As the capital of Queensland, the Sunshine State, Brisbane enjoys a subtropical climate throughout the year. There’s always something to do, choosing from a range of award-winning foods and wines, many events, sports activities, parks and neighbourhoods to explore. Are you just passing through and want to see the best attractions? Find our selection of the best things to do in Brisbane!
#1 Stroll through South Bank
South Bank is an absolute must when visiting Brisbane! Opposite the business district, all you have to do is cross the Brisbane River, and you’re in a real leisure complex.
Perfect for a family day, you have the choice between:
- Swimming in the artificial lagoon, which consists of a pool, a beach bar with sand and a large pool for children. There are showers and lockers as well as several bars and restaurants in the area.
- Visit museums such as the Queensland Art Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Maritime Museum or the Queensland Museum and Science Centre.
- Take a bike ride on The Arbour, a 10-kilometre promenade along the Brisbane River
#2 Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, located about 20 minutes from the centre of Brisbane, is the largest koala reserve in the world since 1927. It’s home to nearly 130 koalas, kangaroos and a variety of Australian animals such as dingoes, snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, wombats, birds and many more.
In the park you can watch different shows like the Bird of Prey show, enter the kangaroo enclosure, or take a souvenir photo holding a koala.
More information on the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Website
#3 Hike Mount Coot-Tha
8 km west of Brisbane is Mount Coot-Tha. With a height of 244 meters, it offers a panoramic view of the entire city. We recommend you go there in the late afternoon to watch the sunset.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city at the Botanical Garden, a 50-hectare park with 20,000 tropical species. At the entrance is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the largest in Australia, where you can look at stars through different telescopes.
#4 Visit an exhibition or concert at the Powerhouse
Fancy alternative amateur art? Take a free shuttle boat (Cityhopper) to the last stop at Brisbane Powerhouse. This is an old factory that has been converted into a theatre, where theatrical performances, concerts and cultural exhibitions take place. In the factory there is a bar and two restaurants, including a beautiful terrace overlooking the river, with an industrial flair.
You find the events calendar on the Powerhouse website
#5 Join the chocolate or beer tour
There are two recognized walking tours in Brisbane, namely the Chocolate Tour and the Craft Beer Tour … Two flavours, two different vibes!
The chocolate tour lasts 3 hours and takes you to the best chocolatiers in the city. You will learn how local experts make chocolate. The tours take place every Saturday at 10 am and it is best to secure your spot in advance.
The Craft Beer Tour provides an opportunity to learn about the history of brewing in Brisbane. When visiting the microbreweries you obviously get the chance to taste the local beers.
#6 Shopping at the collective market
Shopaholics have come to the right place in the centre of Brisbane. If you want something different, we recommend a visit to the Collective Market. This is a small creator market where you can find clothes, jewellery and other accessories, get tattooed with henna or browse the street stalls.
The market is located in South Bank at Stantley Street Plaza and takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
You find timetables on The Collective Market website
#7 Visit the historical sights of the city
In the city of Brisbane, there are a few attractions that you should not miss:
- Old Government House is located in Gardens Point and is one of the most important colonial buildings.
- The Old Windmill on Spring Hill is one of the few monuments from the former penal colony. Inmates built it in 1828.
- Brisbane City Hall is one of Brisbane’s best-known attractions. In this building, all kinds of events take place, such as royal receptions, symphonic concerts, shows, political meetings, etc.
- The main attraction of Fort Lytton National Park is the historic military district. The neighbourhood has been reconstructed and tours are offered there today.
- St. John’s Cathedral is located in the central business district of Brisbane
#8 Walk through the Botanical Garden
The downtown botanical garden spans more than 18 hectares and is a true oasis of tranquillity. Here you can see different species of birds and flowering trees (palms, fig trees, jacarandas, bamboo). You sense the contrast between the tranquillity of the park and the city buildings in the background.
#9 Climb the bow of the Story Bridge and go abseiling
From the Story Bridge, you have a perfect view of Brisbane! It is best to go up at dawn in the early morning.
The adventurers among you will then abseil 30 meters!
#10 Explore the surrounding islands
The wealth of Brisbane is also due to the many surrounding islands, where you can spend a day or two! This is the perfect place to enjoy water activities such as kayaking, surfing or snorkelling, hiking or just the sand beaches.
You shouldn’t miss these highlights:
- Moreton Island to hand-feed dolphins
- North Stradbroke Island and Redcliffe for whale watching
- St. Helena Island and the tour of the old prison
- Coochiemudlo Island
- Macleasy Island
Updated on 27/11/2019. Initially published on 13/02/19.