Queensland's riverside capital city
Staking its claim as Australia's most exciting urban escape, Brisbane hits that sweet spot in combining an enviable subtropical climate with cosmopolitan style and inner-city cool. Along with a flourishing arts scene and growing reputation as an epicurean destination, this is a city finally relishing in the recognition that's long deserved.
At the forefront of its cultural attractions lies the acclaimed Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). Alongside quality museums and a diverse program of performance arts, it makes up part of South Bank's world-class riverside arts precinct.
Here you'll also find cosmopolitan restaurants offering alfresco riverside dining under the stars. For some inner-city flair, visit some of the city's cooler neighbourhoods (West End, Fortitude Valley, Newstead) to explore laneway cafes, microbreweries, rooftop bars and contemporary bistros.
And once you’ve had your fill of food and drinks, head out on any number of daytrips. While the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are on Brisbane's doorstep, there's also the white sands and turquoise waters of Moreton Bay or North Stradbroke Island, or head inland to visit World Heritage–listed rainforests in the hinterland of the Scenic Rim.
Things to do: Brisbane
Beneath the archetypal tin roofs and beyond the verandahs of two neighbouring Queenslander homes on the corner of Alfred and Constance streets in Fortitude Valley you'll find an eating, drinking and merriment complex to satisfy every desire – lively beer gardens, cutting-edge cuisine, grungy band venues and swanky rooftop cocktail bars. Make a day of it and check out the boutiques, laneways and stylish cafes before hitting the clubs and dancing till dawn.
Galleries and museums
The crown jewel of Brisbane's crowded cultural scene is Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), a pairing of world-class galleries combining big-ticket modern art shows alongside 19th- and 20th-century Australian masterpieces. Together they make up part of the Queensland Cultural Centre precinct that includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), State Library and Queensland Museum.
Just outside of Brisbane, Moreton Island is the world's third-largest sand island and is home to glass-clear lakes and lagoons, abundant wildflowers, pristine beaches and towering sand dunes. Dive or snorkel to experience the wrecks and colourful reefs, and don't miss the experience of being shore-side at dusk to hand feed the dolphins. To get up among the dunes, grab a quad bike, 4WD or, better yet, a sand toboggan.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Just across the river from Brisbane's CBD is this idyllic escape comprising an oasis of green spaces and an attractive sandy lagoon swimming beach. Add in an entertainment precinct of bars, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries, and it's clear why South Bank one of the city's most popular destinations.
Distance to city centre 16km
Taxi The trip into central Brisbane will take around 20 minutes and cost around AUD $50 (plus a AUD $4 airport surcharge).
Rideshare There are designated rideshare pick-up areas at the domestic and international terminals. Expect to pay AUD $20-30, plus AUD $4 surcharge, for a trip to central Brisbane.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 late October.Back to top
Use the touch-on, touch-off go card, 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 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
The best things to do in Brisbane
A city of culture and sunshine where great food meets riverside views and inner-city vibes.
Top things to do in Brisbane on a budget
Brisbane has plenty to offer the budget-savvy traveller. In fact, some of the best things to do in the River City don’t cost a cent.