For most Brits looking to move Down Under to Australia, the sunshine is a major motivating factor so it seems obvious that you’d want to consider Brisbane, the capital city of the Sunshine State. Officially, the state is called Queensland, named after Queen Victoria, but so ingrained is its Sunshine State nickname that it even appears on drivers’ licence plates.
Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and there are plenty of reasons it is appealing as an emigration destination. For a start, it’s much more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne in terms of housing, and there are many good job prospects in South-East Queensland. Brisbane was even named the worlds 'hippest' by Lonely Planet.
Shipping to Brisbane
Brisbane has its own port so having your belongings shipped to Brisbane is simple, however, bear in mind that it isn’t as popular as an emigration destination as Sydney or Melbourne, so you’ll need to ask a few more questions when choosing a removal firm.
For example, many international removal companies do not have their own office in Brisbane and will use a handling agent at the destination, so consider how important a full service is to you when choosing a firm.
If you are only using part of a container, groupage shipping, rather than a full container, the rest will need to be filled before your goods will even leave the UK. So ask potential shipping firms how much they already have waiting to go to Brisbane before choosing one. Ideally, you want to find a container that is almost full so your goods leave straight away.
Where to live in Brisbane
Brisbane’s suburbs are divided into north and south, depending on which side of the river they are on. Locals tend to stick to one side of the river pretty much for life, even though they may move around various suburbs on that side. Deciding which side is right for you will depend largely on your plans for work and lifestyle.
As with many other cities, the closer to the city you get the more desirable and more pricey property becomes, although there are exceptions as some family-friendly suburbs in outer areas are more sought-after than others.
For young people without children, central areas like New Farm, Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley are popular, while families prefer more suburban areas such as Holland Park or Manly.
Transport in Brisbane
A big factor in choosing an area is where you plan to work. Brisbane does have decent public transport connections, but Australia generally is a driving country and commuting is more difficult than in large European cities.
If you’re thinking you’ll work in the Central Business District (CBD), it’s important to choose a location close to a train line or good bus route so you can easily get to work. Brisbane has dedicated bus lanes and in some cases even dedicated bus freeways so buses are fast even during rush hour.
Almost no one drives into the CBD to work but it is common for Brisbanites to drive to a local bus or rail station, park their car and then travel by public transport to work.
Life in Brisbane
You should also consider what you wish to do in your free time when choosing an area. The closest beaches to Brisbane are on the Gold Coast, which is just over an hour from the CBD. If you’re a beach lover you may wish to consider living on the south side as you’ll have a much faster drive if you don’t have to go through the city, where traffic can be congested at almost any time of the day.
In recent years the city has built a number of toll roads to help people bypass the city, though these are expensive and because of this many people don’t use them.
One of Brisbane’s most defining features is the South Bank Parklands, where you’ll find entertainment venues, museums, an artificial beach and lots of restaurants and bars. The area is popular with both young people and families and plays host to all sorts of festivals and events.
Brisbane is also home to a number of famous sporting venues: for Rugby League there’s Suncorp Stadium (formerly called Lang Park) and for cricket there’s the Brisbane Cricket Ground (more affectionately known as The Gabba).
Moving to Brisbane with Children
There are many good schools in Brisbane, and interestingly, some of the best and most prestigious, for example, Brisbane State High School, are state schools.
The selection system is not as clear-cut in Australia as in the UK and it’s often possible to have your child accepted into a school a significant distance from where you live if you wish.
As well as state schools, there are a range of private and faith schools on offer in Brisbane, so you have a number of options when choosing a school for your child when moving abroad.
For additional advice about moving abroad with kids, take a look at our article, Moving Overseas with Children.