Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and as such, brings with it all the sights, sounds and smells of a lively Australian city. Despite having a relatively small population of just over 2 million, Brisbane certainly has a distinct charm all of its own. Of course, there’s the weather, which is almost always fabulous, but there’s a growing cultural scene too. From galleries to museums, exhibitions spaces to theatres, Brisbane also has a burgeoning live music scene and a delightful array of wonderful markets. So here you’ll find a list of the best way to spend 48 hours in Brisbane and to help you fall in love with this city too.

48 Hours in Brisbane – Day 1

Morning in Brisbane

Start your day off with a visit to the charming suburb of Bulimba, south of Brisbane. This trendy enclave is easily accessed from the centre of the town by the delightful City Cat – a riverboat that is part of Brisbane’s great public transport network.

Speeding up the river on an open-top boat to this happening hideaway is a delight, especially if you’ve got a sunny day for it. Originally home to a sugar mill and a brewery, Bulimba is now a sophisticated paradise with cafes and lovely bookshops on every corner.

Afternoon in Brisbane

Top of almost any tourists’ Brisbane hit list is the South Bank, and for good reason. This river-side strip has tons of stuff to keep even the most active traveller busy for at least a day.

From relaxing on Street Beach to the riding Wheel of Brisbane, you can do as little or as much as you like in this great part of the city. My recommendations include visiting the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and enjoying the weekend markets, where you’re bound to find some gorgeous local art and crafts.

Wheel of Brisbane

.Evening in Brisbane

When it comes to nightfall, there’s only one place to let your hair down in Brisbane, and that’s the valley. For years, a rather down-at-the-heel and sketchy district, Fortitude Valley, to give it its real name, has recently undergone massive regeneration and is now a thriving place for live music and sampling local craft beers.

Enjoy nearby Chinatown for a feed, or hit up one of the great bars / pubs in the area. My favourite? The Bloodhound Corner Bar and Kitchen. It’s a toal delight and their tacos – including the vegan speciality ones – are hard to beat!

48 Hours in Brisbane – Day 2

Morning in Brisbane

After a lively night out at the Valley, you’re probably best placed to have a rather quieter start to your second morning in Brisbane, so why not check out the city’s Botanic Gardens?

Bordered by the metropolis on one side and the flowing river on the other, wandering Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens allows you a wonderful retreat away from it all. Enjoy a stroll or a coffee from The Gardens Club Cafe and take in the peace and beauty of this area amazingly only minutes from the CBD.

.Afternoon in Brisbane

In the afternoon, it’s time to check out a very different side to Brisbane by hopping on a bus to the great area of West End. With a student / bohemian vibe, this is a great spot to grab a delightful vegetarian lunch or peruse vintage shops and great street art. Ambling around on foot will allow you to soak up all the sights and sounds of such a fun area. Stumbling upon a few colourful characters, this is one of the city’s most ethnically diverse and exciting sectors.

Evening in Brisbane

At the end of your second day, why not treat yourself by sampling some of Brisbane’s finest cuisine. The neighbouring suburbs of New Farm and Tenerife have a great choice of restaurants and are right along the river if you fancy a stroll afterwards.

New Farm also boasts the wonderful Brisbane Powerhouse, which has now been converted into a great arts venue. With regular free live music, outside cinema events, art exhibitions and more, it’s well worth checking out for some evening entertainment.

Brisbane Powerhouse

Otherwise, do your research and see if anyone is playing at the Riverside Stage, back near the Botanic Gardens. One of my favourite venues, this outdoor amphitheatre is an absolutely wonderful place to enjoy the sounds of some of your favourite big-name bands.

So there you have, the perfect way to spend 48 hours in Brisbane. Hopefully I’ll have you loving this city as much as I do in not time!

Updated on 22/11/2019 – Initially published on 20/09/18