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Moving to Brisbane


    Often called the river city, Brisbane is slowly and surely losing its old-fashioned, behind-the-times reputation to become a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, predicted to develop and overtake Melbourne as Australia’s second-largest city. With beautiful greenery, extraordinary weather and excellent beaches, the 1.1 million people that live in the fairly compact city enjoy a relaxed lifestyle with access to a fantastic range of bars, cafes and restaurants.

    Despite it being more populous and having a more vibrant economy, it has a significantly more relaxed atmosphere than surrounding cities. Due to being situated on the Brisbane River, the city offers people living in Brisbane endless waterfronts and is just 13 mi from Moreton Bay.  It also boasts the advantage of being surrounded by plenty of lush natural landscapes in the form of national parks and close proximity to the global tourist attraction, the Great Barrier Reef. Brisbane is also north of the Gold Coast, a paradise for surfers, with good connections to other major Australian cities.

    For more information, read our Guide to International Relocation.

    Weather in Brisbane

    For people moving to Brisbane from the UK, the weather will be one of the biggest changes. As the city lies on the coast of the Coral Sea, temperatures remain mild all year round, meaning that the winter temperatures (rarely below 20C) in June and July are found to be mild even by residents of the South Australian capitals. The 280 days of sunshine are bound to suit people looking for an outdoors lifestyle.

    View of the urban skyscrapers of Brisbane city centre with leafy palms in the foreground

    Property in Brisbane

    It’s popular among expats to rent in Australia rather than to buy property – and in terms of price, Brisbane property is much cheaper than in Sydney and other major cities. With the warm temperatures of the city, most housing will have air conditioning to help tackle the summer climate, whereas central heating is rare. Whatever your preferred housing type, it’s likely that your neighbourhood will be friendly and open to you and your family. Useful links for house hunting are below:

    There are also a variety of options for short term housing whilst you search for permanent accommodation, such as that offered by Visit Queensland.

    View of The Story Bridge and Brisbane City skyline from Brisbane River Walk at sunset

    Where is best to live in Brisbane?

    Whatever your housing and neighbourhood requirements, Brisbane has a variety of residential areas with different housing types for expats. Most suburbs are within easy reach of the central business district, perfect if you’re moving to Brisbane for work. If you need assistance with your international relocation, request a quote for our specialist International Moving Services today. Read on for an overview of the different residential areas in and around Brisbane.

    Ascot, Clayfield, Hamilton – Just a 10-minute drive north of the city, these well-connected suburban areas offer great housing options for expats with families looking to buy property. Most homes are large colonial and Queenslander-style timber properties with gardens and often swimming pools, too. Views of the river and city are also available from some hilltop houses. Facilities for shopping, community and medicine are good quality and nearby, with good primary and private schools also in the area.

    Indooroopilly, St. Lucia, Taringa, Toowong – Also a 10-minute drive from Brisbane, these popular suburbs lie west of the city centre and have good public transport connections. These areas are popular for a range of people as there is a variety of housing types from family homes to apartments and townhouses. Some houses and apartment complexes have swimming pools and there are excellent local facilities for shopping, restaurants and medical attention. The University of Queensland is also located in St. Lucia.

    Chapel Hill, Fig Tree Pocket, Kenmore, Pullenvale – For expatriate families with young children, these are the most popular residential areas. While the areas are a little further out of the city, they are still only between 10 and 20 minutes by car, with connections by bus also available. The majority of housing options in these areas consists of large brick houses complete with gardens and swimming pools, but apartments and townhouses are also nearby with many rentals available. For families, there are several major shopping centres in the area, and medical and community facilities are good. Moreover, primary schools in the area are positively reviewed and bus connections to private schools are well established.

    Chelmer, Corinda, Graceville, Sherwood – Also good for expatriate families, housing for sale in these areas is usually colonial style. If on the river, homes will typically have their own dock or jetty. With private transport, the city centre is reachable within 10-15 minutes and there are good rail and bus services. Rentals are generally scarce but there are some apartments and new developments available. Primary schools in the area are of good quality and there is an excellent local private girls school.

    How far is Sydney from Brisbane?

    Some people underestimate the distance between different destinations in Australia, as the country is deceptively large. One of the most popular road trips for Australian newcomers is to visit Brisbane from Sydney, although the journey is longer than you might think. It actually takes over 9.5 hours to drive from Sydney to Brisbane (900km or 560mi) – but you can make this into a full-on road trip because there’s plenty to see along the way. Take in the Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie as you venture from Brisbane to Sydney.

    Night-time lights of Brisbane city centre with skyscrapers in the distance

    Transport in Brisbane

    The majority of the city is fairly well connected, with buses and trains running under the Brisbane City Council serving most inner-city areas and some suburbs. There are transport cards, such as the Translink go card, which can save you money on everyday commutes. Ferries provide transport between the northern and southern sections of the city. 

    The city encourages many people to cycle, while many people prefer to drive to work within the city. Prices of new cars can be fairly high, however, relocating from the UK with your own car has its fair share of costs and bureaucratic challenges. 

    Brisbane International Airport is just a 20-minute drive from the city centre, meaning that travel around Australia and internationally is well within reach for expats living in Brisbane.

    What are Brisbane’s shopping and entertainment facilities like?

    Like the other large cities of Australia, much of the clothing and goods shopping in Brisbane takes place within large department stores around the city and suburban areas. The Queen Street Mall located near George Street is one of the most popular places for shopping. Online shopping is also prevalent throughout Australia.

    There’s no shortage of things to get up to in Brisbane. One of the most popular locations is South Beach, a man-made beach surrounded by restaurants, cafes and beautiful parks. The attractions and entertainment facilities here are perfect for families and couples alike.

    If the wildlife parks and beaches are not your style, Brisbane is also a hub for art and culture. The Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Performing Arts Centre offer art and theatre lovers every opportunity to engage in what they love, and the Queensland Museum for lovers of natural history, science and human history.

    A view of Brisbane’s man-made beach with the skyscrapers of the city centre in the background

    Dining out in Brisbane

    From rooftop bars to riverside cafes, people living in Brisbane are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in the city. Check out the best dining spots in Brisbane. A variety of classics and new-openings offer a wide range of cuisine for all tastes and ages. If sampling drinks is more your style, why not dive into a gin tasting session at the Brisbane Distillery or check out some of Queensland’s best breweries?

    Interested in information on another country? Take a look at our other International Relocation guides.

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