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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 10 attractions in Brisbane

#1
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
#2
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
#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
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

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One of the best places to spot native Australian animals is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which has been devoted to wildlife conservation since 1927. As well as being the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the country with more than 130 resident koalas, the sanctuary is home to kangaroos, wombats, emus, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, and platypus.More
#7
City Botanic Gardens

City Botanic Gardens

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Opened in the 1840s and stretching from Gardens Point on the Brisbane River to the grounds of Parliament House, Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens is the oldest green space in the city. The gardens were originally planted in 1825 by convicts who needed to provide food for the penal colony, but three years later the colonial botanist Charles Fraser decided that this would be the perfect spot for conducting plant experiments to see which cash crops could grow well in Australia. Mango, ginger, tamarind and mahogany trees were all planted, and even sugar was produced in the gardens.Formerly known as the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, the City Botanic Gardens front Alice Street and George Street. Full of rare and unusual flowers and plants including cycads, palms, figs, and bamboo, the gardens stretch for 20 acres and are popular with CBD workers and visitors looking to relax on the lawns and walk by the ornamental ponds. There are often boxing and pilates fitness class going on in the park, and in the historic curator’s house, The Gardens Club cafe is a popular spot for a bite to eat. Free guided walks of the gardens are also available.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
Wheel of Brisbane

Wheel of Brisbane

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Located at the entrance to the South Bank Parklands and towering 197 feet (60 meters) over the river, the Wheel of Brisbane has been part of the skyline since 2008. The giant Ferris wheel is one of Brisbane’s most memorable landmarks as well as a popular attraction and boasts unbeatable views of the city.More
#10
Roma Street Parkland

Roma Street Parkland

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On a hill overlooking Brisbane City, you will find a sprawling garden oasis known as Roma Street Parkland. This subtropical parkland boasts bamboo thickets, sunny picnic patches, calming waterways and meandering paths through botanical bliss.The happy result is an inner-city retreat that can whisk you into another world, despite being only a few minutes’ walk from the central bustling business district and Brisbane Transit Centre.Designed and realised by Australian gardening celebrity, the late Colin Campbell of the ABC’sGardening Australia, Roma Street Parkland was established in 2001 as a horticultural wonderland, using the former goods yard for the adjacent train station. Since opening, the parkland has become a popular outdoor space, hosting entertainment events in the natural amphitheatre at the top of the park, as well as festivals and other recreational events.Free guided tours are offered to show visitors around the Australian subtropical gardens and distinct globe-inspired horticultural displays. Between Friday and Sunday, a mini train, known as the Parkland Explorer, runs from 10am to 3pm for a gold coin contribution.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

Recent reviews from experiences in Brisbane

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Perfect afternoon
Tony_P, Feb 2021
Brisbane River High Tea Cruise
Such a nice relaxed way to see Brisbane from the river.
star-5
10/10 experience! Everyone MUST experience this once
Gabriel_L, Jan 2021
Moreton Island Day Trip (Kayak, Snorkel & Sandboard) frm Brisbane or Gold Coast
We got briefed by one of the tour guides while we were on the ferry & he couldn’t be nicer by assuring us that the activities would be amazing & that we would be in good hands so that we don’t worry about anything.
star-5
UNBELIEVABLE!!!
Sean_M, Sep 2020
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
My english girlfriends have rated this as a highlight of their australian travels and were very impressed.
star-5
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Monique_K, Mar 2020
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Admission with Brisbane River Cruise
Got to see more of Brisbane.
star-4
Friendly staff
Nic, 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.
star-5
Best Segway tour
khaytonrn, Jan 2020
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
Great way to see Brisbane!
star-5
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.
star-4
great day out
Connector279319, 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-4
Brisbane River cruise
147lynetteb, Sep 2019
Brisbane River Dinner Cruise
It was a great night lovely food and drinks would have liked a commentary as towhere we are on the brisbane River music was basic one man singing but overall worth it lovely to see brisbane from the river at night we were seated next to one of the pa
star-5
Stunning countryside in a day trip from Birsbane
249kenl, 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.
star-5
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
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.
star-5
Lovely trip. We think that the best...
Peter T, Mar 2017
Brisbane River Lunchtime Cruise
We think that the best way to see Brisbane is from the river.
star-4
An excellent way to see some of...
Ronda B, Apr 2016
Brisbane River Lunchtime Cruise
An excellent way to see some of Brisbanes newest and beautiful buildings and homes, as well as some of the more elegant and established homes.
star-5
Our last night in Australia . It was...
hollyinmaui, Mar 2017
Brisbane River Dinner Cruise
A great way to see Brisbane.
star-5
Great day trip from Brisbane. We...
MR ANTHONY T 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.
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Kangaroo Segway Evening Tour
Graham D, Nov 2019
Brisbane Segway Sightseeing Tour
I cannot recommend this enough, a brilliant way to see Brisbane and Anna the tour guide was excellent
star-4
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.
star-5
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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions