There are so many things to do while visiting Brisbane and it happens to be one of my favourite cities in Australia. Ok truth, it is my favourite city and for many reasons. Mainly because I lived there the majority of my time in Australia while doing a working holiday visa and it was there I had some of the best experiences. From living in hostel for 3 months, meeting amazing people who became like family, to the incredible work experience I had, the place really felt like home. Brisbane is a fantastic city with beautiful sunny days, amazing year-round weather, especially for winter and its only an hour from the Gold Coast and two hours from the Sunshine Coast which both boast some incredible beaches and scenery. Something Australia is known for!
Brisbane also has a beautiful river (Brisbane River) running through the city which offers some great views and is perfect for walking, biking, picnics and just hanging out. You can take water taxis, called the Citycat Ferry to get around and there is also a free ferry called the City Hopper which you can cruise down the river on and see different parts of the city.
Story Bridge is the famous bridge on the river and at night is all lit up and really beautiful to see. You can rent kayaks along the river and if rock climbing is your thing, there is outdoor rock climbing on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
These are some of the top things in Brisbane I recommend if you only have a bit of time in the city.
My absolute favourite place and where I lived – West End. This area is a vibrant hub filled with great eating spots and funky bars and cafes to grab a coffee or beer at. You can also find live music on the street at times, markets on the weekends and tons of healthy vegan/vegetarian options if that’s your thing. There are also some health food stores, quaint clothing boutiques (think boho-chic Australian fashion – very hard to not buy everything!)
Some top spots I liked to frequent:
Brisbane Brewery – Great outdoor seating with local craft beer and god food
Archive – for good beer, weekend hangs including “Sunday Sess” (Aussie terms for Sunday Funday.)
Beach Burrito for tasty tacos (Try the Halloumi!)
The Fat Carrot – cheap sushi rolls
My ultimate favourite… Ajo Pizza. This place is Sardinian owned serving mainly pizza and some of the best I have ever had! This turned into a ritual and it’s BYO. The pizza is unreal and the guys running it are fantastic and put passion into what they do. If you are in the area, GO!
Streets Beach, South Bank
Brisbane also has it’s very own man-made beach called Streets Beach in South Bank right along the river. It’s the absolute best in the summer when its really hot and you can just go and feel like you are at the beach in the middle of the city. Also great for people watching. South Bank is filled with lots of restaurant options offering river views, incredible food, live music, and markets on the weekends as well . If you are in South Bank area on a Sunday, I highly suggest you pick up a few beers or wine and head over to watch live music while the sun goes down as the park has a designated alcohol area where musicians play. Perfect way to end a weekend. The waterfront in South Bank is host to beautiful walking paths with botanical gardens, loads of food options, close to theatres, museums and epic city views. Don’t forget the free BBQ areas throughout the waterfront area which is also a great weekend or day option.
Brisbane’s best lookout of the city. It’s a mountain offering panoramic views of the CBD and Moreton Bay. The national park offers lots of walking trails, there is a cafe on site and also home to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the Brisbane Planetarium.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A must do while visiting Brisbane and just a short drive from the CBD is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and home to many native Australian animals including and to no surprise, KOALAS! There are also kangaroos which you can feed, snakes, spiders, wombats, birds, platypus and much more. Perfect to visit for a day trip, take a picture with a koala and really see an abundance of wildlife.
Just a short ferry ride from Brisbane, Moreton Island is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for relaxation and beautiful beaches while visiting Brisbane. You can venture on a day trip or stay for a few days as there are accomodation options on the island. I went for a day trip with some friends and we rented stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, snorkeled to see the ship wrecks off the coast and the highlight of it all, there is a dolphin feeding every night. You can opt to participate or watch from the jetty and stare in awe at the beautiful creatures as they come right up to the shore.
If going out for late night partying and dancing is your thing, Fortitude Valley offers an abundance of nightclubs and dance spots to burn the midnight oil on your visit to Brisbane.
Brisbane really is a vibrant and outdoorsy city with plenty to do and something for everyone. If you have been or are planning a visit I would love to hear your comments below on some of your favourite places or things you want to do while visiting Brisbane!