Cost of living in Brisbane – will it break the bank for tourists

The capital of the Sunshine state, brilliant Brisbane has so much to offer - a modern cosmopolitan city with beautiful beaches, brim full with abundant activities to enjoy. Visitors from all across Australia and indeed around the world visit Brisbane to immerse in the sunny Aussie outdoors. But what are the costs involved for a tourist or short-term visitor to Brisbane? Above all, is the price you pay worth it when compared with Melbourne and Sydney? We debunk the myths and give an accurate guide on the true cost of living for visiting and staying in one of the best cities in the world.
Story Bridge at night

Cost of accommodation

Depending on the type of place you choose, the cost per hotel room, per night can range from A$60 to A$150 (all prices hereafter are in AUD). The cost for a couple, would be an extra $20 - $60. Most properties provide excellent value for money with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. If you choose to go further away from the city, the cost per hotel room will reduce significantly.

If you are planning to stay for the medium to long term, the costs to rent will be a lot cheaper due to the plentiful number of properties available. On average, a single person could live comfortably in Brisbane from about $400 to $700 per week. This, of course, largely depends on one’s lifestyle and needs. We would highly recommend using this free cost of living calculator to check the average cost of living.

A breakdown of the type of accommodation and their costs follows (please note that this is a guide only and the actual price will depend on the market price at the time of booking, the location and of course, your intended lifestyle)

  • Private 1 bed house for rent in the CBD: $400 plus per week not including utility bills and food.
  • Private 1 bed house for rent in the suburbs: $300 plus per week not including utility bills and food.
  • Private shared accommodation for rent: $250 plus per week.
  • Student accommodation close to universities: $400 to $650 per week.
  • Homestay (like Airbnb) with full board: $350 per week.
  • Homestay accommodation only: $200 plus per week.

Cost of food

Typically, an average family of two spends around $150-250 on food in Brisbane, which comes to about $30-$35 per day. As with most major cities in the world, restaurant prices are usually higher compared with street food and popular fast-food chains. The cost of a restaurant meal averages around $15 per person in Brisbane. Below is a price breakdown of each meal type to help you budget.

  • Coffee: $3
  • Smoothie: $6.50
  • American lunch: $8
  • Chinese lunch: $12
  • Japanese: $20
  • Coffee and muffin: $7

A 1.5L water bottle costs just under $2 whilst most grocery items are relatively cheap compared to Melbourne and Sydney. This is also the case for restaurant meals. So, Brisbane makes a winning mark on food costs in Australia, which is ideal for tourists on a budget.
Jan Powers Farmers Markets in Brisbane City


If you are staying in a hotel, you do not need to worry about utility bills as this will be already covered by your room rent. However, do check for the quality of the Wi-Fi connection as you might get fed up with spotty connections if you choose to stay at a basic facility.

Gas and electricity will also not be an issue if your stay is relatively short term as this will be covered in your main rent. However, for those staying for slightly longer periods, it is worth knowing how homes are powered in Australia. The main source of energy for cooking and heating is gas. On average the monthly cost of gas is $90 for a two bedroom apartment. The average electricity bill comes around to $150 per month in Queensland, but of course, this is an estimate and it may largely depend on your consumption.

Water and sewage are normally covered by the landlord. However, make sure to check this before signing an agreement. The cost of water is $0.79 per thousand litres.

Broadband and home Wi-Fi is another factor to consider if you are making a move. Australia has launched a national programme to connect every home with fibre optic broadband called the NBN. You can get a decent connection for about $70 per month.


If you are a university student, this is a very important consideration, especially if you choose to live on campus. There is a good network of buses and trains. A ferry service also operates along the river, and it is a great way to see the sights of Brisbane from the vantage point of the Brisbane river.

Driving can be fairly expensive when compared with public transport. On top of the price you pay for a car, you can expect to pay around $150 for fuel and parking. Again, this will largely depend on your individual needs and how often you use the car.

Is Brisbane worth it for tourists?

In short, yes! As the third city of Australia, the capital of Queensland offers great value for money for both tourists and those wanting to stay for an extended period of time. On average, a tourist can expect to spend about $2,000 (two people) for a one week stay in the city. Comparing this to Melbourne or Sydney, this is an irresistible price thanks to the city’s low cost of living and laidback lifestyle. Even if you are planning to settle in Australia permanently, we’d say Brisbane should be on the very top of your shortlist.

Why not plan your next trip to Brisbane? Our accommodation is right on the doorstep of the international airport and only 10 minutes away from the CBD. And we offer unbeatable prices on top-class rooms too!
Ascot Brisbane Airport Accommodation