We want your stay in Brisbane to both rewarding and enjoyable. We have put together the International Student Guide to welcome you to JCU Brisbane and help you to adjust to university life and living in Brisbane.
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 for cars, public transport options and best routes for pedestrians and bicycles.
Taxis can be expensive but if you are travelling together in a group it can be cheaper and more convenient than a bus. 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 before you attempt to drive. 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. CityCycle is a public bike hire service in Brisbane. Bike hire and return is available 24/7 and hire is free for 30 mins and under, which makes this a cost effective means of transport over short distances.
You can buy inexpensive new bikes from shops like Big W, Target or K-Mart. There are also a number of specialized bike shops. If you prefer to buy a second-hand bike look at the University’s notice boards as well as on 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.
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 some time. There are many banking institutions in Australia which offer special student accounts. You can compare banks and the accounts they offer at 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 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-campus via the WIFI network Eduroam. 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. To connect to the campus WIFI network follow these steps.
There are general health facilities near the Brisbane campus. For most health services you 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 Brisbane campus, these hospitals offer 24 hour emergency services:
There are several 24 hour home doctor services 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.