As the third most populous city in Australia, Brisbane is a must on any Aussie bucket list. Brisbane and Queensland have a distinct vibe that many fall in love with and find hard to shake. It feels unashamedly upmarket, whilst maintaining a laid back vibe. Brisbane bathes in over 280 days of sunshine each year, which really shapes the atmosphere of the city.
The (potential) birthplace of the famed Aussie lamington cake, this shiny sunny city has it all. From fine dining to flat whites, from craft beer to botanical gardens, from flashy wharves to fascinating wartime history, you will be spoilt for choice. You can find endless shopping in Queen Street Mall or settle in for a picnic in New Farm Park, the city’s oldest, grandest urban park. There’s so much to see and do in Brisbane, you’ll immediately want to extend your trip.
It’s also one of the fastest growing cities in the country and is increasingly attracting young settlers from around the globe.
So what are the best things to do in Brisbane?
High Tea on The Brisbane River
Whilst it may be a British tradition, Brisbanites have owned high tea and made it their own. Get dressed up, head out to a high brow establishment and enjoy yourself. Think tiers of cakes and tiny sandwiches with no crusts. Sip tea or champagne in an ornate wood clad dining room. If you want to pull out all the stops, head to Customs House on the river. It’s one of the best-rated, traditional high teas in the city and was built back in 1886!
The beating heart of Brisbane’s ever changing nightlife scene. Visitors often comment on its versatility and multiple vibes. It feels punk but contemporary, arts ‘n’ craft yet sophisticated. You can feel the energy in the area here; it’s a suburb shaped and sculpted by its young inhabitants.
Enjoy the thriving clubs, bars and cafes. Drop into nearby Chinatown. You can easily waste a few days bobbing in and out of boutiques, brunch spots, shops, galleries, theatres, record stores and exhibitions. It’s an ideal spot to wonder in no predetermined direction. Many claim there are some of the state’s best burgers to be found in this area!
Kangaroo point is home to two of Brisbane’s major attractions. Firstly, cross over Story Bridge for some stunning views of the city. As the longest bridge of its kind, Story Bridge is actually a twin of the Jacques Bridge in Montreal, Canada.
Once you’ve finished taking in the sights on the bridge, pop over to see Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Seeing cliffs like these in a modern CBD is a bizarre experience. As a popular spot for climbers, walkers and picnickers, the cliffs are left over from the old quarrying works in the area. At sunset, the cliffs are the best place to appreciate the cityscape in all of its high-rise, low-light glory.
Looking for day trips with the kids? The Gold Coast is a theme park-filled, high energy outing for the family. Head to the long stretches of sandy beaches or one of the city’s many attractions, including Dreamworld, Wet’n’Wild and Sea World.
Soak Up Culture at Brisbane City Hall, Gallery Of Modern Art & Queensland Museum
These three heritage-listed cultural icons are all a short walk from one another and a must for anyone interested in the city’s civic history. As the largest city hall in Australia, Brisbane City Hall is one of the top rated attractions in the city.
If you get your skates on, you’ll be able to visit all three in the same day. We’d suggest wandering up Roma Street, Parkland, when you’re done to catch the sunset. The beautifully kept gardens make for a great picture in the dusk light.
Hike up Mount Coot-Tha
For those who want to escape the city’s bustle, head over to Mount Coot-Tha. There are several trekking trails to choose from with varied lengths and difficulties depending on your experience. If you want to take your furry walking companion, most trails also allow dogs if they are on a lead.
The dirt tracks weave in and out of towering trees, rivers and bushland. Brisbanites use these trails when the rat race gets too much and they want to reset with a little natural immersion. Popular routes include the Summit Track and the Mahogany Trail, but it’s worth planning your walk before you go.
Everyone needs their tourism hit every now and again. These cuddly little tree-huggers are an Australian icon and they’re just as cute in the flesh as they are in the pictures! Originally founded for sick or orphaned koalas who were victims of the fur trade many years ago, the sanctuary is almost 100 years old. The sanctuary is one of the great champions for the natural world in Queensland and has countless projects to try and preserve native species. For those who are passionate about animals, there are a number of volunteering, education and sponsorship opportunities available.
Want to learn more about Brisbane and moving to Australia?
If you’ve fallen in love with the city and want to stay a bit longer, then check out the best suburbs Brisbane has to offer.