Summer is fast approaching, which means Brisbane city is heating up – with things to see and do. Discover the best Brisbane attractions and get out and about in the city with our hot summer guide.
Top Brisbane attractions
The best way to familiarise yourself with the city of Brisbane is to view it from high above, on the Wheel of Brisbane. A South Bank icon, the iconic wheel rises 60 metres above the ground with air-conditioned gondolas providing 360-degree views of the River City.
For a bit of culture, stop by a Brisbane museum or art gallery. Our favourites are the Queensland Art Gallery and The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), which are conveniently located right next to each other, as well as the Museum of Brisbane featuring award-winning exhibitions for kids.
If the arts are more up your alley, visit the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for the ballet, some theatre, a night at the opera or the latest Broadway musicals.
Catch a Brisbane Roar game at Suncorp Stadium or watch a live gig at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre – check out Keith Urban or take the kids to The Wiggles this summer. The Gabba is the home to the Brisbane heat in the ever-growing 20/20 series and Brisbane summer cricket events including the opening Test against Sri Lanka over the Australia Day weekend. You can also see some big names in music at The Gabba including Taylor Swift in November 2018.
Credit: Shipwreck Photography
Free things to do in Brisbane
Set your alarm clocks for sunrise and head to Mount Coot-tha for Insta-worthy views of Brisbane. The view is equally amazing at night when all falls dark and the city illuminates with the twinkling of city lights and a starry sky.
Head to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and enjoy a picnic by the river, take the kids to the playground or join in on a free guided walk.
Jump on the free CityHopper Brisbane ferry to South Bank and cool off with a swim at Streets Beach – a patrolled sparkling lagoon in the heart of the city, or continue on to New Farm and check out Brisbane Powerhouse with free events such as comedy nights and other festivals as well as plenty of history.
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
Brisbane restaurants, bars and markets
Fortitude Valley (or ‘The Valley’), is the place to be seen and is one of the hottest Brisbane suburbs for wining and dining. Take your pick from chic cafes and bustling bars along the popular James Street or head to Chinatown Brisbane for some Yum Cha and delicious Asian cuisine.
Take the CityHopper to the Northshore Hamilton Ferry Terminal and explore Eat Street Markets, with 180 dining and entertainment shipping containers on the banks of the Brisbane River. Eat Street Markets are open every weekend (Friday and Saturday 4pm to 10pm and Sunday 12pm to 8pm).
For picturesque views of the Story Bridge, head to Eagle Street Pier for a riverside cocktail and your choice of over 15 restaurants and bars.
River Quay, South Bank is a stunning dining sanctuary on the river’s edge in the city. From Indian to burgers, you’ll find it all at River Quay. Dine in, grab some takeaway or relax at the Sunday Social on the Green with live music and delicious cuisine.
Credit: Joint TA/TEQ
Day trips from Brisbane
For a bit of a scenery change, hop in a car and head out of the city on a fun-filled day trip. Soak up the island vibes on North Stradbroke Island (or ‘Straddie’ as it’s called by locals), accessible via ferry from Cleveland, a 30-40 minute drive from Brisbane CBD. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the North Gorge Walk, grab some fish and chips for a picnic on the beach or spot dolphins off the jetty at Amity Point.
Head to the Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba, Brisbane for a comfortable 75 minute ferry ride to Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world. Hand-feed wild dolphins, snorkel or dive amongst shipwrecks or go sand tobogganing on the dunes.
Need a hug? Visit Australia Zoo, just over an hour from Brisbane, or the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (20 minutes from the city) for some friendly koala cuddles.
For waterfall walks, spectacular scenery, wine tasting and fresh local produce, head inland to Mount Tamborine or Lamington National Park. And of course there are the thrilling Gold Coast theme parks just down the road, including Wet’n’Wild, Sea World, Movie World and Dreamworld.
Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland/Jason Charles Hill
A restaurant, pool and gym are amongst the many amenities at this central Brisbane hotel.
Contemporary apartments just a short stroll to major city attractions in the Brisbane CBD.
A modern hotel with outdoor pool, fully serviced apartments and a central location.
Spacious apartments within walking distance of shopping and dining.
Positioned on the Brisbane River, in the heart of the CBD.
The perfect location if you’re visiting Brisbane for it arts and culture.
Located just steps from Queen Street Mall and Eagle Street Pier.
A newly built hotel with restaurant, 24-hour reception and gymnasium.