Brisbane being the capital of Queensland, is a big, modern city set on the Brisbane River. It doesn’t matter how much or how little time you have in Brisbane as we have compiled a list of some of the best things to see and do with your time here.
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Southbank and its Parklands are an intrinsic part of Brisbane – it displays a premier lifestyle and is a cultural destination. With its 17 hectares of lush parkland, it is located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River and is home to stunning river views, world class eateries and is a hive of activity all year round.
This makes for a great day out whether you have only a couple of hours or a whole day, this provides the perfect setting for a place to relax and unwind, soak up the sights, sit back and people watch. The Wheel of Brisbane at 60m tall is located here too and provides great views of the city.
When you get there, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful inner city beach, riverside cycling and copious amounts of lush gardens and walking paths.
Getting to and around South Bank is easy with numerous parking, public and active transport options available. If you have transport you can park in the undercover car park; use on-street metered parking; catch a train, bus, CityCat or ferry; or take advantage of the precinct’s CityCycle stations.
2. River Cruises
You can’t leave the city not having viewed the sights of Brisbane from the river. It is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the best of Brisbane without having to pound the streets.
There are many river cruise operators in Brisbane:
- CityCat & Ferry Services – hop on and hop off at any of the stops and is a fun fast and inexpensive way of getting about the city. Operates seven days a week with regular services every 15 minutes for most of the day. Further information about ferry services, including timetables, can be found on the Translink website. Tickets can be bought on board.
- River City Cruises –one of Brisbane’s most established city cruise companies and has received ‘Certificate of Excellence 2015’ from Trip Advisor. They offer 4 cruise types:
- Morning Cruise
- Afternoon Cruise
- Discover South Bank Combo Pass
- Senior Cruise
- Departure/Return Point: Jetty A (in front of the ‘Wheel of Brisbane’). Contact: 0428 278 473
- Kookaburra River Queens – This paddle wheeler boat offer breakfast, lunchtime and evening cruises and also provide live entertainment, dance floor and other on board entertainment depending on which cruise you do. Contact: (07) 3221 1300
- Mirimar Cruises – Koala and River Cruise. This is a popular and narrated river cruise, especially for those who want to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. They depart daily at 10am from the Cultural Centre Pontoon located on the boardwalk in front of the State Library. Boarding starts from 9.30am. Contact: 0412 749 426 mirimar.com
3. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Learn all about Australia’s wildlife, have a photo taken with a koala or a snake and feed the kangaroos and emu’s, here at the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary.
Rated one of the “Top 10 Zoos in the World” by AOL, this is a must! There are so many animals to see, over 130 koala’s, free roaming kangaroos and emus, flying foxes, platypus, dingo’s, they feed wild Rainbow Lorikeets, sheep dog show with shearing and even a bird of prey show too. Lone Pine Koala Sancturary open: 09:00 – 17:00 7 days a week. Contact: (07) 3378 1366
If you’re interested in wildlife, you can venture further afield and pop along to Australia Zoo located around an hour north of Brisbane.
4. Brisbane Lookout – Mt Coot-tha
If you want to change your perspective of Brisbane, go and see some amazing panoramic views of the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay from up high.
This is a popular destination and is a must see for all visitors to Brisbane. There is a Summit Restaurant with great outdoor areas to sit and enjoy the view, there is the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, The Cosmic Planetarium, Herbarium and there are many picnic, walking, bike and even horse tracks around.
How to get there
Mt Coot-tha is located at Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, approximately 15 minutes’ drive from the Brisbane City Centre. Alternatively you are able to get a bus up to there. For details visit Translink website or call Translink on 13 12 30.
The Brisbane City Botanical Gardens are worth a visit too and is an easy stroll from the city centre and Southbank
5. Queen Street Mall, Brisbane
In need of a shopping fix? Brisbane offers a variety of shopping experiences with the Queen Street Mall being one of the must do’s for shopping in Brisbane.
The Queen Street Mall lies at the heart of Brisbane City and is Australia’s most popular pedestrian mall. It is a vibrant shopping and lifestyle precinct that offers an unrivaled mix of local, national and international labels and flagship stores.
It is not only Brisbane’s shopping hot spot, it is also Brisbane’s heart. Throughout the year it is often a place full of entertainment and events that bring this area to life with buskers, live music, café’s and bars.
So many things to do! You might also like to check out…
Queensland Cultural Precinct in South Bank. The Cultural Precinct is an innovative arts center and an inspiring place to explore for all ages. It is located on the beautiful riverside stretch at the heart of central Brisbane, following the Brisbane River from the Kurilpa Bridge to the Victoria Bridge.
Here at the precinct, you can visit:
- Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)
- Queensland Art Gallery
- Queensland Museum – South Bank
- State Library of Queensland
- Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)
- Queensland Theatre Company
To find out what’s on at these during your time in Brisbane, check out Queensland Cultural Centre website.
Whale watching – a must do for the nature lovers. Spend a day out on the water watching these magnificent creatures. Australia has a number of locations and Brisbane is a popular one. Many humpback whales start migrating towards the coast of Queensland between the months of July and November. There are many tours on offer so we’d suggest you get on touch with the Brisbane Tourist Information Centre to find out more information. Contact: (07) 3006 6290.
Roma Street Parkland – Just to the northern side of Brisbane’s CBD is Roma Street Parkland and Spring Hill. It is one of Brisbane’s premier parks, and is considered to be one of the two best examples of contemporary display gardens in Australia. Well known by garden and plant enthusiasts for its exceptional horticultural standards, it is also an important community asset, popular visitor destination and event space for Brisbane. Spring Hill is home to the Old Windmill and Spring Hill Baths, and also plays host to a number of vibrant cafes and restaurants, making this area a unique inner-city paradise.
Fortitude Valley – an interesting suburb of central Brisbane and is worth a visit if you are interested in a place where elegance and style meets grungy and off beat. With its heritage-listed buildings proudly standing between it modern comparisons, The Valley (which it is affectionately known as to the locals), was Australia’s first dedicated entertainment district. It is full of chic bar’s, bistro’s and fine dining. It is also home to Chinatown Mall, which is a hub of exotic Chinese Supermarkets and restaurants.
Eat Streets Market Hamilton Wharf – Brisbane’s exciting dining destination! Eat Street Market was inspired by Asian markets and was brought to life by creative Brisbane identities, food and market doyen Peter Hackworth, producer John Stainton and TV celebrity Jacki MacDonald. ‘Eat Street’ has seen the wharf sparkle with designer lights, and 50 funky, specially designed shipping containers reconfigured as mini restaurants, offering a selection of delicious international dishes created by the ‘best of the best’ local chefs.
Open on Friday and Saturdays from 4.00pm till 10.00pm and Sundays from 10.00am till 3.00pm. Getting to Eat Street Markets is conveniently located on Hamilton Wharf, Northshore, Eat Street Markets are only a short trip from the CBD by car, bus or CityCat.
Brisbane Visitor Information Centre, Queens Street. Phone: (07) 3006 6290
If you are planning a trip to Australia and whether or not you are thinking of starting off in Brisbane or plan to finish your tour of Australia in Brisbane, we can help you plan your trip if you are thinking of hiring a campervan.
We also run motorhome tours throughout the year for those who are interested in going on an amazing and fun organised tour with like-minded people, give us a call or drop us an email we’d love to hear from you.
Images courtesy of Tourism Australia