Set on Australia’s Gold Coast, and famous for its islands, hiking trails, and beautiful city parks, Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and one of the oldest cities in Australia. So I’m excited to share this guide with a number of fun things to do in Brisbane!
Whether you’re looking for some free things to do in Brisbane, want some recommendations for cool sights to see in the city, or want to hop over to an island for a day trip, I’ve got you covered with some of my top picks for things to do in Brisbane city all year round.
Fun Things to Do in Brisbane
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an absolute must. Open since 1927, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is actually the largest and oldest koala sanctuary in the world!
There aren’t a lot of places in Australia where you can get up close and personal Koalas, but the Lone Pine Koala Sancutary is where you get the chance to hold and hand feed them, and snap some photo memories, too.
And don’t worry, this isn’t some Tiger King-style “sanctuary.” Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an ethical refuge for sick, injured and orphaned koalas, and was opened at a time when koalas were being used for their fur.
An old suburb of Brisbane, Kangaroo Point is known for its stunning views and all-round natural beauty.
In particular, a visit to Kangaroo Point Cliffs is a good idea for its skyline views and the chance to do some rock climbing, too—it’s a popular spot for that reason.
My tip, however, would be to go at sunset and then hangout after dark; this is when the CBD of Brisbane will be lit up and glittering—my favorite type of city view!
Moreton Island National Park
Set in the Moreton Bay area of Brisbane, Moreton Island National Park is just a 75-minute boat ride from Brisbane and is a beautiful spot to visit.
Here, you’ll find everything—from dunes and white sand beaches to excellent snorkeling amongst its colorful coral and the chance to see humpback whales—or swim with dolphins!
Fun fact—it’s also the third-largest sand island in the world, which is cool.
If you want to make it a longer trip, I’d recommend a stay at Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton’s west side. If you enjoy national parks spend time exploring Springbrook National Park.
Roma Street Parkland
A super chill thing to do in Brisbane, Roma Street Parkland is one of my favorite spots in the city.
It’s a nice spot for brunch or a coffee. Or you could take a walk around the central park’s pathways; watch the locals chilling, playing games and generally enjoying the greenery, then grab an ice cream to finish up.
A good spot for a Sunday stroll, bands sometimes play in the amphitheater here, making for a cool atmosphere.
New Farm Park
New Farm Park is a heritage-listed park that was created in 1914. One of the largest parks in Brisbane (covering 37 acres), it’s close to the CBD and is a nice, easy way to get out into nature while you’re visiting the city.
With everything from evening cinemas in summer to a weekend farmers’ market, not to mention tennis courts and a whole load of other ways to get active, this Edwardian park is like, THE place to come and enjoy the great outdoors.
Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Story Bridge is an iconic structure that crosses the Brisbane River. Going to the city without seeing it is basically impossible, but did you know you can actually CLIMB the bridge, too?
Yep, that’s right. With the Story Bridge Adventure Climb, you don a harness (and some, um, chic overalls) and clamber to the top of the cantilevered bridge with a guide. Cue awesome city views!
City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane has a load of parks and ways to get out into nature, but the riverside City Botanic Gardens are one of the best—especially if you love plant life!
Covering about 49 acres, here is where you can wander around shaded trails, soak in nature, and snap pictures of all those succulents (obviously).
Thankfully, these Brisbane botanic gardens are located in the suburb of Mount Coot-tha and are super easy to get to.
South Bank Parklands
A “cultural destination” that was once the site of Brisbane’s World Expo ’88, it has now been transformed to become a cool area of recreation for the city’s inhabitants to enjoy.
There’s so much going at the South Bank Parklands, including the Wheel of Brisbane (a 60-meter Ferris wheel), the impressive Nepal Peace Pagoda, and Streets Beach, a sandy spot for swimming and chilling out in the sun.
North Stradbroke Island
Hop on a ferry from Brisbane, and you’ll be on Stradbroke Island in just a few hours (so leave early!).
Known as “Straddie” by the locals, it’s another stunning island in the Moreton Bay area. One of the best things to do in Brisbane if you want to bask in some stunning nature, I recommend renting a bike and cycling around this amazing spot.
You can spot wildlife, go whale watching, and even learn about the original inhabitants of the island, making for a pretty fascinating experience.
If you are looking for basically the coolest area in Brisbane, Fortitude Valley is where it’s at.
The place to come for nightlife, dive bars, rooftop hangouts, and music venues, as well as Chinatown, eats and a general offbeat boho vibe, it was actually the first “designated” entertainment district in Australia.
And it’s still the place to come to dance all night!
If you’re not looking for things to do in Brisbane at night, don’t worry; it’s a good spot for the daytime, too. Check out an art gallery or two, go boutique shopping, or even stay—there’s a good selection of chic hotels here.
There you have it, my picks for the best things to do in Brisbane. Whether you want to do it all yourself or prefer to jump on a few tours to soak it all up, you’re bound to have an awesome time either way.
While you’re there, don’t forget to tag me in your Insta stories and pics (I’m @wtfab) and show me what cool stuff you’re seeing!
Planning a trip to Australia? Be sure to check out my other Australia content.
Melbourne Travel Guide
Best Restaurants in Melbourne
Sydney Travel Guide
Best Restaurants in Sydney
Great Barrier Reef Travel Guide
Great Barrier Reef Travel Video
It is recommended to spend between 2 – 5 days in Brisbane to really see what the city is all about and explore the city highlights.
The best time of year to visit Brisbane is from March to May since the weather will be nice.
The coldest months in Brisbane are June and July. The temperatures can get as cold as 48°F.