Best Suburbs In Brisbane For Anyone New To The City!
So you’re thinking about moving but unsure what are the best suburbs in Brisbane? If you’re totally new to Brisbane and have no idea about areas, fear not! One downside that many people worry about moving to the river city is not being close to the beach.
You won’t find the equivalent of Bondi or St Kilda nearby, but Brisbane city really does make up for this glitch with the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast beaches just under an hour away. With beautiful islands such as Moreton Island and Stradbroke Island to visit as well, you’ll soon realise why Brisbane is becoming more and more popular. Make sure you check out our Moreton Island guide to see why you need to visit this stunning gem.
Here’s a snapshot of why so many people are making the river city home, with our pick of the best suburbs to live in Brisbane, and how you can make it happen, written by a Brisbane born and bred local!
What makes Brisbane so special?
Brisbane is also known as Meanjin, meaning ‘place shaped like a spike’ in the Aboriginal language. One quick look at a map and you’ll see the Brisbane CBD sitting like a spike in the bend of the Brisbane River.
A record number of people moved interstate to Queensland in 2021, now making the capital city of Brisbane the home of over two million people.
Research on the Australian property market says the main reasons for the influx are climate, lifestyle and housing affordability. And of course, let’s not forget the Olympics will be held here in 2022 meaning new infrastructure is going up fast.
With hybrid working becoming more common, the lifestyle options are increasingly attractive. And with an average of 283 days of sunshine a year, Brisbane has loads of blue skies and mild winters – perfect for exploring all that south east Queensland has to offer!
Get your bearings first
As the third most populous city in Australia, greater Brisbane is made up of a few regions mainly north and south of the Brisbane River. The Brisbane River, affectionately known as The Brown Snake, winds its way from Moreton Bay about 345km inland in the ranges.
You’ll find Brisbane’s CBD situated on the Brisbane River with Queen St Mall being almost the equivalent of Pitt St Mall in Sydney. The city is surrounded by the popular inner city suburbs of New Farm, South Bank, South Brisbane, West End, Kangaroo Point, Woolloongabba and East Brisbane.
The eastern suburbs towards Moreton Bay offer lovely sea breezes, whereas the western suburbs can tend towards wider spaces the further out you go.
Long time residents will tell you about the Northside VS Southside debate, with both sides just as passionate about which side of the Brisbane River is best.
We’ll cover all of those below.
How to secure your ideal home
Whether you’re wanting to rent or buy, there are some common approaches to finding your ideal home. Being clear on your priorities – budget, schools, shops, hospitals, more land, by the water, walkable or public transport etc – will help you narrow down the choices.
Do your homework
In Greater Brisbane, the median house prices at the time of writing are around $850,000, and median rentals are around $530 a week. Of course, there are pockets significantly higher and lower in price so it’s worthwhile doing research to confirm what’s on your ‘must-have’ list. No matter which suburbs in Brisbane you choose, they all have a range of options to suit your budget, needs and lifestyle.
Brisbane has plenty of options when it comes to different styles of house or apartment. Traditional Queenslanders, post-war, brick, townhouses, new build apartments – they all have their own pros and cons.
Check the recent sales or rentals on websites such as RealEstate and Domain to see how far your dollar can go. If the price seems to good to be true, then sadly it probably is. More affordable options in the inner city may be close to the highways or main roads, further from amenities, or in a flood-prone area.
House or apartment inspections can either be by appointment or open on Saturdays – normally for less than 30 minutes. Check out the listings online and plan your day. It’s worthwhile calling the listing agent to confirm and to tell them what you’re looking for. Be direct – it helps them help you!
While you’re in the area for the inspection, take some extra time to get to know the neighbourhood. Drive or walk around to get a feel of the suburb and see if it suits your needs. It’s only by immersing yourself in the area that you’ll be confident that you’ve found the best place for you.
Richest suburbs in Brisbane
The most expensive suburbs in Brisbane are in close proximity to the Brisbane river and Brisbane’s CBD. Riverside suburbs of Teneriffe, Ascot, Bulimba, St Lucia and Graceville are some of the best suburbs to live in Brisbane near the city centre. They’re known for tree lined streets, walking distance to cafes and restaurants, high quality education institutions and green space for walking.
The tiny inner city suburb of Teneriffe tops the list of most expensive, with a median house price of $2.7 million.
These suburbs have a median price of $700 in weekly rent.
But the good news is that rental apartments and share houses can still be affordable due to increased construction in these inner suburbs. Especially if you look to neighbouring suburbs such as Newstead, and New Farm, famous for its popular namesake New Farm Park.
These best suburbs to live in Brisbane can be prone to flooding with their close proximity to the Brisbane River, so check the Brisbane City Council flood map before you sign anything.
Affordable suburbs in Brisbane
As in most cases, the further out of the city centre you go, the more affordable it can be. Areas such as Logan, Ipswich and Caboolture – each with its own city council – have a median house price of about $300 in weekly rent at the time of writing.
It’s still best to have a car in these areas though. Public transport isn’t as convenient however there are peak hour express trains that will get you into Brisbane’s CBD in less than an hour.
There are also smaller ‘satellite cities’ growing in popularity yet still remaining affordable. North Lakes and Springfield Lakes are two suburbs in Brisbane on the train lines and with good amenities due to their development in recent years. In particular, surrounding suburbs of North Lakes are still in close proximity to all it has to offer.
Affordable housing schemes are available to those meeting eligibility criteria so it’s worth doing your research on what you can get. Start on the Queensland Government website and also check Domain and RealEstate websites for comparing.
For those who want to be closer to the action and less than 20km from the Brisbane CBD, there are plenty of inner suburbs to consider. The northern suburb of Chermside has a range of houses and units close to the Chermside shopping centre with easy public transport into Brisbane city.
Not only does the southern suburb of Runcorn have some of the best Asian food around, it’s also near a train station that runs express services into the city centre.
Apartment living in the city centre
These are the best Brisbane suburbs for young professionals, solo travellers, or anyone looking for convenience of amenities and public transport.
Surprisingly, not many people choose to live in the Brisbane city. The bustling Brisbane CBD is filled with city workers on weekdays, commuting into the commercial, shopping and dining hub. However it can get a bit quiet on weekends particularly away from Queen Street Mall.
So for inner city living with a bit more livability, check out South Bank, South Brisbane, West End, East Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Kangaroo Point or New Farm. These spots are filled with young professionals frequenting top restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, farmers markets, live music venues, events and green space.
The Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley is extremely central, and known as the party hotspot with nightclubs, bars, restaurants and live music venues.
Great for close proximity to these, but it may not be for you if you like a quieter neighbourhood.
There are popular primary and secondary schools in these suburbs which only accept enrolments of residents in the selected surrounding suburb. It’s also super easy to get around – walk, ferry, bus, train, cycle, scoot or rideshare – take your pick.
The median price for these inner city suburbs in Brisbane is over $600 in weekly rent. Typically this would be for a two bedroom apartment with off-street parking. If you only need one bedroom and don’t have a car, you could find options for about $400.
If you’re looking for the convenience of an inner city suburb but don’t want to be right in the action, there’s loads of options. Look to surrounding suburbs including Spring Hill, Bowen Hills, Kelvin Grove, Red Hill, Morningside or Taringa. The inner suburb of Taringa is popular for students attending Queensland University.
Best suburbs for families to live in Brisbane
If schooling, amenities and serenity are at the top of your list, look to the Brisbane suburbs a few kilometres out from the city centre. Inner south suburbs such as Hawthorne, Holland Park, Camp Hill, Carindale, Cannon Hill and Norman Park are great for young families. Best suburbs to live north of the Brisbane river include Bardon, Ashgrove, Wilston, Kedron and Hendra.
A residential suburb like these have ample space for kids, pets and cars. Close to shopping centres, they’re also not too far from the city centre. Head to the train station or drive in to explore the Queensland Museum and man-made beach in the South Bank precinct.
These best suburbs also have a ‘high street’ feel with cafes, restaurants, local shops and supermarkets located within each suburb. Many public and private schools in this ring have excellent reputations.
Best seaside suburbs to live in Brisbane
One downside to living in Brisbane is being able to live close to the city and near a beach. If you’re looking for those waterfront views or enjoying daily fish and chips by the sea, check out the riverside suburbs of Manly, Cleveland, Victoria Point, Sandgate, or the Redcliffe peninsula.
These quaint communities host regular weekend markets and fun, family friendly events and festivals. You’ll find off-leash dog beaches for your furry friends and a wide range of dog-friendly cafes and parks. These suburbs are a convenient launchpad to the 360 (!) islands in Moreton Bay.
You can easily get from the eastern suburbs to the northern suburbs by taking the Gateway Motorway. Not only does it save you from traffic in the city centre, but it’s also the quickest way to the airport.
While Brisbane does have these nice seaside suburbs, it can’t be mistaken for the pristine beaches you can find on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. Over an hour’s drive north and south respectively, it’s worth noting the housing market does vary greatly from Brisbane city. You can check out our Sunshine Coast Guides here.
Best suburbs in Brisbane for country living
For those wanting a quieter, more idyllic lifestyle in the countryside, there are also a range of options that are within a one hour drive of the city (depending on traffic, of course). In these areas you’ll find spacious homes on large lots with plenty of bushland and green space to enjoy.
The quaint country towns of Samford and Dayboro have a lovely community feel, and have great cafes and events. Eastern suburbs like Belmont and Mount Cotton (famous for its winery), and Pullenvale to the west, are also full of homes on acreage.
A car is required as public transport is limited, though there are normally organised buses for local schools.
Since the pandemic accelerated the options to work from home, the median house price in these less populated areas have increased in recent years. Again, check out websites like Domain and RealEstate to check recent rentals or sales.
Now that you’ve got a little local knowledge in your hands, you’re ready to start researching and exploring all the best suburbs to live in Brisbane.
This article is written by Londoner In Sydney resident writer, Kat McTaggart.
I’m Kat, just a girl who loves to be guided by her taste buds around the world. I’ve had the pleasure of travelling to 33 countries and counting. Currently based in Brisbane, Australia.Follow my adventures on Instagram @katttventures.