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50+ fun things to do in Brisbane city

Are you planning to visit Queensland’s capital city, or perhaps you live here and are looking for something different to do this weekend? Our comprehensive guide of things to do in Brisbane city has ideas for all interests, ages and weather conditions.

With over 50 attractions and activities in this article, we’ve only got the space for a brief introduction to each but they all deserve their place on the list. Many we’ve covered in more detail in other guides and reviews on this website so click through to those articles with the links provided to help you plan your visit and find more information. To make it easier we’ve grouped the ideas into localised areas and categories.

Exploring Southbank

Swim at South Beach

One of the fabulous public lagoon pools in the region is Streets Beach in Southbank. The huge pool area is a great place to cool off, there’s a sandy beach to stretch out or used the terraced access and seating and small picnic nooks scattered around.

Streets beach, Southbank

You’ll find lifeguards on duty for added safety and the surrounding parklands offer many spaces for BBQ’s, sports and entertainment. There’s a view of the city skyline as you float around and you’re never far from the fabulous restaurants and coffee spots of South Brisbane.

A little further from the city you might also enjoy checking out some of the other free public lagoon pools in the Brisbane area.

The Wheel of Brisbane

The 60-metre tall Wheel of Brisbane was installed in the city in 2008 as part of the Worle Expo 20th anniversary. Although intended to be temporary it has remained popular and survived several rumoured removals to remain a familiar part of the city skyline.

Brisbane Southbank with Wheel in background

The Wheel has 42 capsules carrying up to 336 passengers. The capsule configuration is typical with seating on either side facing each other with windows right around. Capsules are air-conditioned which is essential in a Brisbane summer and 2 are fitted for wheelchair access. The ride lasts 12-minutes including a stop at the top to enjoy the full 360-degree view over the city

Find deals for the Wheel of Brisbane

City Botanic Gardens

Today the City Botanic Gardens on the banks of the Brisbane River are more a huge public park with extensive green space and mature shade trees than the typical collection of botanical subjects that they started out as.

Huge old trees and market tents at Brisbane city botanic garden

The city’s primary botanic gardens moved from this site to Mt Coot-tha in 1976 after repeated flooding risked losing many valuable and irreplaceable plants. However, the space was maintained as an extensive parkland in the central city for the enjoyment of residents.

It makes a good walking loop from the city, through the gardens, over the goodwill bridge to Southbank, through the parklands and back across the Victoria Bridge to the city.

Queen Street Mall

The heart of downtown Brisbane is the Queen Street Mall, the open air pedestrian and entertainment space runs for 500 metres from Edward Street to George Street. It encompassing 6 major shopping centres and over 700 retailers along its length.

Queen Street Mall

Most days you’ll find some form of entertainment along here from buskers and balloon artists to shows and parades. Every Wednesday you’ll find the bustling City Markets at the river end outside the library with 85 stalls focused on fresh produce, artisan products and ready to eat treats.

Brisbane city hall

City hall is a short detour from Queen Street Mall situated on King George Square. The heritage building was opened in 1930 with a dramatic facade of columns inspired by the classic lines of the Patheon. Although it is a working civil building, it is surprisingly welcoming to visitors. Step inside the entrance hall with wide sweeping staircases and ceiling arches to discover more.

Free 45-minute guided tours of City Hall are held throughout the week giving an opportunity to see the architecture, learn some of its behind the scenes secrets and see the Father Henry Willis & Sons Pipe Organ made up of 4,400 pipes.

The bells of the Westminster clock tower chime every 15-minutes throughout the working day and you can take a free short trip up the tower to see behind the clock face and get a 360-degree view across the city. It was only Brisbane’s tallest building until 1967 but it is still worth taking in the sights from up here.

During December each year, the facade and features of City Hall are illuminated at night with a modern Christmas story aimed at children but enjoyed by all.

Kayak on the Brisbane River

Another alternative perspective on the city is from the Brisbane River. You can get out on the river on your own boat, jetski or kayak but an option for visitors who want to put a bit more activity into their day is to take a kayak tour on the river checking out Southbank, the Story Bridge and the city skyline.

Food and drink highlights

Brisbane’s food and entertainment scene has gone from strength to strength in recent years and continues to evolve. We discussed our favourite Brisbane Cafes previously but below you’ll find more highlights foodies you will want to consider during your stay.


South East Queensland isn’t home to a lot of wineries but Sirromet in Mount Cotton is worth a visit. Walk amongst the vines, spot wallabies relaxing in the afternoon, sit out on the deck with a glass of wine and platter or enjoy fine dining at Lurleen’s. You can take a guided tour and tasting at the winery by appointment or try a few wines to take home in a private tasting from the cellar door.

Sirromet winery

Sirromet is a regular host to major music events on the expansive lawns and you can also stay the night on-site in their fabulous new glamping tents.

Eat Street Markets

This exciting food and entertainment hub evolved from a disused wharf and 180 recycled shipping containers. The space now houses 70 vendors with a diverse range of food and drinks covering most dietary requirements and food styles. Whether you are after burgers, seafood, dumplings, food for the ‘gram, healthy options, feeding your sweet tooth, or something taking inspiration from the cuisines of Italy, Turkey, Japan, Mexico, Greece, South America or India you are likely to find it.

Eat Street Markets are every Friday through Sunday from 4 pm. You can get here either by taking the CityCat ferry to the Northshore-Hamilton terminal and then walking 400 metres (5 minutes) to the gate or there is free parking for over 1400 cars if you prefer to drive.

Jan Powers Markets

These produce and foodie markets are held across Brisbane each Saturday. In addition to a diverse range of fresh supplies for the week, there are food trucks, seasonal treats and live music to keep everyone entertained.

The original markets are hosted weekly in New Farm Park alongside the Powerhouse from 6 am to 12 pm. There’s fantastic energy and lots of ready-to-eat treats and great coffee available to make a morning of it with a riverside picnic.

The Manly market happens on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month on the waterfront adjacent to the marina. The vibe here is a little more relaxed, the crowd a little smaller but the quality and selection still excellent. Again the ready-to-eat food vans and coffee carts are in place with a good selection to eat within the market or carry across to the park and waters edge.

Visit the Epicurious Garden

You’ll find the Epicurious Gardens just up from River Quay in the Southbank Parklands. Entry is free and it’s a fun space to discover some new fruits, vegetables and herbs, get ideas for your own garden or just enjoy being in the beautifully presented productive space.

A team of volunteers and horticulturists tend the garden and while you can visit at any time the best opportunity is in the morning from Tuesday until Thursday. From 7 am to 2 pm the Harvest Cart is open and you can collect fresh produce on a first-in basis, be mindful of others and take only what you can use. Volunteers tend the garden from 7 am to 11.30 am and are a wealth of knowledge on the plants, what grows well in Brisbane and tips for new gardeners so take the opportunity to have a chat with them.

Explore the city laneways and cafes

Laneways took a while to take off in Brisbane City but there are plenty of good options to choose from now. Heading out consider exploring top spots Fish Lane in South Brisbane, Bakery Lane, Winn Lane and California Lane in Fortitude Valley or head into the CBD for Albert Lane, Eagle Lane and Burnett Lane.

Out on Morton Bay

North Stradbroke Island

For an island escape within greater Brisbane, it is hard to go past North Stradbroke Island, or Straddie as it’s called by locals. This stunning sand island is a great place for spotting wildlife with frequent sightings of whales, dolphins, dugongs, rays, sea turtles, koalas and kangaroos.

Take the vehicle ferry across from Cleveland or travel as a walk-on passenger using the bus service that conveniently meets every ferry.

North Stradbroke Island

Head to Point Lookout for the gorge walk, spend the day on the beach at Cylinder, Frenchmen’s or North Gorge Beach, check out the nature around the blue and brown lakes, hire a moped and zip around the sights or camp out at Amity Point.

Those two links have all the top spots to include on Straddie and tips for planning a day trip with a hire scooter or your own vehicle.

Bribie Island

Another sand island in the Brisbane area is Bribie Island. For this one you don’t even need a ferry, there is a bridge so you can drive across from the mainland. The western side of the island is sheltered swimming beaches while the western side is made up of surf beaches.

Bribie Island

At the southern end, it’s reasonably built up now but over a third of the island is protected as National Park. There are plenty of walking tracks and it makes a great family day at the beach.

Up close with wild dolphins

There are two places in Queensland where you can have a ‘virtually certain’ encounter with wild dolphins and possibly even the opportunity to feed one. Morton Island is one of these spots, the other in Tin Can Bay in the Wide Bay region above the Sunshine Coast.

I say virtually certain as these are free and wild dolphins, if they have something more pressing happening then some or all may skip a few days but since the 1970s the pod has been dropping into the bay at Tangalooma Resort on Morton Bay most evenings.

Wild dolphin feeding with Nari at Tangalooma Island Resort

In order that the dolphins are safe and don’t become reliant on human interaction, it’s all done under the close watch of trained staff and there are strict rules that must be adhered to. The fish provided can also only make up a small portion of their total daily food requirements.

Read more: Our experience on the Tangalooma whale, dolphin and resort day trip from Brisbane

Whale watching from Brisbane

Like most of Australia’s east coast, the annual whale migration passes close to the shoreline making a day out on Morton Bay a great spot for whale watching. The whale watching tour we’ve done and regularly recommend is based out of Morton Island, you take the boat across in the morning, join the tour at the allocated time and then spend the rest of the day being as active or relaxed as you want on the island.

Tangalooma whale watching off Morton Island

In addition to humpback whales passing and breaching really close to the boat, we also saw dozens of dolphins in a superpod, a dugong and sea turtles. The boat seeks out the best spots around the island’s coast, pointing out key attractions such as the Morton wrecks, Flinders Reef and the historic lighthouse along the way.

Book a whale-watching tour on Morton Bay


Coochiemudhlo is a small residential island in Morton Bay. It’s only 10 by ferry from Victoria Point but it feels so much more removed from the mainland. The ferry only costs $5.40 for an adult making it very affordable as an island escape for the day.

Beach on Coochiemudlo island

Take a walk around the island, hire a tinny to go fishing, kayak, swim or plan a BBQ on the beach. Watch out for the local birds and wildlife or hire some clubs and play a round on the island’s own 9-hole golf course.

Dive or snorkel the wrecks on Morton Island

Morton Island is easy to visit on a day trip, it’s also popular with campers and you’ll find the Tangalooma Resort here too. While on the island some will choose to swim, soak up the sun and relax while others might want to try out some more active pursuits.

There is plenty to do on Morton Island like boarding down the massive sand dunes, riding along the sand on the fat tyred beach bikes or renting a kayak to glide over the wrecks.

The 15 wrecks that were scuttled here between 1963 and 1984 now form a man-made reef that is home to over 100 species of fish and you regularly also see dolphins and dugongs around them. There are guided snorkelling tours run from the resort and dive tours are also available.

Explore the bayside

With the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast nearby it’s easy to forget that Brisbane also has coastal suburbs and parks. These are a few you might want to take a look at:

Walk to King Island

Wellington Point is a popular beach for families offering a sandy swimming beach, boat ramp, pier for fishing, playground, BBQ and picnic facilities.

One of the really fun things to do here is to watch the golden pathway rise up from the ocean as the tide recedes making it possible to walk all the way out to King Island in the distance on low tide. You can start the 1 km walk a little earlier if you don’t mind paddling in the water in parts.

Wynnum boardwalk

The Wynnum Boardwalk through the mangroves was updated a few years back to provide this path above the tidal mangrove flats. It’s a fantastic spot to walk in the shade of the established trees that filter the sediment run-off of rainwater that makes its way down from the mountains to Morton Bay.

There are several viewing platforms to observe life in the mangrove forest and at the northern end, it joins to a gravelled then sealed path that makes its way up to a bird hide. All the way along is great for spotting birds, regulars along here are sacred and collared kingfishers, mangrove gerygone, several types of egrets and herons, black swans and pelicans. As you make your way through to the grass and dry tree line you’ll often see tawny grassbirds, golden-headed cisticola, quail, fairy-wrens, eastern yellow robins and dollar birds.

Bayside Park in Manly

Manly in Brisbane’s Bayside has a large waterfront park, marina, small beach area, fantastic children’s playground, sheltered tables and BBQs, plenty of grass area for games and picnics and a break wall to walk out over the water and fish.

Across the road there are plenty of cafes, little shops and galleries to enjoy, you can pick up fish and chips to eat out in the park and there are regular weekend markets to wander through and pick up fresh produce and crafts.

Take a scenic waterfront walk

From the Wynnum Boardwalk through to Lota at the southern end, you can follow the waterfront path on foot, cycle or scooter. Watch the signs, most of the way is a shared space but there are a few parts that are pedestrian-only but a shared space off-road alternative is still available through those sections.

Pandanas tree and beach at Wynnum
Beach and pier at Wynnum

In Wynnum stop off at the beach, wading pool or walk out along the pier, we’ve seen turtles, dolphins and dugongs from the wharf. In Manly walk out along the break wall opposite the Marina, we’ve seen dolphins here too fairly regularly and fishing from the wall is a popular option. There are picnic facilities and children’s playgrounds when you reach Lota and at many other spots along the way.

Redcliffe Jetty and weekend markets

The Redcliffe jetty has been a feature of Redcliffe since 1885 but the current one, the third to be built here, dates back to 1999. With a beach suitable for swimming, several cafes and restaurants located just across the road from the beach and a weekend market held every Sunday from 8 am until 2 pm this makes a great day out with the family.

Looking back along the Jetty to Redcliffe Markets
Redcliffe Jetty looking back at the markets and beach

Look out for Bee Gees Way if you remember the 70’s bank with a touch of nostalgia. The Gibb brothers were local boys, their first regular gig was down at the Redcliffe Speedway and they signed their first music contract from their Redcliffe family home.

The outdoor walkway tribute includes life-sized bronze statues, a nightly lights display, photos and stories from their career.

Settlement Cove Lagoon

On the waterfront in Redcliffe is this fabulous lagoon swimming pool. It has all the facilities you need to make a day of it or head down for a refreshing swim and BBQ tea on a hot summer’s evening. There are toilets, showers and changing rooms, picnic shelters, BBQs and a playground available for public use.

Settlement Cove Lagoon pool in Redcliffe

You can walk the coastline from Redcliffe on a waterfront promenade all the way back to Clontarf and the bridge.

Brisbane heritage

Take a ferry up the Brisbane River

There is a range of ferries that operate on the Brisbane River from Hamilton to the University of Queensland. Others just crisscross the river like the one between Bulimba and Teneriffe. During workday commutes they can be quite busy but they are a great option for getting out on the weekend and for tourists they are an essential and very affordable way to discover the city from the water.

Brisbanes free city hopper ferry

The key terminals you might choose to disembark and explore include Bulimba, New Farm Park, Riverside (city) and Southbank. Consider picking up a Go Card to quickly and conveniently access most public transport at a discount over paper tickets. You can also use the Cityhopper ferries for travel between the seven stops from North Quay to Sydney Street, New Farm at no cost.

City heritage walk

Brisbane became a permanent settlement in 1823 and was declared a town in 1834, a relatively young city by world standards but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an interesting heritage to discover as you wander through the central city and surrounding areas.

If you have the time you might want to look at some other self guided heritage walks published by Brisbane Council. Alternatively, you can start in the Queens Street Mall and discover the Regent Theatre and Brisbane Arcade, wander through to City Hall completed in 1930 on King George Square and across to the Albert Street Uniting Church opened in 1889. Other highlights include the Windmill Tower, Central Railway Station, the General Post Office, St Stephens Cathedral, the Bond Store and Old Government House.

Old Government House

Behind the city botanic gardens and adjacent to the University of Queensland’s city campus is the old Government House. Once the home of Governor Lord Lamington this heritage building overlooking the river is also credited as the origin of the lamington, a small cake coated in chocolate and coconut. Kiwis might challenge the claim but you might as well try one baked here on the premises in the cafe.

Brisbanes old government house

Most of the once public parts of the house are decorated in their original styling and furniture while the staff quarters have been converted into a cafe and administrative area. Upstairs is a gallery often featuring interesting collections from local artists.

City Parks and wildlife

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Koalas are quintessentially Australian, loved by locals and visitors alike and there is no better place to get up close and personal with them than at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You have the chance to hold a koala here and to watch them at all ages and stages of their development.

In Queensland, a koala can’t be released from captivity to the wild so all the animals at Lone Pine have been rescued so aren’t able to be rehabilitated for release or were born in captivity.

Koala at Lone Pine Sanctuary

It’s not only the koalas that are at home above the river in Lone Pine, there is a large walk-through enclosure with kangaroos, wallabies and emus, a bird of prey show and many other Australian natives. The location is superb, pack a picnic and spend the day and if you are looking for something different you can take the cruise from the central city to their own pier.

We have an article to help you plan your day at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and you will find cruise and entry tickets here.

Sunrise up Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coot-tha is only a 15-minute drive west of the city centre. The lookout offers spectacular views of the city out to the coast which makes it a stunning spot to see the sunrise but it’s a great view at any time of day with a panorama of the surrounding area.

The Mt Coot-tha Reserve is 1600 hectares of open eucalypt and rainforest with many picnic areas and short walks. You can also walk down from the lookout to the botanic gardens, or if you are getting around on public transport catch a bus to the gardens and walk up from there.

Osprey House environmental centre

The Osprey House is an environmental and educational centre on Dohles Rocks Road in north Brisbane. It’s located on the Pine River and opens daily from 10 am until 4 pm. There is an osprey Nesting platform where we have regularly been able to watch the birds either maintaining their nest or tending the chicks. You can watch from the ground but there is also CCTV with live monitoring to watch from inside the centre.

There are picnic areas and boardwalks with a bird hide and viewing platform. For those interested in birds, it’s not only a good spot to see Ospreys but smaller birds in the mangroves and migratory waders that make the annual pilgrimage from the northern hemisphere to Australia and back.

Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre

Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre is at the entrance to the D’Aguilar National Park but only 12 km from the city centre. This is a popular family spot during weekends in summer. The discovery centre is a chance to get up close and learn about the local Queensland wildlife, there is a lakeside bushwalk, and you can take a swim and cool off in the lake, hire a kayak or SUP and head a bit further out on the lake, go mountain biking on the shared trails or take on the skills course.

Make a day of it on its own or make it your first stop on a road trip up Mt Nebo to the lookouts, hiking trails and picnic spots.

Daisy Hill Koala Centre

The Daisy Hill Koala Centre is located on a small detour off the highway south of the city. It first opened in 1995 and is nestled into the extensive gum-covered hillside with picnic spots and walking trails where you have a good chance of seeing kangaroos, wallabies and koalas in the wild.

The Koala Centre is free to enter and open daily from 10 am until 4 pm. From the 2 levels inside you can see the current resident koalas which are all wild born. Some are being rehabilitated for release while others are unable to be returned to the wild for various reasons due to the illness or injury that had them rescued initially. While we were last there a couple of the carers had joey pouches for young koalas who had been rescued before they were weaned and needed 24-hour attention. This is a huge obligation with frequent feeding but so rewarding when they are released and join the wild population.

Parks and gardens

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Brisbane has 2 botanic gardens, the City Gardens were the original but when the river flooded destroying valuable specimens in 1974 a decision was made to move the gardens to higher ground west of the city centre in the foothills of Mt Coot-tha.

The 56-hectare gardens are free to visit and you can get here by private vehicle or on public transport from the city. They are an excellent sub-tropical garden with a dramatic domed hot house, fernery, rainforest walks, multiple lakes, bonsai house, Japanese garden, edible garden and sections that feature arid garden plants, native Australian plants, bamboo grove and a Pacific Island collection.

View from lookout Mt Coot-tha botanic gardens

This view from the lookout within the botanic gardens back to the city is pretty good but you can continue to walk up the hillside to the Mt Coot-tha lookout if you are feeling energetic.

Roma Street Parklands

This 16-hectare parkland is just a 10-minute walk from the CBD and directly adjacent to the Roma Street train station.

There are events of some form on here pretty much every weekend with bigger events like the Enchanted Garden Christmas lights popular and well worth watching out for. You can also take one of the regular guided tours during the week through the Spectacle Garden, behind the scenes or learn about Bush Tucker and the rainforest. The park is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Southbank Parklands

This 17-hectare riverside parkland stretches from the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) through to the Maritime Museum with a footbridge across to the city located at either end. The area was transformed in 1988 for the World Expo and became the cultural heart of the city ensuring the much-loved space continued as a public park permanently.

Bourgannvillea tunnel at Southbank

Today you will find something for everyone here, averaging around 100 events annually it is always buzzing, take a swim in the lagoon pool, dine at the 90+ restaurants and bars that surround it or just take a few quiet minutes relaxing on the manicured green lawns as the city passes by.

Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Kangaroo Point is one of Queensland’s oldest suburbs and while largely now comprised of back-to-back skyscraper apartments you can still find some greenspace in the parklands down at the river level beneath the Story Bridge and up the top of the cliffs.

The River Walk continues around the point on the riverside with the Holmon Street ferry stop on the eastern side and Kangaroo Point stops closer to the city. The 107-step stair climb to the top of the cliff might seem daunting but it’s worth it. At the top are some great views, a good sunset spot, a cafe (you would probably want a coffee after those stairs) and plenty of BBQ and picnic space.

On weekends you might even watch the adventurous abseiling down the sheer cliff face.


This 14.5-hectare tract of bushland in Capalaba has been a good site for us to spot koalas over the years. There are a couple of short walking tracks, a platform over the lagoon for spotting turtles and eels, themed botanic gardens featuring native plants, a children’s play area, an environment information centre and a cafe on site.

Fairy Wren walk at indigiscapes, Brisbane

There are also several picnic tables and a BBQ opposite the centre and along closer to the children’s play area where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Read more: Planning your visit to the Indiscapes bushland and visitors centre

Sherwood Arboretum

This park is a heritage-listed arboretum and one of 3 Brisbane botanical gardens. There are a variety of trails to follow depending on your interests, through the sprawling groves of mature trees, in search of the diverse birdlife found here, particularly around the ponds and the avenue of Kauri Pines planted in the 1920s.

There is a fabulous children’s playground set amongst the huge trees, a waterfront walkway, picnic and BBQ facilities and a variety of events throughout the year. It’s laid out in zones with information plaques explaining the areas such as the coastal, lowlands and wetlands zone.

Culture and the arts

Located just past the western end of Southbank Parklands is the much loved GOMA or Gallery of Modern Art. Most of the exhibitions here are free and curated from a large established collection and borrowed works. Occasionally there is a special international exhibition that charges an entry fee, those I’ve been to such as the works of flamboyant Japanese Artist Yayoi Kasuma and the Cai Guo-Qiang exhibit have been well worth the fee.

We can make another future | Goma

Queensland Museum

The Queensland Museum is a natural history, culture and science museum located in the cultural centre adjacent to South Bank. It provides detailed educational experiences across the age spectrum with permanent displays and visiting exhibits throughout the year.

Go stargazing at Brisbane Planetarium

Co-located with the Mt Coot-tha botanic garden is Brisbane’s planetarium. The distinctive dome is the place to head for Stargazer. Entry to the informative displays is free while tickets are required for shows in the circular theatre, the cosmic Skydome.

Check out the evolving Street Art scene

Brisbane took a little longer to arrive on the Street Art scene than most metropolitan cities around the world, but it has well and truly arrived with some incredibly talented local and international artists represented in works large and small around the city and wider Brisbane area.

Street art in Brisbane

The biggest concentration is in South Brisbane, from the train station cross and make your way along Fish Lane then through the surrounding streets, loosely make your way out towards the Go Between bridge at the end of Merrivale Street where there are some great murals on the bridge pillars. Along the way, there’s no shortage of good food and coffee.

Take a walk

Riverwalk from the city to New Farm

Riverfront walking tracks extend throughout Brisbane city, Southbank and out to neighbouring suburbs. Together with cross-river footbridges, they provide a commuter link, a fun day out and an ideal opportunity for some inner-city exercise.

New Farm Riverwalk

This section linking the city to New Farm was rebuilt after the old floating walkway was washed away in the 2011 floods. It’s a unique section built out into the river with a meandering zigzag pattern. Be aware that there are only a couple of shelters along here so it gets HOT in the summer sun, bring a hat and water.

Read more: New Farm to City River Walk

Walk, or climb, the Story Bridge

Walk across the Story Bridge from Kangaroo Point to Fortitude Valley with great views of the river below and back across to the city. You can take a large loop from Southbank along the river past the Kangaroo Cliffs, up onto the bridge, across and down rejoining the waterfront path at Howard Smith Wharves and back along to the city.

City and sunset behind the Story Bridge in Brisbane

Another option for those with an appetite for excitement is to join a Story Bridge adventure climb. These are especially popular at sunset with views back over the city to Mt Coot-tha and the spectacular colours of the evening sky beyond the hills.

Venman Bushlands

The 415-hectare tract of native bushland was once logged the turned into cattle pasture until Jack Venman, a local bushman decided to regenerate it back to what it had been 200 years ago. Today there are a variety of tracks through this gorgeous bush park in the Redlands. it’s a great spot for spotting a variety of wildlife including wallabies, koalas, reptiles and a good selection of bird life including owls which are increasingly difficult to see in wider Brisbane.

Venman Bushland National Park

The Tingalpa Creek Circuit or Venman Circuit are a good place to start and don’t forget your picnic or BBQ to enjoy in the relaxed setting.

Read more and plan your visit to Venman Bushlands

Boondall Wetlands

Just 15 kilometres north of the city are 1150 hectares of tidal flats, mangroves, melaleuca wetlands, saltmarshes, grasslands and open forests known as the Boondall Wetlands. The environment provides a filter as water makes its way from the mountains to the bay and is both home and nursery to many creatures both in the water and about the ground.

Follow the walking paths through the wetlands, out to a bird hide over the estuary, explore the environmental centre or cycle the family-friendly, 8 km return, cycle path. You can increase the ride to 12 km return and go through to Nudgee Beach but that includes a road section that would be unsuitable for young children. There are clean toilets and picnic facilities at the environmental centre along with plenty of parking.

Tawny Frogmouth family at Boondall Wetlands

The Billai Dha-Gun track is only 2 km long but if you are hoping to spot wild inhabitants like this family of Tawny Frogmouths you are going to need to regularly scan from the paths to the sky. It’s almost impossible to get the whole family of these birds in one photo although if you keep looking you will almost certainly see both parent birds, one stays with the chicks and the other takes a higher perch nearby to keep an eye on things.

Festivals and events

Christmas in the city

During December Brisbane lights up with a whole range of Christmas events, you can read more about them here. They include the animated Christmas story put to music and projected onto the stunning architectural frontage of City Hall.

Christmas light spectacular

They may well be feel-good children’s stories but I still make sure to end up in the city to see the new production at least once each festive season. Each year has a slightly different theme, some reflecting shows on in the city that year and the Australian animals one was a personal favourite but they are always worth seeing.

It’s a great option to tie up with the Enchanted Garden light up at the Roma Street Parklands, dinner in the city and the Myers Christmas window.

Night Noodle Markets

Festivals and food, what can be better than bringing the two together? With Brisbane’s mild winter evenings it’s the perfect time to head into the city for the Noodle Night Markets and fill your belly with some delicious winter warmers, a big bowl of udon, delicious dumplings in a selection of flavours or a generous serve of okonomiyaki.

Night Noodle Market at Southbank Parklands, Brisbane

After being a fixture of the Southbank Parklands for many years this year it will take a turn on the other side setting up the market stalls in the City Botanic Gardens from the 15 – 26 June 2022.

Buddha Day Festival

Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on May 8th and the festival is held on the nearest weekend. For 22 years it’s been one of the most popular events in the Southbank Parklands. For the past couple of years, including 2022, it has been relocated to the host temple, Chung Tian due to restrictions around large gatherings.

Lion dance at Southbank for Buddhas birthday celebration

We hope to see it return to its city venue again this year but in either location, it’s a wonderful community event with spiritual and cultural activities and celebrations including the baby blessing, tea ceremony, meditation, Buddhist talks and multicultural performances.


Possibly the biggest event on the Brisbane calendar each year is Riverfire, a stunning fireworks display over the river set to music that kicks off the Brisbane festival. Some years have definitely been more dramatic than others but overall this is an event that you should not miss if you are in the city for the right weekend in September.

In addition to the pyrotechnic displays launched from barges in the river, off the various bridges and from the tops of the city’s tallest buildings; the flyovers by military helicopters and planes and the ground entertainment make it a night worth heading out for.

Riverfire over the Story Bridge

There is a range of great vantage spots to watch it from but it’s hard to beat River Quay in the city or the Southbank Parklands to be right in the centre of the action. Other options include Kangaroo Point, Wilsons Lookout and the City Botanic Gardens.

Riverfire is scheduled to take place on Saturday 3rd September 2022.

BrisAsia Festival

This annual festival is held for 3 weeks each year during February and celebrates Asian art and culture. The festival celebrates our multicultural city through participation in events including art, fashion, food, films, music and discussion.

Best time to visit Brisbane

Brisbane has a subtropical climate with only two seasons.  Summers are hot and humid and can be rainy although that depends on the year.  Winter is mild and generally dry with a high proportion of sunny days.

Southeast Queensland’s mild climate rarely experiences any real extremes or heat or cold making it a great spot to visit throughout the year. Many interstate or international visitors may prefer the winter or shoulder seasons when there are fewer crowds and the temperature is still suitable for most outdoor activities. Brisbane is very much an alfresco city.

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Things to do in Brisbane - Pinterest poster
Things to do in Brisbane - Pinterest poster
Things to do in Brisbane - Pinterest poster

Feeling hungry? Don’t miss our pick of the top cafes in Brisbane to try for your next brunch.

We were based in Brisbane for 15 years and spent most weekends out exploring. If you are planning a visit and have any questions please ask in the comments below or chat with us on our Facebook Page.

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Saturday 5th of November 2022

Amazing places to go! Wonderful pictures and thanks for your guidance.


Monday 26th of September 2022

Thanks for sharing. I loved your article. It's time to head out and explore new places. Thanks Regards

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