Australia’s third-largest city and the capital of Queensland – Brisbane lies by the beaches of the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, and is perfect to balance out the overindulgence in sun-and-surf. The 283 days of sunshine a year makes it an excellent choice for travel in all seasons, not to mention how amazing it must be to live somewhere like that.
The climate makes for lush greenery surrounding the busy city; calm rivers snaking along the outline; hip laneways, and tons of restaurants and cafes to suit every mood. Although the aura of this city is super chill and laid-back, the progressive fashion-forwardness paired up with the ever-changing colors establishes the perfect balance between the two.
15 Undisputed Tourist Favorite Things to Do in Brisbane
Between the culturally diverse heritage and the tall glass skyscrapers glistening under the sun, Brisbane is a treasure chest packed with so much to offer that you won’t be able to finish in a day or two. Here’s a list of many such things to do in Brisbane that reminds us of why it remains on top of many traveler’s preference list.
1. Chill around Brisbane River
Brisbane is a city that has grown up by the river, that’s why it plays a pretty big part in the lives of the locals. Longs walks on a breezy summer afternoon, cheerful families having picnics on weekends, individuals enjoying the calming sensation in an early morning jog. The South Bank is one of the best sights to see in the city, offering a bunch of versatile things to do in Brisbane.
You could kayak on the river, explore the riverways by a CityCat, catch a ferry to reach the other side, and much more. Drop by Epicurious Garden – an adorable little botanical garden where you can handpick from a selection of the freshest herbs.
2. Say Hi to the Koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A haven to over a hundred cute, fuzzy, and cuddly koalas, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is Australia’s oldest one, and also the largest. There are also other wonderful animals like emus, wombats, dingos, and the national animal, kangaroos – all native to the country. The sanctuary has dedicated itself to conserving and protecting various breeds of animals, especially the koalas.
They will allow you to hold and even cuddle one of these endearing creatures, but recent studies have shown that this is a stressful experience for these tiny souls. You could admire them from a really close proximity and take a bunch of photos, but make sure to not spook them with loud noises.
3. Catch a View from the Top of Story Bridge
If Sydney has Harbour Bridge, Brisbane boasts the Story Bridge. This heritage-listed building’s design is much similar to Montreal, Canada’s Jacques Cartier Bridge, but it’s iconic in its own way. It’s undoubtedly one of Brisbane’s most popular tourist attractions.
The top attraction of the bridge would be the bridge climb that began back in 2005. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and up for the challenge, climb the bridge! It’s a 2-hour adventure journey that will lead you to the top of the bridge, and on the way you can get a splendid 360º view of the city as well as know about the history linked to it.
4. Hang Out at Roma Street Parkland
This stretching garden oasis exists on top of a hill overlooking the whole city goes by the name Roma Street Parkland. Exploring it would give you a sight of thickets by calming streams, zigzag roads sprawled across the park that will sometimes land you in bright, sunny, picnic-perfect patches.
Although it’s simply a few minutes away from the CBD, this inter-city botanical bliss will give you the feeling of walking through a mysterious, magical forest hidden deep in a mountain.
If you’re looking to chill and let the vibrant greenery cleanse your mind, this is just the place to go. Roma Street Parkland also has events all year round, and they’re totally free! Keep a lookout for that.
5. Climb Mount Coot-tha
For a local, the go-to getaway place would be Mount Coot-tha, and for good reason. Not only would you be able to hike to the top of the mountain in just 30 minutes, but the end result – the lookout point that gives a magnificent sight of the city is something anyone would look forward to. Apart from that, a lot of the things to do in Brisbane can be found in close proximity to Mount Coot-tha.
As far as the eyes can fall on the horizon, you’re met with the sight of gorgeous architectural feats, Moreton Bay, and extending to the Glass House Mountains.
6. Get Back to Nature at Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Australian flora and fauna is truly unparalleled. If you want to experience an authentic experience of what it feels like to be completely consumed by the grandness of nature, Brisbane City Botanic Garden is a place that’s a must-visit for you.
Brisbane’s called the “Tropical Capital”, so rest assured; you’re going to see a lot of amazing things, starting from beautiful creatures to unique plant life. The garden stretches for an impressive 20 acres which means you’ll have a lot to see before you’re content.
It’s much popular among the CBD workers and tourists alike as a soothing escape from their hectic and demanding lives.
7. Admire Brisbane’s Downtown Skyline from Kangaroo Points Cliff Park
Situated just on the other side of the rived from CBD, Kangaroo Points Cliff Park is somewhere you should be headed if you’re looking to get a sweeping view of the city’s skyline.
A set of cliffs that were formed back in the 19th century but have now turned into a famous location for rock climbing alongside rappelling. Among the travelers, kayaking has become a really popular activity, and some even arrange BBQ parties there.
For family outings, this place gets a perfect score for the overall warm and pleasant energy it radiates. It doesn’t take long to drop by the park and do these activities, but it’s still a healthy retreat for both Brisbanites and tourists.
8. Have a Unique Experience at Streets Beach
Water, sun, and sand – a combination that can instantly make the environment a little bit more cheerful. That’s exactly what the makers had in mind when they came up with the idea of an indoor beach, and it’s positively brilliant! A man-made beach right in the middle of Brisbane, this location is very much popular among the locals, and gaining attention in tourists.
Australia’s sole man-made, inner-city beach features a chlorinated lagoon surrounded by sparkly sand and sub-tropical plants. If you’d just be relaxing with your eyes closed, you probably wouldn’t even realize you’re sitting in the middle of towering skyscrapers. Added bonus – a view of the Brisbane river’s calm coast.
9. Count Stars at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Whether or not you’re a night owl, there’s just something heavenly about stars shining like silver dust in the grand dark canvas of the night. If you’re looking at Brisbane’s sky on a night similar to the description, you’re bound to fall in love with it almost instantly.
If you’re planning to head to Mount Coot-tha (which you absolutely should), make sure to drop by the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Inquisitive folks, give it a high place in your list of things to do in Brisbane.
With daily events like star shows, inspecting the great outer space, and the obvious stargazing on the calendar, the planetarium is one of the most interesting additions on the list. The entrance is also free. How great!
10. Ride the Wheels of Brisbane
The lofty carriage slowly rotates and stops a point; you look out and let out a gasp. The natural beauty of the city seems to have enhanced by leaps and bounds, and even though you’re almost in a bubble, you feel as though you’re floating among the clouds as you get a view of the picturesque cityscape.
That’s the emotion you are more or less likely to feel once you’re riding the Wheels of Brisbane – another plus to the list of fun things to do in Brisbane.
Australia’s version of the London Eye, the Wheels of Brisbane offers the most at night when all the carriages are lit up. The mellow, glittery lights truly add to the visual treat of Brisbane’s horizon.
11. Have Your Serving of History at Newstead House
Brisbane’s earliest colonial residence, Newstead House was made in 1846 for Patrick and Catherine Leslie, settlers of Scottish descent. This pride of the city stands as one of the most reputed heritage estates. The historic house has turned into a museum now, housing some unique antics.
Set by the Brisbane River, Victorian interiors, and intriguing attached stories – Newstead House is a place of history, tradition, and beguiling beauty. Take a step back, almost as far back as when Sir Thomas Brisbane was alive and marvel over the artifacts left behind by these noblemen and women.
The house also arranges various exciting events that will educate you on Victorian culture – washing, cooking, and other fun games.
12. Shop till You Drop at Brisbane’s CBD
There’s a lot going on at Brisbane fashion-wise, but the CBD (Central Business District) is the trendiest place that is calling your name. There is a pool of neighborhoods all with fascinating and energetic personalities, but CBD stands out the most. Why? Because of the overwhelming sight of bubbling life around every corner.
If you’re going there in the middle of the day or a weekend, you will definitely hear live music performances that will make your shopping experiences even more memorable. Make sure to note Winter Garden, Queen Street, the Myer Center as the best places for shopping.
13. Embark on a River Dinner Cruise
Brisbane is incredible; Brisbane’s nightlife is on a whole another level. Do you want to see the stunning Brisbane Skyline as it gently gleams with little bursts of light as you’re enjoying a world-class dinner in a luxurious cruise ship? Book a Brisbane River Dinner Cruise to give you all those feels, and much more.
Technically, these cruises and dinners are supposed to get much better when you have your loved one beside you, but even for a solo traveler, this trip could be worth it. Go out into the deck with a glass of fine wine and appreciate how finely the city sparkles when the moon has taken over the sky.
14. Pack for a Picnic at New Farm Park
Under the cooling shade of enormous fig trees, enjoy the lush greenery’s soothing effect as you chew on some bites, read a book, or chat with another individual. Having a picnic in Brisbane is always fun – the weather, locations, views are just perfect for it.
Lay down a mat in a sunny patch at New Farm Park; one of the more relaxing things to do in Brisbane if you’re really looking forward to having a laid-back experience.
The location is just next to the symbolic Brisbane Powerhouse – another celebrated location for Brisbanites and travelers. Subtle, mild breezes and some cold drinks; does chilling get any better?
15. Surround Yourself with Art and Talent at Brisbane Powerhouse
Are you done with sight-seeing, hiking, picnics, and shopping? Looking to do something out-of-the-box? The Brisbane Powerhouse is here to put a rest to all your queries with the amazing list of items it has to offer.
The relatively new Brisbane destination organizes events, parties, and shows by utilizing a former power station overlooking the river. Spend an evening surrounded by awe-inspiring art and talent of emerging artists – both local and international.
Every Friday, “Knock Off” – a standup comedy show is hosted at the powerhouse; and it’s totally free! Get ready to laugh till your cheeks hurt!
There’s just so much happening in Brisbane. From cultural events, trendy gatherings, to state-of-the-art exhibitions, the city is so diverse in what it has to offer that you can be sure you’re going to grow very fond of it.
Besides all activities mentioned, there’s a lot you can add to your agenda of “unmissable things to do while in Brisbane”. This treasure trove of relaxing location, gastronomical goodness, and natural aesthetics remains as an iconic location for tourists – in Australia, and even globally.