Known for its almost perfect sunny weather throughout the year, Brisbane is the capital of Queensland located in the southern part of the state. Apart from being the home for Australia’s most exclusive and major contemporary art museums, the city also has one of the country’s best amusement parks such as the Great Barrier Reef. So we have curated the best 30 best things to do in Brisbane.
Hold Koalas in the Loan Pine Koala Sanctuary
Hold, feed and connect with more than 170 adorable Koalas who are safely protected in Australia’s first and largest sanctuary for Koalas and other indigenous animals. The 18-hectare sanctuary is just at a distance of 12 kms from the city and can be easily accessed through city buses, private cars or rental taxis. Other than the very famous Koalas, you will also see animals such as Kangaroos, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils and Echidnas.
Explore Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery
The Queensland Art Gallery is situated in the south of the city and is a part of the Queensland Cultural Centre. Only 150 metres away from the Gallery of Modern Art, the museum is a state of art building which exhibits exceptional depiction of art through it’s the very contemporary and modern approach. The museum has a collection of notable artworks such as the 'La Belle Hollandaise' by Pablo Picasso and 'Under the Jacaranda' by Richard Godfrey Rivers and also displays a number indigenous Australian art to promote relations with the native Australian tribes.
Visit the Gallery of Modern Art
Complimenting the Queensland Art Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art is Australia's largest gallery of contemporary and modern art. The gallery is a part of Queensland Cultural Centre and is home to the first cinematheque of Australia. Spread across an area of 25,000 square metres, the gallery holds some of the country's largest exhibition and receives thousands of visitors every year to its door. The Gallery of Modern Art has also hosted 5 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in association with the Queensland Art Gallery since opening in 2006.
Ride the Wheel of Brisbane
Located at the South Bank Parklands, The Wheel of Brisbane or the Brisbane Eye is a portable Ferris wheel which stands tall at a height of 60 ft. It is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the city and can accommodate a total of 336 people at once. The ride lasts for about 12 minutes and gives a full view of the entire city.
Have an Adventurous Climb at the Story Bridge
The Story Bridge is yet another major tourist spot of the city. With being constructed in the 1930s, the bridge finally opened in 1940 and still stands operational. It is the largest steel bridge constructed in Australia and not only does it give away for automobiles, but it also offers a bridge climbing experience for the tourists. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb is one of the three bridge climbs in the entire world and gives you a 360° view of the city of Brisbane along with Kangaroo Point and to the mountain ranges far away.
Hike on Mount Coot-Tha
Mount Coot Tha is a mountain and suburb in Brisbane City and is one of the most important tourist destinations when visiting the city. The mountain also has heritage-listed sites like Mount Coot-Tha Lookout and several other activities that one can look forward to when making plans to hike on the mountain. The foot of the mountain has the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium to begin with. As you climb up the 287 meters high mountain, you can choose from many activities to make your experience much more exciting. You can select to hike through the many bushwalks that the mountain offers or just a good ol' bike ride. There are several casual restaurants at the Lookout which you can go for or choose to have your picnic with family and friends. The list is quite endless and promises to give you an authentic experience of the city's mesmerising views.
Explore the Nature at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt. Coot-Tha is located at the foot of the mountain and is recognised as Queensland's prime subtropical botanic garden. It is just at a distance of 7 kms from the main city of Brisbane which is easily accessible with cab services or private cars. There are several features included in the tour of the garden such as the 'Temperate Garden', 'Fern House', 'Japanese Garden', the 'National Freedom Wall' and many more. The Botanic garden is the second of its kind Brisbane and ensures to give the tourists a wholesome experience of their tour.
Explore Your Nerdy Side at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Situated on the grounds of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium houses the Cosmic Skydome, a 12.5 metre (in diameter) projection dome which attracts science enthusiasts visiting the planetarium. It also offers other opportunities to explore the beyond through its exhibits showcasing Brisbane’s night sky, Mini Theatres, a ‘Galaxy Gift Shop’, the Sundial Courtyard and many more. So if you like to explore the unknown, then this might just be the perfect place for you in town.
Hangout at the South Bank Parklands
Another major tourist spot of the city, the South Bank Parklands situated on the banks of the Brisbane River is a hub of cultural lifestyle with world-class entertainment. The parklands are a perfect example of how nature can coexist with the growing modernity of the world. From beaches to plazas, the Wheel of Brisbane to high-end pubs, bars and restaurants, the South Bank Parklands provides an immaculate representation of the Australian way of lifestyle and entertains almost a million people each year. In addition to this, the parklands are an important spot to host major cultural festivals as well as events.
Shop at the Queen Street Mall
If you're a shopaholic and love to shop from the most amazing places in the world, then Queen Street Mall is the place for you. Expanded over 40,000 square metres, the open pedestrian mall has over 700 stores to shop from. Receiving more than 26 million visitors every year, the mall includes 6 huge shopping centres such as the Brisbane Arcade, Queens Plaza and many more. You can find both high ends retailing showrooms at the front to quirky little boutiques tucked at the back of the mall proving to be a shopping paradise for those who wish to get everything at one place. The Mall also consists of many exclusive restaurants and pubs where people can relax after a shopping spree or enjoy of the many events that the Mall hosts every year.
Go on a Moreton Island Day Trip
Only 40 kms away from the shore of Brisbane, the Moreton Island can be reached by boats and ferries which run daily to and fro from the city's shore. The sand island is protected by the local government and has its beaches, steep dunes and natural scenery. You can go for a dive in the Tangalooma Wrecks along with corals and tropical fishes or choose to feed dolphins near the shore.
Meet Dolphins at Sea World
At a distance of 67 kms from Brisbane, the Sea World is a theme park including a marine mammal park and an oceanarium. The park includes everything from rides to shows to animal exhibits. Some of the common rides and shows include Storm Coaster, Nickelodeon Land and Affinity and Turtle Power respectively. It also offers tours to experience the marine life of native Australian dolphins as well as Shark bays. Sea World has its resort along with its Water Park which offers a range of water rides as well.
Visit Queensland Museum
Funded by the state government, the Queensland Museum is a state museum in south Brisbane joining the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Art Gallery, and the Gallery of Modern Art in the Queensland Cultural Centre. The museum is a showcase of how the future and present can be connected with the past and makes the people aware of their ancestors. It has several scientific, wildlife and native Australian exhibits, each representing its beauty and valour.
Experience Unaltered Nature at the Glass House Mountain
A cluster of 13 hills, the Glass House Mountains is just an hour drive away from the city of Brisbane. The most famous of the lot is Mount Tibrogargan which resembles a face looking towards the east. One of the most popular ‘natural attractions’ of the state, the mountains are home to six small towns and offer a range of activities for the tourists dropping by the spot. The area also has the Australia Zoo, founded by Steve Irwin and provides a full experience of the natural landscape. The common things to do at the place are hiking and taking walks along one of the many trails and lookouts of the area.
Climb at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Heritage-listed cliffs, the Kangaroo Point Cliffs are situated at Kangaroo Point, across the Brisbane River and a very short distance from the city. The place is recommended for recreational purposes as it overlooks the beautiful and vibrant city and is perfect for a quick getaway from the hustle-bustle of city life.
Watch a Match at the Suncorp Stadium
The Suncorp Stadium is referred to as one of the best stadiums in the southern hemisphere with accommodating almost 53,000 people at once. The multi-purpose stadium is used mainly for Soccer, Rugby and major concerts of the city. Singers like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney have performed in the very famous stadium.
Pay Your Respects at the Anzac Square
A heritage-listed town square as well as a war memorial, the ANZAC Square is a state memorial honouring all the men and women who served in Australian armies. Adjacent to the ANZAC Square Arcade, the memorial is a reminder of the sacrifice that the people made in the past. So, do not forget to visit the state heritage once you're in the city.
Fill Your Stomach at Eat Street Northshore
Situated on the banks of Brisbane River, Eat Street Northshore is an overwhelming experience of food, live music with drinks and so much more. With over 170 stalls of various cuisines, the place is an OG of nightlife is a must go for the people who want to hang out and chill with friends while having the best street food from around the world. It happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday so don’t forget to put this on your list while making plans.
Meet Ghosts at St. Helena Island National Park
Queensland is full of heritage-listed sites and yet another one is St. Helena Island National Park. Former Prison Island, it is now a national heritage site and serves the purpose of educational visits by school students and as a local site for tourists as well. Famous tours of the island include a Ghost tour and many more interesting ones.
Brisbane Whale Watching
The Humpback whales are known to be the most surface-active whales of the lot and the best place in all of Brisbane to watch them in action is the Morton Bay considered to be one the best places in the world for whale watching. There are number options from boarding on cruises or aircraft to experience this magnificent phenomenon and one can choose according to their budget.
Enjoy at Rocks Riverside Park
Situated by the Brisbane River, the Rocks Riverside Park is Brisbane's largest riverfront park covering a total area of 26 hectares. The park is popular for casual recreational purposes and is divided into 3 broad zones. The 'River flat' is part of a former rich riverside area with markets spread all around, the ‘Bushland Ridge’ plays as a backdrop to the beautiful river running through the city and the third is a green link connecting the park to the suburbs of the southern part of Brisbane.
Pray at the Cathedral of St. Stephen
The Cathedral of St. Stephen is one of the many heritage-listed churches of Australia completed in 1922 and is located in Brisbane. The cathedral holds masses once every month and has several musical choirs. So, if you want to experience 19TH Century architecture with modern surroundings of Brisbane City, then this is the place to be.
Go on a Shopping Spree at James Street
James Street is yet another paradise for shoppers who are looking for the most exclusive pieces by flagship shops or modern-day designers. The very large street accommodates a significant number of shops which display the very best of Australian as well as international fashion. Along with clothing, the street has renowned restaurants which are counted as Australia’s best.
Go Crazy With the Collective Markets
Filling the Stanley Street Plaza on every Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, the Collective Markets display works of local art and craft, home decorations and much more. The markets are a perfect place to buy collectables, authentic products or to souvenirs to gift your loved ones. They also put stalls selling various kinds of street food which can be an added treat after you’ve had a tough day shopping through the many shops put up.
Meet the Dog Haven at the Nudgee Beach
The Nudgee Beach is famous for its being dedicated to a dog swimming area with small shacks and family houses at the Tuckeroo Park. Dogs along with their owners come to take a splash in the waters on the weekends and make it a little heaven for dog lovers as well as the animals.
Experience the Fo Guang Shan Chung Tian Temple
The Chung Tian Temple translating to ‘middle heaven’ is situated between Brisbane and Logan of Queensland is a Chan Buddhist temple built-in 1992. The temple gives you an authentic experience of the traditional and cultures of the Buddhist community. One of the top five tourist places of Brisbane, the temple has a serene environment and welcomes you to its culturally rich ambience of Buddhism.
Visit the Ipswich Art Gallery
Opened in 1861, the Ipswich Art Gallery receives an average of a million visitors every year. It is one of the most visited regional galleries of Australia with being the first Children's Art Gallery (under 12) in the entire world. The gallery holds exhibitions and shows for both adults and kids all year round and is considered as one of the most important galleries which display unique regional art.
Watch a Movie the Elizabeth Picture Theatre
The Elizabeth Picture Theatre is a five-screen theatre in Tara House located in Brisbane City. It offers you a comfortable experience of first-run movies as well as classics in the refurbished location with the surroundings of old and grand Elizabethan structure. So, if you’re a movie buff and a fan of ancient architecture, we have the perfect place for you.
Experience the World Famous Spirits of the Red Sand
A first of its kind, the Spirits of the Red Sand is an award-winning live theatre retelling the Aboriginal stories from the 1800s when the British colonisers collided with the native Aboriginal's ways of living. The show aims to show the glorious and beautiful past of the Aboriginals and gives you a once in a lifetime experience with one of the most inspiring stories coming out from Australian history.
Eat and Watch at the Yatala Drive-in
The Drive-in theatre, Yatala Drive-in shows the latest blockbusters with an American-style diner having life-size statues of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Just at a distance of 32 minutes from the main city of Brisbane, the theatre is a popular spot for the local crowd to catch a movie in the comfort of your car.
Have Fun at the Dreamworks Experience
A themed land in the Dreamworld theme park on Gold Coast, the DreamWorks Experience is themed after DreamWorks Animation and includes franchises of Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Shrek. It offers various rides in respective zones of the park and is a fun-filled experience for both kids and adults.