Living in Brisbane, Australia – An Expats Guide

Living in Brisbane, Australia – An Expats Guide

Are you thinking of living in Brisbane?

Brisbane, or “Brissie” as locals refer to it, has become a favoured relocation destination for Brits for decades.

With the cost of living being on most of our minds these days, many have realised that when considering a move to Australia, Sydney, and Melbourne, although both fabulous cities are more expensive when compared to Brissie.

If you are looking to get away from the cramped towns and cities of the UK, Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, in northeastern Australia has a population of around 2.4 million people (London by comparison is home to nearly 9 million people).

As you would expect, Brisbane boasts a consistently warm climate throughout the year, complemented by vast green open spaces, making it an ideal setting for starting or raising a family.

The city, with its subtropical weather, enjoys approximately 283 days of sunshine annually!

The weather also has a huge impact on lifestyle in Brisbane and there is a myriad of ways to exploit it.

Jam-packed with bars, shopping arcades, stunning beaches, as well as a thriving music and arts scene and natural attractions nearby, there is something for everyone to do and enjoy.

Life in Brisbane is easy going with an emphasis placed on an effective work-life balance with family and friends.

If you’re contemplating a move to Australia, Brisbane should undoubtedly be on your radar.

There is going to be plenty of planning and preparation involved before a huge move like this can happen.

We have prepared an easy-to-use expat guide to Living in Brisbane that may answer some of the questions you have about the city and, what you need to do to make it your home.

Historical Brisbane

Brissie’s history reflects the diverse influences of Indigenous cultures, European exploration, convict settlement, and subsequent waves of immigration, that contribute to the vibrant and dynamic city that it is today.

Way before Europeans arrived, the region was home to the Turrbal and Jagera Indigenous peoples for thousands of years.

In 1823, British explorer John Oxley became the initial recorded European to navigate the Brisbane River.

The area was christened in honour of Sir Thomas Brisbane, who held the position of Governor of New South Wales at that time

A penal colony was established at Redcliffe, near the entrance of Moreton Bay, as a place of secondary punishment for convicts in 1824.

By 1842, free settlers began to colonise the region and Brisbane’s development began in earnest with the arrival of thousands of immigrants eager to start a new life.

In 1859, Queensland was separated from New South Wales and became a self-governing colony, with Brisbane as its capital.

The city has continued to evolve and expand.

Key infrastructure, such as the Victoria Bridge and the railway network, have played a crucial role in the city’s development and connectivity and made it the city it has become today.

The Brissie Lifestyle

Rainbow Beach Brisbane

Life in Brisbane is best spent outside! Image credit: Unsplash

Laidback and friendly is the best way to describe the lifestyle you encounter in the city, with a definite focus on achieving a healthy work-life balance.

No more late nights at the office!

A work hard play hard mantra is how it goes in Brisbane.

The blend of urban connectivity and almost instant access to outdoor activities is an irresistible combination.

Brisbane’s subtropical climate actively encourages an outdoor lifestyle.

Residents often engage in activities such as cycling, jogging, picnics in parks, and enjoying the city’s numerous outdoor spaces.

A swathe of local events and festivals provides excellent opportunities for making new friends.

Community is at the heart of most Australian locations and newcomers are quickly welcomed.

You must make sure you embrace the friendliness and hospitality you will undoubtedly encounter when you first arrive in Brisbane.

Step out of your comfort zone just a little and you will be surprised at how quickly you integrate and make lifelong friends who, after a while often become adopted family when you live so far from home.

How to Emigrate to Brisbane

Emigrate to Brisbane

There are various options for those looking to emigrate to Brisbane. Image credit: Depositphotos

Before you can enjoy the many benefits of living in this amazing city, there are some legal hurdles to traverse.

Visiting and exploring Brisbane before you decide if this is the city for you is advisable.

You can obtain a 90-day British Visitor visa known as a (subclass 651). This will allow you plenty of time to investigate whether or not living in Brisbane is going to be suitable for you.

Emigrating anywhere in Australia involves a structured immigration process.

Firstly, you must determine the type of visa that suits your circumstances. Common visa categories include skilled migration, family reunion, student visas, and work visas.

It is crucial to refer to the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs for the latest and precise information regarding visa options, eligibility criteria, and application processes.

Moreover, obtaining guidance from migration agents or legal professionals with expertise in immigration can offer valuable assistance throughout the entire process.

Visa Categories

There are at least 10 different visas you can apply for however, here we explore the four most common ones.

Skilled Migration and Employer Sponsorship are based on a point system. Points are awarded based on various factors including age, skills, qualifications, and language.

You can find out more about the point system and how it works here. 

Skilled Migration

If you are seeking skilled migration, you may need to go through the SkillSelect system, which assesses your skills and qualifications. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program includes visas like the skilled independent visa (subclass 189) and skilled nominated visa (subclass 190).

Employer Sponsorship

If you have a job offer from an Australian employer, you may be eligible for a sponsored work visa. Employers can sponsor skilled workers through various programs, such as the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) or the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186).

Family Reunion

If you have family members living in Brisbane who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, you may be eligible for family reunion visas. These include partner visas, parent visas, and other family-related categories.

Student Visas

If you plan to study in Brisbane, you can apply for a student visa. This requires enrolment in a registered course and meeting the visa eligibility criteria.

Why Use a Migration Agent

As the whole immigration process is so lengthy and quite complicated, many opt to use a migration agent.

Make sure you do your homework here. Always verify the credentials and reputation of any migration agent before engaging their services.

As protection, it is wise to use an agent that is registered with MARA, the official government body that regulates migration agents in Australia.

You can check if your prospective agent is a member or search for a member via the MARA website.

Alternatively, you can seek recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have previously used migration agents.

Check online reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Websites like Google, Facebook, or migration-related forums can offer insights into the experiences of others.

Immigration regulations and policies can be complex, and having a qualified and trustworthy migration agent can significantly improve your chances of success

What is There to Know About Living in Brisbane

Brisbane Skyline

Brisbane is packed with things to see and do. Image credit: Pexels

To put it simply, there is a lot to learn!

There are plenty of things to look forward to experiencing in your new life ahead.

Weather, attractions, working environment, schools, healthcare, beaches, unique nature, and eating out are all explored here.

Once you have managed to secure your visa, there is little else to do but look forward to preparing for and embracing your new life in Australia.

Weather Conditions

Brisbane Summer

Brisbane’s weather is a big change from the UK. Image credit: Pixabay

As this is one of the many reasons why Brisbane is popular with expats, here we delve into a little more depth about annual local weather conditions.

The city experiences a subtropical climate with distinct seasons, which is a surprise to many. Frost is almost unheard of in the central areas of Brisbane.

Summer – December to February is hot and humid with average temperatures between 25-30 degrees. Summer sees the most rainfall as storms develop.

Autumn – March to May is one of the most popular seasons as temperatures cool a little to 20-30 degrees with less rain.

Winter – June to August is generally dry and mild with typical temperatures between 11-21 degrees.

Spring – September to November sees a rise in temperatures to between 15-25 degrees and humidity starts to increase.

Work Environment

Some immigrants arrive to join family members who have already made a life in Brisbane.

Others come to retire here, and some arrive to expand their education and study at one of the region’s renowned colleges or universities.

However, for most expats, working in Australia is the ultimate goal.

The working environment is much less formal compared to the UK with the emphasis being on a good work-life balance along with professionalism, diversity, and inclusion.

Contracted hours are adhered to, and overtime is not generally the norm.

Typically, Australia provides generous annual leave entitlements and there are additional public holidays.

Employees rarely refer to each other and Mr or Mrs, first names are used even with higher management roles.

You will find that for the most part, Australians have an attitude to work similar to their social lives, friendly and laid back, however, don’t be fooled, employers also expect you to work hard too!

Finding a job in Brisbane

Jobs in Brisbane

There are plenty of job opportunities in Brisbane. Image credit: Depositphotos

Australia is known for its higher wages in some industries this is true with jobs that fall within the Mining industry.

Roles in mining engineering, geology, and resource management, often offer very competitive salaries.

IT and Technology-related work is also very well paid.

Working within the sectors of software development, data science, and cybersecurity all pay very well.

Construction is yet another area where there is a high demand for people with the right skills and experience.

Finding a job in Brisbane, like anywhere else, involves a combination of research, networking, and strategic job-seeking efforts.

Here are some steps to help you find a job in Brisbane.

Understanding the Brisbane job market.

Take some time to research the top industries in the city, perhaps you could qualify for some of their advertised positions.

A good starting point is to check out the “in-demand skills” list.

Be sure to make use of the Migration Queensland website.

From here you can explore all of the skilled occupations listed for the province.

The Queensland Government’s jobs website is another very useful tool to assist you in finding work in Brisbane.

Use popular online job platforms such as Seek, Indeed, and LinkedIn to search for job vacancies in Brisbane.

Like all cities, Brisbane has plenty of recruitment agencies.

Many employers use recruitment agencies to fill positions, and these agencies can help match your skills with available opportunities.

You can find a list of the top recruiting providers here.

Remember that persistence and patience are key in the job search process.

With time and effort, you will find that you will be well on your way to landing your perfect job.

Education in Brisbane

Brisbane Education

Brisbane provides locals with great education provisions. Image credit: Pixabay

Many individuals who opt to migrate to Brisbane do so accompanied by their children, introducing an additional layer of concern for parents.

Although the curriculum will be slightly different, the great news is that standards of education are high right across Australia.

The Australian Government places a strong emphasis on diversity, allocating significant resources towards teaching and student support systems.

As with the UK, expat parents can choose to educate their children in state, private or international schools.

Children must attend full-time education between the ages of 6-16.

Australia operates on a two-level system – primary and secondary.

Primary children attend school up to year 6 and then move into secondary education between years 7-12.

To enrol your child, you will need to submit evidence of the child’s age, residential address, and immunisation records. These requirements may vary slightly between states and territories.

Here is a list of the top 50 high schools in Brisbane.

Brisbane is also home to several reputable colleges and institutions that cater to students 18 years or over.

Options include vocational colleges, tertiary education, language schools and top-class universities.

The city even ranks in the top 25 University cities in the world!

Just as we do in the UK, colleges and universities have open days specifically aimed at recruiting prospective students.

It’s important to research each institution and check course offerings, accreditation, and student reviews before finally deciding which will be best for your child.

Healthcare in Brisbane

Brisbane Healthcare

Brisbane Healthcare provisions are of a very high standard. Image credit: Unsplash

There may be slight variations from state to state, however healthcare provision is of an excellent standard.

Australia has a public healthcare system (Medicare) that provides essential medical services.

Some employers also offer private health insurance as part of employment benefits.

The system typically includes doctor visits, hospital care, and some medical tests and treatments.

Medicare is granted to individuals upon becoming Australian citizens, obtaining permanent residency, or holding a temporary visa that permits them to work in Australia and includes an application for a permanent visa.

Once eligible, many expatriates choose to enrol in the Medicare system. 

It is essential to note that Medicare enrolment carries the obligation of the “Medicare Levy,” which must be disclosed when filing your annual taxes.

You may have private medical insurance as part of your employment contract.

If you want to compare the cost and what is included in private insurance, you can do so here. 

Buying a Home in Brisbane

With the cost of a home in Brisbane being relatively cheaper when compared to Sydney or Melbourne, and much more affordable than the UK, you will be pleasantly surprised at how far your money stretches.

Even when you take into consideration that the local housing market has been affected in a similar way to the UK with rises in interest rates and high inflation, still a three-bedroom home for example is well within reach.

As a guide, the average cost to purchase a property in Brisbane as of January 2024, is AD770,000 (£409,000).

Though the average may be expensive, in many areas there are homes for sale way under the national average.

A three-bedroom home in need of modernising can be purchased for around AD330,000 (£175,000)

Further out from the city centre is where you will find more affordable homes. Check out some of the best suburbs HERE. 

For further information regarding Brisbane’s housing market and predictions for 2024, visit the SBS News website.

As the buying process in Australia is very different to the UK, when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars you want to ensure you have all the relevant information you need.

There is a handy explanation of the whole process available on the Blackk website.

Rental Homes in Brisbane

Renting in Brisbane

Renting in Brisbane could be a good option for many. Image credit: Pixabay

It makes total sense to rent a home when you initially arrive in Brisbane.

Everyone has their own particular agenda when it comes to purchasing a property.

Renting will give you extra time to consider your options both financially and location-wise.

Much like home, rentals are in high demand, but availability is limited.

To start with you may have to live somewhere that is not top of your list of best places, but it is only going to be temporary.

Renting offers you the opportunity to really shop around and find the perfect location for you, and your family.

Letting costs are cheaper than the UK, with the average house or unit rental in Brisbane, varying between AU850 (£451) and AU355 (£177) per week.

As a comparison, rentals in London are currently averaging £700 per week.

As the process of renting is also different when compared to the UK, make sure you understand the process before committing to a property.

You will find some of the top tips to renting a home in Brisbane HERE.

Public Transport in Brisbane

Central Railway Station, Brisbane

Central Railway Station, Brisbane. Image credit: Wikipedia

Unlike some of the country’s cities, Brisbane is quite spread out.

It consists mostly of suburban and urban locations and requires residents and visitors to rely on public transport or private vehicles for travel between different parts.

Brisbane has a comprehensive public transport system that includes buses, trains, ferries, and a dedicated CityCat service that more than adequately covers all public travel options.

TransLink operates bus services, (which coordinates services across the entire Southeast Queensland region), including Brisbane and its surrounding areas.

There is a handy journey planner available listing locations and ticket costs on the Translink website.

Queensland Rail is responsible for services by train.

Their services connect the city centre with various suburban areas, making it a convenient option for daily commuting.

CityCat and Ferries are a unique way to travel.

Operating along the Brisbane River, together they provide a scenic and efficient way to travel between key riverside locations.

The most economical method of using each of these travel services is by purchasing a Go Card.

A contactless smart card used for seamless travel across all of Brisbane’s public transport networks.

All you need to do is add credit and off you go.

Bringing Your Pets 


Moving to Brisbane with Pets

Moving to Brisbane with pets will take lots of planning. Image credit: Unsplash

Despite the fact that Australia has some of the strictest pet importation regulations in the world, it is possible to bring your beloved cat or dog with you to Brisbane.

It is advisable to approach the process with careful planning and attention to detail to minimize stress for both you and your pet.

There are a number of steps to consider when you are planning for your pet’s importation.

You will need an Import Permit issued by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment.

Your pet must be thoroughly up to date with vaccinations.

Pets will be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, and you must book the quarantine space well in advance of your travel.

Using a reputable pet carrier will ensure that your animal will be well cared for and meet the stringent Australian regulations.

To find a good pet exporter, visit the International Pet and Animal Association (IPATA) website which lists all member companies.

This is a simplified explanation of the importation process.

The Department of Agriculture has more detailed information explaining exactly what you need to do to bring your pet into Australia safely and legally.

Brisbane’s Best Attractions

Once you have all the practicalities sorted and you have finally arrived, you can start to relax and explore your surroundings.

Brisbane has so many fantastic attractions available it is impossible to list them all in our article.

We have put together a guide to the top 5 “must-see” attractions in and around the city.

South Bank Parklands

Located alongside the Brisbane River, the park features gardens, swimming facilities, dining options, and the iconic Wheel of Brisbane.

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)

A fantastic must-see for culture lovers.  The gallery is among the top contemporary art museums in Australia showcasing a diverse range of exhibitions and collections.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Who doesn’t love a Koala? The well-established sanctuary is the oldest and largest in the world. You can have a koala experience and cuddle, feed and observe these little creatures along with a selection of other animals.

Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you can book an exhilarating climb to the top of the iconic Story Bridge, providing panoramic views of the city and surroundings.

Streets Beach

Although Brisbane boasts some incredible beaches within a short distance, this is Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach. Located in South Bank Parklands, it comes complete with white sand and lagoon-style swimming pools.

Brisbane’s Best Nearby Beaches

Brisbane Beaches

Living in Brisbane means you have access to some great beaches. Image credit: Pixabay

Being situated away from the coast unlike many of Australia’s cities doesn’t mean a day at the beach is out of the question.

On the contrary. Several beautiful beaches near Brisbane can be easily accessed for a day trip or a weekend getaway

Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast)

Around an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, Surfers Paradise forms part of the famous Gold Coast. This beach is well known for long stretches of white sand along with a very vibrant nightlife when the sun goes down.

Main Beach (Gold Coast)

Another Gold Coast gem situated alongside, Main Beach is a more relaxed option with a beautiful stretch of sand and a variety of waterfront dining options.

Burleigh Heads Beach (Gold Coast)

This beach is popular with surfers who come to experience the great waves ideal for a selection of water sports. It also forms part of a national park for hiking, and a range of cafes.

Stradbroke Island (North Stradbroke Island or “Straddie”)

This one is only accessible by ferry and boasts two pristine beaches Cylinder Beach and Frenchman’s Beach. This one is ideal for those who like to be amid natural surroundings.

Noosa Main Beach (Sunshine Coast)

A bit further out, around two hours from Brisbane, Noosa Beach is known for its calm water ideal for swimming and water activities. The nearby Noosa National Park offers scenic coastal walks.

When it comes to immaculate places by the sea, it doesn’t matter which beach you opt to visit, each is as stunning as the other.

Creatures Unique to Brisbane

Female Tusked Frog

The Tusked Frog is native to Eastern Australia. Image credit: Wikipedia

Brisbane, like much of Australia, is home to a diverse range of wildlife.

While some species can be found throughout the country, certain animals are typically only found in the Queensland region and its unique ecosystems.

Brisbane River Turtles are only found in the Brisbane River.

They have short necks and can grow to around 28 centimetres.

These turtles feed on crustaceans, insects, and algae.

The Tusked Frog is known for the distinct tusks present in males.

It inhabits wetlands and ponds of Brisbane and other areas of Queensland.

Unusually, their tusks are only visible when the mouth is open, they are located on the lower front jaw.

The Brisbane Butterfly is another creature that can only be found in the Brisbane region.

It has distinct black and white markings.

The best way to see these butterflies is by visiting one of Brisbane’s three butterfly houses.

Greater Glider, while not exclusive to Brisbane, the Greater Glider can be found in the surrounding forests. It is a large gliding possum known for its membrane-like wings.

Eating out in Brisbane

If all you want to do is relax and enjoy a fantastic meal and a glass of Australian wine, you are in the right city.

Brisbane is a veritable treasure trove of culinary delights.

The city has a wide range of restaurants, cafes, bars, and eateries that cater to various tastes and preferences including Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and more.

Head to the South Bank or Eagle Street to soak up the riverfront dining scene which offers not just sumptuous dining options, but beautiful views of the Brisbane River.

Eating out for breakfast is a popular thing to do in Brisbane.

Many of the local cafes offer inventive and delicious breakfast options and prices are very reasonable.

For something a bit quirkier, visit the neighbourhoods of Fortitude Valley, West End, and New Farm, they are well known for their eclectic food scenes.

Alfresco dining. Of course, with the near all-year-round sunshine, dining out “alfresco” is always on the menu.

Most eateries provide outside seating, allowing patrons to enjoy meals in the open air.

The local craft beer scene is growing rapidly in Brisbane.

Many breweries and bars now offer unique and locally brewed beers.

These establishments often pair their drinks with creative food offerings.

Australia is known globally for its high-quality wine production.

Popular grape varieties from Australia include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to partake in a glass or two at a trendy Brisbane wine bar.

Transporting Your Household Effects to Brisbane

WACO Truck

White & Company Truck

The final step towards your Australian journey is to arrange the shipment of your household effects.

You will need a professional, reliable international removals company to wrap, pack and transport your personal effects to Perth.

You can start by getting in touch with White & Company.

We specialise in removals to Australia, providing customers with comprehensive services including both full and part loads ensuring your items arrive as quickly as possible.

If you require storage, we can also provide accredited facilities which adhere to European standards.

Our dedicated partners in Australia will meticulously handle all paperwork and customs clearance, overseeing the unloading and unpacking of your household goods.

For more details on shipping goods to Perth, contact our international office at 01489 854175 and consult with one of our international relocation experts.

Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form, and a member of our team will reach out to you shortly.


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