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Things to do in Brisbane

Things to do in  Brisbane

Welcome to Brisbane

Hemmed in by the beaches of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane is the perfect cultural antidote to a sun-and-surf overdose. Effortlessly laid-back yet surprisingly fashion-forward, Queensland’s capital city is always changing, with museums hosting some of Australia’s most cutting-edge exhibitions, and new restaurants, pop-up stores, and seasonal events springing up constantly. Highlights of a trip to Brisbane include climbing the famous Story Bridge, strolling the lush City Botanic Gardens, and spotting koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine is a 20-minute drive from downtown Brisbane, but it’s more fun to float there on a river cruise that departs from Southbank, with views of Brisbane’s landmarks along the way. As the gateway to Queensland, Brisbane also makes a good base camp for exploring the region’s highlights. The beaches of North Stradbroke Island or Moreton Island are a short ferry ride away, while the world-class theme parks and beaches of the Gold Coast are just an hour’s drive south of the city. To experience Queensland’s diverse flora and fauna, tours are your best bet. A guide can lead you to waterfalls and glowworm caves on a rain forest tour of Springbrook National Park, 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Brisbane, and Mt. Tamborine National Park. Or join a multi-day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Fraser Island (one night at a beach resort included) or the Great Barrier Reef, where you can swim, look for turtles and humpback whales, and snorkel ’til your heart’s content.

Top 15 attractions in Brisbane

#1
Moreton Island

Moreton Island

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With its miles of sun-bleached sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, shimmering lagoons, and pockets of wild bushland, Moreton Island feels a world away from nearby Brisbane. As the third largest sand island in the world and a national park, Moreton Island makes for a perfect day trip when you want to get in touch with nature.More
#2
Brisbane River

Brisbane River

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The Brisbane River winds its way through the heart of the city, from the neighborhoods of South Brisbane all the way to Moreton Bay. The river is also a center of local life, and residents and visitors alike enjoy the many waterfront parks and landmarks, riverside walks, and sightseeing cruises.More
#3
Story Bridge

Story Bridge

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Story Bridge is Brisbane’s answer to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. Iconic in its own right, Story Bridge is a heritage-listed, steel cantilever bridge that allows access between the northern and southern suburbs of Brisbane.Story Bridge was built between 1935 and 1939, and was known as Jubilee Bridge until mid 1940. The main attraction of Story Bridge, as splendid as it is to view from afar, are the bridge climbs which began in 2005. A guided tour takes visitors up the bridge to stunning panoramic views of the city, out to Moreton Bay, and west across the aptly named Scenic Rim as they stand 80 metres above sea level. It’s also possible to abseil down one of the bridge’s pylons and into Captain Burke Park.More
#4
Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park

Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park

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Just across the river from Brisbane’s central business district, Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park offers sweeping views of Brisbane’s skyline, as well as excellent rock climbing and rappelling—suitable for all skill levels—on its cliffs. The cliffs were formed by convicts mining the volcanic rock in the middle of the 19th century.More
#5
Streets Beach

Streets Beach

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Water, sand and sun make for a good combination pretty much anywhere in the world. Put them all together to create a man-made beach right in the middle of Brisbane, and you’ve got the must-visit Streets Beach.Australia’s only inner-city, manmade beach, this site has a chlorinated lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants that makes for a great spot to head to whether you have kids in tow or not. An extra bonus—this beach-like spot enjoys a view of the city skyscrapers and Brisbane River, which will keep you from forgetting you’re not out on a tropical island somewhere.More
#6
Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

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Formerly home to Steve Irwin, also known as “the Crocodile Hunter,” the Australia Zoo is one of Australia’s largest and most popular wildlife conservation facilities. Managed by the Irwin family, whose personalities are a major part of its continued success, the zoo has a huge collection of native Aussie animals as well as creatures from around the world.More
#7
Tamborine Mountain Distillery

Tamborine Mountain Distillery

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While it may be located back in the hills of the rugged Gold Coast hinterland, Tamborine Mountain Distillery is a place that despite its size and location competes with some of the world’s largest and most well known distilleries. In 2014 alone, this small pot distillery garnered 300 awards for their brand of spirits and liqueurs, from vodka and schnapps to brandy, gin, and fruity eaux de vie. Proud of their small batch, small scale vibe, the distillery has purposely kept their driveway too narrow for large-scale buses, choosing instead to focus on small, person-to-person visits. While visiting the distillery to sample the products, hear how this family moved from Tasmania and began to run their own fruit farm, eventually fermenting and distilling the fruit their family of four couldn’t eat. Now, after 20 plus years of taking fruit and turning it into spirits, the distillery produces nearly every flavor of liquor imaginable. Try a refreshing limoncello or one of the flavored vodkas, or go all in with a shot of absinthe before sampling the toffee liqueur. If you find a particular style you like, the gift shop sells everything from bottles to shot glasses and visitor souvenirs, and cocktail enthusiasts will be blown away by this small pot still in the hills.More
#8
Mt. Coot-tha

Mt. Coot-tha

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Hovering above Brisbane to its west, Mt Coot-tha offers a natural lookout point with views across the city and the winding Brisbane River all the way to Moreton Bay and the Glass House Mountains on the horizon. At the foot of the mountain, the lush Brisbane Botanic Gardens provide a leafy escape.More
#9
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

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There’s more to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast than suntans, surfboards, and shoreline, although given the wealth of white sand beaches and places to bake in the sun, it’s easy to see why the forested interior can sometimes be overlooked. At the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, travelers are reminded how Queensland’s interior has an endemic beauty of its own. These hills that rise behind the Glass House Mountains were once covered in rainforest—parts of which are still visible on the reserve’s 135 acres. Stroll along miles of wooden boardwalk past red cedar and ginger, and listen for the mating call of green catbirds and they flit high in the treetops. While silently strolling the shaded trails, keep an eye out for red-legged padmelon as they scurry and forage through the underbrush. These small wallabies have lost much of their habitat due to surrounding deforestation, although still survive on this small refuge that’s been called an “ecological island.” There are playgrounds and barbecues for family outings as well as an education center, or simply sit at the small café to enjoy a tea in the forest.More
#10
Roma Street Parkland

Roma Street Parkland

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Just minutes from downtown, the Roma Street Parkland provides city-dwellers with a tranquil escape the buzz of city life. Set on the slopes of Spring Hill and designed by Colin Campbell—star of the popular Gardening Australia TV show—the 40-acre (16-hectare parklands provide sunny picnic patches, leafy walking trails, and subtropical gardens.More
#11
Customs House

Customs House

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With its striking green dome and colonnaded façade looming over the riverside, Brisbane’s grand Customs House stands out as one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings. Dating back to 1889, the Customs House originally served to collect the custom duties on imports brought in Brisbane port, but today, the historic building is run by The University of Queensland and best known for its glamorous ballroom and function rooms.The architectural gem is also open to the public, with visitors able to stroll around the building, view the Stuartholme-Behan exhibition of Australian Art and admire the collection of artifacts and memorabilia on display. There’s also an on-site restaurant, with terrace seating overlooking the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge.More
#12
North Gorge Walk

North Gorge Walk

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If you’re looking to discover the rugged coastal cliffs and serene beaches of Stradbroke Island, the North Gorge Walk makes a good place to start. The 1.5km marked trail curls its way around Point Lookout on the island’s northwestern coast and is renowned for its dramatic ocean views and landmark ‘Blow Hole’ rock formation. Hugging the coast and hemmed in by dense bushland, the popular walk takes around 45 minutes and is suitable for all fitness levels.The North Gorge Walk is also the top spot for whale watching on Stradbroke Island and humpback whales are a frequent sight during the June-November migration period. Dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays are also abundant along the coast, while kangaroos and myriad birdlife can be seen inland.More
#13
City Botanic Gardens

City Botanic Gardens

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Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens have provided a green space to residents and visitors in the central city area since 1855, but the first crops were planted on the land in the 1820s by convicts, to feed the nearby prison colony. Now, there are various well-maintained sections, including a rainforest grove, lily ponds, a mangrove boardwalk, and more.More
#14
Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba

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Surrounded by golden beaches, scenic waterways, and mountainous hinterlands, Mooloolaba enjoys a stunning setting along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Perched at the mouth of Mooloolaba River, the town has a reputation as one of the coolest on the Sunny Coast, known for its great surf, lively markets, and buzzing nightlife.More
#15
North Stradbroke Island (Straddie)

North Stradbroke Island (Straddie)

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North Stradbroke Island, the second-largest sand island in the world, is a beach and nature lover’s paradise. Known as “Straddie” to the locals and traditionally known as “Minjerribah,” this picturesque island is famous for its white sandy beaches, freshwater lakes and wetlands, and scenic headlands, and is a popular day trip from Brisbane.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Brisbane

How to Spend 1 Day in Brisbane

Sunshine Coast Tours from Brisbane

Sunshine Coast Tours from Brisbane

How to Spend 3 Days in Brisbane

How to Spend 3 Days in Brisbane

Top activities in Brisbane

Moreton Island Day Trip (Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard) frm Brisbane or Gold Coast
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Croc Express to Australia Zoo from Brisbane
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Springbrook andTamborine Rainforest Tour Incl Natural Bridge and Glow Worm Cave
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90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
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90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Admission with Brisbane River Cruise
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Mount Tamborine Wine Tasting Tour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast
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Dracula's Cabaret - Gold Coast

Dracula's Cabaret - Gold Coast

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Full Day Mount Tamborine Winery Tour from Brisbane
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Cruise To Lunch Package
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Cruise To Lunch Package

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Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb
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North Stradbroke Island Day Trip from Brisbane
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Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
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Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour

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1.5 hr Jet Ski Safari tour to South Stradbroke Island!
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Brisbane

star-5
fantastic
Judith_F, Aug. 2022
90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
great experience good way to see Brisbane in a short time only had a few hours there also great commentary very relaxing
star-4
The trip gave a great...
Tina_M, Jul. 2022
90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
It was very interesting and a lovely relaxing way to see the city.
star-4
Great stay to spend a few o hours on the Brisbane river
MARK_B, Jun. 2022
Cruise To Lunch Package
Enjoyable way to see the sights along the Brisbane river with informative commentary Lunch inclusion was nice
star-5
A fun day and a really...
Cristiano_C, Jun. 2022
Moreton Island Day Trip (Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard) frm Brisbane or Gold Coast
The sand boarding was really enjoyable and lots of beautiful fish to see while snorkelling.
star-5
Fun way to see the city area
Catherine_P, Jun. 2022
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
Great way to see Brisbane City.
star-5
Absolutely amazing tour!!!
Suzy_H, May 2022
Moreton Island Day Trip (Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard) frm Brisbane or Gold Coast
We enjoyed the all the activities and I will recommend to all of my mates who will go to Brisbane for this tour.
star-5
Great Tour
Helen_H, Mar. 2022
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
Had a very short stay in Brisbane and this was the perfect way to see its highlights.
star-5
Great Tour
Helen_H, Mar. 2022
Boggo Road Gaol Ghost and Gallows Tour
Would recommend to visitors to Brisbane.
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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Monique_K, Mar. 2020
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Admission with Brisbane River Cruise
Got to see more of Brisbane.
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Brilliant Day
HelenD2805, Jan. 2020
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Admission with Brisbane River Cruise
From start to finish a lovely day, so scenic and a brilliant way to see the Brisbane from the river.
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great day out
Robert_N, Nov. 2019
Cruise To Lunch Package
very enjoyable cruise and lunch venue stop , great way to see the waterways of Brisbane city, and good food stop at best pub , recommended value for money rob & cath
star-5
Stunning countryside in a day trip from Birsbane
Ken_L, Jul. 2018
Springbrook andTamborine Rainforest Tour Incl Natural Bridge and Glow Worm Cave
This day tour featured stunning mountains, water falls and rain forests and a completely unique glow worm cave.
star-5
This was the best tour we have ever...
Eileen B, Jan. 2018
North Stradbroke Island Day Trip from Brisbane
To see Koalas, Kangaroos, Sharks, Mantirays, Dolphins, Turtles, stingrays all in the wild is so special.
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What a night. We enjoyed every bit...
Chrissie G, Jan. 2018
Brisbane Kayak Tour
We were lucky to see the South Bank fire works, listen to a few sounds at the Brisbane Jazz club and enjoy a beautiful warm night kayak.
star-5
Great day trip from Brisbane. We...
MRANTHONYT_L, Apr. 2017
North Stradbroke Island Day Trip from Brisbane
Great way to see North Stradbroke Island without the hassle of having to arrange it yourself.
star-5
This trip was a good day tasting...
Gillian_S, Jan. 2017
Deluxe Winery Tour to Tamborine Mountain, includes gourmet two course lunch
Mt Tambourine is a beautiful area to visit.
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Sensational Segway
Julie_T, Jan. 2022
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
A great way to see Brisbane City as we covered about 23km with plenty of flexibility for photo stops.
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An easy way to see Brisbane from a...
Lex C, Nov. 2007
Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb
An easy way to see Brisbane from a bird's eye view.
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Great idea, but found the online...
Grahame B, Dec. 2008
Brisbane Arrival Transfer Shuttle from Brisbane Airport to Hotel
Staff fixed it quickly and the bus drivers were wonderful and spoke English.
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Friendly staff
Nicole_P, Mar. 2020
90min Brisbane River Cruise/Tour
Morning river cruise was relaxing and great way to see Brisbane, staff very friendly and helpful , seating a bit uncomfortable.
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All about Brisbane

When to visit

The sun shines year-round in Brisbane, but mild winter temperatures mean locals still spend the majority of their time outdoors, enjoying night markets, open-air cinemas, and festivals such as the Royal Queensland Show and Queensland Music. For those using Brisbane as a base to explore the surrounding beaches and islands, visit in autumn (March through May) for warm weather and fewer crowds.

People Also Ask

What is Brisbane best known for?

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland state and Australia’s third-largest city. It’s located on the Brisbane River and is famous for its hot, sunny climate. Well-known attractions include the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and the South Bank Parklands development, which features a central-city river beach.

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What is there to do in Brisbane?

There are many things to do in Brisbane, which is one of Australia’s largest cities. Well-known attractions are the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and the South Bank Parklands development, which includes a central-city river beach. With a famously warm climate, many activities in Brisbane can be enjoyed outdoors.

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What are the main attractions in Brisbane?

Many of Brisbane’s main attractions are at or near the Brisbane River that runs through the city, including promenades, cruises, and the central city river beach at the South Bank Parklands. Other attractions include the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the botanic gardens, and Mt. Coot-tha.

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What can you do in Brisbane with no money?

Brisbane is an outdoorsy city, so there are many free things you can enjoy. Stroll along the banks of the Brisbane River, relax or swim at the South Bank Parklands beach, or take a picnic to one of the parks or botanic gardens and find a spot in the shade.

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Is Brisbane worth visiting?

Yes. Brisbane is worth visiting if you enjoy vibrant cities with a range of outdoor and indoor cultural attractions. There are activities and attractions to suit every kind of traveler, from relaxed river cruises and city beaches to wildlife sanctuaries and day trip opportunities to nearby mountains, forests, and islands.

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What outdoorsy things to do are there in Brisbane?

Brisbane’s warm climate means there are many outdoor activities to enjoy. These include relaxing or swimming at the South Bank Parklands river beach, hiking to the summit of Mt. Coot-tha, strolling along the banks of the Brisbane River, or day-tripping to nearby North Stradbroke Island.

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