The best places to live in Brisbane
The greater Brisbane area consists of several municipalities and hundreds of different neighbourhoods, and picking an area to live in is one of the most important decisions expats will have to make.
Budget, distance from their workplace, safety, and access to public transport all shape an expat’s choice of neighbourhood. For expats with children, proximity to good schools and entertainment facilities will also be a deciding factor.
City living in Brisbane
Fortitude Valley is a vibrant area right next to the city centre, and it’s one of Brisbane’s main entertainment hubs. The streets here are lined with nightclubs, trendy bars and restaurants, and it 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 the metropolis’ annual events are held here, including the International Jazz Festival, the Big Gay Day and the Valley Fiesta. The central location of the area also means residents have easy access to all modes of public transport.
New Farm is an inner suburb 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. In Merthyr Village, a nearby commercial area, residents can shop to their hearts' content and grab a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants and cafes. New Farm also has a vibrant arts scene, with regular shows taking place at the Brisbane Powerhouse – a tramway power station that has been converted into a theatre. One downside is that property in New Farm is fairly expensive.
Family-friendly suburbs in Brisbane
Victoria Point is a leafy, family-friendly suburb located about 20 miles (30km) southeast of Brisbane’s centre. The area is particularly popular with UK and New Zealand expats. 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, thanks to the number of parks, good schools, a well-equipped library, convenient shopping centres, and its proximity to the city centre. Although properties tend to be a little older here, this does mean that there are more affordable options for those on a tight budget.
Affordable areas of Brisbane
Darra is an older suburb with slightly more dated though spacious properties. The abundance of affordable rental options available in Darra makes it popular among students and young expats on a working holiday. There are regular bus and train services that connect the suburb to other parts of Brisbane.
On the downside, Darra is located close to a number of industrial areas and it may not feel like the safest part of Brisbane. The amenities are also not quite on par with those in more affluent neighbourhoods, but Darra is perfect for those hoping to save a few dollars.
► Accommodation in Brisbane has more info about the city's property market
"With Brisbane, it all comes down to which side of the river you work on. You don’t want to have to commute over the river every day, so try to plan your job first, if you can. We ended up moving to the suburb that is lovingly referred to as ‘Little Britain’ as so many expats live here. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but house prices here were such good value and we found a perfect home, so that was the driving factor for us." Read what British expat Karen has to say about living in Brisbane.
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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