The Best 5 Attractions & Things to Do in Brisbane

The Best 5 Attractions & Things to Do in Brisbane brisbane-city-skyline-brisbane-river-australia

Brisbane, Australia, not only serves as a gateway to the captivating adventures of the nearby Gold Coast, but it also stands out as a vibrant and diverse destination in its own right. Whether you’re an art enthusiast craving local experiences, a nature lover eager to conquer rock climbing, or simply someone who seeks an array of options, Brisbane offers a delightful array of attractions.

So, what does this lively city have in store for you? First and foremost, make sure to pronounce it correctly as “Briz-bin,” not “Briz-bane” (a mistake I only made twice!). Then, set your sights on the river, as it beckons with endless possibilities.

1. Explore the river

The Brisbane River gracefully meanders through the very heart of the city, making it a captivating attraction in its own right. From its south bank, you can soak in breathtaking views as the river winds its way from Mount Stanley, stretching 320 kilometers (198 miles) inland, to the magnificent Pacific Ocean located just 22 kilometers (13 miles) beyond the city.

To explore this iconic waterway, you have two convenient options: the CityCat and the City Hopper ferry services. The CityCat primarily serves the daily commuters, with frequent departures every 15 minutes, stopping at over 20 terminals along the river. On the other hand, the City Hopper ferry is tailor-made for travelers, operating every 30 minutes and providing free transportation. As the name suggests, it offers a hop-on, hop-off service, allowing you to easily access the vibrant city center.

Dusk falls on the Brisbane River.
Dusk falls on the Brisbane River.

For those in need of a leg stretch, the river offers miles and miles of beautiful trails. Bike rentals are offered close to many of the more popular ferry terminals, or you can simply lace up your sneakers and hit the trail for a flat, panoramic run or walk.

2. Scope out the art

Before Pokémon Go, there was art. Brisbane prides itself on the array and quantity of art throughout the city as well as in its multiple museums and galleries. They even have an app for it!

If you aren’t the museum type, there is artwork on every other city block, which helps set the tone for Brisbane as a modern and eclectic place. If you’re into galleries, the Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery is not to be missed for its vast representation of art from all over Queensland.

3. Get your rock climbing on

What a better setting for an afternoon heading up a single pitch, top-rope climb than across the river from downtown Brisbane? You get the city at your back, easy access, and a chance to feel real rock in an urban setting.

Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park is the closest natural rock climbing to a city that I’ve ever seen and it has routes to make beginners and intermediate climbers happy for hours. If you are new to the sport, there are a couple of climbing organizations nearby who can get you started with instruction and local tips. The cliffs have more than 200 routes and offer picnicking facilities to make for a great afternoon in the sunshine.

Also read: Best Things To Do Around Sydney

Rock climbing on offer so close to the city centre.
Rock climbing on offer so close to the city centre.

4. Put your nose in a book

I must confess my deep appreciation for libraries, and the State Library of Queensland has the power to captivate me indefinitely. If you share my love for books, I implore you to carve out a few hours to immerse yourself in the treasures housed within this magnificent institution.

However, the allure of the State Library extends far beyond bibliophiles. The building itself boasts a striking and contemporary design, a visual treat amidst the glamorous glass and steel structures that grace the cityscape. History enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to delve into Queensland’s past, as the library holds the most comprehensive collection of historical documents pertaining to the state. And if your appetite for art remains unsatiated despite visiting other museums in town, fear not. The State Library offers an array of captivating art exhibits, encompassing design, sculpture, painting, and an expansive collection of remarkable photography.

Get stuck in a book at the State Library of Queensland. Photo courtesy Wiki.
Get stuck in a book at the State Library of Queensland. Photo courtesy <a href=””>Wiki.</a>

5. Get close to a koala

You’re in Australia, you really should see a koala. And a kangaroo.

While these animals can be found in the wild, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary makes it easy to visit them up close.

The sanctuary also serves as a captivating introduction to the remarkable array of endemic species that inhabit Australia’s untamed landscapes, such as lorikeets, platypuses, and dingoes. Informative shows are held regularly, offering valuable insights for both children and adults alike. Keep in mind that certain experiences within the sanctuary require advance booking, so it’s advisable to check beforehand.

Situated a mere 15 minutes outside the city, the sanctuary can be conveniently reached by car, bus, or boat (excluding the CityCat). As luck would have it, the Miramar boat cruise to the sanctuary departs from the boardwalk just outside the State Library, making it a seamless extension of your day.

These are just a few of my personal favorite activities to indulge in during leisurely days in Brisbane. What about you? What are your cherished experiences in the city?

Also read: Things to do in Queensland

Getting There

Woking Holiday Guide runs a number of departures in Australia encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.

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