Often overlooked in comparison with Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is a great city to explore for a few days or longer.

There are lots of tourist attractions and places to visit, most of which are completely free, including museums, exhibitions, art galleries, botanical gardens, parks, and even a city beach.

View our guide to Brisbane and get ready to be surprised by how much you will enjoy this city.


Getting to Brisbane

Brisbane is on the east coast of Australia, almost in the middle of Sydney and Cairns.

Airlines that fly to Brisbane from international destinations include Emirates, Virgin, China Airlines, Qantas, Air China, China Southern, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific, Air Canada flights Korean Air, British Airways, Thai Airways, China Eastern, Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and Air New Zealand.

There aren't any direct flights from Europe, but you can catch connections in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.

Multiple airlines fly internally in Australia to Brisbane including Jetstar, Tigerair, Virgin Australia, and Qantas. From other locations inside Australia, there are also daily bus and train services to Brisbane.


Getting from Brisbane Airport to the City Centre

The easiest and quickest ways to reach the city centre from Brisbane airport is by:

  • Airtrain
  • Shuttle bus 
  • Taxi or Uber
  • Coach or public bus

It takes around 20 minutes to one hour to reach the city depending on your mode of transport and the traffic. Jayride, a comparison website for airport transfers, can help you plan for the most suitable mode of transportation you should take to get around conveniently. 


Essential Places to Visit & Things to See in Brisbane

Here are some of the best places to add to your Brisbane travel itinerary:


1. Relax on the South Bank

The South Bank is one of Brisbane's most popular destinations with both locals and tourists. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River, it includes more than 17 hectares of parks, open spaces, a beach, river views, food, drink, and lots of events and activities.

Streets Beach is a must-visit location when it is sunny. This is a man-made beach located in the heart of the city. Lay a towel on the sand, go for a swim, or just people-watch and take in this surreal, yet incredible beach.

Depending on the time of year you visit, there are usually lots of activities and events taking place on South Bank, including free exercise classes like yoga, pilates, aquarobics and dance.


2. Visit the Daisy Hill Koala Centre

Australia koala

Always wanted to see a koala? Head to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre located at Daisy Hill Rd, Daisy Hill. ⁣The centre is situated in lush bushland and is open from Monday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm. Here you can get close to koalas, learn more about animals, and see presentations by wildlife staff.


3. Discover the Museum of Brisbane

Museum of Brisbane

Located in Brisbane City Hall, the Museum of Brisbane is one of the best places to check out for contemporary and ancient history. Weekly art and social history exhibitions, workshops, talks, tours, and activities are also available.


4. Go Swimming at Wynnum Wading Pool

Wynnum Wading Pool is listed as a heritage site at The Esplanade in Moreton Bay. The pool was built in 1932 and has been open to the public since 1933. Due to the warm temperatures in Brisbane, this pool can be a relief from the heat! We recommend bringing food and drinks, and making it a day out here. There are also food kiosks available nearby.


5. Get Fresh Herbs at the Epicurious Garden

Located at the South Bank Parklands, the Epicurious Garden is a volunteer-run vegetable and herb garden. There are a huge variety of herbs, fruit, vegetables, and flowers grown here. This is a great place to spend learning about nature and smelling exotic flowers. Additionally, if you visit from 7am to 2pm on Tuesdays, there is free food to eat or take away.


6. Explore the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art

Located in South Bank precinct of Brisbane, the Gallery of Modern Art is an art museum that opened in 2006. This is a fantastic place to visit if you have an interest in art, as there are exhibitions with a focus on the contemporary art of Australia, as well as Asia and the Pacific, most of which are free. The building is also air-conditioned, which makes it a great place to escape the intense heat.


7. Ride the CityHopper

Brisbane's CityHopper is a free, red ferry shuttle boat operating on the Brisbane River. The service operates seven days a week, from 6am to midnight, connecting eight stops between North Quay and Sydney Street. Get great views of Brisbane and smell the fresh air—absolutely for free!


8. Get Entertained at the Brisbane Powerhouse

The Brisbane Powerhouse is a trendy arts and culture hub located in a former power station in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm. Here you can watch plays, concerts, performing arts, and there are also lots of festivals and other events taking place.


9. Walk the Riverwalk

Brisbane is located on the Brisbane River and is blessed with beautiful sunny weather almost all year round. If you enjoy a leisurely stroll or bike ride and like being outdoors, be sure to add walking along the Brisbane Riverwalk to your itinerary. The Riverwalk is 870m long and takes in some of the top locations in the city. This is one of the most relaxing activities you can do in Brisbane.


10. Visit a Local Farmer’s Market

Local people in Brisbane love their weekend farmer’s markets. There is a different one in each suburb where you can see and buy fresh food. Top markets to check out include the Brisbane City Market, Davies Park Market, and the Jan Powers Powerhouse Market.


11. Listen to Live Music at City Sounds

Every week, City Sounds hosts free live music concerts all around the city. Be sure to check the schedule when you arrive.


12. Go to the Top of City Hall's Clock Tower

Brisbane City Hall is a heritage-listed building located in the heart of Brisbane. There are free tours available where you can go to the top of the City Hall’s Clock Tower to get great views of the city.


13. Watch the Sunrise at Mt. Coot-tha

Set your alarm and head to the top of Mt. Coot-tha for amazing sunrise views over the city. This is one of the most essential places to add to your Brisbane itinerary if you are into photography. The scenery is stunning!


14. Go Shopping at Queen Street Mall

Interested in shopping? Head to Queen Street Mall, which is located in the heart of Brisbane. This is one of the best destinations to head to if you want to buy souvenirs.


Plan a City Break to Brisbane

Brisbane is easily one of the top places to visit on the east coast of Australia and, hopefully, our list of activities and attractions has given you some ideas of what to do here.