Unlike other Australian cities, Brisbane’s centre is not directly on the coast. Nevertheless, the city has no shortage of water. The city is a former prisoner settlement built around the banks of the four-hundred-year-old Brisbane River. Further, Brisbane is Australia’s third-largest city, with a population of over 1.5 million. It has also been voted as one of the best cities in the world to live in. In the capital of tropical Queensland, all the pluses of urban city life, Australian space, and a wonderful climate come together.
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- Brisbane City Center
- Art and Koalas
- City Botanic Gardens
- Queen Street Mall
- South Bank
- Getting Active in Brisbane’s River
- Take the Ferry – For Free!
- Comedy at the Power House
- Climb the Story Bridge
- Boundary Markets in the West End
- View from Mount Coo-tha
- Botanical Gardens
- Nightlife in Brisbane
- Rooftop Cinema
- Brisbane Farmers Market
Brisbane City Center
The city centre is relaxed. Not only do the lines of the city run smoothly along the meandering river, but the inhabitants are also extremely relaxed. With a mug of coffee in hand, briefcase clutched under an arm, and sunglasses on their noses, they wait quietly for the traffic light to turn green.
Groups of businessmen trickle into the immense office buildings of the Central Business District or CBD. The ‘no worries’ mentality is in the air here, even during office hours.
Moreover, the centre of the city is bisected by the ancient river. A collection of bridges stands out black against the setting sun. In the evening, Brisbane’s inhabitants come alive and seek refuge en masse in one of the excellent eateries or cozy pubs. There they consume XXXX beer, the pride of Queensland. The brewery of the beer brand is located in Brisbane.
Art and Koalas
On the waterfront, in the South Bank area, you will find a collection of museums. Aboriginal art, a collection of bathing suits, and historical documents alternate. But here you can also see dinosaur skeletons and mummified ant cones.
Additionally, those who prefer to see live animals travel to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket, one of the suburbs of Brisbane. Here you can hold koalas and other native animals with high cuddliness to your heart’s content.
City Botanic Gardens
Like the rest of Queensland, Brisbane has no shortage of nature. In the city itself, the city’s botanical garden is a sight to behold. Hundreds of years ago, the lush gardens were laid out by prisoners to provide food for the city’s residents. Nowadays, you can chill for free among the many plants and flowers that bloom there.
But also outside the city, the overwhelming nature of the tropical state comes into its own. At the foot of Mount Coot-tha, eight kilometres outside the city centre is another botanical garden. And with 52 hectares of space, this one can be called impressive. Here you admire 25,000 plants, which are divided into themed gardens. Above all, this towers a glass dome: the Tropical Dome.
Queen Street Mall
The Queen Street Mall is a long street in the centre. Various luxury stores, department stores, and outlet stores alternate. The shopping street also has a succession of cozy cafés, where live bands often perform. Brisbane also has an enormous choice of cozy eateries. Whether you love European, Thai, Chinese, or fast food, every cuisine is represented. But if you want to go on the Australian tour, choose a plate with emu, kangaroo, and crocodile. Freshly caught in the nearby Outback. The Fortitude Valley neighbourhood is known as the city’s entertainment district. Here people dance, sing, and drink until the wee hours of the morning. Brisbane is bustling, and for a day out you don’t have to leave the city. Moreover, almost every resident has a smile on their face. Perhaps this is thanks to the sun. Queensland’s nickname is not for nothing, “The Sunshine State”.
Whether you’re here for a weekend as a stopover or for a year of study, these are ten things you want to see and do in Brisbane!
Brisbane has many nice and cozy neighbourhoods. However, South Bank is without a doubt the best place to spend your weekend or day off. Located opposite the city centre on the Brisbane River, South Bank has a perfect location with a beautiful view of the river and the city. In South Bank, you will find many nice restaurants, such as the Spanish restaurant Olé, but the lawn next to the river is also ideal for a picnic or a typical Australian barbecue at one of the many BBQs that you can use for free.
For dessert, go to Max Brenner or San Churros and for a drink, The Plough Inn is a must with live music every Friday night. In addition, there is a market every weekend and of course, you can take a dip at the famous beach The Lagoon that lies on the river.
South Bank is bustling with people because of its convenient proximity to numerous landmarks and attractions. Activities abound for people of all ages and interests, from the latest exhibition or performance to a stroll through the harbour with plenty of outdoor space to sit in.
Getting Active in Brisbane’s River
The Brisbane River that winds straight through the city is one of the most famous features of the city. The river not only makes for very pretty pictures but is also the place to be if you want to be active in Brisbane. For example, you can kayak or try your hand at stand-up paddling. You will see the city from a completely different perspective!
Brisbane Bicycling, There is a wide variety of things to do along the Brisbane River, from skating to island hopping to abseiling the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
Take the Ferry – For Free!
If water sports are not your thing, but you do want to admire Brisbane from the water, you can take one of the ferries. This is also one of the things you can do for free in Brisbane! Many locals use the red ferries to go from A to B, for example from South Bank to the CBD. You can get on at different places and if you’re in Brisbane for the first time, it’s fun to sit out the whole ride and enjoy a free boat ride of about an hour. Especially recommended around sunset, so you can see the impressive skyline at its best.
There are a total of seven stops where the CityHopper stops between North Quay and Sydney Street in New Farm. The service runs every 30 minutes from 5:30 AM to midnight (Sunday through Thursday) and till 1:30 AM and 4:30 AM (Friday and Saturday). Cross River connects Holman Street at Kangaroo Point to the Riverside and Howard Smith Wharves, as well as Bulimba and Teneriffe.
Comedy at the Power House
Australia is a beautiful country, but unfortunately, life ‘Down Under’ is also pretty pricey. Fortunately, besides the ferry, there are other things you can do for free in Brisbane. At the Power House in the West Farm district – near the city centre – there is free stand-up comedy every Friday night from six to seven. Different comedians perform every week, but it’s always fun. After the show, you can take a look at one of the changing exhibitions in the building or have a drink on the roof terrace. If you feel like eating something afterward, there are plenty of cozy, small restaurants in the neighbourhood to choose from.
A bus operated by Translink QLD takes about 11 minutes from Brunswick Street Stop 207 near McLachlan St to Brunswick St at Parkview, stop 17 every 10 minutes and tickets range from $2 – $3.
Brisbane Powerhouse is located in Yagara Country, 119 Lamington St, New Farm QLD 4005, Australia.
Climb the Story Bridge
The Story Bridge is the most famous bridge across the Brisbane River and a must-see if you’re in the city. You can of course just drive across the bridge, but for the adventurous traveller, there is a more exciting way to see the bridge and the city. This is because you can climb the bridge with a guide and see the city from a height of eighty meters while standing at the highest point of the bridge!
No doubt picking Bridge Climb Plus Cantilever Lean Out, Abseil, or Walk The Plank will get your blood pumping.
Boundary Markets in the West End
Culinary delights in Brisbane? Check it out! One of the best places to grab a bite to eat on the weekend is the market in the West End district, about a ten-minute walk from the centrally located Cultural Centre. Every Friday and Saturday night, a market is held here, where you can find numerous world cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for Spanish paella, Indian curry, Mexican burritos, or traditional Dutch poffertjes, you’ll find it all here. Inside the hall, there are often live performances and also in the vicinity, you will find many cozy cafes for a drink.
The Boundary Street Markets are open and thriving with a wider assortment of goods in their new location. On weekends, the Rumpus Room’s parking lot becomes a market for budding designers, artists, collectors, antiques, and recycled goods. The Boundary Street Markets moved from Mollison Street to Boundary Street. The market has vendors, entertainment, cuisine, and art.
View from Mount Coo-tha
For the best view over the city, you must be on Mount Coo-tha. This mountain is the highest in the area and is very easily accessible by car or bus. If you have a (rental) car, you can drive to the top and park there. If you do not have access to a car, then the bus is a good alternative. Please note that the bus only runs once an hour and no longer after five o’clock in the afternoon.
On Mount Coo-tha you will find a cafe; and restaurant where you can enjoy a snack and a drink with spectacular views of the city and surroundings. In addition to the view of the Brisbane skyline, you can also see the coast and the islands of Stradbroke and Moreton from the lookout point. Just as fun – but a bit cheaper – than dining at the restaurant is to bring your lunch or picnic and enjoy a lazy afternoon on the lawn in the sun.
The Brisbane Botanical Gardens has many themed areas to explore, the Tropical Dome offers reflection photos, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium has stargazing opportunities, the Toowong Cemetery Ghost Tours will take you across the other side, and you can rent a mountain bike or a horse, S&S Aviation will take you up in luxury, and Mount Coot-tha has many other activities.
The Botanical Gardens can be found next to the Central Business District (CBD) and is, therefore, the ideal place to rest after an afternoon of shopping in the city. The park is quite large and therefore also very suitable for runners, cyclists or other athletes. Through the CityCycle system, you can easily and cheaply rent bicycles throughout the city. CityCycle has 150 stations throughout the city, so there is always one nearby to rent a bike or to bring it back. A perfect way to do a lot of sightseeing in Brisbane in a short amount of time!
The Botanic Gardens also feature the Auditorium, which hosts horticulture and art and craft exhibitions, the Botanic Gardens Cafe, and the Mt. Coot-tha Library, which has literature on gardening, the natural sciences, botany, the environment, and astronomy.
Nightlife in Brisbane
There is something for everyone to do in Brisbane until the early hours. If you’re in the mood for a quiet evening and you want to drink a few beers, the West End and South Bank neighbourhoods are recommended. For a night of dancing, you go to Fortitude Valley, also often called just The Valley. The Valley is the entertainment district where you will find many clubs. The best bars and clubs can be found if you walk a little further than the busiest area. A few blocks away, you will find Alfred and Constance, a cozy bar that consists of a few floors and where theme parties are held every weekend.
There are many options for a fun night out in Brisbane, but some of the best are the Brisbane City Cruises, Let’s Roam Brisbane, Jimmy Hollywood, Pub Crawl Project, and Airborne Solutions.
The Story Bridge Hotel, All Inn Brewing Co, Lefty’s Music Hall, Helios Brewing, and New Farm Bowls Club are the top venues for large groups looking for nightlife in Brisbane.
Watching a movie in a regular cinema is fun, but the best place to do this in Brisbane is on the rooftop terrace of the Lime Bar in Fortitude Valley. The rooftop cinema is open every Wednesday and Thursday night, and a different movie is shown – sometimes relatively new movies, sometimes classics. Lastly, order a drink and pizza, and if you want, you can even enjoy the movie from a hot tub!
Guests can relax with international and domestic beers, wines, champagnes, martinis, mojitos, and shots while relaxing on cushioned benches and listening to hip music. Bar nibbles include Spanish meatballs, spicy calamari, and buffalo mozzarella bruschetta.
Brisbane Farmers Market
People who live in Brisbane can’t get enough of the city’s farmers’ markets. The majority of neighborhoods host a market on the weekends, and residents all have their preferences for where to find the best selection of local food, flowers, meat, and handicrafts. We recommend visiting the West End Markets and the Jan Powers Powerhouse Markets on Saturdays, as well as the Brisbane City Markets on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Beautiful farmland can be found in the Brisbane area, and there’s no better way to appreciate the work that farmers put in than to tag along on a market trip. This list of the greatest farmers’ markets in Brisbane will help you get acquainted with fresh, regional fare from the Lockyer Valley, Somerset, and the Scenic Rim.