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The cost of living in Brisbane: A comprehensive guide

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Brisbane, the river city of Queensland, Australia, is known for its vibrant urban precincts, outdoor lifestyle, and friendly locals. Not too long ago, Brisbane was known as a big friendly country town but is in a major infrastructure overhaul at the moment with the 2032 Olympics rapidly approaching. 

Additionally, Brisbane is in the most ideal location having over 100 kilometres of the best beaches in the nation within an hour's drive from the city. The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast and everything between the two, make for some of the best coastal locations in Australia. If the outdoors is your thing then Brisbane is for you. 

As more people consider calling Brisbane home, Brisbane interstate removalists are here to help your understanding of the cost of living in this sun-soaked city. In this guide, we delve into various aspects that contribute to the cost of living in Brisbane, giving you a clearer picture of what to expect.

Brisbane’s climate

Brisbane has the most equitable and moderate climate in Australia. Winter in Brisbane is one of the main factors drawing many Southerners to our northern capital. Spring and autumn are also mild whilst summer can be bordering on hot and sticky at times but usually broken by cool south easterlies off the ocean. Average temps are usually in the twenties and can get down to higher single figures in winter. Never too cold though.

What does this mean for the cost of living in Brisbane?

Expect to pay for air conditioning in the summer months in your home. Heating may be needed on really cold nights in the winter but for the most part, you won’t need it.  

Brisbane housing costs

Cost of Brisbane housing

Housing is typically the most significant monthly expense. In Brisbane, housing costs can vary greatly depending on the location and type of accommodation. 

Inner-city areas tend to be more expensive, while suburbs offer more affordable options. As for projections of house and unit prices for 2024, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approximately $526,000. 

For those looking to buy, the median house price in Brisbane has been steadily rising, now sitting around while a house outside the city centre costs around $760,000. When it comes to rentals the average rent for units in Brisbane is around $550 per week and houses average around $700 per week. 

With Brisbane’s excellent public transport system the more outlying suburbs can be viable options depending on where your workplace is located.

Utility costs in Brisbane

Utilities, including electricity, heating and cooling, average around $200 per month for a 6-person family. Water works out to about $800 per year (but this is often included in your rent if you’re renting). This cost can vary greatly based on consumption, season, and the energy and water efficiency of your residence and family. 

Incidentally, one way of reducing costs can be turning off all your standby modes on appliances and turning off those lights if no one is in the room. Water costs can vary simply because of usage which can be minimised by shorter showers and being careful about how much you pump into your gardens and lawns.  

Transportation costs to expect

Brisbane offers a range of public transportation options, including buses, trains, and ferries. A Go card can cost you approx. 30% less than a single ticket and is usable on bus, train or ferry for public transport. Costs vary of course depending on how many zones you cross in your travels. For example, there is a savings of $4 between the Go card price and a single ticket on 5 zones. 

The ferries on the Brisbane River, known as the Rivercats, are an amazing and relaxing way to travel if you have that option. They run very regularly and this is part of the Go Card system. 

If you prefer driving, the cost of fuel and parking should also be taken into account. Brisbane’s traffic can be heavy during peak hours, influencing fuel consumption and having a cost in time spent. Parking in Brisbane City is often ticketed through parking meters. 

Brisbane also has a system of bicycle and walkways throughout the inner city many of which follow the riverside and all are free.  

Eating out and groceries in Brisbane

Groceries in Brisbane are comparable to other major Australian cities. A weekly grocery bill for a single person may range from $100-200 and a family $200-400, depending on dietary habits and choice of supermarket. 

Dining out in Brisbane offers a range of options, but an average meal at an inexpensive restaurant will set you back about $25.00. 

Markets are another great option in Brisbane. Depending on the market you go to, you can buy your fruits and vegetables for less than supermarket prices. While you are there, if you choose to visit a food truck, expect to pay roughly $10-20 per meal or item. 

Brisbane healthcare costs

Australia has a robust public healthcare system, which significantly reduces healthcare costs. However, private health insurance can be a wise choice for more comprehensive coverage. 

On average, private health insurance for a single in Brisbane can cost between $100 to $150 per month. Brisbane has some top class hospitals, both private and public like Princess Alexandra, Royal Brisbane, John Wesley, The Mater, Greenslopes, and many more.  

Education costs

Brisbane is home to several high-quality educational institutions, both public and private. While public schools do not charge tuition fees, there are other costs like uniforms, books, and school trips. This may cost around $300-700 per year for a primary school student or closer to $1000 for a high school student (depending on their device fees). 

Private school fees vary widely but can be somewhat substantial. Cluey has a list of tuition costs that can give you guidance but in general, expect to pay between $5000 to $26000 per year. 

Some of the best schools in Brisbane are Brisbane Grammar, All Hallows, Brisbane Girls Grammar, St Josephs, Somerville House, Qld Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology, Brisbane State High, Ormiston College and many others.

Leisure, sport and entertainment

Brisbane Southbank lagoon with people swimming. Free entertainment

Brisbane’s climate and outdoor culture mean that many leisure activities are free or low-cost, such as visiting its 2180 parks or its 128 kilometres of superb beaches from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. 

Additionally, Brisbane is backed by many beautiful mountains and national parks within easy reach of Brisbane suburbs like Mount Glorious, Mount Nebo, Mount Cootha, the Taylor range, the Glasshouse mountains, Tamborine and the Border ranges. 

Big in sport, Brisbane is the home of the Broncos, Brisbane Lions, Redcliffe Dolphins, and the best State of Origin team, the Queensland Maroons, with major sports stadiums like the Gabba, Suncorp Stadium, Ballymore, Sleeman Centre and many others. 

Tickets for sporting events or theatre do depend on the event or show so factor in $100+ per ticket if this is something you are aiming to do.

For paid entertainment like cinema tickets, expect to pay around $15 to $20 with Gym memberships typically costing around $25 to $35 per month.


Here is a bit of a monthly breakdown of what you might expect to spend in Brisbane if you are renting. 

Housing: $2000

Utilities: $200

Public transport: $200

Petrol & Parking: $440

Groceries: $300 

Eating out: $100

Your subscriptions & phone plan: $100

Entertainment: $100

Add in kids: 

School costs (public): $50

Total: $3490*

*Of course, much of this is dependent on your situation in terms of who you’ll be living with, taking care of, what you like to spend money on, etc, but sometimes it is helpful to see a really rough figure. You can also take a look at Numbeo which has additional estimates

Living in Brisbane offers a balanced lifestyle with its mix of urban and outdoor activities. While the cost of living can be moderately high, especially in housing, it is comparable to other major cities in Australia.

For those seeking a vibrant city life coupled with the charm of laid-back Queensland living and the excitement of outdoor living, Brisbane presents many attractive options. As with any city, your lifestyle choices will significantly impact your living costs, so it’s essential to plan accordingly, part of which can be to engage quality Brisbane interstate removalists to help you save on your moving costs. 

Whether you’re moving for work, study, or the allure of Brisbane itself, understanding these costs will help you make an informed decision and enable you to enjoy all that this dynamic city has to offer. Happy Moving!