When it comes to Australia, you often hear that the cost of living is really high. That may be so, however, Brisbane is definitely more affordable than many of Australia’s capital cities. If you are looking for a dynamic city to live in, close to some amazing places and full of lively entertainment, Brisbane is a wonderful choice. But how much exactly does it cost to live in Brisbane?
Brisbane is in the heart of South East Queensland and can be a great spot for those who want to live in a modern city with easy access to beaches, mountains, wineries, and nature. So as you can see living in Brisbane gives you a wide range of nearby holiday options while allowing you to live in a lively city.
Brisbane is considered the 4th most expensive capital city in Australia and number 67 of 322 in the world, so it’s certainly up there but far from the worst.
For the purpose of this cost of living guide, we are sharing costs in Australian dollars. At the time of writing in August 2019, 1 AUD is equivalent to $0.65 USD and 0.58 Euro. The Australian dollar does not perform great in comparison to many other currencies, and this plays a role in the costs of living in Australia.
However, you can certainly keep costs down and enjoy what Brisbane has on offer while living on a budget!
Living in Brisbane means living in the heart of one of Australia’s most beautiful states – Queensland. While Queensland is massive, Brisbane is within driving distance to some amazing places, making it a perfect base to explore the eastern side of Australia.
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Why Live in Brisbane?
Sunny almost all year round, we are spoilt with some of the best weather in Australia. While summer reaches temperatures upwards of 30 degree Celsius most days, winter very rarely goes below 20 degrees. During the shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn, enjoy mild warm days that are pretty much the perfect medium.
Like most of Australia, Brisbane celebrates diversity and culture, embracing multiculturalism and offering opportunities for self-expression and individualism. There are great opportunities for advancing education and employment opportunities in a massive range of industries.
While we still have the bumper to bumper traffic of peak hour on major roads at times, it’s nothing compared to some of Australia’s biggest cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, with Brisbane’s infrastructure growing to match the cities growth.
These days you will find trendy alley cafes popping up and craft breweries galore, street art and outdoor events to suit all ages. There is always plenty of activity within the river city of Brisbane.
Cost of Accommodation in Brisbane
Like most capital cities, the cost of living in Brisbane itself is not cheap. Inner-city apartments and homes are out of reach for many. Some of the more affordable suburbs have cleaned up their act and become trendy hot spots for young professionals these days, resulting in more people choosing accommodation further outside the city circle.
The average cost of rent outside the really expensive areas is around $1,900 AUD per month for a standard 85 square metre home or apartment.
If you are willing to live further outside the city, the costs of rent and owning a home is drastically more affordable. This usually comes with larger homes and increased block size as well for free-standing homes.
One positive with buying a property in Australia is the current record low interest rates for home loans, however breaking into the property market is a huge financial commitment still.
Brisbane Transportation Costs
Brisbane’s transport system has improved greatly over the past few years although it still has a way to go. You can get around the inner city and surrounding suburbs by train, bus or ferry, making it easy to get away without having your own car.
If you live further out, having a car is essential due to the sprawling nature of Brisbane. A reasonable small second-hand car that is a few years old will set you back around $10,000, although you can certainly find something cheaper if you are on a small budget. For a brand new family-sized car, prices usually start at around $35,000.
Car registration is around $710 for 12 months, and this includes compulsory 3rd party insurance. The cost of comprehensive car insurance is from around $350 upwards, with large variations between providers.
The cost of fuel in Brisbane is around $1.46 per litre at the time of writing, with fluctuations. One month of public transport across train, bus and ferry is around $137.
There is also the option of taxi services or the more affordable alternative of Uber.
Cost of Food and Eating Out in Brisbane, Australia
The cost of eating out in Brisbane can vary greatly with it quite possible to find an affordable, low priced takeaway or cafe meal. Most of the big fast-food chains are in Brisbane with comparable pricing to other parts of the world. It would usually set you back around $10 to $12 for a burger, chips and drink combo.
Dining out at a mid-priced restaurant will set you back around $60 for a couple. Fine dining options are plentiful in Brisbane with an average meal price around the $40 to $50 range for mains.
You will find pretty much every type of cuisine catered to within Brisbane, with international and local favourites all popular within Australia.
As for the cost of groceries in Brisbane, there are several supermarket chains where most locals do their food shopping and all comparatively priced. On the cheaper end, there is Aldi. It is certainly more affordable to cook at home than it is to eat out, and most Brisbane residents do a bit of both.
What Do Brisbane Utilities Cost?
The cost of utilities in Brisbane has risen significantly over the past few years, mostly in regards to electricity prices which are high. Especially when an air conditioner tends to be a must in the summer months, so expect a big increase during the summer quarter.
The average cost for 2 people in a standard-sized home for electricity and gas is around $210 per month.
There is plenty of competition for telecommunications in Brisbane so there’s a good chance you can find a reasonably priced phone, internet, and mobile package. These days many people opt against having a home phone, instead just having broadband at home and mobile phone for staying connected. There is also the option of prepaid mobile plans that are around $30 a month for top-up.
Cable TV is available from Foxtel, for around $40-120 a month, depending on the package. These days more Australian’s are opting instead for cheap subscriptions such as Netflix and Stan instead.
How Much Is Entertainment In Brisbane
Free entertainment like community events, festivals, and markets is easy to come by in Brisbane and really helps with the cost of living. This is one of the best parts of the great weather. There are also beautiful parks and a relatively easy drive to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast for beach days.
Southbank Parklands is a favourite entertainment precinct in Brisbane with free swimming pools, man-made beach, playgrounds, restaurants, and bikeways. It sits alongside the river and there is always something happening there, whether it be a performance in the Piazza or at the Performing Arts Complex next door. There is also the Queensland Museum, Science Centre and Art Gallery nearby.
A trip to the cinema will vary depending on which cinema complex you are visiting, starting from around $7 and up to around $17 per adult for a movie session.
Concerts are a plenty with most big international acts visiting Brisbane during their Australian tours. Concerts these days are around $60 to $100 a ticket, but depending on the act it can be much higher. The same goes for plays.
What Is It Like To Live In Brisbane Australia?
Despite the high cost of living, we adore Brisbane and all it has on offer. The amazing weather is a huge positive for us, but also the fact that compared to Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane is by far a less hectic place to live within Australia.
There is no doubt about it, us Queenslanders are more laid back in general and you will get that relaxed vibe in most places you go. Yet there is still all the things you want in a big city.
You can indulge easily with the beautiful neighbouring scenery and fine dining, or stay budget-friendly and still have an amazing time.
We certainly recommend looking for a place to live or stay outside the city centre as it’s easy enough to get into Brisbane city and definitely a huge saving by being a little further from the centre.
Brisbane is far from being the most expensive city to live in the world, even with the costs of living on the higher end of the scale. You can certainly find more affordable options if you seek them out and we have no doubt about it, you will love the chance to immerse yourself in this beautiful river city.
About the Author
Holly is a travel writer from Australia who focuses on family travel as she explores the world with her husband and two young children. She has been blogging for over a decade in the DIY and family space, although these days travel writing is her biggest passion. Follow her on her blog Four Around the World or on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.