Sitting prettily on a meandering river is the elegantly charming city of Brisbane or ‘Brissie’ as the Australians affectionately refer to it. The capital of Sunshine state Queensland, and Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane is vibrant, culturally rich and blessed with unmatched natural beauty.
With so much to do, experience and enjoy this is one rollercoaster ride you wouldn’t want to miss. Here are some of the best things to do in Brisbane for having the time of your lives:
1. Play Peekaboo with the Koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Spread over 18 hectares, the world’s oldest and largest Koala sanctuary is a delightful place for a date with the endearing koalas and a chance to see Australia’s native animals in their natural habitat. Experiencing the joy of cuddling an adorable koala (need to book in advance) or petting and feeding the kangaroos in an open area are definitely the top things to do in Brisbane. There are other Australian animals like the wallabies, wombats & dingoes and exciting activities every day like platypus feeding, sheep shearing shows and keeper talks to keep you and the kids hooked for several hours.
Timings: 9AM to 5PM every day
Entry Fee: $22AUD/child; $36 AUD/adult. Concessional fee for students, senior citizens and families.
2. Visit the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
Right on the riverfront these two adjacent repositories of magnificent art from across the world should not be missed by art aficionados. The modern and spacious Queensland Art Gallery has permanent awe-inspiring displays like the Australian Aboriginal Art and Picasso’s work. The gallery also proudly showcases eclectic contemporary art works and an enviable collection of ceramics and artworks from Asia Pacific. One of the best free things to do in Brisbane, the Art Gallery has a quaint coffee shop as well some stunning sculptures on display in the open ground.
The Gallery of Modern Art entices you with its award winning architectural brilliance and takes you on a journey through a range of mediums like sculpture, artworks, photography and cinema. The captivating contemporary art installation must not be missed.
Timings: 9AM to 5PM
3. A Walk though Horticultural Paradise at Mount Coot-tha Botanical Park
Spread over a lavish 52 hectares of land just seven kilometres away from the city, this enchanting world of plants and trees will leave you spellbound with its themed gardens and exotic flora. Take a leisurely stroll through this green oasis to get enthralled by the spectacular Japanese garden, pretty Lily pond and the astounding bonsai variety. Let curiosity get the better of your kids while they take the fun and educative walk through the Hide n Seek rainforest trail within the Botanic Gardens. Surely one of the best things to do in Brisbane city, the free entry, guided tours and minibus rides are an icing on the cake. On your way back you can stop by for panoramic city views from the Brisbane Lookout Mt Coot-tha just a couple of minutes’ drive away.
Timings: 8AM to 6PM in Summers (September-March); 8AM to 5PM in Winters (April-August)
Entry: Free. Along with free guided tours and minibus rides.
4. Queen Street Mall to Satiate the Shopaholic in You
Whether it is people gazing, window shopping or some retail therapy on your mind, this pedestrian-friendly mall in the heart of the city is the best place to indulge in all of these and more. Housing more than 500 retail stores selling local wares, displaying the best street fashion and big international brands The Queen Street mall is the one-stop shop for all your shopping needs. The main stage along the mall is also the venue for an engaging show on Aboriginal culture brought to life through songs, dances and stories.
5. Unbridled Fun at the Sea World Gold Coast
Sea world is a great way to let your hair loose and spend an exciting day out with the kids. Thrilling rides, amazing shows and a chance to see Dolphins, Seals, Penguins and Polar bears up close is what this amazing marine-themed park is all about. One of the best things to do in Brisbane with kids, it has fast fun rides for the children and animal shows to keep them hooked. Jet-ski show, shark tank visit, snorkelling and other adventures await you at the Sea World!
Timings: 9:30AM to 5PM (Rides start at 10AM).
Entry Fee: Single day pass from $79 AUD/adult and $69 AUD/child
6. Story Bridge for Some Adrenaline Rush & Stunning Views
This iconic cantilever bridge across the river also serves the perfect dose of adventure right in the heart of the city. The guided Story Bridge Adventure Climb takes you to 80 metres above the Brisbane river for breathtaking views of the city with a growing a sense of thrill and wonder as you climb higher and higher. Suitable for all fitness levels, you can even choose the unique and exhilarating abseiling ride back for that adrenaline rush. The sunset climb is highly recommended for precious twilight views when the glittering city will take your breath away.
Timings: 6AM to 10PM
Cost: Express Climb: $119 AUD/person; Day Climb: $129 AUD/person. Cost varies with time of the day.
7. Day trip to the Magical Moreton Island
Get transported to pristine white sand beaches and shimmering azure waters in just over an hour by ferry from Brisbane. A day trip to the world’s third largest sand island is one magical escape well worth your time and money. Nature lovers can just soak in the spectacular natural beauty of this surreal island which is also a national park. There is so much to do for those looking for adventure and fun: whale watching cruises, feeding wild dolphins, sea kayaking, sand boarding and quad biking. Or you could gaze with wonder at the spectacular world under the water while you snorkel or dive in the clear blue waters.
Ferry Ticket: One way ticket ranges between $18-$28 AUD/passenger. Prices start from $75AUD/vehicle with driver if you want to ferry your vehicle.
8. South Bank Parklands & Promenades for City Buzz
Abuzz with activity and studded with lush parklands and glittering promenades, South Bank is the best area to hang out and let Brisbane work its charm on you! You could stroll across the beautifully manicured gardens, walk through a rainforest right in the heart of the metropolitan area or simply enjoy a drink at the many cafes and restaurants. Hopping on to the Wheel of Brisbane for great city views or taking a rejuvenating dip in the unique Streets Beach are other fun ways to spend time here. The kids will love splashing in the Aquativity water park right next to the Streets Beach.
9. Glide along the Brisbane River for a relaxed city tour
Whether you choose the free shuttle boat service, hop on and off the efficient CityCat ferries or lounge atop a romantic private cruise, the experience of watching the city go by as you glide along the river is magical. You can’t afford to miss this quintessential Brisbane experience that offers a chance to visit the tourist attractions along the waterfront while letting the river breeze soothe your senses. As you cruise along the meandering river the informative narration fills you up on the history and significance of important city landmarks and places to visit in Brisbane .With 24 hop-on hop-off terminals, the City Cats ferries are a budget-friendly hassle-free way to visit important city attractions.
10. Queensland Performing Art Centre for a Lyrical Evening
With a wonderful concert hall and lyric theatre, the QPAC in South Parklands is the best place to catch up on spectacular musicals like Aladdin, Mamma Mia and many more new & exciting shows. Superb productions with captivating sets and eye-catching costumes make for a lovely evening in the city. Located in the South Parklands just near the river, this is a must visit for its outstanding acoustics, seating and professional staff that make every show memorable.
Ticket price: For musicals like Aladdin, tickets start from $85 AUD /adult. Prices vary according to the show and the seats you choose.
Suggested Read: 20 Tourist Attractions In Australia You Can’t Afford To Miss
Now that you know all about the best things to do in Brisbane, we hope you experience each and every activity in this list and come back home with a bag full of memories. And yes, just in case, you’re planning a holiday in Australia, then do check out our Australia Package to enjoy a personalized trip.