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Don’t Miss These 10 Attractions in Brisbane

Attractions in Brisbane

Do you want to have lots of fun without even leaving Brisbane? Hit most of its tourist hotspots within one or two days using this guide.

Brisbane has amazing weather, scenery, and cuisine. Not to mention vacationing there is cheaper than in the big-name Australian cities.

But don’t think that the city doesn’t have fantastic attractions. On the contrary, it has plenty of them. Tours, landmarks, and unique experiences can change your view of this big city with a small-town vibe.

Here are 10 sights and attractions you should tick off on your list when visiting the city.

1. Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art

QAGOMA for short, this gallery is one of the top attractions in Brisbane. And you can find it along the southern waterfront. QAGOMA can impress even the harshest critics and has plenty to offer both indoors and outdoors.

The two buildings that make up the art gallery house over 1,700 works of art. And the majority of the pieces on display are Australian, Pacific, and Asian in origin. But throughout the year, you can find permanent and rotating exhibits. 

Even the glass building itself is a powerful statement. Moreover, the outdoor sculptures are as imposing as they are unique.

2. Story Bridge Adventure Climb

It’s one of the most exciting Gold Coast attractions. Fit for any daredevil, the steel Story Bridge is a Brisbane City landmark.

Climbing the bridge takes you on a trip 80m above the Brisbane River. It offers a great view of the city and it’s surprisingly not that hard to climb, either. That’s why the city even recommends the attraction for people of all ages and fitness levels. Don’t worry as there’s always a guide to take you through the technical aspects of the journey.

What’s even better is that you get to experience an abseiling descent. Australia only has two other bridge climbs apart from Brisbane.

3. Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Why not enjoy a picnic in one of the most tranquil spots in the city? The Botanic Gardens offer serenity, shade, and gorgeous scenery.

Interestingly, the garden started out as a market garden in 1828. At that time, its purpose was to grow food for the sustenance of the penal colony. And it was only in 1855 that it opened as the Botanic Garden.

Over the years, the local plant life grew beyond expectations. It now graces local and foreign visitors with its variety and splendor.

4. Stargazing at the Planetarium

The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is among the top attractions in Brisbane, which is also Queensland’s biggest planetarium. Here you can attend a variety of star shows and check out exhibits of asteroid fragments. 

It’s more than a museum despite lacking interactive features. Perfectly situated on Mount Coot-tha, it offers amazing views of the night sky. That’s certainly one experience you don’t want to miss on any vacation in Australia.

Fortunately, you can visit it every day of the week except Monday. 

5. The Koala Sanctuary

It’s hard to say which native Australian creature is most popular with tourists. Everyone wants to see a kangaroo, but you can’t get as close and personal with one as you can with a koala.

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary can give you your fill of koala cuteness. Sitting on the Brisbane River, the sanctuary is a massive hit with kids and animal lovers. Aside from seeing various animals like wombats, dingoes, and massive crocodiles, you can also catch a variety of animal shows like the birds of prey demonstrations. 

At the end of the day, don’t forget to grab that photo of you cuddling a koala. Talk about making some memories and interacting with the local wildlife!

6. Wheel of Brisbane

A Ferris Wheel may not qualify as one of the best Gold Coast attractions, at least not under normal circumstances. But the Wheel of Brisbane is one of the city’s can’t-misses. 

Standing at over 60m tall, the wheel gives you some of the best views of the city. It sits right on the riverbank, next to the entrance to the South Bank Parklands. So it’s impossible to get lost on your way there.

What’s even better is that you get to ride in air-conditioned capsules. This offers protection from the elements even during the hottest days during the 15-minute ride.

7. Shop at the Queen Street Mall

You have to bring back home some trinkets from your vacation, so a trip to the Queen Street Mall makes sense. It’s a bustling area with over 700 retailers but what makes it even more exciting is the heritage-listed arcades. They make up a labyrinth in the shopping precinct.

Shopping in Queen Street Mall is a unique experience. You won’t see generic bland architecture or what you would find in other cities in the world.

And if you drop by on a Wednesday you can also experience the local Farmers Market and indulge in artisan products.

8. Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Brisbane has a set of cliffs ideal for rock climbing. And Kangaroo Point, just past the Botanic Gardens, is one of them.

Many choose to make this their picnic spot. But you can also take a rock climbing tour. Experiencing this adventure in a natural setting is a great way to spend a couple of hours, all without having to leave the city.

9. Check Out Fortitude Valley

Known as Brisbane’s party district, a trip here will keep you entertained if you’re looking for things to do at night.

Fortitude Valley is where you can find the city’s most iconic nightclubs. And the music varies from club to club.

The Prohibition Club, for example, is an excellent spot for younger crowds. Meanwhile, the Press Club is your best bet if you appreciate sophisticated cocktails. If those don’t tickle your fancy, don’t worry as there are plenty more for you to choose from.

10. Haunted Brisbane Ghost Tour

If you want something more unusual to do on a night out in Brisbane City, book a spot on the ghost tour. It takes you on a trip to some of the most popular Brisbane places where many are presumably haunted.

If you don’t want to deal with dancing crowds or the bustle of the Eat Street Market, this is a nice alternative.

Go on an Emotional Roller Coaster

Brisbane takes you on an emotional and cultural roller coaster.

The free museums, parks, and cultural hotspots can fully satisfy your curiosity. While the theme parks, bars, and nature adventures can get your adrenaline pumping. 

Whatever it is that you want to do, you can find it here and more. Plan ahead to make sure you won’t miss out on anything.

Tips + Planning

A Visitor’s Guide to Brisbane

Visitor's guide to Brisbane

A Visitor’s Guide to Brisbane

Plan your trip for maximum enjoyment in Brisbane. Here’s what you need to know before visiting.

Brisbane is one of the most popular cities in Australia for both natives and tourists. Many Australians move to Queensland because it offers a cheaper cost of living. In contrast, tourists go there for the great year-round weather, affordability, and gorgeous scenery. 

No matter what you plan on doing, Brisbane won’t disappoint. But before you book your ticket, learn these facts about the city to fully enjoy your stay.

Know the Region’s Seasons

If you want to know what to do in Brisbane first, you have to know when it’s ideal to visit. Catching the area’s best weather will allow you to see more and do more.

The period of March to May is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and arguably the best time to visit. During this time, temperatures hover around the mid-80s and never drop below 50.

September is also a packed month due to the Brisbane Festival. But spring in Brisbane has very dry days compared to other seasons.

Getting Around Town

You have a couple of choices when it comes to transportation. 

Buses are rather cheap and could be preferable to taxis. You can also take advantage of the city’s efficient railway and use the Airtrain to get around. Many tourists, as well as locals, often use the ferries. It’s a great way to cut through the city center and get around the Brisbane River.

If you arrive at the airport, you should take the AirTrain into the city. It’s the fastest and most comfortable mode of transportation for the 10 miles into Brisbane City.

Once in Brisbane, the CityLoop buses are great to get from one end to another. They’re not only clean but they’re also free.

Beaches Everywhere You Look

Most tourists go one hour north or south of the city to hit some of the best beaches in the country.

But what makes Brisbane beaches so popular? They’re clean and have crystal clear water and amazing weather. And unlike in Melbourne, you can swim all year round in Brisbane. 

But here’s what’s even cooler.

If you don’t have time to travel, the Inner City Beach might suit your needs, too. It’s a man-made beach right on the Brisbane River in the middle of the city. This novelty attraction isn’t something you can find in many other places.

Accessibility and Small-Town Vibes

Brisbane isn’t one of Australia’s biggest cities. Yes, it’s a capital city, but it has a small-town atmosphere that you might enjoy while on vacation.

It’s unlikely that you’ll run into long lines when trying to get lunch or dinner. You don’t even have to navigate a maze of tourists or deal with overly crowded areas.

There’s enough room on public transportation, too. And if you rent a car or travel in your personal vehicle, parking spots won’t be an issue in Brisbane city.

Loads of Fun Activities

Not sure what to do in Brisbane during a heatwave? If you’re tired of sitting at the beach, why not visit one of the best Gold Coast theme parks?

Sea World is one of the hottest attractions in the area. But there are also other theme parks just one hour out of the city.

Whether traveling solo or with your family, Brisbane’s theme parks offer fun activities for all ages. Go on a thrilling roller coaster ride or find some shade and grab a bite to eat.

Safe Travel

Looking for another reason why you must do Brisbane for your next vacation? 

It’s one of the safest cities in Australia. In fact, it has a very low crime rate compared to Melbourne and other top tourist destinations in the country.

And if you spend most of your time in the Valley, you’ll notice the quiet and friendly vibes. The city has a vibrant nightlife, yet it still seems like a perfect place to settle down later in life.

Don’t Get Too Excited About the River

Locals call the Brisbane River the brown snake, which gives you an idea of how appealing the body of water that divides the city is.

While it’s a step up from the Thames, it’s just not the best river to look at. Certain parts of the river are quite unappealing and it’s best to avoid lingering.

However, it’s still a great way to get around town while taking in some amazing city views. The part of the river at the Inner City Beach is usually clean enough for swimming or dipping.

Parks, Galleries and Museums

Brisbane has a bit of everything. 

Its parks are gorgeous, free to explore, and offer plenty of shade for the dry days. Not even the Botanic Gardens charge an entrance fee. And as it turns out, that’s a great place to visit if you want to take in the local scenery.

The art galleries and museums are among the most popular in the country. And you can also find many institutions with no admittance fees.

Diverse Food and Bar Scene

Looking for affordable eateries and fine dining options? Brisbane has them. 

Although the majority of restaurants have Australian menus, you can find European and Asian cuisines as well. The food offers enough variation for most tourists. But due to popular demand, Mediterranean cuisine probably comes second to Australian in terms of options.

The bars of Brisbane won’t disappoint, either. You can find a variety of warehouse-style breweries, cozy cocktail bars, and vibrant nightclubs.

A Busy Australian City That’s Remarkably Relaxing and Entertaining

Don’t ask what to do in Brisbane. The more appropriate question is, what can’t you do in this city?

Brisbane offers fun activities for both adults and kids. It’s a busy place that’s not nearly as crowded as other tourist hotspots. The region also has many pristine beaches and a picturesque landscape that can fill a couple of memory cards with amazing pictures.

And to top things off, it’s among the most affordable cities in Australia for tourists, as well as to live in.

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