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Streets beach in Southbank Brisbane, Australia
Streets beach in Southbank Brisbane, Australia
Streets beach in Southbank Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, Australia

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Brisbane, Australia. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in Brisbane?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Brisbane, they said:

"Do your research and be clear on what you're looking for. Brisbane can offer you an easy, laid-back lifestyle, with lots of outdoor living. Blue skies are the norm, winters are warm and dry and the worst humidity and storms of summer only last about 4 months. It's very live-able. People are largely friendly and relaxed, and there's a slow pace. You're further away from the sea - and good beaches - than you may expect, though there's plenty along both coasts to explore. There's some beautiful scenery and nature walks, on numerous day drives. That said, if you're looking for high culture and a sophisticated, cosmopolitan centre, it's probably not for you. Attitudes can be very old school, customer service is a rare thing - the downside of the laid-back vibe - and many people have never travelled outside of their state, let alone Australia. It's a developing city and it hasn't quite caught up to itself yet. Whatever you decide, it's what you make of it - expect culture shock and roll with it," added another expat who made the move to Brisbane.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How do I meet people in Brisbane?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Brisbane about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"If you've got kids, you're automatically going to meet people through childcare services; ditto work. Otherwise, join sports clubs - sport are huge here - and make sure you introduce yourself locally to neighbours. We've found ours very welcoming," added another expat who made the move to Brisbane.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

Will I be able to find a job in Brisbane?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Brisbane, they reponded:

"I'm not aware of any stand-out industries, but there is masses of development going on - when we arrived in May 08, 1,200 people were arriving every week - so construction is big. There's heaps of ongoing housing development and the State Govt is ploughing serious money into transport infrastructure, to keep the economy turning over during the GFC. Beyond that, it's the usual office / corporate / retail sectors..," added another expat in Brisbane.

What is life like in Brisbane?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Brisbane what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Brisbane's a pretty laid back, low-stress city. Work doesn't seem to be the number one priority - that's lifestyle and sport, especially sport," remarked another expat living in Brisbane, Australia.

What do expats in Brisbane appreciate most about the local culture?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

"Not the culture but the country is beautiful and the wild life, birds, plants, trees, flowers are amazing. The fact we are no more than an hour from a beach," said another expat in Brisbane.

"The nature! Beautiful flowers everywhere, butterflies, birds, exotic wildlife, pools, sunny days, botanical gardens, good coffee. a gorgeous country," added another expat who made the move to Brisbane.

"The sun, blue skies and the outdoor lifestyle. Having a pool. Growing tropical plants and fruits. Having parrots in neighbouring trees. Living in thongs," explained one expat living in Brisbane, Australia.

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

"The people. Not nearly as friendly as their reputation implies. I have found the majority of people in Brisbane to be rude, superficial, and occasionally nasty. Very close minded and prejudiced. There seems to be a general feeling of apathy towards strangers. People don't help each other out and don't seem to care. Lack of manners. Poor sense of community," commented one expat who made the move to Brisbane.

"People's attitudes - very different to what I've been used to, and I still struggle. The majority of people in QLD have never left their state, let alone the country, yet it's regularly and loudly touted as the best country in the world. Immigrants are viewed with suspicion and there's a borderline aggressive nationalism. Image, money and coming first is everything, whatever anyone tells you about Aussie's laidback nature... Yep, I'm definitely still in the rejection of culture stage!," remarked another expat living in Brisbane, Australia.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Brisbane accepting of differences?

Live in Brisbane? Answer this Question

"There is diversity here - racial, cultural, religious - but less than the other centres, and I think attitudes are less enlightened. Brisbane's often quoted as a country town that's exploded in size, and we've definitely seen that... I think attitudes here can be quite entrenched," remarked another expat who made the move to Brisbane.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Streets beach in Southbank Brisbane, Australia

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats BrisbaneExpats in Brisbane

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Brisbane.

Australia Index Brisbane Index
An index of all of our site's Brisbane information.

Australia Forum Australia Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Australia on our Australia forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Australia Network Contribute
Help others in Australia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Australia.

Expat Healthcare Advice in AustraliaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Australia

Expats in Australia offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Australia.

Pros Cons of Living in AustraliaPros & Cons of Living in Australia

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Australia.

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