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5 Best Things to Do in Brisbane, Australia

Here are my 5 favorite things to do in Brisbane, Australia. Explore the Brisbane River on the CityHopper, visit the vibrant West End Market, relax in the Botanic Gardens, or sunbathe at Brisbane’s beach.

Brisbane was the third city I visited on my trip to Australia’s East Coast and my first stop in Queensland. I started my trip in Melbourne and then continued to Sydney, Brisbane, and Airlie Beach to go on a cruise to the Whitsundays and Cairns.

I really enjoyed walking along the Brisbane River and through the Botanical Garden. It’s also a nice place to have a picnic!

Brisbane also has a vibrant nightlife, earning it the nickname ‘Brisvegas.’ I went out one night with a group of people from Selina’s hostel.

I created this list of my favorite things to do in Brisbane to give you a better idea of what to do there.

What to do in Brisbane

1. Catch the free CityHopper River Ferry in Brisbane

The CityHopper River Ferry in Brisbane is a fantastic way to explore the city from the water, and it is free of charge!

The CityHopper runs between the North Quay and Sydney Street terminals, making several stops, including South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside, and Kangaroo Point Cliffs.

The ferry operates from early morning until late at night, typically from around 6:00 AM to midnight, with ferries running every 30 minutes.

There’s no need to book in advance; you can simply hop on at any of the stops along its route. Look for the red and white CityHopper signs at the ferry terminals.

As you ride, you’ll have great views of the city’s landmarks, including the Brisbane Riverwalk, the Story Bridge, and the Brisbane CBD skyline.

2. Visit West End Market on Saturday Morning

One of my favorite activities in Brisbane was visiting the West End Market on Saturday morning.

It starts early in the morning and runs until mid-afternoon. You can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to unique crafts and clothing. The favorite picks are artisan breads, organic cheeses, and homemade jams.

I especially liked the live music performance under a huge, old tree at the river end of the market. The market has a lively and welcoming atmosphere.

3. Stroll through the Brisbane Botanic Garden

If you want to disconnect and go for a walk in nature, I recommend visiting the Botanic Garden in Brisbane. Entrance is free, and it is open throughout the whole day

The Botanic Garden has a diverse collection of subtropical plants and themed gardens, such as the Japanese Garden, the Fragrant Plant, and the Herb Garden.

4. Explore Bisbane’s Cultural Center in South Bank

Best Things To Do In Brisbane Australia Universal Traveller By Tim Kroeger 12

Brisbane’s Cultural Center in South Bank is a vibrant arts, heritage, and entertainment hub.

Situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, it is home to several of Queensland’s most important cultural institutions, including the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery, and the Gallery of Modern Art.

You can visit various exhibitions, performances, and film screenings, all within walking distance of each other.

5. Sunbath at Bisbane’s “Beach”

Did you know a beach is right in the center of Brisbane?

Well, it’s an artificial beach, to be precise. It is located in South Bank, next to the Brisbane River.

It is a great place to sunbathe and relax. You can also swim in the lagoon surrounded by lush subtropical plants.

The area has modern amenities, including barbecues, picnic spots, and playgrounds.

My Brisbane Hotel Recommendation

1. Best for Digital Nomads: Selina Brisbane

During my last three days in Brisbane, I stayed at Selina Brisbane. It is ideal for digital nomads seeking a quiet place to work and meet new people.

I started my days at Selina with a free, one-hour session of Yoga followed by a healthy breakfast at their restaurant/ bar.

Afterward, I usually worked for a few hours. And that’s where Selina stands out. They offer a modern, well-equipped coworking space with high-speed internet and various working environments.

I stayed in a private room with an ensuite bathroom. The room was stylishly designed, with a comfortable double bed, sufficient power outlets, and a lot of daylight coming in.

I also liked a lot about Selina Brisbane‘s regular community events. During my stay, there was a daily happy hour with free drinks at their bar on the ground floor—this was a great opportunity to meet other travelers easily.

Selina also organized movie nights, family dinners, and Karaoke nights.

The accommodation is centrally located in Brisbane, so reaching the main attractions, cafes, and shops is easy.

Click here to check availability & prices.

2. Budget-Friendly: YHA Brisbane Central

The first place I stayed at in Brisbane was YHA Brisbane Central. YHA has accommodations in many popular destinations in Australia.

I also stayed at YHA in Sydney, Cairns, and Melbourne. Did you know? After your first booking, you will become a YHA member, giving you a 10% discount for future bookings!

YHA Brisbane Central offers a convenient and affordable accommodation option for travelers exploring the city.

I stayed in a private room with an ensuite bathroom and an amazing view of the Brisbane River. You can also book shared dormitories!

The highlight of the YHA is definitely the rooftop terrace with a pool and a bar! It’s a great place to meet other travelers or to enjoy a cold beer or good food after exploring the city.

You can also use the huge, well-equipped communal kitchen, a co-working space, a reading room, and a small gym.

YHA Brisbane offers daily breakfast, snacks, and drinks at the rooftop bar. I also liked the regular events that they organize. During my stay, there was live music and a BBQ night.

Click here to check prices and availability.

Frequently Asked Questions about the best things to do in Brisbane

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance! SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.

Are there any unique activities to do in Brisbane?

Yes, Brisbane offers unique experiences like climbing the Story Bridge for an exhilarating view of the city and river or visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary.

What are the best outdoor activities in Brisbane?

Brisbane is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy kayaking along the Brisbane River, exploring the walking trails at Mt. Coot-tha, or cycling through the city’s extensive bikeways. Moreton Island offers sand tobogganing and snorkeling adventures, while the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary provides close encounters with native Australian wildlife.

What are the best family-friendly activities in Brisbane?

Families will find plenty to do in Brisbane, from interactive exhibits at the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre to wildlife encounters at the Australia Zoo, a short drive from the city. South Bank Parklands also offers a man-made beach, playgrounds, and picnic areas ideal for family outings.

Disclaimer: I was a guest at Selina Brisbane and YHA Brisbane Central. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

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