Situated on the southeast corner of Queensland lies Brisbane, the third-largest city in Australia. In 2019 Brisbane had over nine million visitors but dropped considerably down to just over seven million in 2020 due to the travel restrictions caused by the global pandemic. Brisbane isn’t one of Australia’s most popular cities but we’re going to show you why you definitely need to add it to your travel list.
Getting to Brisbane
If your travelling to Brisbane from LA it’ll generally take 13 hours in the air and take over 21 hours if travelling from New York as there are currently no direct flights to Brisbane from New York. If your travelling from Europe your flight will be approximately 20 hours long. With Skyscanner, you can actually search by month to see an overview of the cheapest days to travel to Brisbane. Doing this could save you a few hundred dollars on your flights!
How long do I stay?
I’d always recommend that you stay as long as you possibly can when visiting a place as there’s always going to be an abundance of things to do where ever you go. But I’d give yourself at least five days in Brisbane so that you give yourself enough time to see all the main attractions the city has to over, but if you do have the opportunity to stay longer, DEFINITELY STAY LONGER!
Things to see in Brisbane
Below is a list of the ten attractions I’d visit if I only had a number of days to visit Brisbane, if you do decide to stay longer which I hope you do please don’t think that these are the only places to visit in Brisbane, this is just a list of my favorite places in the city that I would visit if I only had five days to do so.
Queensland Art Gallery
Located in South Bank, The Queensland Art Gallery is part of the Queensland cultural center. I’d definitely set aside a few hours of one of your days to visit the art gallery here in Brisbane. Walking through the halls gazing at all the masterpieces they display is a wonderful way to spend your day and best of all, it’s Free!
The Cultural Precinct
Just a walking distance from Brisbane’s CBD is a heritage-listed site for the ages. The Queensland Art Gallery is actually located here, but there are a number of other buildings to visit once you’ve done your time in the gallery such as The State Library of Queensland, Queensland Museum and Sciencentre’s, and The Queensland Performing Arts Centre. If your lucky you might catch a world-class Opera concert in the Performing Arts Centre, but if not don’t worry they host a range of events to suit everyone’s needs.
South Bank isn’t really one area but more of a district of Brisbane, there are many things to see in this area and some are even on this list. The South Bank area is well-loved by visitors for the green open spaces and the mouth-watering food some of the restaurants do offer, so this would be the perfect spot to spend an evening dining out then going for a picturesque relaxing stroll down the riverside walking track.
My favourite thing about Brisbane is the Story Bridge, I’ve spent many hours just gazing out at the breathtakingly beautiful city views. It has a cycling and pedestrian walking track so there is plenty of room on the bridge for you, no need to worry about the danger of any cars getting in your way. Cool Fact, It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia and another heritage-listed site!
Roma Street Parkland
In the centre of the city rests this ‘little’ jungle, Roma Street Parklands isn’t really so little as it’s actually the biggest sub-tropical city park in the Southern Hemisphere. You can spend hours walking around this park looking at all the eye-catching fauna and the animals that call the place home. You might just even see a possum!
The third heritage listed site on this list is the Customs House. Built-in the 19th century this building looked like it was designed by an artist rather than an architect. Brisbane’s Customs House is primarily a functions centre, but you can pop in for some food and you can reserve a table for the High Tea that takes place daily here. Wanna know the best thing about this place though? The restaurant located inside offers gorgeous views of my favourite attraction of the city, The Story Bridge.
Queen Street Mall
Now, what would this list be without a place to go shopping and to go blow some steam off after traveling all over the shack to see all the sites Brisbane offers? Located on Queen Street (obviously) smack bang in the centre of Brisbane is this large shopping mall precinct. It’s home to over 700 hundred retailers and on a Wednesday you’ll find the farmers market here.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha
Arguably one of the most popular attractions in Brisbane along with the Story Bridge is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha. Now there are other botanical gardens situated in the city which you can also visit but if you want to experience panoramic city views I recommend you travel 7 kilometers outside the city to this magical spot. It’s 128 acres and hosts a number of different themed gardens and even has a hide ‘n’ seek Children’s Trail to occupy the children of the group.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
You can’t go to Australia and not see a Koala, and what better place to see one than the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, its huge… 18 hectares to be exact. It’s located in Fig Tree Pocket, just a 40-minute bus journey from the CBD. Fun fact, it is also the world’s oldest and largest Koala sanctuary. Told ya it was big.
Last but certainly not least is Moreton Island. This would have to be a day trip as it really is an island, buts it’s easy to get and it’s only a 75-minute ferry from downtown Brisbane. It’s the 3rd largest sand island in the world and a large portion of the island is designated as a national park, goodness Brisbane sure is home to a lot of the biggest places right? The island is a perfect spot for snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching. While your out snorkeling/diving be sure to keep an eye out for the many shipwrecks rumored to be around the island.
Brisbane’s Travel Guide: Things to do in Brisbane
- Visit one of the botanical gardens the city has to offer.
- Take a ferry out to Moreton Island and go snorkeling.
- Shop till you drop in The Queen Street Mall.
- Take a free walking tour of the city.
- Explore one of the museums.
Day Trips Near Brisbane
We actually have a whole other article focused on all you can do and see in The Gold Coast, which I will link here. NOTE TO SELF, REMEMBER TO LINK THE ARTICLE. The Gold Coast is only a 1-hour train ride from Brisbane so be sure to take a visit after your trip to Brisbane.
Now we’ve had the 3rd largest sand island in the world (Moreton Island) but now its time for the biggest, Fraser Island. A great spot for camping, snorkelling and simply sun bathing on the beach. The best way to get there from Brisbane would be from Rainbow beach along the Bruce Highway and then you can get a ferry to the island from Inskip Point.
The Glass House Mountains
Nestled in-between Brisbane and Byron Bay is The Glass House Mountain range. If your into getting outdoors and hiking challenging trails, this is definitely a must as you’ll remember the scenery for the rest of your life. Getting there from Brisbane isn’t hard as it’s only 1 hour south if your driving.
Getting Around Brisbane
The public transport in Brisbane is incredible, it would be a rare occasion where you find yourself stuck trying to get to your destination. The most popular forms of public transport in Brisbane would be buses, trains, and ferries. The city recommends you pick up a Translink Go Card to tap on and off any form of public transport in the city. These can be picked up in most convenience stores, train stations, or indeed the airport if you haven’t yet arrived.
Hotels: The Westin Brisbane and Mantra Richmont Hotel
Hostels: Brisbane City YHA and The Breeze Lodge
Airbnb: Spring Hill
Here are the answers to some other things you may be wondering before traveling to Brisbane.
Brisbane boasts a subtropical paradise, with average highs of 26.4C and average lows of 16C.
The Press Club was my favourite place to go during my stay in Brisbane.
Brisbane Travel Guide: Conclusion
All in all, Brisbane seems to have everything, the city is full of life with its multiple botanical gardens and parks to explore, and you’ve got so much history to explore in their museums in the cultural precinct. And if you get bored of the city which I highly doubt you will, you can simply hop on a ferry to Moreton Island and starting your exploration all over again!