Queensland's capital is a major centre of culture
Brisbane’s attractions such as the Queensland Museum, Queen Street Mall and South Bank Parklands, are as exciting as the landscape is lush. Balmy weather calls for alfresco dining – either in the shade or under the stars at one of the city’s fine riverside restaurants or stylish watering holes.
When you’ve had your fill of food and drinks, there’s plenty to fill your social calendar, most notably events like its many lifestyle and foodie markets and its big-ticket cultural events like Ekka (the Royal Queensland Exhibition), the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Brisbane Festival. Day trips to the hilly hinterland or the sand and turquoise waters of Moreton Bay, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are within easy reach.
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Best free things for kids to do in Brisbane
Planning a super fun, family-friendly holiday in Brisbane on a budget? Check out these free activities for keeping kids – and wallets – happy.
Moreton Bay, the ultimate chill out island holiday
A short drive from central Brisbane, hit the coast and jump on a ferry to the unspoilt islands of Moreton Bay.
Things to do
Brisbane regularly hosts world-class events at venues like the Queensland Art Gallery opens in new window and Gallery of Modern Art opens in new window (GoMA), the crown jewel of a crowded cultural scene. It’s the largest modern, purpose-built art museum in the Southern Hemisphere and has a well-earned reputation for staging exclusive Australian and international exhibitions. Make time to visit the Queensland Performing Arts Centre opens in new window (QPAC), Queensland Museum opens in new window and the State Library of Queensland opens in new window.
The world’s third-largest sand island is just outside of Brisbane. Moreton Island opens in new window is home to crystal-clear lakes and lagoons, abundant wildflowers, pristine beaches and towering sand dunes. Dive or snorkel to experience the wrecks and colourful reefs here but be sure to be shore-side at dusk to handfeed the dolphins. There’s also quad biking, four-wheel driving and sand tobogganing.
The good life
An idyllic mini-escape (it's just across the Brisbane River) from the concrete confines of the central city area, South Bank’s bars, boutiques, cafés, restaurants and cultural venues blend in seamlessly with the foliage, public beach, lagoons and picnic areas. And the river views are stunning.
Beneath the archetypal tin roofs and beyond the verandahs of two neighbouring Queenslander homes on the corner of Alfred and Constance opens in new window streets in Fortitude Valley you'll find an eating, drinking and merriment complex to answer every desire – high-end pub grub, café, beer garden, cocktails, late-night dessert bar... Make a day of it and end up dancing till the wee hours in the nightclub.
Wine and dine
Gourmands take heed: the daily-changing, multi-course degustation menu at Esquire opens in new windowis the fine dining centrepiece of Queensland’s capital. Next door, sister establishment Esq. takes a more relaxed approach with a simple and casual à la carte menu. The extensive wine list is shared between the two, and the riverside location, décor and service are all top of the line.
Travel time 25 minutes
Taxi Approx A$45
Con X-ion Bus Departs every 40 minutes. One-way: A$20, return A$36. Discount for two or more passengers. Takes 30 minutes.
Train Every 15 minutes during peak hours. One-way: A$15; return A$28.Back to top
When to go
Temperatures in the humid summer months (December–February) average around 30°C though this is also the time of heaviest rainfall. During autumn (March–May), the days are warm and the nights are cool while winter (June–August) sees similar conditions, though with slightly lower temperatures. Warm and sunny, spring (September–November) is marked by cool sea breezes.
For sports fans, March–September is the time to come in order to catch the National Rugby League’s Brisbane Broncos and the Australian Football League’s Brisbane Lions. EKKA with its fireworks and after-dark shows takes place in August, the Brisbane Festival happens in September and the Brisbane International Film Festival is held in November.
Ready to find some cheap flights to Brisbane?Back to top
Use the touch-on, touch-off go card opens in new window, which is accepted on buses, CityCats, ferries and trains. Go cards are available at most newsagents and at the Translink office at the Visitor Information Centre on the Queen Street Mall. For easy (and free) city exploration, the free Loop bus service opens in new window is a hop-on, hop-off circuit of the city centre running both a clockwise and an anti-clockwise route. It runs every 10 minutes from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.Back to top