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Adelaide vs. Brisbane Understanding the Differences

Adelaide vs. Brisbane: Understanding the Differences

Adelaide or Brisbane: which city is better? I bet you’re not the only one who wonders the same since the capitals of South Australia and Queensland are both beautiful cities.

But Adelaide and Brisbane also have stark differences that make them unique from each other.

If you’re looking for a city with good weather, many job opportunities and a lively food and entertainment scene, Brisbane is for you.

But if you want to stay somewhere with a great atmosphere and a low cost of living, that would be Adelaide.

Let’s compare these two cities in terms of their figures, things to do, food scene, weather, public transport, career opportunities, cost of living and safety. 

What You Need to Know About Adelaide vs Brisbane

What You Need to Know About Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane stands out as a big, lively city with a big population and a lot of things to offer in terms of leisure and entertainment.

Adelaide, on the other hand, is a more laid back city with fewer people and a more relaxing vibe.
Interesting Facts About Brisbane vs Adelaide

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Located in the middle of South East Queensland, Brisbane is the state’s capital and most populous city and the third in Australia.

The city was named after the former governor of New South Wales Sir Thomas Brisbane and it’s dubbed as “the Queen City of the North” and “Brisvegas.”

Here are some interesting facts about Brisbane:

  • The city was known as Meanjin, which means “a place shaped like a spike” because of the shape of the land where the Brisbane City Business District (CBD) is now located.
  • All of the streets in Brisbane’s CBD are named after British royalty. Streets in the diagonal direction are named after female royals like Elizabeth and Charlotte.

On the other hand, those running perpendicularly are named after male royals like George and Edward. 

  • Brisbane City Hall is the largest of its kind in Australia covering over two acres of land. The building’s clock also chimes every 15 minutes.
  • The popular Australian dessert named The Lamington was invented in Brisbane.

Adelaide is the largest and capital city of South Australia. It’s also the country’s fifth most populous city.

The city was named in honor of King William IV’s queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. 

Adelaide is best known as “the 20-minute city” since you can easily go around it because of its small land area and excellent layout.

Let’s learn some interesting facts about Adelaide:

  • Adelaide is known for being a city within a park since it’s surrounded by more than 760 hectares of parklands.
  • In 2015, Adelaide was declared a UNESCO City of Music, the first and only in the country, because of its lively music scene.
  • Adelaide is known to have some of the best coffee in Australia. 
  • It’s dubbed as the “20-minute city” because the locals say that you can reach any point in Adelaide within just 20 minutes, thanks to its good transport system.
  • South Australia where Adelaide is located produces the majority of the opals in the country. This makes the city the best place to buy opal if you’re a collector.
Demographics and Diversity

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In terms of demographics, Brisbane has a higher population than Adelaide but the latter has a higher population density because of its smaller land area.

Adelaide, on the other hand, has a higher immigrant population than Brisbane. Let’s compare these two cities in terms of their demographics and diversity:

Geographic LocationSoutheastern part of the state of Queensland Southeastern part of south Australia
Size (Area)15,826 square kilometers 3,260 square kilometers 
Population 2.36 million1.3 million 
Population Density155 people per square kilometer659 people per square kilometer
Median Age35 years old39.3 years old
Female Population 50.9%51.1%
Male Population 49.1%48.9%
Median Age 33.5 years old48.6 years old
Migrant Population 35%45.4%

We also compare the different nationalities who are living in Brisbane and Adelaide:

English – 36.5%Australian – 31.6%Irish – 11.1%Scottish – 10.1%German – 5.7%Chinese – 26.4%English – 24.6%Australian – 15.3%Irish – 7.5%Scottish – 6.1%

Things to Do in Adelaide vs Brisbane

Things to Do in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Being bigger, Brisbane offers a more diverse list of attractions and activities for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Adelaide, on the other hand, focuses more on attractions and activities related to history and culture.

Brisbane is known for its long list of tourist spots that range from museums to markets. You’ll also find more activities to enjoy for people of all ages in the city as compared to Adelaide.

Here are some of the top tourist spots in Brisbane and Adelaide to help you decide which city suits your needs better:

Story Bridge
Downtown Brisbane
City Hall Clocktower
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art
South Bank
City Botanic Gardens
New Farm Park
Howard Smith Wharves
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Eat Street Northshore
Adelaide Botanic Garden
North Terrace
Art Gallery of South Australia
South Australian Museum
Adelaide Oval
State Library of South Australia
Adelaide Central Market
Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide Festival CenterCleland Wildlife Park

The Food Scene in Adelaide vs Brisbane

The Food Scene in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Adelaide hits the mark when it comes to its bustling food scene. In fact, it was named the top city in Australia to enjoy a culinary adventure.

Brisbane also has its many culinary delights, especially those dining spots near the Brisbane river.

Adelaide has one of the best food scenes in the country offering a  wide range of food choices and cuisines to cater to every taste and preference.

The city also has a booming restaurant and bar scene composed mostly of small bars and local restaurants as well as bigger dining spots owned  by famous chefs.

Some of the top food spots in Adelaide include:

  • One Sneaky Cheetah. The name itself already tells you that you’re going to be in for an adventure. 

One Sneaky Cheetah is where you go to get good pizza in Adelaide, but you have to go early since there are no bookings or be ready for a takeaway.

  • Peel St. If you can’t decide what to eat, head to Peel St. where the menu changes constantly and covers Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisines.
  • Daughter in Law. If the name isn’t intriguing yet, Daughter in Law is the brainchild of culinary legend Jessi Sigh.

Treat yourself to a unique take on Indian dishes that will surely surprise you.

  • The Flying Fig Deli. If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast, this deli offers the best Jewish food in Adelaide including bagels and eggs or Kibbutz. 
  • Lucia’s. Located in Adelaide Central Market, Lucia’s has been offering good Italian food since 1957 including some of the best charcuterie. 

If you’re looking to shop for fresh produce, you can find a myriad of options for meats, cheeses, vegetables and breads from around the world. 

Brisbane, on the other hand, is an up and coming culinary destination with an impressive selection of restaurants, eateries and cafes including:

  • Restaurant Dan Arnold. This popular fine dining restaurant offers three-, five-  and seven-course menus that will surely treat your senses to a unique culinary experience.
  • IPPIN. Craving for good Japanese food? Dine at IPPIN in the West End for the best sashimi, tempura and wagyu tartare.
  • Los Felix. If you’re looking for the best tasting tacos, Los Felix is a popular Mexican restaurant serving the best Baja tacos in town.
  • Joy Restaurant. Reservations at this restaurant are up to 6 months in advance and it only sits 10 guests at a time. 

So, be prepared for a unique degustation course that will surely be an unforgettable dining experience. 

  • Nonda. Can’t decide what to eat? Nonda gives you dishes from Korea, China and Japan that will surely satisfy your cravings. 

The Weather in Adelaide vs Brisbane

The Weather in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane is sunny for most of the year, but it also experiences a lot of rain during the summer.
Adelaide lets you experience the different seasons with temperatures that are not too hot or cold.

Brisbane is known as the sunny capital of Queensland because it experiences an average 283 days of sunshine per year.

However, the city also has high rainfall, especially during the summer when it experiences an average of 426.6 millimeters of rainfall.

Adelaide has more of a balanced climate where summers and winters are mild. The city gets on average 90 days of sun per year and just 520 millimeters of rainfall.

In this table, we take a closer look at the differences in the seasons and climate between Brisbane and Adelaide:

SummerDecember to February
Average temp.: 21-29C
December to February
Average temp.: 16.7-28.6C
AutumnMarch to May
Average temp.: 15-25C
March to May
Average temp.: 12.7-22.7C
WinterJune to August
Average temp.: 11-21C
June to August
Average temp.: 8-16C
SpringSeptember to November
Average temp.: 15-25C
September to November
Average temp.: 11.8-22C

The Public Transport in Adelaide vs Brisbane

The Public Transport in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane and Adelaide have excellent transport networks. But Adelaide has a leg up because its transport system is managed by a single company.

This means that you only need a single card to pay for all types of public transport in the city.

Adelaide is known as “the 20-minute city” because you can literally access almost every point in the city within that span of time.

This is mainly because of the city’s efficient public transport system that’s run by Adelaide Metro.

Adelaide has trains, trams and buses that you can ride using your Metrocard. 

Brisbane, on the other hand, has trains, ferries and buses, but they’re managed by different companies.

This can make buying your tickets more challenging than if you’re doing it in Adelaide where you only need a single card.

Commuting in Adelaide is also cheaper at an average of AUD775.62 per month as compared to Brisbane’s AUD 125.25 per month, according to data from Versus.

Career Opportunities in Adelaide vs Brisbane

Career Opportunities in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane offers a lot of jobs to professionals of every skill level. This is why the city only had a 3.1% unemployment rate as compared to Adelaide’s 7.1%.

Here, we compare the best paying jobs in Brisbane and Adelaide to give you a better picture of the career opportunities awaiting you in these cities:

DoctorAUD 386,000DoctorAUD 373,000
JudgeAUD 325,000JudgeAUD 313,000
LawyerAUD 263,000LawyerAUD 253,000
Bank ManagerAUD 247,000CEOAUD 224,000
CEOAUD 232,000CFOAUD 209,000

Looking at this table, you’ll see that Brisbane pays higher than Adelaide, although they have almost the same jobs.

Cost of Living in Adelaide vs Brisbane 

Cost of Living in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane has a lower cost of living as compared to Adelaide. 

According to data from Numbeo, you can enjoy a good quality of living in Brisbane for AUD 9,096 while you’ll need AUD 9,300 if you’re in Adelaide.

General consumer prices are also lower in Brisbane, but rent prices are slightly higher in the city as compared to Adelaide.

Here, we take a closer look at some common expenses and how they fare between these two cities:

Type of ExpenseBrisbaneAdelaide
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom Apartment (City Center)AUD 2,630AUD 2,177
1-bedroom Apartment (Outside City Center)AUD 2,219AUD 1,606
3-bedroom Apartment (City Center)AUD 4,096AUD 3,870
3-bedroom Apartment (Outside City Center)AUD 2,673AUD 2,560
Utilities (Average Monthy Bill)
Basic Ulities (Includes Electricity, Water, HVAC and Garbage)AUD 345.50AUD 467.61
Monthly Internet Plan (60 mbps or more)AUD 93.47AUD 95.47
Monthly Mobile Phone Plan (Includes calls and 10GB Data)AUD 37.12AUD 48.33
One Way TicketAUD 4.50AUD 4.95
Monthly PassAUD 210AUD 114.58
Taxi StartAUD 4.75AUD 5
Gasoline (1 liter)AUD 2.11AUD 2.02
Basic Groceries
Regular Milk (1 Liter)AUD 2.23AUD 2.59
White Rice (1 Kilogram)AUD 3.45AUD 3.80
Loaf of White BreadAUD 3.70AUD 4.19
Eggs (1 Dozen)AUD 6.04AUD 6.99
Chicken Fillets (1 Kilogram)AUD 13.22AUD 14.29
Water (1.5 Liter Bottle)AUD 2.70AUD 3.15
Meal for One Person at an Average RestaurantAUD 28AUD 35
Three-Course Meal for Two People at a Mid-Range RestaurantAUD 155AUD 185
McDonalds Meal for One PersonAUD 15AUD 15
Coke BottleAUD 4.56AUD 4.19
Regular CappuccinoAUD 5.62AUD 6.31

Safety in Adelaide vs Brisbane

Safety in Adelaide vs Brisbane

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Brisbane and Adelaide are both considered safe cities, although Adelaide has a higher safety scale at 66.70 as compared to Brisbane’s 66.70.

The latter also has a slightly higher Crime Index at 36.87 as compared to Adelaide’s 33.30.

Here’s a comparison of cime rates in both Brisbane and Adelaide to help you get a better picture of how safe these cities are:

Car theft27%21%
Home burglaries34%28%
People using or selling drugs46%42%
Assault and robbery34%27%
Assault due to ethnicity, color, religion or gender24%19%
Our Verdict:
Both Brisbane and Adelaide are great Australian cities with unique personalities and  different things to offer.

To give you a recap, Brisbane excels as a lively city that’s filled with activities and attractions that allow you to live a busy but fun lifestyle.

Adelaide, on the other hand, offers a more relaxing ambiance where you get to stroll in parks, visit museums and just enjoy the chill lifestyle that residents here love.

Here are more of our comparisions and which city exceled in that area:

Things to do – Brisbane
Food scene – Adelaide
Weather – Adelaide
Public transport – Adelaide
Career opportunities – Brisbane
Cost of living – Brisbane
Safety – Adelaide

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