City fun in the subtropics

Brisbane is Queensland's vibrant riverside capital. It's crammed with incredible galleries, restaurants and waterfront precincts. Explore inner-city areas like Fortitude Valley, lose yourself in the art world at GOMA or take a tropical daytrip to the Gold Coast.

This energetic town blends urban adventures with subtropical vibes to come up with the perfect city break. Spend a captivating afternoon exploring the museums, galleries and dining scene at South Bank. Lose yourself in the laneways of Newstead or West End and discover your new favourite microbrewery. Get in some sensational sightseeing by cycling the Brisbane River Loop or hitting the trails to the top of Mt Coot-Tha.

For a laidback and tropical daytrip, head to nearby Moreton Bay and North Stradbroke Islands. Perfect for a spot of surfing, snorkelling or beach-lazing.

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Things to do: Brisbane

  • Fortitude Music Hall’s neon sign at night, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Queensland.

    Fortitude Valley

    Fortitude Valley is an inner-city enclave that is equal parts grunge and glamour. Spend a day (and night) exploring the nooks and crannies of The Valley. You'll find heaps of interesting bars and restaurants, designer boutiques, slick hotels, the Chinatown Mall and art spaces like IMA. After dark, it's all live music, rooftop bars and nightclubs. Janes and Brunswick Streets are the main drags, but follow your nose down sidestreets like Ada Lane and you'll unearth some pretty tasty finds.

  • High art

    Galleries and museums

    Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) are two show-stopping galleries combining big-ticket modern art alongside 19th- and 20th-century Australian masterpieces. Together, they're part of the Queensland Cultural Centre precinct. With interactive activities suitable for all ages, it's easy to lose days in these incredible spaces. The precinct also includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), State Library and Queensland Museum.

  • Aerial view of North Point, Moreton Island, and surrounding turquoise waters. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

    Moreton Island

    Stunning Moreton Island is home to incredible lakes, lagoons, beaches and sand dunes. Go diving or snorkelling among the shipwrecks and colourful reefs. Get snap-happy with the island's pretty wildflowers or head to the shore at dusk to hand feed the dolphins (squeal!). If you want to feel the adrenaline pumping, hit the dunes on a quad bike, a 4WD or, better yet, a sand toboggan.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

  • People on the white-sand beach and in the water at Streets Beach, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland.

    South Bank

    South Bank is a wildly popular inner-city oasis of green spaces, cafés, an urban beach, galleries, bars and boutiques. There are walking and cycling tracks, beachside barbecues, licensed picnic spots and weekly markets. Four dedicated dining precincts range from the casual to the fine dining, and there's a non-stop calendar of events to dip into. A walk under the landmark Arbour is a must-do. South Bank is just across the river from the CBD.

  • Mt Coot-tha

    Just 6km from the city, you can hit the forest trails or cycle to the summit of Mt Coot-tha, where you'll get a panoramic view of Brisbane and Moreton Bay. They're especially spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Many trails start at JC Slaughter Falls at the foot of the mountain, which is also an ideal picnic spot, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens are nearby as well. With over 70 trails and tracks, some as short as 15 minutes, there's something for everyone.

    Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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Airport information

Brisbane Airport (BNE)

Distance to city centre 16km

Taxi A taxi to central Brisbane will take around 20 minutes and cost about AUD $50 (plus an AUD $4 airport surcharge).

Rideshare All the major rideshare operators service Brisbane Airport. Follow the signs to the Rideshare Booking areas to meet your driver. An AUD $4 airport surcharge applies to all airport pickups.

Shuttle Con-X-ion offers door-to-door transfers from both the domestic and international terminal. Fares into central Brisbane are around AUD $25.

Train Frequent Airtrain services cover the city and suburbs. The trip to Central Station takes around 30 minutes and the fare is about AUD $20 (cheaper if booked online).

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When to go

Brisbane is subtropical and sunny all year round, with an average temperature of 26°C. Between October and March, the weather can get hot, humid and stormy. December and January can see temperatures up in high 30s. April to September is milder and drier.

Ekka (the Royal Queensland Show) happens in mid-August. Brisbane Festival showcases international arts throughout September. Brisbane Film Festival kicks off in late October, as does the city's Good Food & Wine Show. For sports lovers, the Brisbane Broncos and the Brisbane Lions play between March and September.

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Getting around

Taxi Several taxi companies service Brisbane. Order a cab by phone or head to a rank. There are are four secure taxi ranks in Fortitude Valley and two in the city.

Bus Brisbane is well covered by a range of bus services, including free loops around the city, the high frequency BUZ service and the speedy CityGlider. Go card fares start at around AUD $3.

Train Airtrain stops at key destinations throughout Brisbane. Go card accepted.

Rideshare Uber, Shebah, Ola and DiDi operate across Brisbane.

Ferry Ferries and CityCats offer transport along the Brisbane River. You'll need a TransLink go card to travel. Look out for the free CityHopper ferry which stops at six inner-city precincts.

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