Moving to Brisbane

Once you have a group leader who has either offered to host your visit, supervise your project or provide you with employment, you will need to make some preparations for moving to Brisbane. Group leaders are very busy, and can be frequently away. It is a good idea to email them a few weeks before your arrival to confirm your arrival date and ask them to delegate someone in their group to help you out when you first arrive. Get your helper's contact details and cc them in on any correspondence to your group leader.

You should allow at least three months to get your paperwork in order if you are moving from overseas. To get into Australia you will need:

  • Passport - make sure it's current and keep it with you when you are in Australia. At first, this will be your only acceptable form of ID.
  • Electronic Australian Visa - there are several different types of visas for different situations. The Australian government has created a wizard to help you determine which visa would be most appropriate for you. Processing times range from a few days to a few months, so once you have decided which visa is best, leave yourself plenty of time to apply for it. NOTE: Most of these visas are electronic, which means they will be electronically connected to your passport. Upon arrival, immigration will see this on their computers, and stamp your passport. But you should always print out a copy of your visa receipt just in case.
  • Offer of appointment at QBI - If you are from overseas and are moving to Australia to work you should keep this form with your passport. If you are just visiting, print out copies of correspondence with your group leader and/or official receipts for conferences you might be attending.
  • Contact information - on arrival, immigration needs to know a contact phone number for you and your address, so make sure you book somewhere to stay, at least for a few nights, in advance.

There are several public transport options for Brisbane in general and the UQ campus specifically.

UQ's Transport and Parking guide has details on public transport and parking options at the university. The QBI has a lockable bike shed, so cycling to the Institute is also an option.

To get to other destinations in Brisbane apart from UQ, there are several options:

Public Transport: Brisbane public transport is cheap and comprehensive, and you can go almost anyway on the city’s busses, trains, or ferry service. To find out how to get from one place to another, visit the Translink website. This site has a journey finder where you can plug in your starting point and destination and it will display the best route to get there using public transport, as well as times.

The fares for public transport depend on the length of the journey. Each section of Brisbane is divided into zones, and your trip cost will depend on how many zones you travel through. For information about the types of tickets and fares, click here. Student fares are half of the cost of adult fares; however, in order to qualify for a student fare, you must have a full-time student card. If you don't want to buy tickets every time you travel, you can purchase a Go card. This card allows you to pre-load money which can then be used to pay for your journey. Go card fares are 20 percent cheaper than adult and student fares.

Brisbane offers a bicycle hire service with hire stations found all over the city. The Bicentennial Bikeway is a beautiful ride along the river, and can take you right through the city.

Located almost directly between both the Sunshine and the Gold Coast, Brisbane boasts dozens of beaches and forests only a moderate drive away (1-2hr).

Brisbane is a modern city and thriving centre of culture, food, and entertainment. You can curl up with a book by the State Library of Queensland’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the river, interact with an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, or enjoy to some spoken poetry at the Brisbane Powerhouse. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre also offers a range of plays, musicals, and dance exhibitions over the year, and Suncorp Stadium often hosts various concerts and sporting events.

Brisbane’s food scene has also boomed, with some of Australia’s best restaurants located here. Spread throughout the city, rooftop bars and restaurants overlooking the river serve incredible food and drink. Whether it’s for a light snack, a drink with friends, or a three-course meal, you’re sure to find the perfect one within the many options dotted all over the city.


Brisbane offers several advantages over other Australian cities when it comes to living, the first being affordability.

When it comes to buying a house in Brisbane, the average home costs around $537,000, compared to $991,000 in Sydney, $720,000 in Melbourne, and $660,000 in Canberra (as at 2017).

Brisbane offers not only affordable housing, but also an array of accommodation types, all within an easy commute to the CBD. Inner-city subrubs like Paddington, Red Hill, Annerley and West End are filled with charismatic Queenslander houses, and modern apartment blocks, and out west you can find thick bushland and large properties within a 40-minute drive to the city. Many bridges along the river allow easy commuting by foot, bike, bus or car. 

The University of Queensland has an accommodation service that will provide you with advice and information about accommodation options. UQ strongly recommends that you only arrange rental accommodation once you're in Brisbane, as it can be difficult to make an informed decision about a property without being on location. The UQ accommodation service can arrange short-term or temporary accommodation while you look for somewhere to stay longer-term. A full list of median rents can be found on the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

Below are some real estate pages that will give you current listings of both rental and sale properties.


It’s called the sunshine state for a reason - while some more southern cities are said to go through four seasons in one day, Brisbane's subtropical temperatures are predictable and steady, and almost always sunny, boasting around 300 sunshine days/year. With hot summers to spend at the beach and very mild winters, Brisbane weather is the perfect balance between hot and cold. 

The University of Queensland (postcode: 4072) is surrounded on three sides by the Brisbane River, and on one side by the suburb of St Lucia (postcode: 4067). It is about 4km from the Brisbane CBD, and about 40 minutes drive from the airport, depending on traffic. The QBI is adjacent to the main bus terminal at the St Lucia campus.

QBI Induction

All staff and students of QBI must display their staff-card at all times. Until you have completed your inductions and received a swipe card, you must wear a visitor's tag. These are obtained from the main reception desk on the ground floor of the QBI. Until you have your swipe card, you will not be able to access the building, and will require someone (your helper or another person from your lab) to let you into the building and laboratory space.

The inductions a new person must undertake are:

  • QBI Induction - All new personnel must complete an QBI induction. QBI HR will inform you of future induction dates. Please meet at the Level 3 Reception Area at 9.30am on the day of the induction. The first part of the induction will cover general QBI information, such as intranet, repairs and maintenance, security cards, IT helpdesk, building safety, purchasing and more. If you work in a wet lab, you will also receive more detailed OH&S information. If you work in a dry lab or are not a researcher, you will not need to attend this part of the induction.
  • Workplace induction - This online induction will give you information on The University of Queensland OH&S requirements, and where to go for further information. It only needs to be completed once.
  • Annual fire safety - This online induction gives you information on what to do in the event of a fire. As the name suggests, it must be completed every year.
  • PC2 induction - This is a qualification that must be updated every two years for researchers working in PC2 laboratories.

HR Induction

On your first day at QBI, please visit the Human Resources team on level 7. You will receive forms to set up a Tax File Number and a superannuation account. You need these in order to get paid. There are many different financial institutions in Australia, and different people will have different needs in a bank account.