Brisbane, state capital of Queensland, has a lot going for it. Nestled on the banks of the wide and meandering ‘Brisbane River’, the city enjoys a fantastic climate with hot, if rather humid, summers and warm winters. It has beautiful parks and some important historic buildings and structures including ‘Story Bridge’, designed by the architect responsible for the ‘Sydney Harbor Bridge’.
Over the last few years Brisbane has built a reputation as one of Australia’s most desirable places to live. It has great restaurants, a buzzing nightlife, an edgy arts scene and its wide variety of wide-open spaces make it a magnet for those who enjoy cycling, kayaking and rock climbing.
Just east of the city is ‘Moreton Bay’, a protected national park with pristine beaches and underwater wrecks. It’s a great place to dive and watch all sorts of wildlife including whales, turtles and dolphins, depending on the time of year.
What is the Cost of One Month of Housing in Brisbane?
Between AUS$500 a month for a bed in a shared dorm in a hostel to AUS$2,400 for a self-contained apartment.
AirBnB has private rooms in centrally located shared homes from AUS$50 a night. Expect to pay around AUS$2,400 a month for a self-contained apartment, less if you are willing to live some way out of town.
Code Apartments, 8 Jeays Street, offers double en-suites for AUS$117 a night or Rendezvous Hotel Brisbane Anzac Square, 255 Ann Street Brisbane has the same for AUS$160.
Manly Harbor Backpakers, 45 Cambridge Parade, has beds in shared dorms from AUS$16 a night, great for groups of friends traveling to Brisbane to volunteer abroad. Aussie Way Hostel, 34 Cricket Street, has rooms in dorms for AUS$28 or private rooms from AUS$36.
What is the Cost of Transportation for One Month in Brisbane?
About AUS$100 if you are just travelling within the inner city
Good news - Brisbane has one of the best public transport networks in Australia with a range of bus, train and ferry options. Fares on all three operate on a zone system of which there are 23 in total. The city center and most of the inner-city suburbs fall within Zone 1 where a standard single ride on bus or train will cost you AUS$4.80.
You can save money travelling by bus or train by purchasing a ‘Go card’ for AUS$10 and pre-loading it with cash. This will guarantee you fares that are at least 30% cheaper than paper tickets. Travel between 8.30am-3.30pm and after 7pm on weekdays (and all day on weekends and on public holidays) to receive an additional 20% saving off your ‘Go card’ fare. If you make 9 journeys then you travel free after your 9th paid journey in a 7-day period, from Monday to Sunday, regardless of the zones travelled. A weekly bus and train ticket for travel in Zone 1 costs AUS$17.60 for an adult. Concessions are available.
If you are going to be using the city’s ferries a lot, it’s worth getting a ‘SEEQ’ card which allows you to travel on ferry, bus and rail for AUS$79 for 3 days or AUS$129 for 5 days.
What is the Cost of Food for One Month in Brisbane?
Budget AUS$500-600 for meals mostly cooked at home with the odd lunch and drinks out
Shopping for food in supermarkets, expect to pay around AUS$1.50 for a litre of milk, AUS$2.70 for a loaf of bread, AUS$4.45 for a kilo of apples and AUS$15 for a bottle of Australian wine. In cafes and bars, a cappuccino will cost about AUS$4.25 and AUS$5 for half a litre of domestic beer.
Brisbane has some fabulous markets selling a range of seasonal produce including Brisbane MarketPlace Saturday Fresh Market (Sherwood Road, Rocklea), the largest fresh food and lifestyle market in the city. It has over 220 stalls offering fruit and vegetables, meats and poultry, fresh cut flowers, breads and baked goods. Jan Power’s Farmers Markets take place at 4 locations in the city: the Brisbane City Markets, Powerhouse, Manly Farmers Markets and Mitchelton Markets selling flowers, fish, poultry, plants and much more. They also run special promotions and entertaining events including chefs’ cookery classes. Check the janpowersfarmersmarkets website for days and times.
In addition to the high-end restaurants you’d expect to find in any major city, Brisbane has some excellent more affordable options. Try The Fox Hotel, 71-3 Melbourne Street, which offers a set menu of two courses and a side to share for AUS$40. Its dishes include local sand crab spaghettini and fillet steak with bacon. Or check out The Bitter Suite, 75 Welsby Street for Peking duck pancakes for AUS$18 and charcoal chicken with kim chi for AUS$20.
What is the Cost of Entertainment for One Month in Brisbane?
There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Brisbane. Art lovers should investigate the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG). Perched in a great position on the river, QAGOMA (as it’s known) attracts fantastic exhibitions in addition to displays of work from its own collections including those by Andy Warhol and Picasso. Some exhibitions are free although some are ticketed with prices around AUS$20.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) hosts all sorts of performances from musicals to concerts by ‘Queensland Symphony Orchestra’. Tickets are available from AUS$30 with concessions available.
If adventure is more your kind of thing, check out Riverlife Adventure Centre, Lower River Terrace, Kangaroo Point. It offers kayaking (AUS$28 for an hour and a half including kayak hire), abseiling (from AUS$30 including instruction) and rollerblading (AUS$25 for an hour and a half including blade hire), all in a beautiful riverside setting. This would make for a fun afternoon out for groups of friends who have come to Brisbane to work abroad or intern abroad.
Brisbane also has a thriving music and nightlife scene including the Black Bear Lodge which has its own ‘1960’s Alpine Lodge-type’ bar. The Black Bear is located at level 1/322 Brunswick St and holds ‘vinyl nights’, amongst other events, with tickets starting at AUS$5. Alfred & Constance (at the corner of the streets with those names) has a disco downstairs and cool restaurant upstairs offering ‘sharing’ plates from AUS$16.
There’s also the down-to-earth Scratch Bar, Park Road, where you can try a range of craft beers.