Australia’s third-largest city has plenty to see and do. Three days gives you ample time to tick off the highlights and explore Brisbane’s beaches and hinterlands. To make the most of your time, look for tours that combine multiple attractions or choose a custom tour to create your perfect itinerary. Here are some ideas.
Day 1: Sightseeing in the city
Kickstart your trip with a half-day city tour that covers the main attractions and a few Brisbane neighborhoods. Choose between walking, cycling, or riding a Segway, and then cross the Brisbane River via the famous Story Bridge and climb up to Kangaroo Point for sweeping city views. Stop along the way to admire landmarks such as King George Square, the Cathedral of St. Stephen, and City Hall, and browse the shops around Queen Street Mall.
In the afternoon, escape the downtown crowds at the summit of Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane’s closest mountain. Tours of Mt Coot-tha often stop at the nearby Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where you can spot Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils.
Continue sightseeing into the evening hours with a dinner cruise on the Brisbane River, during which you’ll see Brisbane’s illuminated skyline reflected in the water.
Day 2: Explore the Sunshine State
With the Sunshine Coast to the north, the beaches and theme parks of the Gold Coast to the south, and mountainous hinterlands just next door, Brisbane has a day trip option to suit every traveler type.
Beach lovers can set sail for Stradbroke island, where you’ll spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and spotting sea turtles, dolphins, and manta rays. Hikers can explore Springbrook and Tamborine national parks, while naturalists can look for wildlife in O’Reilly’s Rainforest. Australia Zoo is a great choice for travelers with kids in tow.
Another popular choice is a day trip to the Gold Coast. Tours transport you between seaside towns such as Burleigh Heads and Surfers Paradise with ease, and typically include a cruise and shopping time at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. Alternatively, a trip to the Sunshine Coast visits the famous Eumundi Markets, the world’s largest Ginger Factory, and the Glass House Mountains.
Day 3: Markets and Museums
Spend your final day discovering why Brisbane is one of Australia’s coolest cities; Fortitude Valley, full of boutiques, hip bars, and music venues, is one of the best places to do so. Head there to browse the Valley Markets (weekends only), enjoy Australian-style brunch, and stroll around Chinatown.
In the afternoon, head across the river to South Bank to take a swim at the Streets Beach lagoon, ride the Wheel of Brisbane, and explore the South Bank Parklands, which hosts open-air festivals and events all through summer. Some of Brisbane’s best museums are also here, including the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Maritime Museum, and the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.
End the day with a visit to the Eat Street Markets, where you’ll find some of Brisbane’s best street food—take a walking or cycling tour of the markets for the inside scoop on where and what to eat.