftop bars.


$50-$150 per week

If you want to take full advantage of Brisbane’s dining scene then you will want to make sure you set aside some money for eating out. There are plenty of great cafes, restaurants and bars in Brisbane, as well as a significant number of cheap eateries and food markets.

Click HERE for the Insider Guide’s list of must-visit ‘FOODIE’ spots in Brisbane.

Eating In: If you choose to cook and eat at home, you can generally expect to spend around $2 per breakfast, $6 per lunch, and $10 per dinner. Of course, this depends on your grocery preferences.

Eating Out: Breakfast at a cafe in Brisbane will cost around $15, but make sure to budget a bit extra if you would like to add a coffee. For lunch, you will likely spend around $16. Dinner will be slightly more expensive at around $18 to $25 for a meal.

It is important to remember that in Australia, waiters and servers get paid a decent minimum wage. This means that your lunch or dinner may cost a little bit more than you expect, but it also means the staff are being paid fairly for their time. Unlike some other places you may have visited, does not have a tipping culture. Places may ask if you would like to tip, but it is not necessary.


$100-$350 per week

Like any of the major capital cities of Australia, it is going to be more expensive to live directly in the centre of Brisbane city compared to living further out in the suburbs.

In the Brisbane city, you’ll probably be spending $150 to $350 per week for a room in a share house (usually living with professionals and other students), $350 to $500 per week for a serviced apartment, or $350 to $400 per week for a one-bedroom unit all to yourself. Additionally, there are homestay options to live with local families that cost around $300 per week.

In the suburbs around Brisbane’s CBD, a one-bedroom unit is significantly cheaper at an average of $300 per week, while a room in a share house outside the city goes for around $155 per week depending on the number of bedrooms available.

Managed student accommodation

Managed student accommodation is a great option as the weekly cost usually covers your utilities and might also include some added extras. For example, Student One has 3 fantastic inner-city properties and rates include bills, unlimited Wi-Fi, gym access, free bike hire, use of the cinema and barbecue area, and more. Weekly rental at Managed student accommodation weekly rates can start as low as $200 per week.


$20-$60 per week

The city’s transport network is called TransLink. You must purchase a go card for all travel purposes – it works on trains, trams, ferries and buses, including extended trips to the Gold Coast.

The majority of Brisbane’s university campuses are located within or just out of the CBD, and are all easily accessible by train or bus. Other campuses (such as those found in St Lucia’s education district, including UQ Business School, the University of Queensland’s Riverside campus and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology) are best accessed by the city’s excellent ferry network. Each campus has a terminal right outside!

Cost of Living

If you are looking for a dynamic city to live in, close to some amazing places and full of lively entertainment, Brisbane is an exceptional choice.

Brisbane is in the heart of South East Queensland and can be a great spot for those who want to live in a growing & modern city with easy access to beaches, mountains, wineries, shopping and nature.

Have a look at the rest of the menu options on this page to find out the routine costs that help determine the ‘cost of living’ in Brisbane!

Working in Australia

All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to: pay you the right pay rate for all time worked. provide a safe workplace.

  • How to find work in Brisbane:
    • Like most cities around the world, finding work greatly depends on your skill-set, motivation & willingness to learn a new skill as well as personal connections and how you represent yourself (resume presentation, interview experience, etc.)
    • The most common online job-search websites in Australia are: and Applicants can post their resume’s online as well as search for vacancies posted by local businesses.
  • How to apply for jobs in Australia:
    • Click HERE for a link to and their free resume template.
  • Your rights as an employee in Australia:
    • All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. Your employer must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including their obligation to pay you the right pay rate for all time worked and provide a safe workplace.
    • Click HERE for a link to the Government of Australia’s FairWork rights & obligations information page.
  • Average Salaries in Queensland:
    • As with any city around the world, salaries and wage amounts can range due to an employee’s experience, formal qualifications as well as the supply & demand within each industry type for a specific workforce. The average full-time salary in Queensland is $68,000.
    • According to com, the following job positions are noted below with average salaries:
      • Operations Manager: $82,000
      • Project Manager: $100,000
      • Business Development Manager: $74,000
      • Civil Engineer: $74,000
      • Project Engineer: $93,000
      • Tax Accountants: $57,000
      • Account/Sales Manager: $71,000
      • Graphic Designer: $53,000

Bank Account in Australia

Foreigners migrating, studying or working in Australia can open a bank account. Those on a tourist or visitor visa can open an Australian bank account by visiting a local branch and providing your passport.

Applicants who wish to open a bank account must arrive in Australia within 12 months of opening their bank accounts.

Here are the basic steps to opening a Australian bank account online:

    • Compare accounts to find the right one
    • Apply for your account online
    • Verify your identity (passport & email required)
    • Your debit card will arrive
    • Start using it!


A Tax File Number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and superannuation systems in Australia. It is free to apply for a TFN online and it is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity in Australia.


While the city offers some of the best retail therapy money can buy, Brisbane’s inner suburbs are bustling with quaint little laneways, trendy retail strips and unique shopping destinations that can only found in Queensland.

As an emerging & rapidly-growing world city, Brisbane has become one of the hottest shopping destinations in the country.

Local tip: Explore the famous Brisbane Arcade and Tattersall’s Arcade to capture some of Brisbane’s heritage, and detour along Charlotte and Edward Street to find independent boutiques and cafes.

Here are a few must-visit shopping areas in and around Brisbane:

  • Latrobe Terrace, Paddington
  • James Street, Fortitude Valley
  • Oxford Street, Bulimba
  • Bakery Lane & California Lane & Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley
  • Queen Street Mall and City Centre
  • Edward Street & Brisbane Arcade

How to Keep Expenses Down

Everyone has their own personal budget, and the level of expenditure depends greatly on one’s accommodation location, quality and lifestyle. Click below for some basic, yet handy tips for students, families and young professionals.

  • Monitor your expenses
  • Make a workable budget
  • Choose your priorities
  • Let go of small luxuries
  • Find another source of income
  • Choose to do free outdoor activities (visiting beaches and nature parks)

Brisbane Highlights

The ‘River City’ of Brisbane has an endless array of free activities for every age to enjoy! Check out the list below, or for more information please visit the official Visit Brisbane website HERE which has information on must-see points of interest, eating and shopping locations.

  • Go for a dip at Streets Beach
  • Wander through the air-conditioned halls of the Queensland Art Gallery (Modern Arts)
  • Catch the CityHopper along the river
  • Explore the local Farmers’ markets
  • Catch local artists free with City Sounds
  • Lie on the grass at New Farm Park
  • See the different parts of the river shore via the Riverwalk
  • Sunrise at Mount Coot-tha
  • People-watch and window-shop at Queen Street Mall
  • Walk to King Island
  • See the BrisAsia Festival

More information to get you started in Brisbane


Overseas student health cover is mandatory for your student visa when coming to Australia. Not only is it great for peace of mind, it covers doctors’ appointments, hospital costs, emergency ambulance and portions of your prescription medicine.

Use the Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) tool to check the price and book your overseas health cover today.


Rental Contracts

All residential tenancies in Queensland are covered by standard terms which cannot be altered. It is the landlords obligation to put the agreement in writing.

The standard General Tenancy Agreement can be downloaded and used for free from the Queensland Government Residential Authority.

In Queensland, this standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement should be used for agreements between:

  • Landlord and a tenant
  • Landlord and co-tenants
  • Head-tenant and sub-tenants

Click HERE for the General Tenancy ‘Form 18a’ to be used in Queensland.

Accommodation Options

  • Depending on your financial situation and whether you are a student or skilled migrant, there is never a shortage of accommodation options in Brisbane! Students can choose to reside within university accommodation, homestay or private rentals.
  • The most trusted and most popular search engines for rental (and sale) or properties in Australia are and

UTILITIES (cost of)

Utilities may or may not be included in your housing option. Electricity, water, gas and internet are generally split between tenants and are paid quarterly (every 3 months), but if you are planning on renting by yourself, this will be more costly. An average home in Brisbane city costs:

  • Electricity: $450 per quarter
  • Water: $280 per quarter
  • Gas: $150 per quarter
  • Internet: $120 per quarter

Depending if this is split between five people or just yourself, the average cost of your monthly or quarterly utility bill can range quite a lot!


Entertainment is another expense you will want to factor in while you are in Australia. Ranging from going to the gym, watching a movie, taking a trip to the beach or enjoying a comedy show. Below are a few different options you could add to your budget.

  • Movies (student night): $7 to $9
  • Fitness: $15 to $30
  • Shows (comedy, plays etc): $50

Are you planning to move to or study in Brisbane? Great choice. Let’s get started – click HERE to get in contact with us today!