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Things to do in Brisbane

Things to do in  Brisbane

Welcome to Brisbane

Hemmed in by the beaches of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane is the perfect cultural antidote to a sun-and-surf overdose. Effortlessly laid-back yet surprisingly fashion-forward, Queensland’s capital city is always changing, with museums hosting some of Australia’s most cutting-edge exhibitions, and new restaurants, pop-up stores, and seasonal events springing up constantly. Highlights of a trip to Brisbane include climbing the famous Story Bridge, strolling the lush City Botanic Gardens, and spotting koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine is a 20-minute drive from downtown Brisbane, but it’s more fun to float there on a river cruise that departs from Southbank, with views of Brisbane’s landmarks along the way. As the gateway to Queensland, Brisbane also makes a good base camp for exploring the region’s highlights. The beaches of North Stradbroke Island or Moreton Island are a short ferry ride away, while the world-class theme parks and beaches of the Gold Coast are just an hour’s drive south of the city. To experience Queensland’s diverse flora and fauna, tours are your best bet. A guide can lead you to waterfalls and glowworm caves on a rain forest tour of Springbrook National Park, 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Brisbane, and Mt. Tamborine National Park. Or join a multi-day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Fraser Island (one night at a beach resort included) or the Great Barrier Reef, where you can swim, look for turtles and humpback whales, and snorkel ’til your heart’s content.

Top 15 attractions in Brisbane

Moreton Island

With its miles of sun-bleached sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, shimmering lagoons, and pockets of wild bushland, Moreton Island feels a world away from nearby Brisbane. As the third largest sand island in the world and a national park, Moreton Island makes for a perfect day trip when you want to get in touch with nature.More

Brisbane River

The Brisbane River winds its way through the heart of the city, from the neighborhoods of South Brisbane all the way to Moreton Bay. The river is also a center of local life, and residents and visitors alike enjoy the many waterfront parks and landmarks, riverside walks, and sightseeing cruises.More

Story Bridge

Story Bridge is Brisbane’s answer to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. Iconic in its own right, Story Bridge is a heritage-listed, steel cantilever bridge that allows access between the northern and southern suburbs of Brisbane.Story Bridge was built between 1935 and 1939, and was known as Jubilee Bridge until mid 1940. The main attraction of Story Bridge, as splendid as it is to view from afar, are the bridge climbs which began in 2005. A guided tour takes visitors up the bridge to stunning panoramic views of the city, out to Moreton Bay, and west across the aptly named Scenic Rim as they stand 80 metres above sea level. It’s also possible to abseil down one of the bridge’s pylons and into Captain Burke Park.More

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

One of the best places to spot native Australian animals is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which has been devoted to wildlife conservation since 1927. As well as being the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the country with more than 130 resident koalas, the sanctuary is home to kangaroos, wombats, emus, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, and platypus.More

Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park

Just across the river from Brisbane’s central business district, Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park offers sweeping views of Brisbane’s skyline, as well as excellent rock climbing and rappelling—suitable for all skill levels—on its cliffs. The cliffs were formed by convicts mining the volcanic rock in the middle of the 19th century.More

Australia Zoo

Formerly home to Steve Irwin, also known as “the Crocodile Hunter,” the Australia Zoo is one of Australia’s largest and most popular wildlife conservation facilities. Managed by the Irwin family, whose personalities are a major part of its continued success, the zoo has a huge collection of native Aussie animals as well as creatures from around the world.More

Streets Beach

Water, sand and sun make for a good combination pretty much anywhere in the world. Put them all together to create a man-made beach right in the middle of Brisbane, and you’ve got the must-visit Streets Beach.Australia’s only inner-city, manmade beach, this site has a chlorinated lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants that makes for a great spot to head to whether you have kids in tow or not. An extra bonus—this beach-like spot enjoys a view of the city skyscrapers and Brisbane River, which will keep you from forgetting you’re not out on a tropical island somewhere.More

Mt. Coot-tha

Hovering above Brisbane to its west, Mt Coot-tha offers a natural lookout point with views across the city and the winding Brisbane River all the way to Moreton Bay and the Glass House Mountains on the horizon. At the foot of the mountain, the lush Brisbane Botanic Gardens provide a leafy escape.More

Tamborine Mountain Distillery

While it may be located back in the hills of the rugged Gold Coast hinterland, Tamborine Mountain Distillery is a place that despite its size and location competes with some of the world’s largest and most well known distilleries. In 2014 alone, this small pot distillery garnered 300 awards for their brand of spirits and liqueurs, from vodka and schnapps to brandy, gin, and fruity eaux de vie. Proud of their small batch, small scale vibe, the distillery has purposely kept their driveway too narrow for large-scale buses, choosing instead to focus on small, person-to-person visits. While visiting the distillery to sample the products, hear how this family moved from Tasmania and began to run their own fruit farm, eventually fermenting and distilling the fruit their family of four couldn’t eat. Now, after 20 plus years of taking fruit and turning it into spirits, the distillery produces nearly every flavor of liquor imaginable. Try a refreshing limoncello or one of the flavored vodkas, or go all in with a shot of absinthe before sampling the toffee liqueur. If you find a particular style you like, the gift shop sells everything from bottles to shot glasses and visitor souvenirs, and cocktail enthusiasts will be blown away by this small pot still in the hills.More

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

There’s more to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast than suntans, surfboards, and shoreline, although given the wealth of white sand beaches and places to bake in the sun, it’s easy to see why the forested interior can sometimes be overlooked. At the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, travelers are reminded how Queensland’s interior has an endemic beauty of its own. These hills that rise behind the Glass House Mountains were once covered in rainforest—parts of which are still visible on the reserve’s 135 acres. Stroll along miles of wooden boardwalk past red cedar and ginger, and listen for the mating call of green catbirds and they flit high in the treetops. While silently strolling the shaded trails, keep an eye out for red-legged padmelon as they scurry and forage through the underbrush. These small wallabies have lost much of their habitat due to surrounding deforestation, although still survive on this small refuge that’s been called an “ecological island.” There are playgrounds and barbecues for family outings as well as an education center, or simply sit at the small café to enjoy a tea in the forest.More

Roma Street Parkland

Just minutes from downtown, the Roma Street Parkland provides city-dwellers with a tranquil escape the buzz of city life. Set on the slopes of Spring Hill and designed by Colin Campbell—star of the popular Gardening Australia TV show—the 40-acre (16-hectare parklands provide sunny picnic patches, leafy walking trails, and subtropical gardens.More

North Gorge Walk

If you’re looking to discover the rugged coastal cliffs and serene beaches of Stradbroke Island, the North Gorge Walk makes a good place to start. The 1.5km marked trail curls its way around Point Lookout on the island’s northwestern coast and is renowned for its dramatic ocean views and landmark ‘Blow Hole’ rock formation. Hugging the coast and hemmed in by dense bushland, the popular walk takes around 45 minutes and is suitable for all fitness levels.The North Gorge Walk is also the top spot for whale watching on Stradbroke Island and humpback whales are a frequent sight during the June-November migration period. Dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays are also abundant along the coast, while kangaroos and myriad birdlife can be seen inland.More

City Botanic Gardens

Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens have provided a green space to residents and visitors in the central city area since 1855, but the first crops were planted on the land in the 1820s by convicts, to feed the nearby prison colony. Now, there are various well-maintained sections, including a rainforest grove, lily ponds, a mangrove boardwalk, and more.More

Customs House

With its striking green dome and colonnaded façade looming over the riverside, Brisbane’s grand Customs House stands out as one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings. Dating back to 1889, the Customs House originally served to collect the custom duties on imports brought in Brisbane port, but today, the historic building is run by The University of Queensland and best known for its glamorous ballroom and function rooms.The architectural gem is also open to the public, with visitors able to stroll around the building, view the Stuartholme-Behan exhibition of Australian Art and admire the collection of artifacts and memorabilia on display. There’s also an on-site restaurant, with terrace seating overlooking the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge.More

North Stradbroke Island (Straddie)

North Stradbroke Island, the second-largest sand island in the world, is a beach and nature lover’s paradise. Known as “Straddie” to the locals and traditionally known as “Minjerribah,” this picturesque island is famous for its white sandy beaches, freshwater lakes and wetlands, and scenic headlands, and is a popular day trip from Brisbane.More

Trip ideas

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Recent reviews from experiences in Brisbane

Relax and spend time on the river
Jean_M, Dec. 2022
90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
A great way to see parts of Brisbane that are usually hidden, and a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.
A really good moment !
Nicolas_S, Dec. 2022
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
Good way to visit lot of places of Brisbane.
Great Way to See Brisbane!
samanda09, Dec. 2022
90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
A great way to see Brisbane and learn about the sites/neighborhoods.
After getting to know Brisbane this was a great way to step outside the box a bit
Dana_M, Nov. 2022
Tamborine Mountain and Paradise Point Tour from Brisbane
Glow worm caves, Springbrook, Tambourine Mountain sky walk through the Jurassic forest, waterfall..
Amazing lifetime memories
Adina_P, Nov. 2022
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Admission with Brisbane River Cruise
You learn so much about the history of this city, and get to see the animals.
Awesome !!!
Lorraine_M, Sep. 2022
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
Able to see a large amount of Brisbane .
Something for everyone!
MARY_B, Jan. 2023
Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Noosa Day Trip from Brisbane Incl Eumundi Markets
We are only in Brisbane for 3 full days and we don’t have a car and we thought it was a good way to see the area around Brisbane in an efficient manner.
Fun in the sun, sand, and water!
Jonathan_D, Dec. 2022
Moreton Island Day Trip (Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard) frm Brisbane or Gold Coast
After lunch the groups divided up by wristband color and went to different activities.
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All about Brisbane

When to visit

The sun shines year-round in Brisbane, but mild winter temperatures mean locals still spend the majority of their time outdoors, enjoying night markets, open-air cinemas, and festivals such as the Royal Queensland Show and Queensland Music. For those using Brisbane as a base to explore the surrounding beaches and islands, visit in autumn (March through May) for warm weather and fewer crowds.

People Also Ask

What is Brisbane best known for?

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland state and Australia’s third-largest city. It’s located on the Brisbane River and is famous for its hot, sunny climate. Well-known attractions include the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and the South Bank Parklands development, which features a central-city river beach.

What is there to do in Brisbane?

There are many things to do in Brisbane, which is one of Australia’s largest cities. Well-known attractions are the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and the South Bank Parklands development, which includes a central-city river beach. With a famously warm climate, many activities in Brisbane can be enjoyed outdoors.

What are the main attractions in Brisbane?

Many of Brisbane’s main attractions are at or near the Brisbane River that runs through the city, including promenades, cruises, and the central city river beach at the South Bank Parklands. Other attractions include the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and Mt. Coot-tha.

What can you do in Brisbane with no money?

Brisbane is an outdoorsy city, so there are many free things you can enjoy. Stroll along the banks of the Brisbane River, relax or swim at the South Bank Parklands beach, or take a picnic to one of the parks or botanic gardens and find a spot in the shade.

Is Brisbane worth visiting?

Yes. Brisbane is worth visiting if you enjoy vibrant cities with a range of outdoor and indoor cultural attractions. There are activities and attractions to suit every kind of traveler, from relaxed river cruises and city beaches to wildlife sanctuaries and day trip opportunities to nearby mountains, forests, and islands.

What outdoorsy things to do are there in Brisbane?

Brisbane’s warm climate means there are many outdoor activities to enjoy. These include relaxing or swimming at the South Bank Parklands river beach, hiking to the summit of Mt. Coot-tha, strolling along the banks of the Brisbane River, or day-tripping to nearby North Stradbroke Island.


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