Things to do in Brisbane
Nestled on the banks of the Brisbane River, Brisbane is a thriving city boasting award-winning restaurants and bars and offering many unique shopping experiences. Take a leisurely cruise, explore nearby national parks, take a day trip to the beautiful Moreton or Stradbroke Islands or simply relax at Southbank and enjoy the view.
Get to know this vibrant, modern city with its charming architecture and colonial history inside out. From unspoiled beaches to lush mountain hideaways, from the urban appeal of art galleries to concert halls, Brisbane is the perfect holiday destination.
Where is it and how do you get there?
The city of Brisbane is in the State of Queensland and is approximately 925 kilometres from Sydney.
The Brisbane XPT runs daily from Sydney and the Casino XPT also runs daily from Sydney to Casino with connecting coaches to Brisbane.
To check times, use the booking form on the left.
Travel at your own pace around Brisbane via local buses, trains, taxis and hire cars. Join organised day trips run by bus tour operators and the two hour City Sights bus tour run by the Brisbane City Council. Hire a bicycle and cycle along around 500 cycle ways.
- February - World Theatre Festival showcases new, risky and atypical theatre from seven countries.
- February/March - Brisbane Comedy Festival provides a variety of acts by some of the funniest comedians around.
- April - Annual Brisbane Queer Film Festival screens the best in gay cinema from Australia and around the globe.
- April/May - Ipswich Festival offers a broad program of entertainment and arts for the whole family.
- July - Abbey Medieval Festival is Australia’s largest medieval event complete with pageantry, music, jousting, sword combats, medieval markets and dance.
For more information and exact dates, check out the Queensland Holidays website.
What to do and see
Experience a leisurely cruise along Brisbane River and see Brisbane’s picturesque foreshore from the decks of a river boat while sipping morning or afternoon tea. While taking in the sights, learn about local history from a well versed guide.
Join the Story Bridge Adventure Climb which takes you to the top of Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge and stand surrounded by the city with Moreton Bay in the east and the green hills of the Scenic Rim to the west. The adventurous can then abseil down one of the bridge’s pylons into Captain Burke Park at its base. No other bridge climb in the world offers you this opportunity.
Float up in the sky and see stunning views from a hot air balloon. Gaze at a rich tapestry of city, farms, mountains, valleys and the coast. Watch the run rise over the city and then wind down with a delicious champagne breakfast.
Visit the award winning adventure centre, Riverlife which specialises in kayaking, rock climbing and abseiling. Kayak on Brisbane River at night on a guided tour, explore the river by paddle board or rock climb on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
Take the kids to Dreamworld just 35 minutes away at Coomera where they can experience exhilarating rides, then spend the afternoon at WhiteWater World right next door.
Cuddle one of the 130 koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary located in leafy surrounds on the Brisbane River. Hand feed kangaroos and wallabies as well as wild rainbow lorikeets and if you are feeling brave, have your photo taken holding a snake or baby crocodile. The Alma Park Zoo with its lush tropical environment also allows you to hold koalas, snakes and crocodiles and hand feed the kangaroos and deer.
Take a dip in Australia’s only inner city beach at Street’s Beach at South Bank. A rare, man-made swimming beach, Streets Beach overlooks the beautiful Brisbane River and Central Business District and has a sparkling crystal clear lagoon with white sand beaches and tropical trees.
Escape to North Stradbroke Island for a day trip and swim, snorkel and relax on secluded beaches or mineral lakes. Or slip away to paradise at the Moreton Bay and Islands, only 25 kilometres from Brisbane. Enjoy some of the world’s best diving and have fun sand tobogganing, surfing or quad biking. Recline on picturesque sandy beaches, explore the unspoilt beauty of the islands and meander through quaint costal villages.
If you like to shop, Brisbane is the place for you. The Queen Street Mall is Queensland’s premier shopping destination with around 700 speciality stores. Nearby in Elizabeth Street, you can browse fashion created by Brisbane’s up-and-coming designers at the Elizabeth Arcade and then continue on to Adelaide Street, Albert Street and Edward Street. Across the river, South Bank has a shopping strip that includes the South Bank Young Designers Markets.
Indulge in Brisbane’s thriving arts and cultural scene. Visit the Cultural Centre at South Bank overlooking the Brisbane River where both the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art are located. The Queensland Art Gallery displays the State’s extensive art collection and presents visual art exhibitions and programs; the Gallery of Modern Art is the largest modern art museum in Australia and focuses on the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
At night, catch a show at one of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s venues or a show by the Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Ballet, Queensland Orchestra or Opera Queensland. Alternatively you could visit the Brisbane Powerhouse Centre for the Arts which is a hub for everything creative, including theatre, music, comedy, film, visual arts, festivals and ideas. Make sure you also visit the fascinating Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, and the whole family will love The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich where kids can drive a huge diesel locomotive and tour a working workshop.