About Brisbane Living in Brisbane

Living in Brisbane

We want your stay in Brisbane to be rewarding and enjoyable. We have put together an International Student Guide (PDF, 9979 KB) to welcome you to JCUB and to help you adjust to living and studying in Brisbane.

The weather

Summer December – February
Average temperature: 27°C

Autumn March – May 
Average temperature: 23°C

Winter June – August
Average temperature: 17°C

Spring September – November
Average temperature: 22°C

Getting around

Buses, trains and ferries run regularly between Brisbane city and suburbs. Translink operates throughout South East Queensland, and has an online journey planner and mobile app to help you plan your trip.

The most cost-effective way to take public transport in Brisbane is to purchase a Go Card. This is an ‘electronic ticket’ which you can use on all public transport services throughout Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions. Students enrolled in a full-time load of 3 subjects will be eligible for a student concession.

You can also use the “Get Directions” option on Google maps for information on ways to get around the city. This site can provide directions and suggest the best routes for cars, bicycles, pedestrians and public transport.

Ridesharing services such as UberOla and DiDi are an easy and cost effective way to travel and are common within Brisbane and South East Queensland. Order your ride using your preferred app.

Taxis can be expensive but if you are travelling in a group it can work out to be a cheap and more convenient option. Taxis known as ‘maxi-taxis’ can take as many as 10 passengers. It is advisable to book them in advance. It is the law in Australia for all passengers in taxis to wear seat belts. You cannot bargain with a taxi driver for a fare as the meter is always used. The contact number for taxis Australia-wide is 131 008. Alternatively, you can book online or download an app on your mobile device – Black & White Cabs or Yellow Cab.

If you plan to drive a car or ride a motorbike while you are in Australia you need to know the road rules. We advise all international students who are planning to drive in Australia to first undertake some driving lessons.

You may drive in the state of Queensland with your current overseas licence for the duration of your stay in Australia as a student on a student visa. This is on the condition that the licence is current and in English, or that you carry a certified translation of it with you. If your home country licence expires whilst you are in Australia, you will need to obtain a Queensland driver’s licence from Queensland Transport. Please see Queensland Government – Overseas and interstate licence for more information.

Many students find that riding a bicycle is an easy and affordable way to get to/from the campus and around the surrounding suburbs.

You can buy inexpensive bikes from shops like Big W, Target and K-mart. There are also a number of specialised bike shops. If you prefer to buy a second-hand bike look at the University’s notice boards, on http://www.gumtree.com.au or in the Courier Mail newspaper.

In Australia it is compulsory for all cyclists to wear an approved bike helmet and you can be fined for not wearing one when riding your bike. Cyclists must obey the road rules, just like cars and other motor vehicles. They must ride on the left-hand side of the road at all times, obey traffic lights and road signs, and give way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings. Cyclists may also be convicted for drink driving or using a mobile phone while riding. Please see Queensland Government – Cycling and Cycling Brisbane for more information.

Money and communication

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are easily accessible in Australia (including at the airport) and allow you to withdraw cash from your overseas bank account (if your bank card has international access – check this with your financial institution before leaving home).

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, you can exchange foreign currency at exchange facilities in most major banks or at a currency exchange. Search online for banks and currency exchanges in Brisbane before you arrive.

It is recommended that you set up an Australian bank account soon after your arrival, particularly if you are going to be living in Australia for an extended period of time. There are many banking institutions in Australia that offer special student accounts. You can compare banks and the accounts they offer at https://www.infochoice.com.au. Normal bank trading hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 9:30am to 5:00pm on Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings, but all banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

After you arrive in Australia you will be able to phone friends and family in your home country using public phones, landline phones or your mobile phone. The rates for international calls vary depending on the telephone provider, length of call, time of day and the country you are calling. A cost effective way to call overseas is to use an internet based app on your mobile phone (such as Skype, Zoom or Messenger ) or an international calling card available to purchase from newsagents, petrol stations and supermarkets.

In Australia you can access the internet from many public areas such as on public transport, shopping centres, hotels, libraries, airports and internet cafes. Internet cafes are located in several locations across Brisbane and the Brisbane City Libraries also have computers available. If you have your own device (laptop, tablet, smartphone etc) you will be able to connect to free WIFI. Printing is available at the library or at Officeworks.

Students are given unlimited internet access, for study purposes, on the JCU Brisbane campus via the WIFI network Eduroam. To connect to the campus WIFI network follow these steps. Students can access the internet services on university computers located in The Resource Centre or computer rooms by signing in using their JCU username and password.

Hospitals and medical centres

There are a number of general health facilities near JCU Brisbane. For most health services you will need to make an appointment, and some services charge a cancellation fee if you miss your appointment.

If you are not familiar with the Australian health system, read more about our health services.

There are several hospitals close to the JCU Brisbane campus that offer 24 hour emergency services, including:

There are several 24-hour home doctor services available in Brisbane City, including:

  • House Call Doctor is a 24-hour home visit GP service. Consultations are bulk-billed (and rebated) to students free-of-charge. International students can receive a free of charge consultation based on their Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) insurance.
  • Home Doctor Service is a 24-hour home visit GP service. International students must pay for visits but can seek a rebate through their OSHC insurer.

There are several medical centres throughout Brisbane City and the surrounding suburbs with experienced doctors and staff to meet your medical needs. Centres closest to the JCU campus include:

There are a large number of pharmacies in the Brisbane region for personal needs and prescriptions. The nearest pharmacies to the JCU campus are:

There are a number of private dentists throughout Brisbane. For an extensive list you can visit https://www.dentist.com.au and type in your suburb or postcode to find a dentist near you. Dentists located close to the JCU Brisbane campus include:

There are several women’s health clinics throughout Brisbane, including: