The Cost of Living in Brisbane for Students

cost of living in Brisbane

Written by Shreya Berry

Her foray into blogging was not planned; it was accidental. Started as a writer at the age of 15, Shreya has expertise in writing engaging content for the readers and has a deep interest in unique applications of technology in various domains.

Last updated Feb 22, 2021

Brisbane is one of the cheapest major cities in Australia for students to live in, and your money can go further with careful budgeting. Calculating the cost of living, whether you are a domestic or foreign student, will help you make the most of your university experience in the capital of Queensland.

You’ll need to pay for all sorts of expenses in your budget, from essentials such as food and rent to less important expenses such as dining out. This guide for international students to the cost of living in Brisbane will help you crunch the numbers.

Finding accommodation

In a student residential complex, you can rent a space that typically includes a bed, a study desk, some storage, and shared bathrooms, kitchens, and common rooms. Costs vary from $265-500 a week.

Through searching online, you can rent somewhere to live in agent-operated student accommodation or plan your own. Currently, the rent is $150-300 per week. You may live alone with other people or share accommodation.

We recommend finding somewhere near the campus to live. Typically, several options are open, either within walking distance or easily accessible by public transport. Our accommodation services will help you if you need help finding somewhere to live.

Cost of living

Brisbane is an inexpensive city, but you still need to prepare to make sure you have enough money to spend on studying and living.

You will need about $2,500 to get set up over the first couple of weeks, including housing expenses, money to set up your new home, and food and transport. You can budget around $500 a week for rent, food, transportation, bills, research costs, and entertainment once you are settled.

Other monthly expenses

Depending on your needs and lifestyle, how much you spend on living expenses.

This list will give you a clearer understanding of Brisbane’s daily costs:

  • A loaf of white bread: 1.30 dollars
  • Twelve large eggs: 6.00 dollars
  • 1 liter of milk low in fat: 2.50 dollars
  • 1 kilogram of white rice: 3.00 dollars
  • Standard coffee cup: 4.40 dollars
  • Big Mac: 6.40 dollars
  • Ticket to the cinema (concession rate): $6.50 to $18.50
  • Bus (concession rate) ticket: $1.69 to $10.17


Australia has some of the most cost-effective public transit in the world. If you plan to use local buses, trains, and ferries to get around Brisbane, you will only pay around $140 for a monthly ticket (prices will differ depending on how far you need to travel and the number of trips you take each day).


Brisbane has a rich and diverse cultural life, with regular festivals, exhibitions, and performances. Brisbane has great cultural hotspots for authentic Asian markets and restaurants, including the Fortitude Valley and Sunnybank, as well as lively international communities from all over the world. A quarter of the population of Brisbane was born abroad, and the first language of almost 20 percent of our households is a language other than English. Brisbane is a culturally diverse region, and every year dozens of world traditions and festivals are celebrated, including:

  • New Year’s Chinese
  • Water Festival for New Year
  • Moon Festival in the Mid-Autumn
  • Festival du Le (French)
  • The Greek festival Paniyiri
  • Week of Italy
  • The Multicultural Festival in Queensland
  • Festival for Buddha’s Birthday
  • Brisbane Festival
  • Festivals of French, German, Italian, and Spanish films.


Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is expected of all international students in Australia. Physician visits, hospital care, emergency transport, and certain pharmaceuticals cover this form of insurance. The OSHC price varies depending on the extent of coverage, but it costs about $438 a year for basic coverage for singles.


  • Mizu Japanese Restaurant

Japanese, Sushi

  • Restaurant Dan Arnold

European, Australian

  • Rogue Bistro


Mediterranean, Turkish

  • Gala Thai

Asian, Thai

  • Bacchus

European, Australian

  • Boo’s Kitchen

Asian, Thai

  • Wooden Horse Restaurant

Pizza, Australian

  • 1889 Enoteca

Italian, Romana

  • Casa Nostra Ristorante

Italian, Seafood

Brisbane is surrounded by the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, among other tourist destinations. It’s also home to sports venues and a vibrant nightlife, so when you’re not busy studying, you’ll have plenty of stuff to spend some extra money on.

If, after paying for all your essentials, you don’t have much cash left over, there are still plenty of cheap and free things to do. You can visit the South Bank riverside entertainment center, go for a scenic walk along the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, or see a free show at the Contemporary Art Gallery.

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