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Tips for Families Moving to Brisbane

Moving countries or even to a new city in Australia with children is a daunting process.

However, once you get settled, families find Brisbane a great place to live and a amazing place to raise children. The climate is wonderful, the outdoor lifestyle year round is amazing. Brisbane is a very active city, education quality is high, schooling and housing is less expensive than neighbouring eastern Australian cities and top quality facilities and services are available as would be expected in a modern city, however, life is a little less hectic than in larger metropolitan hubs. There is incredible scenery, mountains, countryside and beaches, in and around the city. Our experienced Brisbane relocation consultants set out a below some helpful tips and resources to help you and your family get settled quickly so you can start to enjoy everything the city has to offer.


Brisbane in a nutshell

Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia with a population of over 2 million people. When combined with the nearby Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, the area of South East Queensland has a population of over 3.6million. Brisbane River winds its way through the city from the western suburbs and around the CBD and leads out to Moreton Bay. The Bayside ares in Brisbane are more tidal wetland and mangroves rather then beaches, but the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay Island, Bribie Island and North Stradbroke Island are within easy reach for a fun day trip or weekends away.

There is also man-made beach and lagoon at South Bank Parklands and splash park that bring the beach to the city for all to enjoy for free. Brisbane is a modern and cosmopolitan city with the all the services and facilities you would expect as well as a diverse range of leisure, cultural and entertainment activities and attractions. In addition, it has famously wonderful year-round weather and a laid back, friendly nature making it easy for newcomers to make friends and find other families with common interests.


Finding your new home

Choosing where to live in Brisbane is a critical decision, and to some degree will be dictated by schooling choices and workplace.

Within the 5km radius of the city centre is more expensive and housing tends to be more dense. Heading out to the suburbs within the 10km radius and beyond will get you more value for money. For an overview of some of the popular Brisbane suburbs, visit or refer to some of our blog articles on the topic (see: Top 15 Suburbs for Newcomers Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) and Part 4) or Domain. The dominant search engines for both rental and sales are realestate.com.au and, to some extent, Domain (although it tends to take longer to be updated). Obtaining local advice can be invaluable if you have limited knowledge of Brisbane and Habitat Relocations can assist you with familiarizing you with family friendly areas of Brisbane to suit your lifestyle and budget and securing you a long term rental property. If you are in the market to buy, a trusted Buyers Agent can assist you to find on and off market properties and to negotiate and manage the purchase.


Schools

Securing a place in a well regarded school, reasonably close to home, is a priority for many families. The good news is that there are many quality public primary and secondary schools around Brisbane. Most public schools accept children that live within a local catchment area, so a school and home search will often go hand in hand. Catchment areas and other school related information can be found at Education Queensland. Private schools do not have such restrictions on where children are located but may have limited available places and entrance requirements, as well as varying fee structures.


Child care

Should you require child care there are various centres throughout the city and suburbs as well as kindergarten and family day care options. Obtaining a place can be difficult, so it is advisable to apply for a place early. Brisbane Kids and Care for Kids provides helpful listings as well as general information. If you require babysitting or other child minding services at home Juggle Street and Findababysitter may be helpful.


Babies

If you are moving to Brisbane with a new baby or are pregnant, the Community Child Health Service has clinics all over Brisbane providing free services including baby check-ups, growth development checks, parenting courses, new parents’ groups, nutritional information and baby feeding help, childhood immunisation clinics and other services.


Healthcare

Brisbane offers quality healthcare which is offered for free or is subsidised for Medicare card holders (Australian and New Zealand Citizens, permanent residents and citizens of certain countries). If you are not eligible for Medicare, it is advisable to obtain private health insurance (this is often a visa condition in any case). Many Medicare card holders also have private health insurance to subsidise the costs for allied health and wellness services and private hospital services. For emergency services, the Queensland Children's Hospital is located in South Brisbane. Other public and private hospitals are listed here. Once you move into your new home, you have the choice of general practitioner or family doctor, so you can start with your local family medical centre or ask around for recommendations in the area. If you require an after hours doctor, there 24 hour medical centres and after hours doctors available throughout the city.


Important phone numbers:

Emergency: 000 (fire, ambulance, police)

Ambulance: 13 12 33

Poisons advice: 13 11 26

Non-urgent health advice: 13 43 25 84 (13HEALTH)

After hours in-home doctor: 13 7425 (13 SICK)


Getting around

Getting around Brisbane by public transport is easy with train, bus and ferry options.

In fact, a CityCat or KittyCat ride on Brisbane River is one of the cheapest and most pleasant sight seeing options in the City visiting the CBD, New Farm and South Bank and further afield. The easiest was to access public transport is to obtain a Gocard from a train station or convenience store and then upload funds on the card for travel. Translink provides details on GoCards as well as timetable and route maps for travel all over Brisbane. There are also certain free transport options such as the Spring Hill City Bus Loop and the KittyCat ferry services on the river in the immediate vicinity of the CBD. The city also offers low cost bike rental around the CBD (CityCycle) and Brisbane River. Rental scooters and taxi options are also available.


Making local connections and exploring

Families moving to Brisbane are fortunate as children are a great way to connect with other parents the local community and start making friends. If you have a newborn baby, local parents groups are organized by the Community Child Health Care Service and are a wonderful way to meet other parents with babies at a similar stage.

Parents in these groups may provide a great source of support and ongoing friendships. For young children aged 0-5, Playgroups Queensland organise regular sessions at local churches and community centres and are a super way to meet new people and for children to interact and learn through play. Local libraries throughout Brisbane also offer regular reading and activity sessions for young children. There are a number of fitness classes run for mothers and babies (held at gyms or outdoors, swimming classes are popular and often run at Brisbane Council Pools as well other activities run by private providers including gymnastics, dance, music, art, STEM (see here for more ideas). Local Facebook Groups (e.g. Brisbane Mums Group and Mums of Brisbane Group and Mums and Bubs) can also be a great source of information and support.


The Brisbane City Council regularly lists new events around Brisbane and community resources including swimming pools, playgrounds, multicultural festivals, hiking trails and so on. For more ideas and resources, Brisbane Kids is a fabulous resource for all things kid related in Brisbane. Once you get settled in there are plenty of great activities to do in and out of Brisbane and Brisbetter and MustDo Brisbane can give you lots of great ideas to plan your next day out of next weekend away.