Before arriving in Australia, it is best to book a room for 2-3 days – do not wait until you arrive. Depending on the time of year, much of the accommodation can be fully booked. Also, after 24 hours of flying, with gruelling jet lag and heavy suitcases, wandering the streets of Brisbane looking for a place to stay won’t be easy. Here are all our tips to make the process smoother.
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Best areas to stay in Brisbane
If you want to stay near the city centre, choose the following areas: Brisbane City, Fortitude Valley, South Bank, South Brisbane, West End. If you don’t have a car, these areas are easily accessible by foot.
10-15 minutes by bus from the city centre, the districts of Woolloongabba, Milton, Auchenflower, Toowong, Bowen Hills, Teneriffe and Newstead are very good options. There are apartments in abundance, and they have great transport links to the city centre.
Paddington and New Farm are 15-20 minutes by bus from the city centre. Here you will find more houses than apartments, with many favouring “bohemian-chic”, so rent is more expensive.
Remember to use Google Maps when searching for apartments online to check the accessibility of public transport and estimate your commute etc.
Youth hostels or backpacker hostels
Generally, hostels are very well located in the city centre, usually nearby public transport and supermarkets. Most are equipped with shared kitchens so you can easily prepare your meals to save money. If staying in a hostel, remember to bring a padlock for the locker that is assigned to you to avoid any food or belongings going missing.
Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet future traveling companions or exchange travel tips and recommendations. Almost all of them have common lounges and bars for socialising. The atmosphere is usually fun and it’s easy to get to know people, which is especially good if you’re travelling alone. Many hostels also offer organised tours at very affordable prices, which is an ideal way to start your Australian journey.
Where can I find a hostel?
You can use an accommodation comparison website like Booking.com, but if you want a safe bet, we recommend the following two hostels: Brisbane City YHA and City Backpackers HQ. They are both very centrally located, clean and have great reviews from travellers. The City Bakcpackers HQ also has an amazing rooftop!
The best hostels in Brisbane – Our Top 10
Check out our selection of the best hostels in the city.
How much does a hostel in Brisbane cost?
Contrary to popular belief, Brisbane hostels aren’t just for young people. Everyone is welcome! This option is definitely the most economical when it comes to accommodation in Australia. Rates start at $40 per person per night and you can choose between a dormitory or a private room (private rooms are, of course, more expensive). It’s important to be aware that high season in Australia is between December and February, and advance booking is essential during that time.
Hotels in Brisbane
Hotels are generally an expensive choice when it comes to accommodation, and Brisbane is no different. It is rare to find a room for less than $120 a night – even in the outback! However if you’re craving a bit of comfort after your long flight to Australia, a hotel might be just what you need.
Mid-range hotels in Brisbane
Many hotels in the centre of Brisbane allow you to enjoy the city without spending a fortune. The Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Str, for example, is in an excellent location (500m from the centre) and offers double rooms at around $150 a night. You also have the Kingsford Smith Motel, which is a little further from the centre (6km). One of our favourites is the Opera Apartments South Brisbane, which are a bit more expensive at $250 a night, but you get a full apartment.
Upscale hotels in Brisbane
If you’re on a bigger budget, central hotels like the Royal Albert Hotel or the Amora Hotel Brisbane are very good options. The service is top class and the rooms are pleasant and spacious, with beautiful views of the city. Brisbane’s more upscale hotels generally have a swimming pool and/or a spa – perfect for relaxing after a long day in the city.
💡 If you are travelling as a group, consider booking a hotel apartment. Like an ordinary multi-bedroom apartment except in a hotel complex, they give preferential rates for long stays and may be the most practical and economical solution for you.
Sharing a house or apartment in Brisbane
How can I find a house or apartment-share?
Ads abound on the Internet. Gumtree.com.au is full of offers, and there are many different Facebook groups where people post rooms they have available to rent. Facebook Marketplace is also a good place to find a roommate – just make sure you check all the details of the ad carefully and check the Facebook profile of the person posting it.
Rules and conditions of house-shares
There are lots of advantages to a house-share. It’s more intimate and cheaper than a hostel and less complicated than a rental. But a word of warning – not all house-shares are created equal. Always visit the apartment before agreeing to anything and don’t hesitate to ask questions. An honest person will have no trouble giving you the information you’re looking for. Do not pay a deposit in cash without getting a receipt (ideally by email).
Rent is usually paid weekly or fortnightly, which corresponds to how wages are paid in Australia. Your first payment will be a minimum of two weeks’ rent (deposit plus one week’s rent). You should have this amount of money ready before you start looking for housemates.
You will find furnished or unfurnished rooms, the choice is yours. For a private single room, rents start at around $200 a week. For a couple, you can expect to pay $300 minimum for a double room.
Renting an apartment or a house in Brisbane
Everyone will tell you – Brisbane is significantly more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne. Less populated than its big sisters, the city has recently experienced a construction boom. Prices have, however, increased following the Covid pandemic.
It’s possible to rent in Brisbane if you are staying at least 6 months in the city and have a stable income (or the ability to pay for your entire stay in one go). You must have your references, proof of income and other documents in order to be accepted as a tenant.
Where can I find a place to rent?
Realestate.com.au and domain.com.au are two major sites that aggregate thousands of listings. You will find some furnished accommodation here, but unfurnished accommodation is more common. Electricity and internet bills are usually the responsibility of the tenants, though sometimes you will find apartments with all charges included. In general, the rent includes water because the majority of apartments do not have individual meters (unlike houses). Generally, newcomers opt for apart-hotels that offer long-stay rates.
To view an apartment or a house you’re interested in renting, check the days and times offered on the advertisement. Viewings on demand are rare. Remember that most landlords and real estate agencies will require the payment of a deposit/bond (the equivalent of one month’s rent) and at least two weeks’ rent in advance. Signing a lease is strongly recommended. The inventory is generally done separately: the agency and the tenant each note the details they wish to identify within three days. Pay attention to the many clauses.
Be aware that in Brisbane, the household waste collection tax and the property tax are the responsibility of the owners. There is also no housing tax, TV licence fee or rental charges relating to common areas if you live in an apartment (included in your rent).
The budget for a typical apartment (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom) at $370
- Security deposit: $1480 (one month’s rent)
- Two weeks’ advance rent: $740
- Opening an electric meter: $200 (about $150 per month for two people)
- Opening an internet line: $180 (about $60 per month for entry-level)
- Furniture (rudimentary): $3,000 minimum
- Professional end-of-lease cleaning (bond cleaning): between $200 and $500
To find out about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and roommate, see the Residential Tenancies Authority of Queensland.
WARNING : For rentals and houseshares, scams are reported every day. Do not transfer any money until you have got the keys, on the day you move in. (This does not apply if you go through a recognised real estate agency.)
Alternative accommodation in Brisbane
Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a platform where you can find locals who will allow you to stay with them for free for a night or two. Always read reviews beforehand and be careful who you choose to stay with.
Airbnb, Wimdu and 9flats: These are all online platforms where you can book a house or a room with private individuals. They are ideal for short-term accommodation as you don’t have to buy furniture etc and your bills are all included.
Host family: Some organisations will arrange for you to lodge with a host family, on a cultural exchange basis. This is ideal for developing your English if you’re not a native speaker.
Au pair (girl or boy): This is where you live with an Australian family in exchange for childcare and housework (part-time). It usually included all meals and occasionally use of the family car, day trips, etc.
HelpX: You receive food and accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work a day. The work is on a volunteering basis, to be agreed before your stay.
Getting around the city
Getting to the city centre from the airport
Brisbane Airport has two terminals, located 2km apart: one terminal for domestic flights and one for international flights. Brisbane International Airport is located 13km northeast of the city centre. To get there, several options are available to you, within varying budgets.
Getting to Brisbane by city bus
Buses run between Brisbane Airport and Brisbane city centre. For $13 the Skybus company takes you to Brisbane Airport in 30 minutes.
Getting to Brisbane by train
The Airtrain will bring you from Brisbane Airport to Central Station in 20 minutes. Tickets cost $16 and you can buy your ticket on board or book it online on the Airtrain website.
Getting to Brisbane by taxi
Getting a taxi is the fastest and most expensive option, but may work out cheaper if you’re travelling with a group. You will find taxis directly outside the airport – look out for the signs. The journey is approximately 13 minutes, and costs around $30.
Getting around Brisbane city centre
If you want to explore Brisbane, several transport options are available to you: bike, bus, ferry…There is something for everyone!
For cyclists, there are over 150 city bike stations in central Brisbane. It’s the most cheapest way to discover the city, and the first 30 minutes are free.
The ferry is the slowest but also the most enjoyable option for getting around Brisbane. Ferries run daily, departing approximately every 15 minutes.
💡 Good to know: The City Hopper (red ferry) is free, so why not give it a go!
The bus network also offers free shuttles that run in the city centre on weekdays. The City Loop and Spring Hill Loop circuits allow you to discover the main points of interest and attractions of the city for free.