Brisbane Guide: What to see, Where to eat & Where to stay
If you’re planning a trip to the capital of the Sunshine State, below are our top 14 picks of things you must see or do throughout your stay.
What to see in Brisbane
#1 South Bank
Probably one of the biggest tourist spots in Brisbane would have to be South Bank.
South Bank has something for everyone.. there are km’s of tree lined walks, a man made beach, bbq areas, shopping and restaurants. It’s located opposite the CBD and you can either walk across the bridge, otherwise jump on a city cat to get over.
On a Friday night or on a weekend you will find the famous South Bank markets.
#2 The City Botanic Gardens
Located next to the Brisbane River, you can spend a couple of hours just enjoying the peace and quiet. They have free guided walks at 11 am and 1 pm so you can always jump on one of those. Or, you can hire a bicycle and ride through the gardens!
#3 Eagle Street Pier
If you’re looking for some nice restaurants with a lovely view of the river and the Story Bridge, then Eagle Street is the spot for you! This is, of course, the best spot to get a view of the Story Bridge from the city.
#4 Sunset at Kangaroo Point
The Kangaroo Point Cliffs are a very popular spot and watching the sunset here is especially beautiful.
You may even come across some people rock climbing!
#5 New Farm Park
New Farm Park is just amazing! It is massive and there is plenty to keep you occupied. If you have children, it has one of the best parks I think I’ve ever seen. It will keep the kids entertained (and often the parents too) for hours. You can either drive there, or you could walk along the river boardwalk from Eagle Street, under the Story Bridge and all the way to New Farm Park – it is a few km’s but relatively flat.
#6 Wheel of Brisbane
Located at South Bank is the Wheel of Brisbane. It isn’t as spectacular as the London Eye, but then again this isn’t London! So, if you’re wanting a good view of the city, this 60m wheel is going to tick that box. The gondolas are enclosed and climate-controlled (yep perfect for summer) and it goes for around 15 minutes. Click here for current pricing and information.
#7 Visit Mt Coot-tha
If you have good weather, I’d suggest making your way to Mt Coot-tha. You get panoramic views over Brisbane city and as far out as Moreton Bay. If you’re renting a car, you can drive up and park for free, otherwise, you can jump on a local bus from the city or buy a pass for the Hop-on, hop-off service. Click here for the timetable and pricing.
#8 Visit the Gold Coast
If you have time and can spare a day to head down to the Gold Coast, we’d highly recommend it! The easiest way to get to the Gold Coast would be by car, but you can take public transport as well. The drive takes 1-1.5 hours depending on traffic.
If it’s the weekend and the weathers good, my tip would be to leave a bit earlier in the morning or the roads will be mayhem!
#9 Lone Pine
It happens to be the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary! If you visit Lone Pine then expect to see many Aussie wildlife, and perhaps cuddle a Koala!
#10 Ride the City Cat
Before you leave Brissie, be sure to take a ride on one of the City Cats. Seeing a city from the water is such a great perspective!
#11 Explore the CBD
Spend some time just exploring the CBD.
King George Square
Queen Street Mall
St Stephens Cathedral
Eagle Street in the evening
#12 Eat Street Markets
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different, click here to read all about Eat Street.
#13 Fortitude Valley
Either by foot or bicycle, you can easily reach the Valley. It is recommended you visit in the evening as there is much more happening. Here you have Chinatown, Brunswick Street Mall, Cloudland (a very popular club) and Holy Moly which is a very unique put put course!
#14 Newstead House & Gardens and Teneriffe
Easily accessible by the City Cat, these two spots are lovely to come and relax in the park if you have the time.
How to get around in Brisbane
Do yourself a favour and pop into a convenience store or a newsagent and buy yourself a Go Card. Ticket prices will reduce by around 30% compared to a paper ticket so if you think you will be using public transport to get around, it will be worth the purchase. You can use the Go Card on trains, buses and ferries (they are called City Cats in Brissie) in South East Queensland. The benefit is, you can get the balance refunded to you when you leave Brisbane!
There is, of course, the free City Loop bus – yep FREE!! Click here to see the area that this bus covers.
There is also the free City Hopper ferry. This is a great service dropping you off at all of the key locations. Click here for a current timetable.
In addition to all of this, you can use the City Cycle! If you’re here for a short time, you can pay only $2 and get 24-hour access to the city cycle bikes. Every journey under 30 minutes is then free – it’s amazing! There are plenty of bike stands, so just keep an eye on the time, park your bike and then hire out another and you can cycle around for free the entire time! I do recommend signing up before hand as you need to be on wi-fi (although there is free Brisbane city wi-fi in some spots). You can pre-select the dates and time you need it as well. Then, all you need is the code and your pin and you’re all set! Click here to read more and to sign up.
When to visit Brisbane
You should definitely avoid the summer school holidays in January and actually summer in general. It is far too hot and humid to be exploring a new city! Although the entire year is pretty much good weather, personally you can’t go past winter! Mostly sunny days with tops in the mid 20’s – perfect exploring temperature. But, if you’re wanting the summer beach holiday then you won’t be able to avoid visiting in summer.
Where to stay in Brisbane
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Brisbane Express Brisbane Central. Click here for a full review and enjoy this short video.
Where to eat around Brisbane
There are heaps of places to choose from.
River Bar, Eagle Street Pier: If you’re looking for something casual and with a good view, check this place out.
New Farm Park, Cafe 63: This place has great food at good prices. You can have breakfast, brunch or lunch here and it is right at the park!
Kingsleys Steak House: If you’re looking for something a bit more up market, good steak and good view – Kingsley’s will fit that description.
Do you have travel insurance?
Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.
If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.
Here are a heap more photos to get you excited about visiting Brisbane!
“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace