Deciding which area to live in is one of the most important decisions that any expat moving to Brisbane will have to make. The greater Brisbane area consists of several municipalities that feature hundreds of different neighbourhoods. With so many different areas and suburbs in Brisbane to choose from, the decision facing new arrivals on where to live can be a difficult one.
There are a number of factors that shape an expat’s choice of area to live in. These can include budget, proximity to the workplace, safety, and access to public transport. For expats moving to Brisbane with children, the proximity to good schools and facilities for children will also be an important deciding factor.
City-living in Brisbane
For those who want to enjoy the best nightlife and entertainment and remain close to most offices, the Brisbane city centre is an option worth considering and has a number of trendy suburbs to meet these needs.
Fortitude Valley is a vibrant area in Central Brisbane. It lies right next to the city centre and is one of Brisbane’s main entertainment hubs. The streets of Fortitude Valley are lined with nightclubs, trendy bars and restaurants. The area is also home to one of the largest shopping precincts in Australia. Expats living in Fortitude Valley will never be far from the action as lots of Brisbane’s annual events are held here, including the International Jazz Festival, the Big Gay Day and the three-day Valley Fiesta.
As the area is so centrally located, residents have easy access to all modes of public transport. In fact, owning a vehicle in Fortitude Valley will be expensive as the availability of secure parking is limited.
New Farm is an inner suburb of Brisbane that is also close to the city centre and located on the Brisbane River. The area is connected to Brisbane’s central business district and other parts of the city by regular ferries and buses.
The main commercial area close to New Farm is called Merthyr Village and here residents can shop to their hearts' content and grab a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants and cafés. New Farm also has a vibrant arts scene, with regular shows taking place at the Brisbane Powerhouse, a former electric tramway power station that has been converted into a theatre. However, one downside is that property in New Farm is fairly expensive.
Family-friendly suburbs of Brisbane
For expats moving to Brisbane with children, being close to the right school will be essential. As there are few international schools in Brisbane, expats will need to spend some extra time considering where they would choose to school their children and do some research into the Australian schooling system.
Victoria Point is a leafy family-friendly suburb which is located about 20 miles (30km) southeast of Brisbane’s centre. Expats will find that it's easy to meet fellow expats in the area, which is particularly popular among expats from England and New Zealand.
Families often find Victoria Point to be an ideal choice thanks to the selection of private and public schools in the area.
Holland Park is a great neighbourhood for those with children as there are a number of large, established parks, a good range of schools, a well-equipped library and a convenient shopping street. It's significantly closer to the city centre than Victoria Point.
Although properties tend to be a little bit older here, this does mean that there are many more affordable options for those on a tight budget.
Affordable areas of Brisbane
The cost of living in Brisbane is generally quite high and rent tends to account for a large proportion of an expat's budget. The best option for those on a budget is to look into sharing a house or renting a portion of one of the city's many large subdivided homes. This is a great way to meet other people and become familiar with one's new host city.
Darra is an older suburb with slightly more dated but spacious properties. It is possible to rent a room in a house in Darra for a nominal amount. The abundance of affordable rental options available in Darra makes it popular among students and young expats spending some time in Brisbane on a working holiday. There are regular bus and train services that connect Darra to other parts of Brisbane.
On the downside, Darra is located close to a number of industrial areas which become a little quiet in the evening and it may not feel like the safest part of the city. The facilities may not be on par with what is available in other more affluent neighbourhoods in the city, but living here will certainly help in making some significant savings.
Are you an expat living in Brisbane?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brisbane. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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