As Australia’s third-largest city, the Sunshine State’s focal point brings together everything we could ever want in a vacation destination.
With a vibrant nightlife, award-winning restaurants, year-round warm weather, craft breweries popping up around every corner, plus close proximity to world-class theme parks, animal sanctuaries, beaches, and hiking trails, the list of things to do in Brisbane goes on… and on… and on.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip!
1 – Cuddle a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Wind down the Brisbane River on a cruise boat toward Lone Pine — the world’s largest and oldest Koala Sanctuary — where you can actually cuddle a koala, see the gruesome snake-feeding, and watch the majestic Birds of Prey show where owls, kites and eagles soar above your head before swooping down on their lunch.
Why not treat yourself to a local beer or wine on the boat back to Brisbane?
2 – Climb the Brisbane Story Bridge
A little less famous than its counterpart at Sydney Harbour, climbing the Story Bridge on a clear day or in the twilight is a great place to start your Brisbane adventure.
Ascend 260 feet for 360-degree panoramic views of Brisbane with an audio tour to help you choose where to visit next, then ask your guide for a group photo and their recommendations of things to do in Brisbane!
3 – Explore Moreton Island
This slice of paradise is only accessible by four-wheel-drive — but once you’re there, the opportunities are endless: drive the beach down to Queensland’s oldest lighthouse; roll or toboggan down the sloping sand dunes; paddle a transparent kayak over the clear sapphire waters with nearby shipwrecks available to snorkel; or even scuba.
So, why not take a day to explore the third-largest sand island in the world?
4 – Wear your detective hat in an escape room
A totally thrilling, immersive and head-scratching experience; you and some mates are locked inside a room and have 60 minutes to get yourselves out! As the clock ticks down, it’s all up to you to find the clues, crack the codes and solve the puzzles so you can escape before time runs out.
If you’re traveling in a larger group, split yourselves in half and race each other!
5 – Wind through the streets of Brisbane on a segway
With a local guide leading the way, Segways are a fun and unique way to navigate the city, often stopping at the landmarks and zipping through the gorgeous gardens.
Discover the real Brisbane and don’t worry about falling over; the Maserati of segways (the i2) stays balanced for you — just enjoy the ride!
6 – Zoom in a rally car at Willowbank
Channel your inner Carlos Sainz, kicking up dust for a dozen speedy laps in a WRX rally car.
After you drive your 12 laps, take the passenger’s seat while one of the pros takes you on an adrenaline-filled hot lap that leaves you gripping your seat. Then enjoy an afternoon tea afterward to wash the dust down.
For rev-heads, this is one of the best things to do in Brisbane.
7 – Safari on a jetski at South Stradbroke Island
For one of the most exhilarating things to do in Brisbane, hop on a jet-ski and zip past the beaches and mangroves.
Look out for the native dolphins, turtles, and wallabies and feel the wind through your hair as you tackle hairpin turns and high tide, before stopping at the tranquil island’s only beachfront pub for a well-earned drink and a bite to eat.
8 – Explore Springbrook National Park
Take the breathtaking drive through Numinbah Valley on the way to this park in the lush Gondwana Rainforests. Once you’re there, tour the scenic rainforests and waterfalls — with more than 2000 species of flora and fauna, the forest is absolutely brimming with life.
Make sure to check out the Glow Worm caves and hike the Curtis Falls track, flanked by gum trees and with viewing platforms over Curtis Creek and waterfalls.
9 – Become a Wildlife Warrior at Australia Zoo
Crikey! The colossal Australia Zoo made famous by Steve Irwin has so much to see and experience, but the Crocoseum takes it up a notch.
You’ll be inducted as a Wildlife Warrior as the zookeeper puts on a show of giant snakes, colorful birds and colossal saltwater crocodiles while letting you know about the fight to protect the animal kingdom and conservation issues.
10 – Walk the treetop canopy at Lamington National Park
Firstly, get to the top of Mt Tamborine for an extraordinary panorama of the Pacific Ocean to the rainforest. Then, head to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat to spot the vibrant native birds in the canopy walk (and even feed them when on the ground!).
Finally, why not try a lamington — an Aussie dessert staple made from sponge cake, chocolate and coconut while in Brisbane?
11 – Have wine and cheese at Mt Tamborine
If you’re a foodie, add this to your list of things to do in Brisbane!
Spend all day being driven through the beautiful Mt Tamborine for a full-day tour as you stroll through and sample the local boutique wineries. On top of that, there are spirits, cheese, nuts and fudge (*drools*).
Thanks to the chauffeured bus, there’s no need to worry about who’ll be the designated driver.
12 – Stay overnight at Fraser Island
Fraser Island is a slice of heaven and you’ll want at least two days to take full advantage.
Fill your camera reel with wild kangaroos at Cooloola National Park, the orange Yidney Dripping Rocks and the fateful Maheno Shipwreck; hike through the nearby jungle and take an all-terrain vehicle down 75 Mile Beach, and then cap it all off with a well-earned swim in Lake Birrabeen.
13 – Chow down with a filling lunch on the Brisbane River…
Hop on a boat reminiscent of the old Mississippi timber paddle boats and set sail past some glorious views of the cityscape — keep an eye out for Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park and the Channel Seven Wheel.
The friendly guides are always happy to talk about Brisbane’s remarkable history, all while you’re sitting down for a buffet lunch (with dessert and a bar). On weekends, enjoy the live music on board too.
14 – … Or dig into a hearty dinner on the Brisbane River!
Ride the steam paddle boat like the vessels of the old Mississippi and admire the city bathed in neon and colored lights — as you’ll see, the cityscape is tranquil by day but steps up a notch at night.
The buffet dinner will wait for you on board with drinks and live entertainment included as you glide through Brisbane for a night you will surely never forget.
15 – Take a kayak tour of Brisbane
No matter your skill level, taking a guided kayak tour of Brisbane is bound to leave your eyes opened and your arms just a little sore.
With daytime and nighttime sessions available, there’s no bad time to explore the city’s waters — by day, try your kayak soccer and basketball skills; by night, just bask in the lights and sounds of Brisbane: the River City.
16 – Indulge in high tea at Customs House
The heritage-listed and sublime Victorian-era Customs House maintains its elegance in central Brisbane and offers the best high tea experience in the land.
Explore the grandiose building before sitting down to premium champagne, finger sandwiches, delightful canapes, handcrafted desserts, and organic tea.
17 – Watch for dolphins at Moreton Island
If Moreton Island’s soft white sands, sea-life, and shipwreck snorkeling aren’t enough, Moreton Bay Marine Park is a playground for bottlenose dolphins, dugongs, loggerhead turtles and even humpback whales in the winter!
Spotting wild dolphins is always amazing; spotting them from your window during an exotic lunch — we’ll that’s just unforgettable.
18 – Soar over Brisbane in a hot-air balloon at sunrise
Queensland is Australia’s Sunshine State, so catching this sunrise is an absolute must. As the sun gleams across, float over tranquil countryside and city streets including the tantalizing Ipswich Historic District.
While the unbelievable and dynamic aerial views are incredible (to say the least), the fact that guests are treated to a sparkling wine breakfast upon landing makes it all the more memorable.
19 – Cheer on the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium
Queenslanders love their rugby, meaning that the 52,000-seat Suncorp Stadium is a roaring colosseum whenever the home side is on show. Any match is worth attending, but keep an eye out for the State of Origin, a yearly fixture where Queensland and New South Wales fight out a bitter rivalry.
Outside of regular matches, why not tour the stadium to learn how it started life as a cemetery before evolving into the city’s heartbeat?
20 – Go whale-watching
Nothing can describe the feeling of seeing one of these massive, beautiful creatures up close. In the Australian winter, humpbacks find their way up to Brisbane; and hopping on a whale-watching yacht to spy them in their natural habitat is a must-do.
Book your spot on a yacht, bring your cameras, and help yourself to a gourmet lunch onboard!
21 – Do a loop-the-loop in a biplane over Brisbane
Hold on to your hats, people! Ride in an open-cockpit biplane for a one-of-a-kind scenic flight over Brisbane is nothing short of extraordinary.
The exhilarating flight over beaches, streets and countryside will leave you breathless, and if you’re up for some heart-stopping aerial ace acrobatics, pilots love to perform loops and aerobatics with you (almost) in the driver’s seat.
22 – Go scuba diving at Moreton Island
Travelers love the eerie Tangalooma Shipwrecks, so make sure to go snorkeling or scuba diving and explore the deliberately-sunken fleet — these days, the coral and sea-life have made it their delicate and lively home.
If you want to keep your feet dry, there are plenty of land activities like volleyball and croquet, along with white sandy beaches perfect for working on the tan.
23 – Join a cycling tour of Brisbane
Faster than a walk and more intimate with your surroundings than being in a car or a tour bus, a bike is a great way to explore a new town! Cycle past the river, over Story Bridge, and through the artistic Botanical Gardens until you reach the historic Kangaroo Point.
Riders regularly rave about the riverfront — an area lined with noteworthy restaurants.
24 – Try camel milk at Summerland Camels
Did you know Australia has the wildest camels in the world? It’s little wonder then that some Australians have discovered the therapeutic and health benefits of camel milk for both drinks and skincare products.
Learn all about it with a tour of Summerland and say hi to their camels too. On top of the camel milk, there’s also plenty of boutique wines to sample and a scrumptious lunch to enjoy.
25 – Go surfing on the coast
Australians from all over come to Queensland for the great surf. For beginners, Bribie Island Surf School at Woorim Beach does lessons and the waves don’t get much higher than 3 feet.
However, you can step it up a notch at Cylinder and Main Beach on North and South Stradbroke Island, or if you want a quicker fix, hang 10 at the popular Main Beach on the Gold Coast.
26 – Indoor skydive over the virtual Swiss Alps at iFLY Brisbane
Put on your VR goggles and change the channel to the Swiss Alps, Hawaii, Dubai or California as you experience a heart-in-mouth 60-second freefall equivalent to a 12,000-foot skydive.
The adrenaline will course through your veins as you try to control your body while suspended in mid-air. You’ll feel like you’re flying, or at least falling with style in this truly intoxicating experience.
27 – Take a day trip to the Gold Coast
Fancy a day trip? The Gold Coast is a stone’s throw from Brisbane and offers plenty of entertainment along with golden beaches for a day trip or a weekend.
Drive, train or bus to the coast so you can put your feet up, party the night away, explore the theme parks, or have some retail therapy! Make sure to catch a sunset and some waves too.
28 – Drive a real tank at Tank Ride
Make your way to scenic Tamborine and find Tank Ride, home to a myriad of experiences: travelers love riding around in the open-roof six-wheel Gamma Goat armored personnel carrier, as well as the heavy-duty Vietnam War-era Centurion Gun Tank Ride.
For something that little bit extra, get behind the wheel of the 52-ton Centurion or the zippier Supacat 6*6.
29 – Sip local beers on a brewery tour
Aussies and beer go together like Americans and apple pie. As more microbreweries pop up, so do the smorgasbord of delicious and inventive beers.
Take a brewery tour to uncover some interesting breweries, as well as the chance to sample some classic Queensland XXXX (a staple at all local pubs).
Enjoy a hearty lunch at the breweries, keep the beers flowing, and see where the evening takes you!
30 – Watch the Spirits of the Red Sand
This unprecedented roving theatre takes you through 60,000 years of Indigenous Aboriginal history into a 19th-century Australian village where Indigenous history collided with British settlement.
All your senses will be delighted with traditional song and dance, stunning visuals and a three-course dinner with crocodile, kangaroo, and emu! Once the show’s done, the cast and crew often stay behind for friendly meet and greets!
31 – Sample all the local goodies on a foodie tour
Queensland cuisine goes wider than the humble lamington! Discover the full gamut with a four-course Sunshine Coast foodie tour with a different dish and drink at each of the four picturesque stops along the fan-favorite route.
There are additional stops at beautiful parts of the Sunshine Coast, but little beats the Glass House Mountains National Park.
32 – Scream as loud as you can on the DC Rivals HyperCoaster at Warner Bros Movie World
With almost a mile of track and top speeds of over 470mph, DC Rivals is officially the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest, longest, and fastest HyperCoaster — a surefire ride to thrill you to universal proportions.
Discover more galactic thrills at the Green Lantern Coaster and Superman Escape, or sit in the Batmobile and watch the Hollywood Stunt Driver show. There is plenty of excitement for all ages!
33 – Meet dolphins and penguins at Sea World
Along with some rides and plenty of spots to splash, Sea World boasts incredible opportunities to interact with animals.
Don’t see the penguins from behind glass; put on a beanie and step onto the ice to get up close and personal with them instead! Then, change your beanie for budgie smugglers and swim with the dolphins as they perform tricks.
Behind the glass, there are also polar bears and sharks to ogle at.
34 – Get sucked into the Black Hole at Wet’n’Wild
Headlined by the vertical drop of the Aqualoop and the catapulting SkyCoaster, Wet’n’Wild offers a huge collection of adrenaline-fuelled water slides and coasters, plus places to relax in the water and cool down.
Don’t miss the Black Hole either: a unique slide that twists and turns and drops, all without even a speck of natural light.
35 – Experience The Claw at Dreamworld
This theme park has everything so you can tick off a lot of things to do in Brisbane. Family-friendly and kids’ rides? Check. Whitewater slides? Check. Wildlife park with tigers and koalas? Check. Thrill rides? Double-check.
Thrill-seeking travelers can’t get enough of the Claw, a spine-tingling ride that rockets you from side to side at speeds of up to 64 km/h!
36 – Take the Treetop Challenge at Mt Tamborine
What’s the best way to explore 9 acres of bushland? From the treetops, of course! With high-ropes and wires, suspended bridges, skyfall jumps, and swimming, this outdoor adventure course offers uncapped beauty and excitement. Add on the Canyon Flyer Zipline Tour to glide 230-feet over a canyon and feel like Tarzan!
With over 120 different challenges varying in difficulty, there’s something for all skill levels.
37 – Feed the colorful lorikeets at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
If you’re an animal lover, add this to your list of things to do in Brisbane. The 27-hectare Sanctuary hosts Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, dingoes, emus, echidnas, and so much more.
While you’re there, why not help feed the lorikeets? With dozens of stunning colorful birds flocking around you, it’ll feel like a scene from Snow White.
38 – Ride the Supertubes HydroCoaster at WhiteWater World
Nestled in the Dreamworld theme park, WhiteWater World has a great mix of places to cool off from the harsh Queensland sun and rides to rock your socks off.
The Wedgie HydroCoaster sports a fun vertical drop, as well as featuring a combination of open-air and enclosed sections. Grab your friends and take the plunge!
39 – Farm sheep and mine opals at Paradise Country
Farms have always been a huge part of Australia and Paradise Country captures that Aussie tradition to a tee. Meet some local possums and marmoset monkeys, ride a tractor, and then watch animal shows featuring sheepdogs, sheep-shearing and stock horses.
For a souvenir, try your luck panning for gold or mining for opals like the prospectors of old.
40 – Brush up on your Aussie slang at Aussie World
G’day! Get around Aussie World, the uniquely Aussie theme park where you’ll find bumper cars in the Rev Shed. You’ll get used to the lingo and by the end of the day; we promise you’ll know your cozzies from your mozzies (your swimming costumes from your mosquitoes).
Don’t miss out on Professor Bogglesworth’s Illusionarium — a place guaranteed to boggle the mind and take on a multiverse adventure.
41 – Mine for treasure at ThunderBird Park
Calling themselves ‘the Rainforest Playground’, ThunderBird Park is full of activities from high-ropes and flying foxes to pickleball and an onsite restaurant.
However, the highlight for many travelers is the ability to discover treasures amongst prehistoric volcanic lava in the Thunderegg Mine, the largest mine of its kind in the world!
Visitors can also pan for crystals in the river before taking home what they find.
42 – Hit a (mini) hole-in-one at Victoria Park
Holey moley! Next to a full-sized golf course and a driving range lies a challenging but stunning putt-putt mini-golf that adults will love too.
The course offers panoramic views of the Brisbane CBD and includes sand bunkers, water traps, and obstacles such as swinging poles.
You won’t mind taking your time on the course — the venue is licensed to serve a drink with these views.
43 – Keep your torch off at the Glow Worm Caves
The Mt Tamborine Glow Worms Caves have become a hugely popular destination for locals and tourists to visit, providing nature’s Christmas lights all year round. In a pitch-dark cave, thousands of creatures illuminate the cave and captivate audiences with their beauty.
The guide will go over the fascinating life cycle, behavior and threats to these enchanting animals.
44 – Walk the Mount Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens
Find the Tropical Dome to meet some local plants and wildlife, then absorb the tranquillity of the Japanese Garden and its lake (complete with lily pads).
Find the Bonsai House and African glade, then when you’re done with the gardens, climb to the summit of Mount Coot-Tha for the best view Brisbane has to offer! There’s that perfect photo you were after.
45 – Have a feast at Eat Street Northshore
The 100 shipping containers at the Northshore now sell food, drinks and gifts; include entertainment stages for live music, and host an outdoor cinema!
With the lights, smells, tastes and sounds of the venue, it will be a feast for all the senses from Friday night to Sunday night every week.
Make your own candle, sample a local beverage, and choose from any number of cuisines to eat.
46 – Browse modern and Indigenous art at the Gallery of Modern Art
QAGOMA is an eclectic and interactive art gallery full of the dynamic colors of Indigenous Art, rising Australian artists, and plenty of traveling exhibits showcasing everything from Marvel Cinematic Universe costumes and props to Ai Weiwei and art around motorcycles.
The gallery will open and delight your eyes, showing off some of the culture Brisbane has to offer.
47 – Walk amongst dinosaurs and war machines at Queensland Museum
Museum fans, consider the Queensland Museum one of the essential things to see in Brisbane! The galleries house a wide array of interactive exhibits, spanning the grueling experience of Australian diggers in WWI to a dinosaur garden with a full-sized T-rex and Triceratops.
While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to see native animals up close at the Discovery Center, and make sure to check out the rotating exhibition calendar (previously housing themes such as weddings, textiles, and sea life).
48 – Go on a helicopter country-pub crawl
Gone are the days of country pubs only offering weak ale and frozen pizzas. Country pubs are a popular watering hole and dining spot for locals. Dazzle your tastebuds with trendy dishes and craft beers at four of the best country pubs around Brisbane.
And forget getting chaperoned by a bus or a limousine, you’ll quickly see a helicopter is the only way to transit!
49 – Shop the day away at Queen Street Mall
This open-air pedestrian mall has over 700 stores and hosts over 1000 events every year, so you’re guaranteed to find something exciting!
It’s a vibrant hub of activity where two historical arcades meet modern designer shops and entertainment venues, flanked by restaurants, bars, cafes, day spas, hotels and Brisbane’s casino.
50 – Watch a show at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre
The focal point of Brisbane’s Cultural Centre, QPAC’s stages host every kind of show from hit Broadway musicals to cabarets, ballets, and concerts.
Take note of Robin Gibson’s architecture before you step in, then be captivated by the elegance of the interior — in particular, the bright lights of the Concert Hall where (if you’re lucky) you’ll find the renowned Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra.
51 – Take a trip through time at the Museum of Brisbane
Inside the refined and iconic Brisbane City Hall, the Museum of Brisbane presents Brisbane’s history, spanning Indigenous inhabitation to being European settlement, and its time as a penal colony.
The insights into the natural floods and disasters which plagued its upbringing are intriguing, likewise the story of hosting the Commonwealth Games.
Take a tour of the City Hall and Clock Tower while you’re there.
52 – Ride the Channel Seven Wheel of Brisbane
If you want 360-degree views of Brisbane from almost 200 feet above the ground, head to the Channel Seven Wheel. Enjoy the air-conditioned gondola and check out Sky High Picnics — a delightful blend of great food, fine wine, and stellar views over the city.
The wheel is best ridden at both daytime and nighttime, each showcasing the city in a different but spectacular light.
53 – Stargaze at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Visit the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, recline your chair and watch the 40-foot widescreen in the Cosmic Skydome, before being guided through Brisbane’s night sky and told which planets, stars and asteroids to look out for.
Explore the Display Zone with fragments of asteroids and a replica of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, then grab a selfie with a statue of Mr Brisbane himself!
54 – Satisfy your curiosity at SparkLab, ScienCentre
A highlight of family-friendly things to do in Brisbane, SparkLab is designed to engage the senses and get kids interested in science through interactive and informative experiences.
Youngsters are regularly inspired by the exhibits, some of which include activities where they can invent musical instruments, help scientists mix chemicals, and see what happens to a marshmallow in outer space.
55 – Try award-winning beer at Green Beacon Brewery
Green Beacon Brewery makes everything from rosé sour beer to oat cream ales, so it’s best to find a tasting paddle and try a little of everything on offer.
If you want to learn more about the beer and the story behind it, take a brewery tour on a Monday night — otherwise, just enjoy the laid-back atmosphere!
56 – Watch a cricket or Australian Football match at the Gabba
Occasionally nicknamed ‘the Gabbatoir’, this 42,000-seat stadium was first used (and remains) as a cricket ground where the national team usually play every summer.
During the winter, the local Brisbane Lions play in the Australian Football League (AFL). Buy a ticket to either and simply cheer for the home team!
No trip would be complete without a stadium tour of its over-100 year history.
57 – Go fishing at Shorncliffe Pier
This pier, built in 1872, is still popular with joggers and fishermen. Head there early enough to witness the sunrise before casting off to catch some delicious whiting, bream, flathead, tailor, or garfish.
If you don’t catch a fish but can’t come home empty-handed, find the fish market at nearby Sinbad Street.
58 – Play golf with the sharks
There are some truly stunning golf courses around Brisbane! Brookwater, designed by Greg ‘the Shark’ Norman, is surrounded by quiet bushland. Not to be underestimated, however, is the Brisbane Golf Club, a famous course that’s hosted the prestigious Queensland Open 21 times.
59 – Go abseiling at Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Looking out over the Brisbane skyline across the meandering river, the edge of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs is a stunning vantage point.
Snap that amazing photo, then step over the edge for the 65-foot descent down the rock face where the thrills of abseiling meet the panoramic views of Brisbane for an unmissable experience.
60 – Dance the night away at a rooftop bar
Rooftop bars in a city with great views is a surefire hit for travelers and locals alike. Sixteen Antlers is laid back; Elixir is an oasis of tranquillity in a busy area; The Fox’s ‘adult rooftop playground’ is an energetic spot to dance, and MAYA is renowned for its artisanal tequila — wherever you go, a great night awaits.
61 – Enjoy the Australia Outback Spectacular show
The Outback is still the centerpiece of Australia, and this show takes the mythologies and the lore of the big red desert and puts it into a mesmerizing performance featuring live animals and a captivating story of two battling Aussie farmers.
The show includes a three-course dinner and a traditional stockman’s hat to take home.
62 – See a show at Brisbane Powerhouse
What was once a power station is now a cultural hub on the Brisbane River. The Powerhouse offers tours of the formerly shabby building, complete with heritage-listed street art and even some ghost stories.
There is also a twilight cruise stopping at the Powerhouse, but the shows — ranging from comedy to magic to burlesque and more — are the undisputed highlight.
63 – Swim at Streets Beach
Brisbane couldn’t bring itself to the beach, so it brought the beach to Brisbane! Walk along the Brisbane River until you find the crystal blue lagoon with white sand and plants.
The beach may be artificial, but the vibes are very real! After you swim, look out for nearby pop-up markets, eateries, and bars to complete your beach experience.