Best Things To Do in Brisbane

Visiting Brisbane is synonymous with tanning on the shores of its paradisiacal beaches, tasting delicious local wines, meeting Aboriginal people and disconnecting in the immensity of its jungles.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

14 min read

Best Things To Do in Brisbane

Brisbane | Broderick

Brisbane is a magical destination, located on Australia's Blue Coast. It stands out for its paradisiacal beaches, entertainment for the whole family, adrenaline-filled getaways and outdoor activities. Undoubtedly, it is a worthwhile destination, since its relaxed atmosphere and warm climate will give you the best vacations. It is an ideal city for those who enjoy wine tastings, water parks and tours aboard a cruise ship.

The most recommended months to visit are from November to March. In general, it has good weather all year round, which allows you to pack light. However, from April to June tropical storms hinder outdoor plans. As a recommendation, I would say that it is a city to dedicate at least 5 days to walk the streets and take advantage of the best local excursions.

1. Walk the streets of Brisbane

Brisbane Botanical Gardens| ©Shannon McCrory
Brisbane Botanical Gardens| ©Shannon McCrory

Brisbane is a gigantic city, so it is advisable to find the best way to explore it. If you want to enjoy every corner at your own pace, you can take advantage of the best local tours. There are affordable options starting at 15 euros, which usually offer a map and audio guide. It will take you approximately two hours to get to know this Australian city, and if you want to make unlimited stops a pre-recorded guide will be your lifesaver.

It is the best option to get to know the most emblematic local monuments, as well as soak up their history. There are more than 22 spaces with free WiFi in Brisbane, however I recommend you to download the guide beforehand to listen to the audio without inconveniences.

Undoubtedly, it is a tour that will connect you with fascinating anecdotes. You will get to know Brisbane City Hall, also known as the Brisbane City Hall. This building was built between 1920 and 1930, and is located just three minutes from the Shrine of Remembrance and the Cathedral of St. Sebastian. Other sites I recommend you visit include:

  • The Brisbane Botanical Garden: it is a preservation space, where there are millenary trees bordering the river. Every Sunday there is the Riverside Market, which offers food stalls, crafts, clothing and more. From here you can enjoy a segway tour to explore the city in depth.
  • Fo Guang Shan Chung Tian Buddhist Temple: in Brisbane there is an important representation of the Asian community, in this temple you can see fragments of this culture. It stands out for its walls, a museum of paintings, Chinese gardens and a room where you can make wishes.
  • Mount Coot-tha viewpoint: it is located on a mountain at 287 meters above sea level. It is one of the quietest places, where you can enjoy the most impressive views of the city.

Hire a self-guided tour

2. Attend Brisbane's Aboriginal Red Sand Spirits show

Streets of Brisbane| ©Steven Penton
Streets of Brisbane| ©Steven Penton

The most interesting part of a trip is to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. In Brisbane you can attend an Aboriginal show, which is performed in a traveling theater. You can enjoy the cultural demonstrations, which showcase the lifestyle of a 19th century village. It usually lasts about an hour, and I promise you it is totally worth it.

The actors are descendants of real Aborigines, which makes this show even more special. You can find options from 74 euros, which usually includes a traditional dinner after the show. You will witness songs, dances, rituals and feel part of the tribe, as it is an interactive experience.

3. Abseiling off the cliffs of Kangaroo Point in Brisbane

Kangaroo Point Cliffs| ©fatalbeauty1956
Kangaroo Point Cliffs| ©fatalbeauty1956

Brisbane' s scenery is amazing from any point, however from the cliffs of the suburb Kangaroo Point, you can get the best views. The best tours in the city allow you to enjoy an adrenaline-filled experience, where you will disconnect for approximately two hours. It is advisable to do it with an expert guide for safety, who will give you all the indications and explain how to descend.

It is not necessary to have experience, but it is important to have an average physical condition. From 48 euros you can find options that take you to the heights, to enjoy the city from another perspective. As you descend, you'll see the river at your feet and Brisbane's towering skyscrapers.

Book an abseiling experience

4. Cruise or kayak around Brisbane

Kayak Day| ©eGuide Travel
Kayak Day| ©eGuide Travel

The Brisbane River is an amazing river trip, where you can admire the city from a completely different and enchanting perspective. You can enjoy its beauty aboard the best cruises in the city. Undoubtedly, it is a quiet and entertaining plan, away from the crowds and bustle that surrounds the tourist areas. In addition, in this type of tours usually provide maps, so you can see where you are in real time.

If you prefer adventures you can take a kayak tour, either at night or during the day. The best time will depend on what you want to see, the night tours stand out for the lights of the skyscrapers and the urban bustle. On the other hand, in broad daylight it is easier to appreciate the monuments and enjoy the calm.

Either way, as the tour progresses, the guide will make stops for you to appreciate the monuments and learn a little about their history. It is a safe activity, since you will have the essential safety tools, such as a life jacket. It is a great plan if you are traveling with friends or family, as it is designed for small groups. The best Brisbane tours have a variety of options from 47 euros.

Book a kayak tour

5. Brisbane's Story Bridge

Story Bridge| ©Robyn Lombardo
Story Bridge| ©Robyn Lombardo

Most of Brisbane's activities focus on adrenaline-filled adventures. This is because Australians are very friendly, fun-loving and enjoy trying new things. On the Story Bridge you can admire a breathtaking scenery, as it has 360° views of the entire city. It crosses the city's river, so it has become a tourist destination par excellence.

You can climb to the top on your own, or hire a climb full of adventure. There are options from 80 euros, ideal for small groups. When it comes to risky activities, it is preferable to prioritize the quality of the experience. The best tours from Brisbane usually offer an experienced guide as well as an audio guide. This way, you will enjoy autonomy but with professional advice. Additionally, you will get a glimpse of iconic locations, such as Glass House Mountain, Moreton Island and Lamington National Park. The minimum age is 6 years old, and it can be done day or night.

Book an adventure climbing experience

6. Visit Sea World at Main Beach

Sea World Spectacular| ©Jeremy Thompson
Sea World Spectacular| ©Jeremy Thompson

In Brisbane you can't miss water adventures, in fact many people take advantage of the good local weather to visit Sea World. It is a theme park, located in Main Beach. It's about an hour from downtown, but it's totally worth it. There are options for all ages, so both adults and children will have a great time. This family activity allows you to explore different areas focused on marine species.

The entrance fee starts at 62 euros and allows you to explore all the facilities. Here you will learn about life, conservation, feeding and other interesting facts about the animals. Some options allow you to avoid the queues, as it is a very busy attraction. The park is open from Monday to Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

7. Have fun at Wet'n'Wild water park in Oxenford

Wet'n'Wild entrance| ©eGuide Travel
Wet'n'Wild entrance| ©eGuide Travel

Another water park you can enjoy near Brisbane is Wet'n Wild in Oxenford. It is located less than an hour away, so it is quite accessible. It is a unique experience that has attractions for the whole family. It has around 40 slides and is one of the largest parks in Australia. It has a farm, where you can interact with exotic Australian animals, such as emus or kangaroos.

The main attraction is The Tornado, famous for the sensations it produces. You will fall from about 40 meters high, with adrenaline running through your veins. If you like twists and turns and slides, you can line up at the Kamikaze and AquaLoop attractions. On the other hand, if you want to slide at 40 kilometers per hour, then Kaboom! is the best option. There is also a children's area, known as Buccaneer Bay. I invite you to live this experience, you can find tickets from 61 euros.

Buy tickets for Wet'n'Wild

8. Experience an adrenaline rush on the beaches of Brisbane

Brisbane Beach| ©brewbooks
Brisbane Beach| ©brewbooks

Brisbane is surrounded by breathtaking bays, whose beaches will blow your mind. The best excursions from the city take you to experience all the activities that these paradisiacal destinations have to offer. For example, you can explore Moreton Island, located an hour away. Here you can spend an unforgettable day and take advantage of the adventure attractions.

You can go kayaking or snorkeling and explore the deep sea. The best way to get there is by ferry, so it is preferable to hire an experience that includes transfers. The sun in Australia is very strong, so if you plan to relax on the beach, buy a high coverage Australian sunscreen. This way, you will be able to enjoy the paradisiacal environment and tour the Tangalooma Island Resort.

You will find options from 74 euros, ideal to visit this island that was inhabited by aboriginal communities. Here the sunsets are impressive and there is a variety of animals, such as dugongs.

Book an excursion to Moreton Island

9. Visit the ecological center of Tangalooma Island Resort from Brisbane

Tangalooma Island Resort| ©Andy Mac
Tangalooma Island Resort| ©Andy Mac

Tangalooma Island Resort is a resort located on Moreton Island, where you can enjoy an exotic experience surrounded by the beauty of the sea and mountains. It offers different water activities and a rich biodiversity worth taking a look at.

Please note that children must be over 6 years old to snorkel, and at least 10 years old to ride a quad bike.

Feed dolphins from a cruise ship at Tangalooma Island Resort

If you love animals, you definitely have to take advantage of a dolphin feeding cruise. This is usually done at Tangalooma Island Resort. Here you can get as close as possible to these friendly cetaceans, while feeding the dolphins, you can hear fascinating stories about the aboriginal Quandamooka people. This is a community that inhabited the island for thousands of years.

Take a cruise to Tangalooma Island Resort from Brisbane

To take advantage of the best Brisbane cruises, you have to enjoy a trip to Tangalooma Island Resort. Here you can visit the Eco Centre, a marine life education center, take advantage of a 4WD beach safari in the dunes of the region, explore sunken ships or venture out into the open sea, beyond the shipwreck limit.

Book a cruise to Tangalooma Island Resort from Brisbane

10. Explore Australian winemaking at Gold Coast wineries from Brisbane

Enjoying the Wine| ©USDA China
Enjoying the Wine| ©USDA China

Viticulture is very important in Australia, in fact it began to be practiced in the year 1788. Its grapes are exported to different parts of the world, so during your stay in Brisbane you have to visit the local wineries. The best place to learn about grape production is the Gold Coast, whose vineyards are located about an hour from the city. They offer some of the best local tours, ideal for small groups.

You should dedicate at least eight hours to this activity, in order to taste a variety of wines and learn about local winemaking. In general, this type of tour starts at 131 euros and is usually accompanied by cheese tasting, traditional sweets and an appetizing lunch. I recommend you book a tour that includes transfers, although the Greyhound Australia bus and Translink streetcar, connect perfectly with the area.

Book a Gold Coast winery tour

11. Escape to Moreton Island from Brisbane

Moreton Blue Lagoon| ©Halans
Moreton Blue Lagoon| ©Halans

Feeling the sun and the wind against your skin is one of the best sensations of a vacation, especially in warm cities like Brisbane. I invite you to put your worries on the back burner to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Moreton Island. There are many local excursions ideal for getting to know this island, however the choice will depend on what you want to do.

Some focus on whale watching, while a leisurely getaway allows you to lounge on sun loungers and join quad biking, kayaking or sandboarding tours. If you go on an organized adventure you'll have around 11 hours, so you'll stay to enjoy the sunset. You can also surf in the calm waters, and even enjoy emblematic anecdotes told by local guides. You can find this type of excursions from 105 euros. If you prefer, you can go on your own to manage a more personalized itinerary according to your needs.

This bay is famous for its huge dunes, as well as for water activities that take you to explore unique coral reefs. So you can take advantage of a diving excursion to Moreton Island from Brisbane, to get to know the marine biodiversity.

Book a tour to Moreton Island

12. Taste the most delicious Australian wines in Tambourine from Brisbane

Tambourine| ©Andy Mac
Tambourine| ©Andy Mac

Among the most important Australian areas close to Brisbane are the award-winning wineries of Tambourine. It is a location known for its variety of wine flavors, as well as offering some of the best local tours. This beautiful valley, located an hour from the city, will allow you to enjoy rewarding tasting experiences on its beautiful trails. Other liquors are also produced here, such as vodka, beer and brandy, all of which are handcrafted.

I recommend setting aside at least 8 hours to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and get to know every corner of its postcard landscapes. In addition, they are famous for the friendliness of the locals, who will be happy to provide you with information about wine production. If you want to dedicate yourself to enjoy, you can book a guided experience from 123 euros. Please note that in Australia you must be over eighteen years old to sign up for this type of activity.

Book the Tambourin Wine Tour

13. Visit the picturesque Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Noosa towns from Brisbane

Sunshine Coast Hinterland| ©Wayne Williams
Sunshine Coast Hinterland| ©Wayne Williams

If you still have time to explore Australia, take advantage of the best tours from Brisbane to visit iconic towns. For example, take the opportunity to visit the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a subtropical area dominated by nature, wildlife and the beautiful beaches of Noosa surrounded by rainforest. It is the perfect destination for outdoor activities, as well as for encountering koalas and kangaroos.

The main advantage of visiting Brisbane is that you can take advantage of quick getaways to get to know its surroundings. This way, while staying in one of **Australia'**s best cities, you optimize your time and get the most out of your itinerary. Getting to the most picturesque towns in the outback takes between one and two hours, depending on the type of transport you choose. You can organize this excursion on your own, or book a guided experience from 85 euros which will allow you to:

  • Visit the artistic village Montville, famous for its old-fashioned atmosphere with a variety of craft stores and quaint cafes.
  • Visit the aboriginal village of Yandina, with a variety of stories and a rich cultural heritage, product of its antiquity.
  • Tour Australia's largest open-air market, known as Eumundi Markets with massage booths, live entertainment, stores of all kinds and art exhibits.
  • Take a dip at Noosa Beach, also known as Noosa National Park. It offers the best scenic views in the area and is surrounded by water activities as well as cultural shows.
  • Explore The Ginger Factory, a popular attraction where you can play games, taste locally produced desserts and go behind the scenes with interactive tours. For example, you can take a boat ride, as well as ride the historic gingerbread train that is over 100 years old. I also recommend taking advantage of the children's areas, entering the gingerbread village and tastings in the factory.

Book a tour to Sunshine Coast Hinterland & Noosa

14. Venture to the rainforests and Firefly Cave from Brisbane

Firefly Cave| ©Multi Mexi
Firefly Cave| ©Multi Mexi

In Brisbane you can not only enjoy the wonderful beaches of Australia's Sunshine Coast, you can also venture into rainforest landscapes full of interesting secrets. The best local excursions take you to discover Scenic Rim, whose trails will allow you to breathe fresh air. It is located about an hour away, but its natural beauty is completely worth it. You can venture out on your own by taking the Translink, or book a guided experience from 111 euros.

If it is your first time in Australia or you want to enjoy yourself without precautions, having a guide is the most appropriate. Here you can visit the Glow Worm Caves, a natural heritage site, where you will witness the light show. It is an artificial ecosystem, which emulates the conditions necessary for the conservation of these glow worms. Additionally, I recommend you to dedicate at least 9 hours to the jungle, to be able to visit:

  • Tamborine Mountain: a beautiful mountain, surrounded by trails, waterfalls and the Gallery Walk wine cellars.
  • Curtis Falls: it is an amazing waterfall, surrounded by lush forests, where there is a variety of species among the branches of the trees.
  • Springbrook National Park: it is part of the Gondwana Rainforests, where you can see plants that have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, look for volcanoes and walk its trails.
  • Canungra Village: if you are willing to climb to the top of the mountain, you can visit this picturesque village surrounded by volcanoes and wine cellars.

Book an excursion to tropical rainforests and the Firefly Cave

15. Get into the wilderness of North Stradbroke Island from Brisbane

North Stradbroke Island| ©New Matilda
North Stradbroke Island| ©New Matilda

Another natural attraction near Brisbane, escape to explore Australia' s hidden gems. About an hour away is North Stradbroke Island, an island famous for its outdoor activities. Here you can spot dolphins, whales, kangaroos and koalas while recharging your batteries. This location fuses the best of the beach with the paradisiacal jungle landscapes.

I advise you to take advantage of the best excursions from Brisbane, and opt for a small group option. This way, the experience will be personalized and more private. There are a variety of tours from 79 euros, which will allow you to see a variety of locations, among them:

  • Brown Lake: a coastal ecosystem, where you can lie down to contemplate the landscape. It stands out for its tea trees, a heritage of the local flora.
  • Cylinder Beach: it is one of the best beaches for children, besides different cetaceans usually approach, so you can be lucky and take a good picture.

Book a tour to North Stradbroke Island