What Does is Cost to Live for a Month in Brisbane, Australia?

Have you ever considered moving to a beach “Down Under” for a while? Even wonder what it would cost to live in one of Australia’s more enchanting cities? In this post by Lexi, one-half of the duo that created the website “They Get Around“. Steve and Lexi are two crazy kids hoping to make the most of their time in the world.  They met almost eight years ago in a dingy sandwich bar and as they say “have been stuck together like a fat kid to a cupcake ever since.” Steven proposed at the Sungate at Machu Picchu and they’ve been smugly satisfied with the bragging rights ever since. Check out their beautiful website or follow them on Youtube InstagramTwitter,  Pinterest,  Google+ or Facebook

Brisbane is in the heart of South East Queensland and can be a great spot for those who want to live in a modern city with easy access to beaches, mountains, wineries and nature. So as you can see living in Brisbane gives you a wide range of nearby holiday options while allowing you to live in a lively city.

Australia in general is a little more expensive than the United States but living here can still be quite affordable if you know how to. The biggest way to save money while living in Brisbane is to pick a house that is in the outer suburbs, the further out the cheaper the house prices and rental rates.


Moreton Island

Moreton Island


In Ipswich (an hour by train to the city) a two or three bedroom house can be found for under $230 USD a week, 30 minutes (by bus) from the city you can get the same for under $300 a week, and for inner city apartments prices range from $340 upwards.


In addition to housing you will have to pay for electricity, gas (if applicable) and internet (if you would like it). Electricity prices begin around $100-150 a quarter for the power conscious but rises quickly depending on your power usage. Companies like I-select can help you find the best deals. Gas may be needed depending on your set up but normally begins at about $80+. If you search around you can sign up for unlimited internet for $50-60 a month and a basic monthly credit package for your phone is $30 including a small amount of data, a large amount of calling credit and often unlimited text.


Groceries can cost anywhere from $50 to $170 a week depending on the quality of food bought, and the quantity bought at a time. Vegetables are often expensive in supermarkets but can be bought for much cheaper if you happen to live near a market. Discount grocery chains such as Aldi offer very affordable prices as an alternative to the traditional Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. If your shopping budget is tight it would be best to buy groceries monthly and top up in between on perishables. This will stop you from overspending and adding snacks each as you’ll enter the supermarket less. If you don’t have a car you can opt for a delivery service (Coles and Woolworths both offer this) which is $9 or less depending on how much you spend.


Transportation in Brisbane can be a little expensive. If you’re eligible for a senior card or take a full time course at university however you will be eligible for half price fares on buses, trains and ferries. Public transport costs roughly 1.40 for a one zone journey (at the half price rate) and $2.05 for a four zone journey.

If you prefer to travel by your own car you will be able to lower your petrol bill by working out which days are cheap petrol days as service stations often go through a weekly pricing cycle. Petrol costs depend on how often you drive but an estimate would be between $20-50 a week.

Entertainment and Travel

Suncorp Stadium

Suncorp Stadium

Entertainment in Brisbane can be achieved at many different price ranges. An hours train ride ($4) can take you to many different holiday locations such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Mt Tamborine, the Glass House Mountains and many other laid back destinations.

Brisbane is often visited by famous musicals and Circ de Solei, as well as having many permanent attractions such as GOMA and the South Bank Parklands. There are many parks and lookouts in the city such as Mt. Cootha, the Botanical gardens and Roma Street Parklands, which are free to enter. Movie tickets cost between $5-14 dollars depending on whether you visit the main cinemas or the discounted cinemas such as Eldorado or Cineplex.

Brisbane also has a few zoos and wildlife reserves inside or just outside the city. Popular ones include the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Australia Zoo. Another main attraction in the city is the Wheel of Brisbane which costs roughly $11 a person to give you great views over the city and the river. Apart from that there are free comedy shows, a yearly seafood festival and many other free or cheap events during the year.

Southbank Wheel of Brisbane

Southbank Wheel of Brisbane

Food and Drink

Eating out can be done very cheaply (by Australian standards) by checking out the deals at local bars and china towns around the city for between $5-17 a meal. Restaurant prices begin at $15 a meal and prices rise as you start eating at nicer establishments. Buffet meals such as Sizzler let you eat all you’d like for $23. Tap water in Australia is of a high quality so there isn’t much need to purchase water often, buy a drink bottle and take it with you if money is tight. The only note is that restaurants in Australia close rather early, often before 10pm, especially when further out from the city.


Technology, Cosmetics and Clothing

Electronics and cosmetics are very much over priced in Australia. However because of this many purchase goods from Asia over Ebay or other online stores which is called the Grey market. For instance a $1200 camera can be bought for $800 over Ebay brand new from China. These products often come with a one year or more warranty with warranty facilities located inside Australia and are normally of the same quality of Australian products. They are just items that have been priced cheaper overseas and the Chinese sellers have taken advantage of the arbitrage opportunity.

If online stores are not your thing, clothes and cosmetic can be bought cheaply in chain stores. For makeup drugstores (chemists) and Priceline offer very cheap cosmetics up to moderately priced cosmetics. Cheap fashion for all ages can be found at H&M, Ally and Cotton On ($10-40) while there is also a wide range of mid and high end designer stores across the city. Finally a basic laptop in-store can be bought for $230 for general use and $380 if you use Photoshop or other editing software.

As mentioned above Australia in general is one of the more expensive locations to live in but it can be easy to keep your costs down by choosing an outer suburb base, buying fruit and vegetables at local markets and being energy smart. Brisbane is a great town to live in for those who want to stay put in a city but still have many options for day trips and peaceful getaways.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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