My first impressions of the capital of the Sunshine State weren’t that good. I even wondered if Brisbane was worth visiting. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it grew on me. I’ve called Brisbane home for about ten years, and I don’t see myself living anywhere else for now. So, why live in Brisbane? And is it a good city for you if you choose to live in Australia? Let me tell you about Brisbane’s pros and cons from my point of view.

Rooftop views from FV by Peppers*, a good place where to stay in Brisbane

Why live in Brisbane – the pros

Like many places in Australia, Brisbane is a lovely place to live. For most foreigners, Brisbane – and Australia in general – appears safe and with a lot of free space. The city also has fantastic unique features.

Nature-based activities in the Brisbane region

One of the things I love the most about living in Brisbane is the number of fun nature-based activities I can easily access.

You don’t need to go outside Brisbane to go on an adventure:

And if you’re up for a trip outside Brisbane, you’ll find some of the most stunning places in Australia nearby:

The climate

I love the climate in Brisbane. Sure, there are a couple of months when it often rains. But it’s sunny for most of the year and warmer than in other big Australian cities. The weather is perfect to enjoy the nature-based activities I mentioned above. It’s even hard to pick the best time to visit Brisbane!

Brisbane city from South Bank
View of Brisbane City from the Emporium Hotel*

House and apartment size and price (compared to Sydney and Melbourne)

Compared to Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane housing is usually more affordable, and you’ll get a bigger apartment or house for a lower rent. For the same rent budget a few years ago in Brisbane, my friends had to share an apartment in the Sydney suburbs while I could live in my own apartment in the inner city of Brisbane. However, despite being better than Australia’s two biggest cities, Brisbane is often noted as one of the worst places to rent in Australia because of increased rents and low vacancy rates.

Brisbane is also a smaller city, so your home is likely to be closer to attractions or work.

View of the Botanical Garden from a Skytower apartment

Good dining options and breweries

Dining options in Brisbane are still not as good as in Melbourne or Sydney. However, in the past few years, Brisbane has really improved its dining scene. You can find many restaurants with fine food and a good atmosphere. Many small breweries have also popped up around the city.

And if you prefer breakfast, we’re very lucky to have multiple French bakeries in Brisbane with delicious pastries. So far, they taste like back home (or even better), and they’re the best I’ve had in Australia. I’m so glad I can keep my French eating habits while living Down Under.

Transportation

I don’t particularly like public transport in Brisbane, but the network is rather good with buses, trains or ferries. Tunnels and tolled bridges help save time if you’re commuting by car. Plus, options for active travel (walking or cycling) are constantly improving. You can also easily hire an e-bike or e-scooter with Beam or Neuron.

New to Beam? You can download their app here and use the referral code ydXTF (it’s case-sensitive). We’ll both get free credits!
New to Neuron? Register here or use the coupon code 12D5HSYE, and we’ll both get a free 10-minute ride.

Arts, culture and events in Brisbane

If the biggest events are often in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is also a vibrant and lively city thriving with sporting and cultural events. South Bank is the famous cultural precinct on the bank of the Brisbane River opposite the CBD. From art galleries and museums to theatre, ballet or live music, there’s always something happening in Brisbane.

Crowds travel to Brisbane for the Brisbane Festival with the reputed Riverfire. The city also regularly hosts major sports events, and this was even before they started talking about hosting the Olympic Games in 2032. Smaller community events are organised almost every weekend in the many parks of the city.

Exotic international neighbours

Brisbane is the getaway to the Pacific Islands. Noumea (New Caledonia) is only 2.5 hours away, and there are also direct flights to Munda in the Solomon Islands and a few other destinations in the Pacific.

An evolving city

Even if you’ve lived in Brisbane for a long time, you’ll always find something new to do. The city is always changing, getting more modern and green. New restaurant precincts, entertainment venues and parks regularly open, so you don’t have to go far to find a new place.

Cons of living in Brisbane

The climate

Flood in Brisbane in 2022

I know I listed the climate as a perk of living in Brisbane. But some would not agree with me. The weather could be seen on both sides of the list of Brisbane pros and cons.

Although no one can argue the winter and shoulder seasons are beautiful, some cannot get over the humidity and storms during summer. I got used to the humidity and chose an apartment facing south to avoid the heat in summer. Intense rainfalls and storms can also be worrying for Brisbane inhabitants.

Early nights

View from Bowen Terrace Brisbane
Brisbane at night from Bowen Terrace

Unfortunately, Brisbane doesn’t have daylight savings. It means that the sunset is always too early. In summer, it’s dark at 7 pm. However, the first light is at 4 am! It’s one of the things I complain about the most regarding living in Brisbane.

Big village

This is something some people love about Brisbane. I personally don’t. I often feel like I’m in a big village in Brisbane because wherever I go, I meet people I know. There’s often one event at a time in Brisbane, so it’s not surprising that people gather there. But I’ve even randomly met colleagues or friends at the top of Mount Barney or in the middle of the forest of Lamington National Park!

Construction and roadwork

Brisbane keeps growing and changing. It’s great to see many new places popping up, like the lovely Howard Smith Wharves, new bridges for bikes and pedestrians or new transportation systems like the Brisbane Metro and the Cross River Rail. But it also means a lot of construction and roadwork happen at the same time in the city. It can create traffic jams or other disagreements.

Traffic jams

Talking about traffic jams, Brisbane unfortunately has the the worst road congestion in Australia. The population increasing and residents prefer taking their car to public transport, and they don’t forecast this will change soon despite the new public and active transport options available in the city.

Drive to the beach

You’ll need a car to reach a beautiful beach from Brisbane. While Brisbane has some local beaches, they lack the lovely white sand or the surf found in places like Sydney’s Manly and Bondi Beach, or Melbourne’s Saint Kilda. For a beach day, many Brisbane residents head to the nearby Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast, and none of these can be reached easily by public transport.

Jobs

Brisbane isn’t a bad place to find a job. Brisbane is actually one of Australia’s major business hubs as it is the country’s third biggest city and the capital of Queensland. However, in some sectors, you may have better career opportunities in Sydney or Melbourne where most of the headquarters and global companies are located.

What do you think are the Brisbane pros and cons? Share your experience in the comments below!

Eloise

Eloise is the creator and writer of MyFavouriteEscapes.com. She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. West coast lover

    Big village alright. Somehow just feels behind 8 ball compared to down south. What’s with Woolies closing at 6 on Sundays? If Sydney had Brisbane winter climate and Brisbane house prices as well as gold coast nearby it’ll be perfect

  2. Rosalia

    You have described well about the city of Brisbane I’m thankful for your info

  3. Seb

    Keen to hear if this is still a similar list of pros and cons in 2023? We’re contemplating a move to Brisbane from Sydney and interested to hear your thoughts.

    1. Eloise

      Hi Seb, my opinion about Brisbane hasn’t changed a lot lately. I noticed more car traffic in the past year (but it doesn’t bother me much as I mostly use active travel); I’ve added this as a con now. Finding a place to rent has surely become a bit trickier and pricier here, but I think Sydney’s feeling that too.
      I lived in Sydney for a few years, a while ago. I loved it, but these two cities are different. I can’t really recommend one over the other; it all depends on the lifestyle you’re looking for, your hobbies, and also the suburbs where you can afford to live! In my personal situation, Brisbane wins 😉

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