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The Best Things To Do In Brisbane

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Brisbane – a city with great shopping, good bars, a beach and numerous things to do in and around the city. There are loads of free or cheap things to do in Brisbane if you’re on a very strict budget, but if you have a little bit of money then your options are endless. Here we’ve listed some of the very best things to do in Brisbane including things to do in Brisbane at night.

Best Things To Do in Brisbane

1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

There’s a reason why you see Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on all “Best things to do in Brisbane” lists and that’s because it’s fantastic! It’ll cost you around $36 entrance fee, and a bit extra if you want a ‘wildlife encounter’ and photo but just spend the day there to make the most of it – go any day of the year except Anzac Day when it’s only open for half the day.

Our free things to do in Brisbane article provides a free alternative to see Koalas up close in Brisbane.

koala lone pine koala sanctuary
By Andrew Thomas from Shrewsbury, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. South Bank Parklands

17 hectares of parklands in the city! South Bank Parklands are pretty much the hub for events in Brisbane, from live music, to outdoor movies, exhibitions and markets. Most of the events you can enjoy for free as well! There are chilled out cafes and bars and fine dining with river views, or just enjoy having a BBQ at one of the free BBQ’s provided. You can go for a walk or a cycle along numerous tracks around South Bank. Not forgetting of course, the most popular activity, which is chilling on the beach and going for a swim at Streets Beach.

south bank beach brisbane
Brisbane South Bank Lagoon

3. Cruise the Brisbane River

It’s well worth going for a leisurely cruise along Brisbane River. You’ll cruise past South Bank, see the Wheel of Brisbane and the Story Bridge and enjoy city views from the comfort of your boat. You can also do lunch or dinner cruises or combine a cruise with another Brisbane attraction. Speak to our travel agents to discuss which option is best for you!

brisbane river
Brisbane River – Tourism and Events Queensland

4. Go whale watching

If you’re visiting Brisbane between June and November then an absolute must do is to go on a whale watching tour! The best way to see the whales during this migration season is obviously by boat (as you’ll be a lot closer), but there are also some places on land that are pretty good viewing spots too. Head to North Stradbroke island or Moreton Island for the best spots.

5. Visit Moreton Island

Ok so this one is not IN Brisbane but is well worth a day trip! Day packages including bus transfers from the CBD and your ferry can be organised at Nomads Brisbane and the island (unlike Fraser) is a great place for snorkeling, sand boarding, whale and dolphin spotting and all sorts of water sports!

things to do in brisbane moreton island brisbane
Moreton Island – Tourism and Events Queensland

6. Visit North Stradbroke Island

Another island close to Brisbane is North Stradbroke Island, a beautiful place to visit with plenty of things to do. As mentioned before it’s a good place for whale watching, but it’s also good for snorkelling, walking, surfing (on the sea and the sand), cycling, 4 wheel driving and so much more…

7. Look at some excellent art

Time for a bit of culture now. Like most cities Brisbane has lots of great museums and art galleries to explore. You can visit the largest gallery of modern and contemporary art, GoMA, or the Queensland Art Gallery. Both are well worth a visit.

8. Take a day trip to Springbrook National Park

If you want to get out of the city and you love nature then this is the day trip for you! Springbrook National park is a world heritage protected park with an ancient volcano, ancient rainforests, waterfalls, caves and spectacular views! Your day starts at 8am, returning at 5.30pm and lunch and snacks are included in the trip, as well as some photo’s to remember your day.

springbrook national park
Natural Bridge – Springbrook National Park by Mick Lynch, license.

9. Go on a chocolate tour of Brisbane

If you love chocolate, (who doesn’t?), then why not go on a 3 hour walking tour of some excellent Brisbane chocolatiers. You’ll learn about how to make chocolate and a bit of history about the cacao bean, but most importantly you also get to sample chocolate at the venues you visit along the way. (And get a discount if you want to purchase some) YUM!

10. Check out the view from Mt Coot-tha

If you fancy an early morning walk then head to the lookout at Mt Coot-tha to watch the sunrise. The views are pretty special. It’s about a 2 hour leisurely walk from Nomads Brisbane to get to the lookout. After enjoying the sunrise at Mt Coot-tha head back towards the hostel and stop for a rest on the way to explore Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

11. The World Famous Australia Zoo

I think it might be illegal to visit Australia and not visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo! What more can I say? Just do it!


Things to do in Brisbane at night

Some of these things can also be done during the day but if you’re a bit over drinking every night but still want to get out of your hostel, these activities should keep you happily occupied!

things to do in brisbane at night
Explore Brisbane at night

12. Learn about the universe at the Cosmic Skydome

You might have visited the Botanic Gardens on the way back from watching the sunrise at Mt Coot-tha but you should head back there at night for the Cosmic Skydome. The Cosmic Skydome is part of The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and is such a great experience. There are plenty of different shows to explore the night sky. After learning about the constellations head outside and see what you can find.

13. Go Night Kayaking on Moreton Island

Now this is a bit different and not something you can do everywhere. Head out to Moreton Island and go on a kayak tour of 15 different wrecks. Going at night means you see the underwater world in a whole different light – literally! The kayaks actually have clear bottoms and lighting so you don’t miss anything.

14. Eat loads at Eat Street (weekends)

Head to Eat Street NorthShore for more food than you’ve ever seen in your life before! Every weekend (Fri and Sat 4-10pm and Sun 12-8pm) this container food market comes alive with interesting sights, sounds and smells. Every visitor to Brisbane should come here at least once. Just make sure you go hungry and with plenty of cash in your pocket. My most important tip to you is not to buy the first thing you see, there is so much food that you will want to try quite a few things!

things to do in brisbane at night eat street markets brisbane
By Misaochan (Own work) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

15. Enjoy a Comedy Show

Every good city has good comedy on offer and Brisbane is no different. There are a few venues where it’s free entry, and a few where you’ll pay around $10 to get in. In Fortitude Valley check out Blutes Bar every Tuesday night for free comedy (The Flying Cock in Fortitude Valley has comedy once a month). Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm has free comedy every Friday night. In South Brisbane, you’ll find free comedy every Sunday night at The Milk Factory. Or for some bigger names in comedy head to QPAC, also in South Brisbane.

16. Head to the museum on Friday night

If the weather has been too nice to even think about heading indoors during the day to explore a museum then you’re in luck. The Museum of Brisbane now stays open until 7pm on Friday nights and it’s free! You can also include a tour of the Clock Tower at night too.

17. Buy locally made at Brisbane Twilight Markets

Brisbane Twilight Markets don’t happen very often but when they do they’re amazing. All of the stalls sell 100% locally handmade products, so you’ll see lots of unique arts and crafts and meet the people who made the products. Brisbane Twilight Markets happen in front of City Hall in St George Square. There are also food stalls and live music at the markets.

18. Enjoy the view from the Wheel of Brisbane

Although the views might be slightly better on a clear day or night, the Wheel of Brisbane has fully enclosed gondolas to keep you protected from any rainy or windy weather. You’ll get as high up as 60 feet to enjoy views of Brisbane at night. The Wheel of Brisbane is open every day from 10am until 10pm!

Wheel of Brisbane – By Kgbo [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

19. Watch a movie outdoors (summer only)

Like many of Australia’s cities Brisbane puts on outdoor movies during summer evenings. Head to South Bank where they normally show outdoor movies for free. There are several other locations (including rooftop bars) that have outdoor movies but many cost a small fee.

20. Explore the Collective Markets

Another great thing to do in South Bank is take a visit to The Collective Markets. Normally open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays (4pm on Sunday) you’ll find all sorts of interesting things; crafts, fashion, souvenirs, jewellery… As with many other night markets there’s also live music to enjoy as well.

21. Go on an evening kayak cruise of the Brisbane River

Head out for a 90 minute kayaking cruise along Brisbane River. You get to see the city at night at a relaxing pace and as reward for completing your trip you get a bucket of fresh prawns and beer or wine to wash it down with! Go on, book yourself on a “Paddle and Prawns” experience!

Hopefully that’s given you plenty of ideas for things to do in Brisbane at night or during the day, but if not check out these 15 Reasons To Visit Brisbane!

Need Accommodation? Stay at Nomads Brisbane!

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