Buses, trains, and CityCat ferries make up Brisbane's super smooth public transport system. Purchase a reloadable, all-access “go card” to see this vibrant city from all angles at an affordable price. Spend a day on the river. You can hop off the ferry as much as you like to explore and discover all of the city's hidden pockets.
Hire a bike and enjoy the ride! Brisbane's streets are made for cyclists. They're flat, safe, and easy to navigate. The city bikes are also cheap to hire, and convenient to park when you've found a spot to explore further on foot. Ride along the river's blue cycle paths for one of the best scenic routes in town.
It's hard to get lost in Brisbane. The city streets have been neatly arranged in a grid network along the river, which is never too far from any central location. Get to know the city on foot and you'll stumble upon hidden wonders. Charming corner cafes, streets filled with wall art, and quirky boutiques are all off the typical tourist track.
An excellent public transport system means car rental isn't essential if you're staying in the city. If you have time though, take a trip out of town. Brisbane is surrounded by glorious coastline, and the scenic drives are unforgettable. The city's road signs are comprehensive, parking is clearly designated, and major rental operators have offices all around the city.
The sun shines for an average of seven hours every day in Brisbane, and the air can be quite humid. Combine this with the city's easygoing culture, and think casual when it comes to packing. Thongs, hats, and sunglasses are essential, even in winter. The sun is at its peak from 10am to 2pm, so take sunscreen with you wherever you go.
Brisbane lies on a huge and lush mangrove, which is also home to thousands of tiny sandflies. Their populations can soar in the warmer months. They aren't harmful, but their bite can itch for days afterwards! Try to avoid the mangrove areas at dawn and dusk, and always protect your skin with repellant and light clothing.
September is the start of Spring and the time of year that Brisbane's beautiful Jacarandas start to bloom. Whale watching season is also in full swing. Temperatures are warm, sunshine is constant, and rainfall and humidity are low. This creates near-perfect conditions for sightseeing. Brisbanites also celebrate Riverfest at this time of year, so expect lots of festivities and a buzzing atmosphere!
Give your wallet a break and enjoy all the freebies that Brisbane has to offer. Take The Loop – a bus service circulating the CBD – to get your bearings. Satisfy your cultural curiosity with a trip to the Gallery of Modern Art. Then take an hour-long guided tour of Roma Street Parklands, followed by a swim at Southbank beach to cool off.
Brisbane Airport is located in the suburb of the same name, 20 minutes from the CBD. An award-winning airport, it provides direct flight service to 46 destinations throughout Australia, and 32 abroad. As the only major airport in the city, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Jetstar all have permanent travel terminals for domestic and international travel. Skytrans Airline also uses Brisbane Airport for more rural flights.
When flying domestic, there are no stopovers en route to Brisbane from most Australian cities. However, if you are travelling from Perth and feel like a stopover, you can take a flight that stops in Sydney or Melbourne. New Zealand travelers can also stopover in Sydney with Qantas or Emirates. There are also many flights from the same locations that do not stopover.
From Sydney:Get there in 1 hour, 30 minutes with Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia.
From Melbourne:Get there in 2 hours. Prices climb on Sundays, so take an early flight the next morning if possible.
From Darwin:Get there in under 4 hours. Some flights leave early mornings, landing at 5:30am.
From Perth:Get there in 4 hours, 30 minutes. Some flights stop in Melbourne or Sydney.
Taxi ranks are within easy reach of the domestic and international terminals. Expect to pay around $35 for a taxi into the CBD, including the $3 airport surcharge. The main operators are Black and White cabs (T: 133 222), and Yellow cabs (T: 131 924). Both services can be booked in advance by phone or online.
The AirTrain is a rapid train service that takes just 22 minutes to reach the CBD's main Roma Street Station. Services to the Gold Coast and Brisbane suburbs are also available from the airport and boast beautiful scenery along the way. During peak hours the trains depart every fifteen minutes, with ticket prices starting from $15 for a one-way journey.
For a more affordable airport transfer option. The only licensed bus service at Brisbane Airport is Coachtrans Australia, which operates from both the domestic and international terminals. With a door-to-door service and comfortable air-conditioned vehicles, it's a pleasant and convenient ride to your destination. The buses run seven days a week, and one-way or return tickets are available for purchase.
Renting a car gives you more freedom to explore Brisbane and its gorgeous coastal surroundings. Six major rental operators have desks at the airport, including Avis and Hertz. Reach the CBD in twenty minutes, the Gold Coast in just over an hour, and the Sunshine Coast in an hour and a half. Enjoy spectacular scenic roads all the way to your destination.
Spend an unforgettable day floating in the sparkling pools and golden beaches of this forty-acre city oasis. Wander through walkways draped in bougainvillea, dine al fresco at one of the parkland's fabulous cafes, and ride the Wheel of Brisbane for a city view. Markets are held most days with food, jewellery, crafts, and street music.
Southbank Parklands is within walking distance of South Bank Railway Station.
These beautiful grounds are home to the largest population of Koalas in the world! They share it with a huge variety of indigenous animals, like kangaroos and wallabies. You might even bump into a Tasmanian devil! Get hands-on with the animals with Koala cuddles and Kangaroo feeding. A great family day out with lots of laughter and smiles guaranteed.
708 Jesmond Road
Fig Tree Pocket QLD 4069
These gorgeous gardens are fifteen minutes away and free to enter. They offer a fun, easy, and affordable family day out. Stroll through an incredible variety of ecosystems and birdlife, through rainforests and low deserts, stopping to marvel at the spectacular view from Mt. Coot-tha. Take a picnic or grab a bite at the cafe, where they play live music on Sundays.
Mt. Coot-tha Road
Toowong QLD 4066
Paddle boarding, kayaking, rock climbing, and abseiling all in one day! Or, if you're feeling a little less adventurous, spin around the city on rollerblades. You can even paddle board at night, taking in the city lights, followed up by a hearty feed of beer and prawns. This is an active day on land and river, and great fun if you're feeling energetic.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs QLD 4169
Peaceful, minimalist decor balances a menu that's roaring with fresh, unique flavours. The oysters are particularly delicious – you'll be telling people about them for days afterwards. With two locations in Brisbane, make sure you choose the Hamilton branch to enjoy spectacular water views. Book in advance for a seat by the window, and order some sake to kick-start your meal.
39 Hercules Street
Hamilton, Brisbane QLD 4007
This cosy little institution has a warm, friendly vibe, and is packed with eccentric furniture pieces and loyal locals. Get a piece of cake from the dessert cabinet and order a coffee for company. You might have to wait for a small crowd to subside before getting a seat, but the atmosphere is worth the wait.
58 Mollison Street, West End, Brisbane, Queensland 4101
The award-winning restaurant in this iconic building offers a fine-dining experience in exquisite heritage surroundings. Dine during the day to enjoy the river setting. The Sunday Breakfast menu is heavenly. Indulge your taste buds with a plate of sweet, caramelised bananas with roasted strawberry ice-cream. If you're feeling like something savoury, the Boston-style baked beans with avocado is just divine!
399 Queen St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Authentic thin-crust pizzas, oozing with fresh tomato sauce, and draped in mozzarella have made this busy Italian restaurant a favourite for Brisbanites. A casual atmosphere perfect for a Paddington shopping break. If you're not in the mood for pizza, the pastas taste like they are fresh off the plane from Rome, and the calamari starter is an absolute pleasure.
107 Latrobe Terrace
Paddington, QLD 4064
Enter the Valley's trendiest hangout through the stunning designer façade, and head straight up to the rooftop bar. You'll be joining a crowd of glamorous young locals raising cocktails to the Brisbane skyline. On Mondays, they host a cinema night where you can take in a movie under the stars.
142 Constance Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Sweeping views of the river draw beautiful people to the enormous terrace to mingle around the glow of Chinese lanterns. The mojitos are delicious and should be enjoyed in the early evening, watching the sunset. Head upstairs to the Shadow Lounge later on to enjoy upbeat house tunes.
1 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Oriental extravagance meets modern rock in the heart of the hip West End. It's not a natural partnership, but it's a unique experience for everyone. Order a signature Lychee Martini from an amazing cocktail list, and mingle with an eclectic crowd of young twenties to late forties.
2/94 Boundary Street
West End, QLD 4101
Do something different and head to the South Bank Night Markets at Southbank Parklands. The stalls are packed with a delightful mix of arts, crafts, and jewellery. A variety of performance artists will keep you entertained as you marvel at the city lights from afar. Perfect for a post-dinner walk.
Explore the city by foot, starting at Roma Street. Wind your way down to the river, crossing Kurilpa bridge and stopping for lunch in Stanley Street. Continue through the Southbank parklands to Kangaroo Point. The Story Bridge climb is an exciting new adventure in the city. Experience the thrill of the ascent, and then the stunning river views on top. Back on ground, head to the West End for Sicilian-style mussels and a glass of wine at The Red Hen.
Grab brunch at The Gunshop Cafe before wandering along the river to the Gallery of Modern Art. Suitable for all ages and with world-famous pieces, it's a must-see. Next on the culture checklist is the free and interactive Queensland Museum. Take a break from the indoors at Southbank parklands with a swim at the beach before moving on to the Maritime Museum around the corner. End the day with a sunset drink at Customs House, a short CityCat trip away.
Get to the Cultural Centre Pontoon and jump onboard the Mirimar Boat Cruise departing for Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at 10am. Spend your morning cuddling Koalas and feeding Kangaroos before heading back to the city by bus. Get off in the CBD and make your way to Paddington. Wander the leafy streets, indulge in some retail therapy, and rest weary legs in quirky cafes. Tonight, head to Fortitude Valley for a night out at some of Brisbane's trendiest bars.
Spend your last day discovering Brisbane's stunning surroundings with a day cruise to Tangalooma Island. This island paradise is just seventy-five minutes from the city, and has breathtaking stretches of white sands. There are loads of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like hand-feeding dolphins, whale watching, and exploring beached shipwrecks. Spend the day here and fit in as much as possible! When you're back in Brisbane, finish your break in style at Jade Buddha, toasting the end of your stay with a signature mojito.
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