15 Best Things to Do in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is a vibrant city that offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
From exploring the rich history and culture to immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the area, there is something for everyone in this captivating city.
In this guide, Mary have rounded up the 15 best things to do in Brisbane, ensuring you make the most of your time in this amazing destination.

Things to Do in Brisbane
Things to Do in Brisbane

Immerse Yourself in Brisbane’s History at the Museum of Brisbane

Situated inside the iconic Brisbane City Hall, the Museum of Brisbane offers a unique blend of art and history. With over 9,000 objects in its collection, the museum showcases the story of Brisbane and its people through a range of exhibitions.

From exploring the effects of the 2011 floods to delving into the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum provides an immersive experience.
Guided tours are also available, allowing visitors to gain deeper insights into Brisbane City Hall and the surrounding areas.

Uncover the Past at the Queensland Museum

To delve into the fascinating history of Brisbane, a visit to the Queensland Museum is a must. Located on the South Bank, this top-rated museum provides a comprehensive exploration of the natural and human history of the state.

From ancient prehistoric creatures to rich Aboriginal culture, the exhibits offer a captivating glimpse into the past. The museum also sheds light on Australia’s ANZAC legacy, with exhibits dedicated to the country’s involvement in World War I and World War II.

For a hands-on experience, don’t miss the SparkLab, where kids and adults alike can engage with interactive exhibits exploring history and science.

Discover Aboriginal Culture and Cuisine at Birrunga Gallery

For a deeper exploration of contemporary Aboriginal culture, a visit to Birrunga Gallery is a must.
As Brisbane’s only Aboriginal-owned art gallery, it showcases the works of renowned artist Birrunga Wiradyuri, providing an insight into the history and heritage of Australia’s First Nations peoples.

The gallery also offers storytelling tours, where visitors can engage with Aboriginal history in a meaningful way. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the gourmet Bushtucker menu at the gallery’s cafe, which presents a fusion of traditional Aboriginal ingredients and modern Australian cuisine.

Embark on an Aboriginal Walking Tour

While Brisbane may have been founded by British convicts, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the rich Aboriginal history of the region. Join an Aboriginal-led walking tour to discover the city from an indigenous perspective.

BlackCard Cultural Tours offers an insightful 90-minute walk through “Meanjin,” the Aboriginal name for Brisbane. Along the way, you’ll visit popular landmarks such as the Museum of Brisbane, gaining a deeper understanding of Aboriginal history and culture.

The tour also offers options to explore Aboriginal art and indulge in traditional Bushtucker tastings, providing a truly immersive experience.

Relax at the City Botanic Gardens

Nestled next to the CBD, the City Botanic Gardens provide a tranquil oasis in the heart of Brisbane. This meticulously maintained green space is home to a diverse range of plant species from around the world.

Take a stroll through Bamboo Grove and Weeping Fig Avenue, discovering hidden sculptures, ornamental ponds, and fountains along the way.

The gardens also hold historical significance, as they were established in 1828, making them one of the oldest botanic gardens in Australia. Escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty at this iconic Brisbane attraction.

Cruise Along the Brisbane River with the Tides of Brisbane

The Brisbane River is the lifeblood of the city, and a cruise along its meandering waters is a fantastic way to explore Brisbane’s unique geography and history.
Join the Tides of Brisbane Tour, operated by the Museum of Brisbane, for a three-hour journey through the city’s fascinating past.

Accompanied by expert local guides, you’ll discover the curious attractions and landmarks that line the river. From the iconic Story Bridge to the historical significance of Queensland’s Aboriginal beginnings, the tour offers a comprehensive understanding of Brisbane’s heritage.
To top it all off, enjoy a delightful stop at one of Brisbane’s riverside breweries for some cheese and beer.

Dive into Refreshment at Streets Beach on South Bank

When the Queensland heat becomes too much to bear, head to Streets Beach on South Bank for a refreshing dip. This man-made lagoon provides a beach experience right in the heart of the city.

With its sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect place to cool off and enjoy the Aussie sunshine.
Take a stroll along South Bank’s vibrant promenade, where you’ll find a variety of pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants offering cold drinks and tasty food.

Marvel at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs

On the opposite side of the Brisbane River, the Kangaroo Point Cliffs offer breathtaking views of the city skyline.
These towering cliffs were formed by ancient volcanic activity and later quarried by early settlers. Explore the clifftops on foot and witness panoramic vistas of the river and the CBD.

Rock climbing and rappelling are popular activities, while kayaking beneath the cliffs provides a unique perspective.

Indulge in Culinary Delights at Brisbane City Markets

To immerse yourself in the vibrant local food scene, a visit to the Brisbane City Markets is a must. Held twice a week in Reddacliff Place and Cathedral Square, these bustling markets offer a cornucopia of fresh produce, seafood, and street food.

Browse the stalls filled with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, sample freshly caught seafood, and discover unique handicrafts and artisanal cheeses.
The markets also feature live performances and musicians, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere for visitors to soak up.

Capture the Best View of Brisbane from Mount Coot-tha

For the ultimate panoramic view of Brisbane, make your way to the top of Mount Coot-tha. Standing at 302 meters above sea level, this mountain offers unrivaled vistas of the cityscape.
Visit the observation deck and enjoy the view while having refreshments at the restaurant and cafe.

If you’re an early riser, witnessing the sunrise from Mount Coot-tha is a truly spectacular experience. Discover the surrounding nature reserve, where eucalyptus forests and scenic hiking trails provide the perfect opportunity to spot koalas.

Get Up Close with Koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

No visit to Brisbane is complete without an encounter with Australia’s beloved koalas. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in the world.

Home to 100 koalas and other Australian species, the sanctuary offers a chance to learn and interact with these iconic animals. Experience an extra touch of adventure with a ferry ride from the city to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Step Back in Time at the MacArthur Museum

For history enthusiasts, the MacArthur Museum provides a fascinating insight into Brisbane’s role during World War II. As the headquarters of General MacArthur, Brisbane played a vital role in the Pacific Theater.

The museum showcases the general’s strategies and plans, as well as the wider impact of the war on the region. Gain a deeper understanding of the conflict and its effects on both military personnel and civilians through immersive exhibits and displays.

Conquer Fear with a Story Bridge Adventure Climb

For a thrilling adventure and unbeatable views, embark on a Story Bridge Adventure Climb. This steel cantilever bridge, spanning the Brisbane River, offers an exhilarating experience for the brave-hearted.

Safely harnessed, climb to the top of the bridge and enjoy panoramic vistas of the city from above. Choose from various climb options, including the daring “Lean Out” or “Walk the Plank” experiences.

To add an extra dose of excitement, descend by rappelling off the bridge. Book your climb in advance, especially for sunrise slots, to secure this unforgettable Brisbane experience.

Escape to Moreton Island for Beaches, Dunes, and Wrecks

Located just off the coast of Brisbane in Moreton Bay, Moreton Island offers an idyllic escape from the city. It is largely protected as a national park, providing visitors with a pristine environment to explore.

Take part in thrilling activities such as four-wheel driving and sand tobogganing, or dive and snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks.
These intentionally sunk ships have transformed into an incredible artificial reef, teeming with marine life. Catch a ferry to Moreton Island and immerse yourself in its natural beauty and adventure.

Explore the Enigmatic Glass House Mountains

Venture an hour north of Brisbane, and you’ll discover the mesmerizing landscape of the Glass House Mountains. These ancient volcanic plugs rise dramatically from the flat hinterland, creating a surreal and otherworldly vista.

Explore the 13 tall peaks, each with its indigenous legend and significance. Numerous hiking trails offer breathtaking views without compromising the cultural significance of the area, although climbing some peaks is discouraged out of respect for Aboriginal culture.
The visitor center can guide suitable hikes and ensure you have a memorable experience.

Final Thoughts

With this comprehensive guide, you are equipped with the knowledge to make the most of your visit to Brisbane. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the city’s history, explore its natural wonders, or indulge in its vibrant culinary scene, Brisbane offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences. Embark on this adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy exploring!

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