The best of Brisbane on a budget: top 5 things to do

Settled along the banks of the Brisbane River, and flanked by kilometres of coastline, Brisbane provides a wealth of activities for budget-savvy travellers – here are our top 5

  • Jetstar
  • November 2017

Brisbane has long outgrown its reputation as a big country town, evolving into a city that has earned its place in the World’s Top 20 Most Liveable. Settled along the banks of the Brisbane River, and flanked by kilometres of coastline, Brisbane provides a wealth of activities for budget-savvy travellers – here are our top 5.

Dine overlooking the Kangaroo Point cliffs

Situated directly east of the city across the Brisbane River, the heritage-listed Kangaroo Point cliffs were created when convicts mined their volcanic rock. From the clifftops, enjoy a spectacular view of the city skyline by day; by night, see the city lights sparkling on the river.

The cliffs are lit up at night, emphasising the craggy formations that make them so popular with rock-climbers. They also form a stunning river backdrop, complete with walking trails and shady groves – perfect for a walk followed by a relaxing riverside meal. Pack the champagne and gourmet treats, and spread a blanket on the grass for a picnic under the stars.

Location: Lower River Terrace, Kangaroo Point

Our favourite link: Kangaroo Point City Walk


Watch the sunrise from Mount Coot-tha

From the summit lookout of Brisbane’s highest peak, you can catch the sunrise over Moreton Bay. With panoramic views of the city and beyond, the observation deck is also ideal for watching the nightlife glow after dark.

For energetic explorers, the Mount Coot-tha Forest has numerous walks ranging from easy strolls on even ground, to more difficult tracks with steep and narrow sections. You can smell the wildflowers, watch the wildlife and hike up to a waterfall. Enjoy a different experience of nature at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha’s base, with its Japanese gardens, arid zone, tropical dome, and the largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees in the world. Entry is free.

Location: Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, Mount Coot-tha

Our favourite link: 12 epic things to do at Mt Coot-tha


Catch some free comedy at the Powerhouse Museum

Standing proudly on the riverbank, Brisbane’s former power station has been transformed into an industrial-style arts venue hosting more than 1250 performances and events every year. Start the weekend with ‘Knockoff’, an hour of free comedy every Friday from 6pm, promising ‘cheap jokes and free laughs’ from local and international comedians.

Arrive earlier to explore adjacent New Farm Park, with its romantic rotunda built in 1915, massive fig trees and city views. From New Farm Park, jump aboard The CityHopper ferry for a free tour on the picturesque Brisbane River between New Farm and North Quay, running every 30 minutes daily between 6am and midnight. And on Saturday mornings you can create a picnic at the Powerhouse farmers’ market, offering fresh farm produce, artisan treats, bread and pastries.

Address: 119 Lamington St, New Farm

Our favourite link: Knockoff Comedy on Facebook


Take a stroll along the historic Shorncliffe Pier

Shorncliffe Pier is Brisbane’s largest timber pier, stretching 350m into the blue waters of Bramble Bay. Originally built in the 1880s, the structure was refurbished in early 2016. Pack your camera and a picnic lunch, and savour the views of the Redcliffe Peninsula, Boondall Wetlands and Moreton Bay Islands. Behind the pier, Lower Moora Park has picnic tables and barbecues. The Sandgate Foreshore Walk starts here and is ideal for a stroll walk along the water's edge to Sandgate.

Address: Park Parade, Shorncliffe

Our favourite link: 27 things to do in Sandgate, Brighton and Shorncliffe


Take a tour of Brisbane City Hall and Clocktower

If you’re into architecture and history, you’ll love Brisbane’s heritage-listed City Hall, which was built between 1920 and 1930. Professionally-guided, daily 45-minute tours provide access to various parts of the building. Take a free whimsical ride in City Hall’s antique hand-operated lift up the 92-metre clocktower. At 76 metres, an observation platform offers a bird's-eye view of Brisbane’s city life. On the third floor, the Brisbane Museum’s free exhibitions provide insight into the people and history of the city.

Location: 64 Adelaide St, Brisbane

Our favourite link: City Hall tours