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Visit Brisbane – The complete travel Guide

Visit Brisbane – The complete travel Guide

Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia, and the capital of Queensland. The city, which has nearly 2.5 million inhabitants, is a real attraction for local and international tourists. Enjoying pleasant weather all year round, it offers an ideal living environment. Not only does the climate allow you to visit Brisbane each Season of the year, but the city is also spotless, very safe and you have everything to hand. So do not miss this rich and welcoming destination which easily sums up the soul of Australian culture.

How long to stay?

Minimum 2 days

Our fav. spots

Southbank, Lagoon, Botanical garden

Best season

From September to April

Traveling to Brisbane

From Overseas

If you have chosen Brisbane as your arrival city for your trip to Australia, then flying is inevitable.

From Europe or Europe, flying remains the preferred mode of transportation to get to Brisbane. It’s a long journey. Expect a 24-hour flight with at least one stopover. To book your ticket to Brisbane, we recommend using price comparison sites like Skyscanner or Kayak. Try to avoid booking tickets during school holiday periods as much as possible.

Also read: Cheap Flights to Australia

Within Australia

If you are coming from another city in Australia, flying or taking the bus are the preferred modes of transport. The railway network is not very developed in Australia and journeys can be very long. Buses are cheaper, but again, expect long hours of travel between the different cities of the country.

The best option here too is flying. For domestic flights in Australia, the low-cost airlines to compare are Virgin and JetStar. Flying is generally more expensive but much faster.

If you are on a roadtrip and if you’re coming from the south, don’t miss our article: Road Trip from Sydney to Brisbane with all the great spots not to miss along the way

Best time to visit Brisbane and how long to stay?

Best season to visit Brisbane

The climate in Brisbane on the Australian East coast is subtropical. With other words: the summers are long, hot and humid and the winters are short, but cool. Keep in mind that the seasons are opposite because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. You can visit Brisbane all year! If you suffer from heat or cold, visit Brisbane in spring (September, October, November) and autumn (March, April, may). The temperatures are mild and perfect for Outdoor activities. The nights are not too hot and you can sleep well.

To enjoy the summer heat and the beach on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast (or the lagoon), it is best to arrive between November and April. If you are not too sensitive, you can swim all year round. The water temperature rarely drops below 21 degrees.

Beware of the UV rays. The Brisbane UV Index is between 3 and 11. It is strongly recommended that you protect your eyes and skin all year (Index 30) as soon as you go outside. Even in cloudy and cool weather!

How many days should I plan to stay?

The Brisbane City Centre is small and the attractions can be explored within a day on foot. The city is modern and mainly for the business district (CBD), a major shopping street (Brisbane Mall), the Botanical Park and the countryside Bank (South Bank) are known. The city offers a free City Loop Service and city hoppers – not to be confused with the CityCat -which is super fast. You’ll be able to see most of the sights in Brisbane in just a day.

If you have 2 days time in Brisbane to visit and see in the area want to stay, we advise you to the charming suburbs to explore (Paddington, West End, New Farm, Teneriffe, etc.). Since the city is very spread out, you need to still use the public transport.

Add at least two additional days, if you want to explore the Sunshine Coast in the North or the Gold Coast in the South.

What to see in Brisbane?

City parts in Brisbane

The city of Brisbane (Brisbane City Council) covers more than 6000 km2! A surprising size, if one compares this with the size of the small town centre. In fact, the Brisbane one is tiny city centre (Central Business District) in the heart of the city and many suburbs (the so-called suburbs). Australians live mainly in the suburbs and are very well-equipped with many shopping centres in the vicinity (including: Post office, Bank, Doctors, etc.). As a result, it is very common for people to stay in the suburbs without finding the need to go to the center.

The centre of the city, which is separated by a river, is located on the left Bank. It is located in the proximity of the Central business district (CBD), a major shopping street (Brisbane Mall) and the Botanical garden (see below).

The business district is very modern and consists of many high-rise buildings. You can stroll along the Docks (Eagle Street Pier and the Howard Smith Wharves), where you can find many Restaurants and Bars. On Thursdays and Fridays, when after-work parties take place, the neighbourhood is particularly lively. Take the time to visit St Stephen’s Cathedral in Neo-Gothic style on Elizabeth Street. The statue of Mary MacKillop (1842-1909), the first Australian Catholic saint, is also worth a look.

Cultural activities

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.

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. It is the largest city hall in Australia! Built between 1919 and 1930, the New York Art Deco-inspired building has been the pride of the people of Brisbane for many decades. It also houses the city museum.
  • 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

Enjoy the artificial lagoon

One of the most popular attractions in Brisbane and South Bank. Cross the Victoria Bridge and drive in the direction of the right Bank of the South Bank Parklands. You will be amazed, because the area is exceptionally beautiful. The landscaped waterfront is not only appreciated by young people, older people and families spend their day there! A few minutes’ walk away from each other, you’ll find a Ferris wheel, a Nepalese pagoda, the Queensland Museum and the Modern Art Gallery

The most popular attraction is The Lagoon: a huge artificial beach with turquoise water! In contrast to Sydney, there are in Brisbane, no beaches. Very well equipped, you can relax with your friends or children. You can find a lot of deck surfaces (Sand or grass), picnic tables, and plenty of playgrounds. For those that don’t get wet would like to offer Gray St and Stanley St, just a few steps away, a wide selection of Restaurants and trendy Bars.


From this side of the Shore you up to Kangaroo Point to see and the view over the cliff. Enjoy, which climbers use. At the end of the pier you can watch the incredible steel structure of the Story Bridge and even climb if you don’t suffer from vertigo.

The lookout point at Mount Coot-tha with views of the city and all suburbs offers to the visitors in the evening twilight with a breathtaking Panorama. Its highest point is 300m high and the walk will take you barely 30 minutes. At night, you have a brilliant view of the stars in the sky. The top is a Café and a Restaurant. During the day you can wander around the grounds. A little further down you can through the lush Botanical gardens of Mount Coot-tha for a stroll, and the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium visit. You’ll see many great sights of Brisbane.

Botanical Garden and Parks

City Botanic Gardens

For those who prefer it a bit greener, the downtown botanical garden offers a relaxing environment of 20 hectares. Dominated by the impressive skyline of the CBD, this green space also borders the banks of the Brisbane River. The City Botanic Gardens is a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. You’ll see a wide range of bird species as well as iguanas, reptiles and other animals. There is plenty of vegetation and the walks are very pleasant.

South Bank Parklands

South Bank Parklands is a collection of green spaces and urban amenities located on the south bank of the Brisbane River, opposite the CBD buildings. This park is very relaxing to walk through and you will be right on the river. The atmosphere is very family friendly and there are several water parks for the young and old alike. The park is most famous for its lagoon, ideal for cooling off when the sun heats up in Brisbane. While walking around, you will certainly have the opportunity to come across all kinds of animals and admire the nature. The many well-maintained walkways add to the charm of this place, with the city skyline providing a beautiful backdrop to the park. The area is full of cafes and restaurants offering different kinds of food for all tastes.

Roma Street Parkland

Roma Street Parkland is a haven of peace. Iguanas and ibises are always present in this beautifully maintained park. Located at the gateway to Roma Street Station, this modern garden is a popular place for a walk in the countryside. The area is quiet, green and flowery, with a rainforest, lake and many colourful flowerbeds.

The teams of volunteers take great care of this place and you will feel a real sense that time and effort are needed to maintain it. Most of the paths are wide and well defined, so it is easy to walk through the different parts of the gardens without getting lost. In conclusion, this park is well worth a visit.

Rocks Riverside Park

Rocks Riverside Park is Brisbane’s largest riverside park. Much wilder than its neighbours, this is probably because of its spectacular size. There are many places to sit, relax, picnic and play. It is a great place to come and relax for all. It is peaceful and very well maintained. You can go for a nice walk and enjoy the coolness of the river. The park is easily accessible by car.

Mount Coot-tha and its Botanic Gardens

For a magnificent cityscape view of Brisbane, Mount Coot-tha is the place to be. It gives you a breath of fresh air away from the city but close to it at the same time. The view of the Brisbane Valley is all the more splendid. You can take a quick walk for an hour or get lost for two to three hours. You can get there by car or with the city bus 471.

Mount Coot-tha also has a botanical garden divided into different well-defined sections: an indoor tropical greenhouse dome, a Japanese garden designed by a famous Japanese designer, arid lands, a huge cactus garden, fruit trees, an orchid house, ferns, a forest walk, a rose and flower section, edible plants and much more. It’s a great place to learn about Australian flora.

Zoos, Theme parks and Activities in Brisbane

Lone Pine Sanctuary

You shouldn’t leave Brisbane without meeting kangaroos and koalas! The Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane is currently the largest koala reserve in the world. You can get there by bus from the city center. Take bus 430 from Queen Street Station or bus 445 on Adelaide Street. You can also go by boat by joining a river cruise. Mirimar Cruises offers a scenic river cruise before heading to the wildlife park for an incredible day.

Australia Zoo

The Australia Zoo is a must-visit for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Established by the Irwin family, famous for the late Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter,” this zoo spans over 700 hectares and is home to a wide variety of animals, both native and exotic. Here, you can see koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and of course, crocodiles, the zoo’s emblem. The Australia Zoo is known for its interactive shows and educational presentations, especially the Crocoseum, where daily crocodile demonstrations take place. The zoo also offers unique experiences such as the opportunity to feed kangaroos or pet koalas.

Book your tickets online (expect to pay around $100 per person with a transfer from Brisbane).

Climbing the Story Bridge Arch

Here’s a great option for the best view of Brisbane! Reserved for thrill-seekers, you can gain some altitude with a 2-hour climb of the Story Bridge. You have the choice to make the ascent in the early morning, during the day, or as the sun sets. Prices start from $77 per person, book HERE.

Book a cruise on Brisbane River

Explore Brisbane from the water with a lunch-included cruise. Departing from South Bank, embark on a 1.5-hour journey to discover some of Brisbane’s most significant sites: South Bank, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the Story Bridge, New Farm Park, and more. For lunch, you’ll dine at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, where you can enjoy a delicious meal. Starting at $50 per person, you can book directly online.

accomodation in brisbane

Gold Coast Theme Parks

The Gold Coast is renowned for its spectacular theme parks, offering a variety of experiences for all ages. Among the most famous is Warner Bros. Movie World, a paradise for movie fans with its themed roller coasters and live shows inspired by famous films and DC Comics characters. Sea World, meanwhile, combines thrilling rides with marine animal exhibits, providing both an educational and entertaining experience. For thrill-seekers, Dreamworld offers an impressive array of roller coasters and attractions, along with the nearby WhiteWater World water park. Wet’n’Wild is another must-visit water park, perfect for cooling off under the Australian sun.

Prices vary depending on the parks and options chosen, but expect to pay around $100 for a 3-park pass.

Restaurants & Bars in Brisbane

Downtown, the locals enjoy Eagle Pier, with its many trendy restaurants and bars, and incredible views of the river and Kangaroo Point. In its expansion, Howard Smith’s docks have recently been redeveloped and feature eye-catching decor beneath the Story Bridge. From chic restaurants to cozy pubs, there’s something for everyone to eat here. Thursday evenings, the so-called afterworks is always busy.

On the other side of the bank (South Bank) are Gray Street and Stanley Street with restaurants and bars for all budgets. Boundary Street in the West End also offers a wide variety of affordable restaurants.

In Fortitude Valley and China Town, just 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre, you will find a variety of reasonably priced restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Party animals are spoiled for choice in these places. From 10 pm you can put on your dance shoes.

For a cocktail on a chic Brisbane rooftop with a view, head to Eleven Rooftop Bar. Always lively, this bar also serves food, with a menu designed for sharing. The rooftop turns into a small nightclub with a DJ until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visiting the street markets in Portside Wharf is a must and one of Brisbane’s top attractions. Immerse yourself every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a festive and colourful atmosphere and discover the multicultural cuisine of Queensland. Stroll along the Brisbane River between numerous food trucks and stalls.

In major shopping centers like Chermside or Garden City, food courts are also open at night.

Accommodation Guide in Brisbane

Brisbane has a great advantage, in terms of accommodation to be a bit cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne.

For short stays you will find Hotels, Hostels, Airbnbs or Couchsurfing offers. You’ll quickly notice that there is a lack of accommodation. The minimum price for a hotel room is around 150 AUD.

Check in the following areas, if you are in the vicinity of the city centre, you would like to live: CBD (of course!), South Bank, South Brisbane, West End, Woolloongabba, Milton, Auchenflower, Toowong, Paddington, New Farm. Use Google Maps to estimate where your new apartment is approximate.

For short stay rentals, in other words, you rented the room of a Person for a few weeks to a few months absent. This is an advantageous Option, but unfortunately only temporarily. Gumtree or Facebook be used to search for sub-leases. 

For longer stays (longer than 6 months) there is a possibility of an apartment or even a multi-bedroom to rent. The Rent of housing in Australia is in comparison to Europe, very flexible. Websites such as realestate.com.au or domain.com.au are full of Ads. For a two-bedroom apartment in the suburbs, you have to expect about 370 AUD per week. In multi-bed rooms, the prices usually start at 150 AUD per week. If you want to rent a furnished apartment, you may need to increase the rent expectations. In addition, utility bills are usually not included in the rent and are usually shared by all the roommates. 

More on this can be found here: Accommodation guide in Brisbane

Public transport in Brisbane

There are several ways to get around in Brisbane. The Australians, however, prefer their own car. If you plan to use public transport, we advise you to make some small preparations.

Download the MyTransLink app for free on your mobile phone to make it easy to plan your travels. Get a GoCard (you can buy it at any train station or 7-Eleven store). With this card, you can travel by bus, train or ferry. You can conveniently charge the card at any train station, in a 7-Eleven or in the designated terminals near bus stops or train stations.

Remember to check in and check out with the GoCard as soon as you get on and off the bus (the same applies to the ferry). For the train, the terminals at the entrances and exits of the station or platform are announced. If you forget to scan your card when you get off, you lose a portion of your balance.

The city hall has set up a free bus and ferry shuttle service: CityLoop and CityHopper. These are ideal to visit the attractions in the city centre of Brisbane.

Electric scooters for self-service are a cool option to get around the city. The E-Bike ($1 to unlock it, then 45 cents per minute) is super convenient. Bear in mind that wearing a helmet is mandatory and driving the sidewalks in Brisbane is legal (except in prohibited areas such as Queen Street).

48 hours in Brisbane – The highlights

Discovering Brisbane’s history (Day 1 – Morning)

The Bulimba district is historically one of the oldest in Brisbane. Located south of the city, this secluded area is easily accessible by taking the City Cat – a ferry that meanders along the great river dividing Brisbane in two. This mode of transport offers beautiful views of Bulimba upon arrival, a little paradise whose presence one might not suspect. Historically, there was only a sugar mill and a brewery in Bulimba. Now, it’s a modern neighborhood with numerous cafes and bookstores on every corner. It’s the perfect opportunity to stop for breakfast on a terrace and take the time to appreciate the Australian way of life. For those who want to extend their visit, the Heritage Trail is an interesting walking route to follow.

Relaxing afternoon around South Bank (Day 1- Afternoon)

South Bank is all about entertainment. Here, you’ll first find a superb artificial lagoon set against a backdrop of lush nature and the city’s skyscrapers. From the relaxing Street Beach to the giant Ferris wheel, there’s plenty to keep you busy for the day: sunbathing on the artificial beaches, strolling through the parks, or visiting the GOMA. On weekends, markets liven up the area, offering a variety of local products and handmade items. Don’t leave without taking a photo in front of the construction of letters forming the city’s name B-R-I-S-B-A-N-E.

Animated evening in the CBD (Day 1)

As the sun sets, head to “The Valley”. For years, Fortitude Valley, its full name, wasn’t of much interest. But today, this part of the city has become “the place to be” at nightfall for live music scenes and tasting craft beers.

If you’re feeling peckish, head to Chinatown, just a few minutes from “The Valley”. This area is also full of great bars and pubs for a good time. To mention just one, The Bloodhound Corner Bar and Kitchen offers irresistible tacos!

Taking in nature (Day 2 – Morning)

After experiencing Australian nightlife, it’s probably time to start this second day gently. Head to the famous Botanic Gardens to immerse yourself in greenery. Surrounded by the urban city on one side and the river on the other, strolling through Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens is a most pleasant awakening. A little break is a must at the Gardens Club Cafe! The perfect place to relax with a coffee amidst these magnificent green spaces, just a few steps from the heart of the city.

Exploring an alternative neighborhood (Day 2 – Afternoon)

In the afternoon, it’s time to discover a very different side of Brisbane by hopping on a bus to West End. In a very student-oriented, almost bohemian environment, it’s the ideal place for a vegetarian lunch, rummaging through small vintage shops, and soaking up the street art. Wandering the streets of West End allows you to immerse yourself in the unique characteristics of this multicultural, lively, beautiful… simply unique city.

Evening entertainment (Day 2)

To end the second day on a high note, the neighborhoods of New Farm and Tenerife offer a wide selection of great restaurants. Located along the river, these areas are close to the city, making a post-dinner stroll an appealing option. New Farm is also known for the ‘Brisbane Powerhouse.’ This venue has become a hub for quality artistic performances. Be sure to check out the schedule during your stay. There are often free live concerts, outdoor film screenings, and exhibitions.

What to do around Brisbane?

South of the City

Mount Tamborine (about 1 hour’s drive South of Brisbane) on a day visit. Many tours are offered by local agencies. Discover a charming village and taste the wines of the Canungra valley. Stroll through the rain forest to the Springbook National Park and discover the world-famous UNESCO Natural Bridge. It is guaranteed to be something for everyone!

The Gold Coast will also be one of the destinations of choice where you can enjoy huge beaches and go surfing. Surfers Paradise (80 km to the south) is an unmissable place which contrasts sharply with Brisbane and where the beach tickles the skyscrapers! Thrill seekers will love the region’s amusement parks.

North of the City

In the North-West, in the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast are the villages of Maleny and Montville picturesque and worth a visit. If you travel along the coast, we advise you, to visit  Noosa and the Eumundi Market to (Wednesday and Saturday).

Camp with fins, diving mask and snorkel in your hand luggage on Fraser Island, Moreton Island or Stradbroke Island and enjoy the paradisiacal waters of the Pacific. If you do not have much time available, day tours are also available. There are many tour operators available to choose from.


Further, in the Hinterland (3 hours by car) is in Toowoomba which is known for its flower gardens and the flower festival in September. It is the last big city before Entering the Outback. Best you stay in one of the many Cottages. Beware of the winter, temperatures at night drop below zero.

Road trip itineraries from Brisbane

Departing from Brisbane, you will have the choice between going north and its incredible beaches, south to reach Sydney or even a road trip inland to discover the Outback.

Brisbane -> Cairns

For those who are not used to road trips, who love the ocean, this itinerary is perfect. Driving along the coast on the Bruce Highway, you can discover the beauties of the East Coast with Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. The tropical and verdant forests of the North are also not to be missed.

If you drive directly from Brisbane to Cairns, the journey will be around 1700 kilometres. Most of the amazing places to visit are within 50 kilometres either side of the highway. Obviously, these extra detours add time and distance to your trip, making it difficult to fit it all in. But rest assured, however much time you have, you’re sure to see some amazing sights on your Brisbane to Cairns holiday.


This short 909 km road trip will be via the Pacific Highway. Heading south, one of the first stops will be to discover the Gold Coast, famous in particular for Surfers Paradise and its tall buildings on the beach. Large skyscrapers, shopping malls and many water sports activities are clustered here. Above all, don’t miss Ballina or Byron Bay, Australia’s iconic hippie town. Then comes Port Macquarie with its koala refuge, an ideal place to observe them and learn more about the population in the country.

Further south and if you are a fan of snorkelling, head for Port Stephens and its turquoise waters! From Nelson Bay, book a 2.5 hour cruise to observe dolphins (all year round) and whales (May to November) in their natural habitat. You can also go for the ascent of the Tomaree Head Summit. This 2.2 km round trip hike (about 1 hour) offers a panoramic view of the coast.

Practical Info – Brisbane


In downtown Brisbane you will find a large pedestrian street with department stores. The street is called Queen Street and has an open-air mall dominated by the Brisbane Casino. Most of the shops are concentrated on the mall, but there are also shops for shopping in parallel streets. If you like shopping, it is important to know that most stores open at 09:00 and close at 17:30.
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.

Going Out

Sixteen Antlers Rooftop Bar (Cnr Ann & Roma St). This bar, located in the heart of the CBD, is perfect for a cozy moment on the rooftops of the buildings.
Southbank Beer Garden (30ba Stanley St Plaza) is the ideal place for an escape. Open every day of the week until 11 pm on weekends, this bar offers a grandiose setting.
For nightclubs, Prohibition in Fortitude Valley is one of the city’s largest, where Hip Hop / RnB dominates the dance floor.
GPO (Ann St, Fortitude Valley) is a bit smaller, but has the advantage of “two rooms, two atmospheres” with pop and electronic music.

Always carry your ID with you, as it will be required in any bar during the evening.
In the center of Brisbane, there is a curfew: bars stop serving alcohol after 1:30 am.

Festival & Events

Here is the list of the main events:
– Ekka (August)
– Brisbane Festival (September)
– French Festival (November)
– Good Things Festival (December)
– New Years Eve (31 December)
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