Welcome to the capital of the state of Queensland, which enjoys almost 300 days of sunshine a year. Elected the coolest city in Australia by Lonely Planet, we are going to show you what things to do in Brisbane if you are planning to visit or live in Australia.
At GrowPro we are lovers of Australian cities, their quality of life is unparalleled. Although the best-known are usually Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is not far behind.
Whether you are going on vacation or to study for a while, we are sure that this is the city you will fall in love with. In this article, you will learn about the things to do in Brisbane and its main tourist attractions, you will find here all the things to see in Brisbane.
What is it about Brisbane?
It is often said of Brisbane that it is a cosmopolitan city, quiet, and although it has no beach, you can find the first nearby beaches within an hour or so of the center.
Brisbane is the third most populated city in Australia and is one of the youngest, as it grows year after year. For this reason, its buildings, especially those in the city center, are quite new, and also very well cared for by everyone.
Two of the best tourist attractions in Brisbane are Wellington Point and Manly Beach, which are a short 1-hour train ride from the City Central station (City is the common name for Brisbane’s central suburb).
But if you don’t feel like taking the train, you can explore its spectacular artificial beach, a key attraction and one of the best things to do in Brisbane; we will tell you about it shortly.
That said, here are the top 20 tourist attractions in Brisbane.
20 Things to do in Brisbane
1. South Bank
It is one of the most spectacular areas to see in Brisbane, especially the first time you visit it. It is one of the most characteristic neighborhoods (called suburbs), especially because it has an artificial beach, known worldwide.
Proud to have this special corner, it is one of the most visited places in Brisbane by locals and foreigners, and it is amazing to find this little paradise in the middle of the city’s streets. South Bank runs along the Brisbane River, on the west side of it.
Every day, it is filled with people sunbathing or strolling, children playing (there are parks and even a baby pool area), and individuals engaging in sports, running, or biking, as the promenade along the river is great for these activities – truly one of the enjoyable things to do in Brisbane.
This place to visit in Brisbane is also located in the suburb of South Bank. Just before reaching the famous Ferris wheel (The Wheel of Brisbane), we find these colorful and gigantic letters of Brisbane.
There are always people there taking pictures, jumping, getting inside the A, or balancing on top of the dot of the I. It’s one of those special things to see in Brisbane that deserves a good picture, and it’s also really fun. These letters give a special color to the Brisbane skyline.
3. Kangaroo Point
This suburb offers a unique and significant tourist attraction in Brisbane. Despite being a suburban area, it boasts a specific vantage point that provides privileged views of much of the city.
This recommended place to visit in Brisbane is easily accessible by ferry, bus, or a pleasant walk along the riverside promenade. Situated just in front of Eagle Street Pier, one of the most iconic streets in the city, this spot is guaranteed to be a highlight of your list of things to do in Brisbane. We assure you that the views from this enclave, especially at night, will leave you in awe.
4. Story Bridge
This is one of the most iconic places to visit in Brisbane, as it is one of only 3 bridges in the world that you can climb, and whether you go up at dawn, during the day, or at night, the views you get from up there are worth it all.
As well as enjoying a bird’s eye view of Brisbane, you can discover the Glasshouse Mountains to the north, and the World Heritage-listed Gold Coast hinterland to the south.
If your body craves more adrenaline, one of the exhilarating things to do in Brisbane is to rappel down from the Story Bridge, experiencing a thrilling 30-meter descent.
5. Botanic Garden
Brisbane boasts an array of stunning parks that are worthy of exploration, and in an upcoming post, we’ll delve exclusively into these remarkable green spaces. Among them, our absolute favorite is the Botanic Garden, gracefully situated in the heart of the city, casting its enchanting silhouette against the flowing river.
For us, this park is one of the essential things to see in Brisbane. It was created in 1825 by the convicts, a place where they planted seeds used to feed the prisoners of the colony.
Within its expansive grounds, the Botanic Garden houses ancient trees and a diverse array of flora and fauna. The vast grassy gardens provide a serene retreat, where visitors can unwind, enjoy picnics, engage in sports activities, or simply meander through the tranquility of nature. If you’re looking for things to do in Brisbane, exploring the Botanic Garden should be at the top of your list.
In addition, it has a promenade that borders that area of the river along which many athletes run and many bicycles transit from one part of the city to another. This promenade leads to the Goodwill Bridge, the bridge that takes you to the South Bank area of restaurants and bars.
Every Sunday morning (from 8 am to 3 pm) they set up the Riverside Market, which you can't miss having some pancakes for breakfast, have a good coffee at the Caboose Coffee, and look at the craft, painting, clothing, gifts markets.
6. Eat Street Northshore
This corner is not well known by people outside the city, but it is something to see in Brisbane as truly authentic. It costs only $3* AUD and is a huge open-air venue with great food, drink, and dessert places.
If you’re exploring tourist attractions in Brisbane, this hidden gem should definitely be on your list. You can find everything from Asian and Japanese food, burgers, and tacos, to cookies, cupcakes, cupcakes… Inside, they set up a movie screen and place seats around it so that people can sit there to eat while watching the movie that is playing.
You can also stroll through its corridors and enter some of its stores to browse for a while; you’ll love it! When considering tourist attractions in Brisbane, this unique venue a bit far from the City is worth the visit. You can get there on the free ferry in just under 1 hour, making it a convenient and delightful addition to your Brisbane itinerary.
*This price is for reference.
7. The “City” and its “Malls”
The City, as we revealed at the beginning of the article, is the center of Brisbane. You have to know that Brisbane is gigantic, but its nerve center consists of a few main streets and pedestrians, with lots and lots of charm.
It is quite normal to see mini live concerts in the middle of some of its streets, musicians playing beautiful pieces in its corners, and even listening to background music coming from the loudspeakers that the facades of these streets have. When considering things to do in Brisbane, experiencing the vibrant street culture in the heart of the City is a unique and delightful activity.
In addition, in these few square meters of which the City is composed, there are 4 shopping centers to visit in Brisbane that are not to be missed. So, when planning your list of things to do in Brisbane, exploring the cultural richness of the City and visiting these renowned shopping centers should be high on your agenda.
Near Central Station is Queens Plaza, with its stores on the street level and its food court on the first floor.
Queen Street Mall
A few meters ahead, we find the Queen Street Mall, which is much larger and has a cinema on the top floor.
We continue, and after 3 or 4 steps we find the Wintergarden, with its food court at street level and upstairs with stores and a bowling alley.
As if this were not enough, we could not fail to mention the famous Brisbane Arcade, erected in 1923, and with little shops with unparalleled charm. So, if you are in Brisbane, you already know which malls to go to for your Australian boots.
8. Mount Coot-tha
When it comes to what to do in Brisbane, this is one of the most organized excursions in Brisbane, as it is usually a point of great interest in the city.
From up here, you can enjoy spectacular views of the entire city, as well as being able to rest on the benches, take pictures on the railing on the esplanade, or do some hiking, choosing from different types of routes depending on the difficulty you want.
It is a bit complicated to access (it is usually advisable to go by bus or your vehicle) since the nearest bus leaves you about 30 minutes from the place. All in all, it is one of the most memorable things to see in Brisbane and mixes a bit of sport with a bit of relaxation.
9. The Buddhist temple Fo Guang Shan Chung Tian Shan
We know that in most guides or posts about places to see in Brisbane, you will not find any recommendation for this place, but we are here to discover even those places you will not see at first sight. When exploring things to do in Brisbane, uncovering hidden gems is our specialty.
In Brisbane, because it is one of the closest cities to the Asian continent, there is a very large and powerful Asian community. Many of Brisbane’s residents are Chinese, and logically, they have their places. If you’re searching for things to do in Brisbane, don’t miss the vibrant cultural experiences offered by the Asian community.
When considering things to do in Brisbane, a visit to this impressive Buddhist temple is a unique and cultural activity not to be missed. Behind its walls, free to pass through, there is a small museum with paintings and some Chinese handicrafts.
Apart from having beautiful courtyards and gardens, they have a huge prayer room, other smaller prayer rooms, and another room where you can write your name and a wish of your choice on cardboard that you can take yourself. So, for those looking for things to do in Brisbane that are culturally enriching, this Buddhist temple visit is a different and highly recommended experience.
The walk to the temple is beautiful, with a small lake with ducks and beautiful parks. When planning your list of things to do in Brisbane, don't forget to include this serene and culturally significant Buddhist temple visit on your itinerary.
10. Settlement Cove Lagoon
Located in the area called Redcliffe, in the northern part of the city, it is a hidden place and quite unknown to visit in Brisbane, even to the locals! But those who know it, are regulars of the place. When seeking things to see in Brisbane off the beaten path, this hidden gem in Redcliffe is a must-explore.
It is a tropical-looking pool, quite large, where many families and children go to spend the morning or the day. It is right in front of the river, and leaving this pool you can walk along a path to the river banks and walk along the long pier that is just 10 minutes away from the place. For those looking for unique things to see in Brisbane, this hidden pool and the scenic walk along the riverbank are perfect choices.
From this pier, it is typical to see teenagers jumping into the river doing somersaults, and various stunts… We recommend this place if you want to get out of the typical and do something different and special.
11. The Wheel of Brisbane
This is one of the elements to see in Brisbane that gives the city a personality of its own. When exploring tourist attractions in Brisbane, the Ferris wheel stands out as a unique and iconic landmark. It was built with two objectives in mind, to commemorate Queensland’s 150th anniversary and also to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Expo 1988.
You can approach the Ferris wheel and see it up close, or if you dare, you can buy your ticket to go up and enjoy panoramic views of the city; you choose whether day or night. For those seeking tourist attractions in Brisbane that offer breathtaking views, the Ferris wheel is a top choice.
The entrance includes 3 turns of the Ferris wheel, and in each cabin, some speakers explain in a very summarized way the history of each of the suburbs that you can observe from the heights. When compiling your list of tourist attractions in Brisbane, consider the Ferris wheel for a captivating blend of entertainment and education. It is not cheap, but for many, it is worth it.
12. The Anzac Square
It is an iconic place to see in Brisbane, as the Anzac is a square that pays tribute to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died in the First World War.
In this square to visit in Brisbane you can see a torch, almost always lit. Also, just below is a huge green park, surrounded by cafes and restaurants, where you can sit in one of their wooden chairs or hammocks that are arranged on the lawn and stop to rest for as long as you want.
13. The Arbour in South Bank
It is one of the most original parks to see in Brisbane, making it a perfect addition to your list of things to do in Brisbane. Inside, it features a pedestrian path full of vines and various flowers, especially bougainvillea. From the sides, there are arranged curved steel structures, making this walk a great place to go for photos, creating a photogenic setting.
Around this walk, considered one of the must-visit things to do in Brisbane, there are different green park areas where people have picnics, go to various barbecues to cook their food, or also regularly, the City Council prepares free yoga or Zumba classes.
For those seeking diverse and enjoyable things to do in Brisbane, this park and its surrounding green spaces offer a range of recreational activities.
If you are a lover of culture and art, you cannot leave Brisbane without entering this museum, one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Brisbane. To access it, you must go through a nice walk, because although it is in the middle of the city of Brisbane, its strategic position away from the city is something that in many ways is to be welcomed.
In this museum in Brisbane, considered one of the top things to do in Brisbane, there are different rooms, and their exhibitions are renewed every season, with different durations for each one of them. Many of its exhibitions are completely free, except perhaps a particular room of the exhibition that requires a small fee. When compiling your list of things to do in Brisbane, a visit to this museum offers a rich cultural experience.
The museum, both inside and out, is beautiful, making it a delightful addition to your list of tourist attractions in Brisbane. None of its exhibitions has ever managed to disappoint anyone. A visit with guaranteed success.
15. Roma Street Parkland
It is a park that you have to see in Brisbane because it is nice, and it also usually has a lot of activities with the typical food trucks, making it a perfect addition to your list of things to see in Brisbane.
It is located in the CBD (The City, the center of Brisbane) and is considered one of the best parks in Australia, so, as you can imagine, it is very well maintained and preserved. When compiling your list of things to see in Brisbane, this park stands out for its beauty and the variety of activities it offers.
Inside this park to visit in Brisbane, you can find a considerable amount of flora and fauna, and in addition, in the lower part, where the activities are mounted, you can hallucinate a beautiful waterfall there. When seeking things to see in Brisbane that showcase nature’s beauty, this park is a must-visit.
16. Lone Pine Sanctuary
This place to visit in Brisbane is, as its name suggests, a sanctuary, that is, a center that protects endangered species. When exploring tourist attractions in Brisbane, it’s essential to note that we’re not talking about a simple zoo, but a place designed to take care of these animals and stop their disappearance.
Australian koalas, as you know, are one of the endangered species right now, and in this sanctuary, they take care of them offering them a controlled but happy life. It’s something brilliant to see in Brisbane just for the work that they do with this place day in and day out.
Other species to visit
In addition to koalas, you will be able to get up close and personal with many other native animals that are also endangered, such as the dingo and the wombat.
As a special attraction, they have an enclosure with lots of kangaroos that allow humans to interact with them, pet them, and take pictures with them.
If you tried the same with free-ranging kangaroos they would run away, but they even come to you looking for food (you can buy it in a place adjacent to the site).
17. Lovers’ Walk Path
This place to visit in Brisbane is one of those unknown places that you only discover if you have been living there for a while or if you have been lucky enough to find it or have been told about it.
It is one of the special places to see in Brisbane that makes us more excited precisely because of how unknown it is. This walk runs along the waterfront of the Shorncliffe neighborhood, a suburb that falls in the northern part of Brisbane, leaving a green area on one side and the sea on the other side.
A curious fact
The name Lovers' Walk is not what it was to be. The road was to be called Dovers' Walk, but the young man who was in charge of producing the sign, wanting to make the joke, covered up the D by turning it into an L. Thus it was sent to print and stayed that way.
18. New Farm
If you are looking for something authentic Australian to see in Brisbane, you can go to this suburb which is about an hour’s walk from the CBD or a twenty-minute bus ride away.
You might think that Brisbane is a typical city with a few skyscrapers and a river running through the middle, but no, Brisbane is much more than that. And in New Farm, you can get to know the real Australia as if you were one of them.
New Farm Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brisbane and if you go on a Saturday or Sunday, you will see people having picnics and families celebrating the birthdays of the little ones.
Don’t miss the little houses, basically built of wood and painted, which gives the neighborhood a very exclusive Aussie air.
19. Wellington Point
If you are a beach person and you have recently landed in Brisbane, you will have already visited the artificial beach of South Bank. Even so, you’ll probably still be keen to see one.
Well, this beach is in Brisbane (about 1 hour by train and an hour and a bit by bus) and is another suburb that we recommend you to visit, especially for its special and curious beach, and you will be amazed when you start to see a lot of crabs jumping in and out of the wet sand.
It is not a beach as we all understand it, but it has areas where you can swim and areas in which it will seem more like being in a pool. That is why it is so curious and should be one of the must-see places to visit in Brisbane. It also has the “Jetty”, a beautiful macro pier both day and night.
20. Westfield Garden City
Welcome to the most amazing shopping mall to see in Brisbane. As we mentioned at the beginning, only the CBD is full of them, but they have no comparison with Garden City.
The size of this mall to visit in Brisbane is gigantic, and inside there are plenty of stores of all kinds. They say it’s like being in a mini-city within the city of Brisbane.
Bars and restaurants
At the top is the bar, café, and restaurant area, arranged in a wide corridor, and it is as chic as you can imagine.
At one point along the corridor, it stops being an indoor area to become an outdoor area with a small square lit with disco lights where someone plays songs while you dine, also, the outside is decorated with lakes and a lot of hammocks arranged just for you to relax and enjoy.
It will look more like a luxury spa than a shopping mall!
How do you see Brisbane now after knowing some of the magical places it hides? We have to say that whoever visits Brisbane for 2 or 3 days does not get to know the greatness of this city.
Brisbane is a city whose first appearance can be misleading. But if you do not fall into prejudices or clichés, it has a lot to offer and to make you feel. Brissy, as the Aussies call it, is a city where you can breathe tranquility, enjoy the small details, and live happily every day.
Study in Brisbane with GrowPro
If you would like to live in Brisbane for a while, the best way to do it is to study and work. This way, you will have plenty of time to get to know the city and its people and to soak up its wonderful customs.
At GrowPro, we offer you study experiences in this city so that you can master English or specialize in professional areas such as technology, tourism, sports, business, and health.
Don’t wait any longer! Have the experience of a lifetime in beautiful, sunny Brisbane. See you soon, future grower.
About the author
Tatiana Forero Rubiano
Tatiana viajó como mochilera por Canadá, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile y Brasil. Allí, mientras hacía una pasantía en Marketing Digital, descubrió su pasión para escribir sobre viajes. Desde 2018 se ha especializado en Content Marketing y, actualmente, es editora del blog de GrowPro.
International educational experiences for adventurous souls. Study and work in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Ireland or Malta. Make friends from all over the world, explore and live unique experiences.