Known for the eponymous river that meanders from the Coral Sea through the city, Brisbane is a gorgeous and vibrant expat destination.
One of Australia's biggest cities, it has a rapidly expanding population of close to 2.5 million and is home to a significant expat population from all over the world, including New Zealand, the UK, China, India and South Africa.
Living in Brisbane as an expat
Brisbane is a laid-back city with an assortment of interesting and lively areas. While the centre is fairly compact, the suburbs sprawl outwards in all directions, offering wide-open spaces for outdoor entertainment. If expats should tire of their immediate surroundings though, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast are great weekend getaway spots.
As one would expect from a growing city, the economy is ever-expanding and expats should be able to find work in Brisbane fairly easily. Some of the main industries include IT, finance, administration, education and construction.
There’s an extensive public transport network in Brisbane, which includes buses, trains, ferries and taxis. The TransLink system also makes things convenient for those regularly using public transport. While cycling and walking are possibly in the compact city centre, driving in Brisbane can be a hassle, particularly during peak hours.
Cost of living in Brisbane
The general cost of living in Brisbane is lower than in other major Australian cities, though the influx of expats has contributed to a steady rise in prices. Still, the cost of accommodation in Brisbane is far lower than that of other major Australian cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. Brisbane’s public transport may be efficient, but it is also pricey. Expats looking to commute may want to look into a GoCard.
Expat families and children
Expats moving to Brisbane will be happy to hear that the city offers excellent free public schooling for residents and locals. Parents also have the choice of non-government Catholic schools and other independent schools. There are a couple of international schools in the city, but these only offer the International Baccalaureate, and they are expensive.
Families can also rest assured that the city’s healthcare is excellent, and the universal healthcare system, Medicare, is available to any residents or locals.
Expat families looking for a break are in luck. Many interesting activities can offer respite from the week’s work, and nature buffs have multiple opportunities to get out and enjoy the fresh air. A multitude of museums and art galleries can entertain those interested in intellectual pursuits, while active types can find myriad adrenaline-packed activities.
Climate in Brisbane
The city's lovely subtropical climate means expats will have little trouble adjusting to the weather in Brisbane. Mild summers and winters leave a lot of time for activities all year.
With a large and inviting expat community, plenty of entertainment, good schools and a laid-back lifestyle, Brisbane is increasingly the expat destination of choice for families from all over the world.
►Learn about the best places to live with Areas and Suburbs in Brisbane
Expat Interviews"The quality of life here is outstanding. There is so much space, the weather means we can be outdoors whenever we like, and it feels less chaotic.
"There are parks and free barbeque points everywhere, and they’re all so well-maintained – everything is set up for families."
Read what Karen, hailing from Great Britain, has to say about moving to Brisbane.
Are you an expat living in Brisbane?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brisbane. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.