Brisbane has been a magnet for students and expats for some time. But what’s the big deal? Oh, not much: it’s just full of green space, weekend farmers’ markets, and lies on the door of world-class beaches. Here are ten things you should know before moving to Brisbane.
1. Mild winters
With its sub-tropical climate, winter is truly a non-event. While living in Brissie, you’ll be fine with a sweater (“jumper” to the Aussies) or a light jacket. Summer, however, is an entirely different event. Hot and humid, you’ll definitely want to plan to spend your Brisbane summer close to the pool or beach. To stay cool and avoid the harsh Queensland sun, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
2. Great size for a city
While Brisbane’s population hovers around the 2.5 million mark, the city itself is actually very large geographically. The downside is that when crossing the city you have to plan ahead, especially when using public transport. The upside? There’s a sensation of space and a relaxed vibe that doesn’t hit the “too busy to care” vibe you can find in other capital cities.
3. Get your go card
Speaking of public transport, TransLink is Brisbane’s integrated system of buses, trains, and ferries. To use it, grab yourself a rechargeable go card and tap on and off your TransLink service in Greater Brisbane and neighboring Ipswich, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast regions. Top up your go card easily online, over the phone, at train stations, bus stations, or at over 1,500 retailers in the region.
4. Push button to exit the train
Brisbane’s train system is great and all, but there’s one thing that stumps newbies every time: You have to push a button from inside the train to be let out. Weird huh? You can always tell the first-time train user by the way they stand dutifully by the closed doors, confused by why they won’t open. Good thing you’ll never be duped!
5. It’s the capital of a biiiiig state
Guys, Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, an Australian state that’s more than 4.5 times larger than the whole of Germany. So remember, if you’re looking at traveling further afield in Queensland, plan to take your time. For reference, Brisbane to the Great Barrier Reef is more than 1,100 kilometers, and Sydney is more than 1,000 kilometers away.
6. Weekend getaways galore
That said, there are plenty of places to see close by. Brisbane is conveniently located between two world-class stretches of beaches—The Sunshine Coast to the north and the Gold Coast to the south—so locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to weekend beach getaways. But the ocean isn’t everything. There are mountains (think Lamington National Park, Glass House Mountains, Tambourine Mountain) and quaint towns (Maleny, Montville, Mt. Nebo, Stanthorpe), and islands (Fraser, Stradbroke, Bribie, Moreton) to explore.
7. Green space
Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs are full of parks complete with ancient Moreton Bay Figs, views of the snaking Brisbane River, and plenty of lawns and gardens for picnics. From the CBD, walk, bike, or take a ferry to New Farm Park, the QUT Gardens Park, Roma Street Parklands, and South Bank Parklands. Dozens more options exist throughout the city with (truly amazing) kids play equipment and coin-operated barbecues for a fun day out.
8. Where’s Skippy?
While it’s common for visitors to expect to see ‘roos hopping down city streets without a care in the world that’s not the way of things—unless you live in an outer suburb that borders a bushland area. Want to see Australian animals? There are animal sanctuaries both in and near Brisbane where you can get more than your fill of time with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and other iconic Aussie wildlife. Try Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo (made famous by Steve Irwin), or the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Sanctuary.
9. Cheer for the Maroons
The State of Origin is a yearly Queensland versus New South Wales Rugby League match, and an institution for both states. The Maroons (Queensland) and the Blues (NSW) face off across three matches played across both states; the victor of which enjoys fame, glory, and the adoration of the fans for an entire year. Being a newcomer to Brisbane you will clearly be supporting the Maroons—so get into the spirit!
10. Market shopping
More and more Brisbane locals are choosing to buy their fresh produce at weekend markets. Join them (with your cloth bags and reusable coffee cup of course!) to pick up the farm-to-table bargains. The Rocklea Markets, Carseldine Farmers and Artisan Markets, Cleveland Market, Northey Street Organic Markets, Milton Markets, Global Food Markets, and Nundah Farmers’ Markets are just a taste of what you’ll find.