Sunny, laidback and full of culture, the Queensland capital is an awesome place to live and study. Brisbane’s close proximity to Asia and the Pacific region, as well as its abundance of world-class universities, has meant the city’s population of international students has increased in recent years. Now, students from 160 countries have made Brisbane their home.
If you like the thought of studying in Brisbane, here’s a guide to how much it’ll cost you.
The cost of accommodation in Brisbane
Like any of the major capital cities of Australia, it is going to be more expensive to live directly in the city than it is to live further out in the suburbs.
In the Brisbane city, you’ll probably be spending $565 per week for a room in a share house (usually living with professionals and other students), $359 per week for a serviced apartment, or $620 per week for a one-bedroom unit all to yourself. Additionally, there are homestay options to live with local families that cost around $305 per week.
In the suburbs around Brisbane’s CBD, a one-bedroom unit is significantly cheaper at an average of $330 per week, while a room in a share house outside the city goes for around $205 per week depending on the number of bedrooms available.
Managed student accommodation
Managed student accommodation is a great option as the weekly cost usually covers utilities and added extras. For example, Student One has 3 fantastic inner-city properties and rates include bills, unlimited Wi-Fi, gym access, free bike hire, use of the cinema and barbecue area, and more. Weekly rental at Managed student accommodation weekly rates can start as low as $200 per week.
Which one to pick?
Think about what’s important to you when weighing up these options. A private room or apartment in or near the CBD will offer close proximity to nightlife, restaurants and public transport, but a room in the suburbs will give you much more space and is likely to be a bit quieter. Living in student accommodation means your weekly cost covers extras, plus it’s generally located close to or in the CBD.
The cost of public transport in Brisbane
The majority of Brisbane’s university campuses are located within or just out of the CBD, and are all easily accessible by train or bus. Other campuses (such as those found in St Lucia’s education district, including UQ Business School, the University of Queensland’s Riverside campus and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology) are best accessed by the city’s excellent ferry network. Each campus has a terminal right outside.
Because you are a tertiary student, you are entitled to a 50% discounted fare, so make sure you take advantage! This discount means a single trip can cost as little as $1.66 during peak times and $1.32 in off-peak times. Furthermore, if you make eight trips on your go card from Monday to Sunday, all additional trips will be a further 50% cheaper. This means your weekly travel costs will rarely reach more than $23.
The cost of food in Brisbane
If you want to take full advantage of Brisbane’s stellar dining scene, then you will want to make sure you set aside some money to go out for meals. There are plenty of great cafes, restaurants and bars in Brisbane, as well as a significant number of cheap eateries.
If you choose to cook and eat at home, you can generally expect to spend around $2 per breakfast, $5 per lunch, and $11 per dinner. Of course, this depends on your grocery preferences.
Breakfast at a cafe in Brisbane will cost around $15, but make sure to budget a bit extra if you’d like to add a coffee. For lunch, you will likely spend around $16. Dinner will be slightly more expensive at around $25 a meal.
It’s important to remember that in Australia, waiters and servers get paid a liveable minimum wage. This means that your sandwich or salad may cost a little bit more than you expect, but it also means the staff are being paid fairly for their time. Unlike some other places you may have visited, such as the United States, Australia does not have a tipping culture. Places may ask if you would like to tip, but it’s not necessary.
The cost of entertainment in Brisbane
If you head to a bar that features music, burlesque or other live entertainment, it will likely enforce a cover charge, but usually no more than $10.
You can expect a glass of wine, beer or cider to cost approximately $10-12 each. Spirits might be anywhere between $15-$25 depending on the venue and whether you’re ordering cocktails.
Because it costs a lot (and takes a long time!) to travel to Australia, concerts in Brisbane can be more expensive. On average, $42 or more per ticket is an expected figure to pay for live music or sporting matches. For a larger act at a stadium or arena, over $100 per ticket is typical. Other events like dance or theatre performances will usually cost $49 or more. Make sure to check out the weekly city guides, as there are plenty of regular free events taking place around Brisbane.
A movie ticket in Brisbane will likely cost around $17. Make sure you take advantage of any cinema membership programs that will get you discounted tickets and free popcorn and drinks.
If you’re keen to work out, a membership at one of the more common gym franchises like Goodlife, Fitness First or Anytime Fitness, will cost around $14 per week. Make sure to ask about any student discounts on memberships or classes. Otherwise, if you move into managed student accommodation, you can have your gym costs included in your weekly rent.
For more information on the cost of living in Brisbane, make sure to check out our Cost of Living Calculator.