While the cost of living in Brisbane is not yet quite as high as in other Australian cities such as Melbourne or Sydney, the cost of expat life in the heart of Australia’s ‘Sunshine State’ is by no means cheap.

The growth in Brisbane’s population and its popularity as an expat destination has contributed to the city's cost of living increasing steadily over the years. Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2020 saw Brisbane tied with Adelaide for the rank of 126th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed. This is considerably lower than Sydney, for instance, which is the country's most expensive city at 66th.

Even though Brisbane is slowly becoming a more expensive place for expat life, there are always ways to save money and it's possible to enjoy what the city has to offer on a budget. 

Cost of accommodation in Brisbane

Renting a home is often the biggest expense for expats living in Brisbane. The attractive areas and suburbs tend to be expensive, so a good strategy to reduce the cost of housing is to live further out in the suburbs instead of in the city centre. In most cases, utilities will need to be paid for separately in addition to rental costs.

Cost of transportation in Brisbane

While the city has extensive bus and train networks, which make getting around the city convenient, transport in Brisbane is expensive. There are ways to cut down on transport costs though. For those who plan on regular commuting, investing in a Go Card can save some money.

Cost of entertainment in Brisbane

The cost of entertainment in Brisbane is in line with the average prices in most Australian cities. 

For expats who want to have a good time without spending a fortune, the great weather in Brisbane means that there are always lots of opportunities to spend time outdoors – enjoying a picnic in the park, taking a drive out to one of the little seaside towns, or indulging in an afternoon outdoors enjoying an Australian barbecue.

The independent shopping scene in Brisbane is also growing and expats keen to explore the markets popping up all over the city are sure to find some great bargains.

Cost of living in Brisbane chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for August 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

AUD 1,900

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

AUD 1,400

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

AUD 2,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

AUD 1,900


Eggs (dozen)

AUD 4.70

Milk (1 litre)

AUD 1.70

Rice (1kg)

AUD 2.60

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

AUD 11

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

AUD 30

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

AUD 12

Coca-Cola (330ml)

AUD 3.50


AUD 4.50

Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

AUD 100


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

AUD 0.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

AUD 77

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

AUD 200


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

AUD 2.20

Bus/train fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

AUD 1.50

Expat Health Insurance


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