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? Let me tell you about the Brisbane pros and cons from my point of view.
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:
- You can go rock climbing or abseiling in front of the CBD.
- You can kayak on the Brisbane River.
- There are lovely parks (Botanic Gardens, Roma Park, Victoria Park) in the city.
- Brisbane has many wetlands (Boondall wetlands are the largest ones).
- You can spend time in nature in Brisbane, hiking or kayaking (Enoggera Reservoir is a gem).
- You can catch a train or a bus to walk along the coast.
- You can go bird watching.
- The stunning Moreton Island is actually part of the Brisbane local government area.
- In spring, you can see many jacaranda trees colouring the city.
And if you’re up for a trip outside Brisbane, you’ll find some of the most stunning places in Australia nearby:
- Brisbane isn’t far from some of the most reputed beaches in Australia: the Sunshine Coast, Noosa, the Gold Coast or Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) can be visited on a day trip.
- You’ll find many national parks nearby for hiking: the Glasshouse Mountains, Springbrook and its famous Natural Bridge, Lamington, Mount Tamborine, the Scenic Rim…
- There are beautiful rock pools near Brisbane to cool down in summer.
- You’ll also find amazing spots for scuba diving near Brisbane.
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.
House and apartment size and price
Compared to Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane housing is more affordable and you’ll get a bigger apartment or house for a lower rent. For the same rent budget, 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.
Brisbane is also a smaller city, so you’re likely to be closer to attractions or work.
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 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 2.5hrs 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
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.
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.
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.
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.