50 Incredible Things To Do In Brisbane

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Brisbane is a beautiful river city with national parks and beaches at its doorstep. Named after the Governor of NSW (Thomas Brisbane), it became a settlement in 1823 and is now Australia’s third-largest city with a population of around 2.4 million. As the Brisbane River runs through the central district, many of the best things to do in Brisbane involve the river and attractions along the river’s banks.

Things are happening so rapidly in Brisbane these days, and sleek new entertainment precincts, cafes, bars and shops have been popping up everywhere.

Here are some excellent places to visit in Brisbane as well as the best things to do in Brisbane at night too. The good news? You don’t need to rob a bank to enjoy the Queensland capital as there are many free things to do in Brisbane.

Three facts about Brisbane:

  • Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia
  • Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games
  • Brisbane is geographically the closest capital to Asia on Australia’s eastern seaboard


50 Things To Do in Brisbane (Night and Day)

Best Things To Do In Brisbane For Your First Visit

1- Explore South Bank

what to do in brisbane aerial view of South Bank pool
Wondering what to do in Brisbane? This aerial view of the lagoon in South Bank might entice you.

With a picturesque riverfront promenade and the only beach in the heart of an Australian city, South Bank is one of Australia’s most creatively designed riverside precincts.

The former coal port and site of Expo ’88 is now a beautifully landscaped urban park with parklands, rainforest walks, winding pathways and a manmade beach lagoon as big as five Olympic-sized pools.


You’ll find yourself wandering past outdoor cafes, bubbling water features and colourful markets each weekend.

Cycle around South Bank
couple enjoying brisbane activities on citycycle
One of the fun ways to enjoy several Brisbane activities is to hire a bike from CityCycle.

The 450 m Goodwill Bridge connects South Bank to the Botanic Gardens and cycling across it is a fun way to enjoy being outdoors in Brisbane.

For a few dollars, you can save your feet and hire a bike with the convenience of being able to return it at any CityCycle station.

Brisbane’s bike hire program CityCycle offers bicycle rental at South Bank, the Maritime Museum, Grey Street and at QPAC.

You can return your bike at any CityCycle station.

2- Cruise the Brisbane River

brisbane citycat
The Brisbane CityCat is a great way to get around.

Grab a Go Card as it will make it easier to hop on and off the fast, sleek City Cat ferry to explore many of Brisbane’s attractions.

Start at North Quay, a city stop which is a short walk into Queen Street Mall and the heart of Brisbane’s shopping area.

Eagle Street Pier is home to the Sunday Craft Market, popular with the locals and the Sydney Street stop is a short stroll to the cafes in New Farm.

There are also other organised cruise options such as the Kookaburra Showboat Cruises (lunch, dinner and high tea) or the Mirimar Wildlife Cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

3- Climb the Story Bridge

brisbane at night
You can climb the Story Bridge day and night. Brisbane at night takes on a magical quality.

Brisbane’s Story Bridge is held together by 1.25 million small metal bolts, and although it’s 50 m shorter than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it’s the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.

The 282 m bridge is a twin of Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge and one of the Australian landmarks to see. 

It opened to traffic on 6 July 1940 and was designed by the engineer who designed the Sydney Harbour Dr John Bradfield.

Besides driving across the bridge, an exciting way to experience the Story Bridge is to choose from the list of adventure climbs.

Story Bridge Adventure Climb has dawn, day and twilight climbs as well as New Year’s Eve experiences where you can watch the fireworks and toast the new year from the top of the bridge. Find out more about the bridge climbs here.  

4- Shop in Queen Street Mall

25 million people wander around the 700-plus shops of Queen Street Mall each year, so a visit to Brisbane isn’t complete without strolling down Queen Street Mall.

Wear walking shoes and expect to give your credit card a good workout, as Queen Street Mall is a paradise for shoppers.

You’ll find everything from high-end brands like Louis Vuitton, Paspaley Pearls and Tiffany & Co here to discount fashion stores and malls like QueensPlaza, Wintergarden and The Myer Centre.

Other shopping malls to visit nearby are the Brisbane Arcade, Rowes Arcade, Tattersall’s Arcade and not far from Queen Street Mall, there’s Jamie Oliver’s Jamies Italian.

Compare hotel prices here.

5- Get Close To Australian Animals at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

things to do in brisbane with kids
If you’re looking for things to do in Brisbane with kids, put the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at the top of your list.

See koalas, kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, platypus and Tasmanian devils at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is a 15-minute drive from Brisbane’s CBD.

The sanctuary houses over 70 species of native Australian wildlife and has been a refuge for sick and injured animals since 1927.

More than just a zoo, the team at the sanctuary is focused on education and up-close experiences, such as cuddling a koala and feeding the kangaroos.

Wildlife lovers will want to tick this attraction off the list and visiting the sanctuary is also one of the things to do in Brisbane the kids will love.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is at 78 Musgrave Road, Fig Tree Pocket, Brisbane, and is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. 

6- Relive War History in Fort Lytton

brisbane attractions fort lytton
Fort Lytton is one of the Brisbane attractions for those who love war history.

Fort Lytton was Brisbane’s main defence facility from the colonial era until after WW2 and continued to function as Queensland’s main military centre well into the 20th century.

During its heyday in the 1880s, the fort had up-to-date defence technology, including the ability to control a minefield across the Brisbane River electronically, an electrically-operated searchlight and electricity generating station.

The fort supported an infantry, field artillery, radar station and high-tech garrison artillery, such as disappearing guns that could penetrate up to 30cm (12 inches) of steel.

During the second world war, Fort Lytton was the base for over 80 US submarines.

It operated a defence system that could detect surface vessels and submerged submarines.
These days, you can explore colonial buildings and tunnels.

The Fort Lytton Historical Museum has impressive exhibits of over 2000 items, including original guns and cannons.

Fort Lytton is in Lytton, 14 km from Brisbane on the southern bank of the river. Admission and parking are free from 10 am to 4 pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.

7- Watch A Match At Suncorp Stadium

The 52,500 seat Suncorp Stadium is the home of the Brisbane Broncos and one of the main venues in Australia for Rugby League, State of Origin games and International Test Matches.

It also hosts soccer matches such as the Brisbane Roar home games in the Hyundai A-League and World Cup qualifying matches featuring the Socceroos.

Join a tour of the stadium on Thursdays at 10.30 am at the Wally Lewis Statue in the Northern Plaza, catch a concert or get tickets to a match.

Here’s a programme of matches and events.

8- Indoor Sky Diving

Get an adrenalin rush while flying in a safe environment at iFLY Brisbane Indoor Skydiving Centre.

You’ll discover what it’s like to go sky diving without actually jumping out of an airplane.

Kit up in a flight suit, helmet and goggles and experience flying alongside an iFLY skydive instructor in an indoor glass wind tunnel.

iFly Indoor Sky Diving is at Gympie Rd and Hamilton Rd, Chermside, Brisbane.

9- Float In A Hot Air Balloon

Brisbane hot air balloon
Floating in a hot air balloon is one of the things to do in Brisbane.

Enjoy stunning views of the Scenic Rim and Brisbane’s skyline while floating in a hot air balloon.

The bird’ s-eye view of Brisbane and its surrounding areas is something you’ll always remember.

As the weather in Brisbane is fabulous, there’s a good chance you’ll get some excellent photos too.

Hot Air Balloon flights leave from Ipswich (31km from Brisbane’s CBD) and are a four-hour experience, which usually includes breakfast.

10- Eat Dumplings in Sunnybank

things to do brisbane australia
If you’re staying in the city, Chinatown is one of the Brisbane attractions but Sunnybank is more authentic.

In recent years, the suburb of Sunnybank has become a hub for Asian culture, making it the place to go for authentic Asian cheap eats, Yum Cha and to shop for Asian groceries.

Wander around Sunnybank and check out the Asian bakeries, herbalists, grocery and tea shops.

Chinatown in Fortitude Valley also has Chinese supermarkets, Yum Cha breakfasts and grocery shops.

Chinese New Year is a fantastic time to visit either Brisbane’s Chinatown or Sunnybank for its vibrant atmosphere, dragon and lion dances, firecrackers and other cultural performances.

11- Drink Beer In A Historic Pub

brisbane-attractions - Regatta Hotel
Going on a historic pub crawl is one of the fantastic things to do in Brisbane

Drink beer, eat steak and look for pub ghosts in Brisbane’s historic pubs.

These days, many of the city’s pubs have been modernised and are some can be considered gastropubs serving excellent craft beer and good food.

Until 1970, when section 59A of the Liquor Act was repealed, women were allowed to drink in beer gardens and ladies’ lounges but not in Queensland’s public bars.

You could easily spend several hours on a pub crawl of Brisbane’s historic bars, such as:

Breakfast Creek Hotel (1888)

Breakfast Creek Hotel is a grand French Renaissance-style hotel and a Brisbane icon famous for its Spanish Steakhouse that has been serving steaks since 1968 and tropical beer garden, which still serves beer out of wooden kegs.

Breakfast Creek Hotel is at Breakfast Creek Hotel, 2 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton, Brisbane.

Story Bridge Hotel (1886)

Originally the Kangaroo Point Hotel, this hotel was re-named The Story Bridge hotel in 1940 to mark the building of the Story Bridge.

The Story Bridge Hotel is at 200 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

Lord Alfred Hotel (1860’s)

The Lord Alfred Hotel is a grand old pub with three levels of eating, drinking and entertaining spaces.

The Regatta Hotel (the 1880s)

19th-century architect Richard Gailey designed the eye-catching 1880’s Regatta Hotel with its lace iron wraparound verandahs.

In 1965, two women chained themselves to the downstairs bar to protest against the exclusion of women from public bars.

The Regatta Hotel is at 543 Coronation Drive, Toowong, Brisbane.

12- Shop at a Brisbane Market

woman with shopping basket in a market where to go in brisbane
Wondering where to go in Brisbane for shopping? Try the local markets.

Brisbane’s lovely weather provides the perfect environment for wandering around the city’s many markets and it doesn’t matter where you’re staying, you’ll find a market close to you.

Popular markets are the Brisbane Markets, Jan Powers Farmers Markets and the Gasworks Market housed in the heritage-listed Gasworks now a vibrant boutique artisan market with an assortment of stalls, artisan workshops and live music.

Looking for somewhere to hang out on a Friday night?

The Collective Markets in South Bank is open until 10 pm and has a variety of items for sale, from unique handmade crafts to home decorations and fashion.

The street food is pretty good too and the Young Designers Markets is on the first Sunday of every month.

Spend a lazy Sunday wandering around the Riverside Markets, which is one of Brisbane’s oldest markets.

13- Abseil Kangaroo Point

things to do on brisbane abseilling
Abseiling Kangaroo Point is one of the fun things to do in Brisbane.

Adventure seekers will love abseiling down the Kangaroo Point cliffs, which are heritage listed even though they were formed through convict mining activities and are not entirely natural.

In 1829, the cliffs were a quarry from which volcanic rock and stone (known as the Brisbane Tuff) were transported along the river to use to build buildings, sea walls and in road works.

The Brisbane Tuff, a green and pink-tinged rock, were used to build the heritage-listed Old Windmill and Commissariat Store.

The scenery from Kangaroo Point of Brisbane’s skyline and the activity on the Brisbane River is impressive.

Abseiling at Kangaroo Point is a fun activity for families (children aged eight and above) too.

14- Explore St Helena Island

best things to do in brisbane for history lovers is to visit St Helena Island
One of the best things to do in Brisbane for history lovers is to visit St Helena Island.

Discover the secrets of Queensland’s colonial history on a tour of the ruins of St Helena Island.

For over 60 years, St Helena was Queensland’s Alcatraz, and in 1867, it became a maximum-security prison for men once known as the “hell hole of the South Pacific”.

The St Helena Theatre Troupe brings the island’s history to life through entertaining re-enactments during the day tours, and the island has a spooky atmosphere during the night theatre.

St Helena National Park is 5 km from the mouth of the Brisbane River in Moreton Bay.
and about 8km north-east of Manly.

15- Kayak The Brisbane River

Kayaking the Brisbane River is an adventurous way to see the city’s landmarks from an entirely different angle.

It’s also a great way to experience river life and get some exercise after a long trip.

Paddle under the Story Bridge past South Bank and learn more about the Queensland capital from a local.

Book your Brisbane kayaking tour here

Free Things To Do In Brisbane

things do brisbane - couple admiring the view at sunset
One of the romantic things to do in Brisbane is to go on a picnic and admire the view at sunset.

16- Discover the Secrets of Brisbane Town Hall

The heritage-listed City Hall building was constructed between 1920 and 1930.

After a $215 million restoration, the beautiful architecture of the building has been lovingly restored.

Admire the marble staircases, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and mosaic-tiled floor and visit the Main Auditorium, see Father Henry Willis Organ and explore the Clock Tower on a guided tour.

Brisbane City Hall’s revamped Museum of Brisbane is the place to go to understand Brisbane’s history, and it also has an exhibition about the Brisbane River.

The Museum of Brisbane is at Level 3, City Hall, Brisbane. Entry to the museum is free, and it’s open from 10 am to 5 pm daily except for Friday when it closes at 7 pm.

17- Relax in Roma Street Parkland

free things to do in brisbane roma street
One of the free things to do in Brisbane is to explore Roma Street Parklands.

A paradise in the centre of a growing city and the world’s most extensive urban subtropical garden, Roma Street Parkland shows off an assortment of plants.

The 16 ha public garden is also home to 26 pieces of art and the Moonlight Cinema (until 29 March 2020).

Wander along the Forest Walk over cascading waterfalls and around steep hills to the colourful ever-changing display of annuals in the Spectacle Garden.

Camellias and Azaleas, Native Violets, Bird of Paradise, Gymea lilies, Bangkok Roses are currently in season.

Themed gardens include the Topiary Maze Garden, Lilly Pilly Garden, a wall of Epiphytes and an extensive collection of herbs.

Pack a picnic and enjoy the sun or grab a bite at The Garden Room café, which serves food made with local produce such as honey from the parkland’s beehives.

Guided tours are available from the Roma Street Parkland Information Booth in The Hub at 11 am and 1 pm every day.

Roma Street Parklands is at 1 Parkland Boulevard, Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane.

18- Enjoy the view of Brisbane from Mt Coot-tha

view of brisbane's skyscrapers from Mt Coo-tha
Can’t decide what to do in Brisbane today? Head to Mt Cootha for the view.

Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, which have towers that are open to the public right in the CBDs, the best view of Brisbane is from the observation deck at Mt Coot-tha, which is a 15-minute drive from the city centre.

The lookout is well-planned with reading guides to the city, a wishing waterfall and beautifully manicured gardens that blend into the surrounding bushland.

The Summit Restaurant and Bar is a popular lunch spot (here are more cafes in Brisbane) which serves up contemporary Australian cuisine and terrific views.

After lunch, take the Aboriginal Art Trail, a 45-minute return walk, down to Slaughter’s Falls past Aboriginal contemporary paintings, tree carvings and rock paintings.

19- Picnic in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens

free things to do brisbane botanic gardens
Another of the most popular free things to do in Brisbane is to explore the Botanic Gardens.

At the foot of Mt Cooth-tha, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is home of the world’s largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees.

Wander around the Japanese garden, fragrant garden, bamboo grove and arid zone. There are waterfalls, a tropical dome and children’s playground here too.

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are free to enter and free guided tours are available from Monday to Saturday (11 am and 1 pm). They open from 8 am to 6 pm (September to March), and 8 am to 5 pm (April to August).

20- Set Eyes On Brisbane’s Oldest Building

brisbane windmill
The Brisbane windmill is the oldest building and laying eyes on it is one of the must-do Brisbane activities.

Built in the 1820s by convicts, the Historic Windmill in Spring Hill is Brisbane’s oldest building and the oldest windmill in Australia.

The windmill is a legacy of Brisbane’s convict days when convict labour kept the windmill turning.

As punishment, the convicts wore 8kg leg irons while working for 14 hours in the hot Queensland sun.

In 1861, the mill was a signal station, and from 1866 to 1894, it had a clock with a time gun that marked the time at 1 pm every day.

In 1894, a copper time ball was dropped at 1 pm every day and continued to operate until the 1950s.

The earliest TV signals in Australia were transmitted from the windmill in 1934.

Inside are five floors and a hexagonal staircase winds around a pole to the observation deck.

The Old Windmill is at 226 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane.

21- Sunbake on Streets Beach

South Bank pool is one of the things to do for free in brisbane
One of the iconic things to do for free in Brisbane is to swim in the South Bank pool.

That Brisbane is a river city with no natural beaches has not deterred its sun-loving residents from enjoying the sand and sunshine.

Streets Beach opens up into a manmade lagoon which is patrolled seven days a week by professional lifeguards.

On weekends, people gather at the beach to swim, sunbake and take part in one of the many sponsored competitions.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Brisbane, South Bank is a pretty safe bet.

22- Visit the Queensland Cultural Centre

things to do at night in brisbane
There are plenty of things to do at night in Brisbane.

You could spend an entire day on its own just wandering around the Queensland Cultural Centre exploring the Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum and State Library.

In one day, you can explore family history, learn about dinosaurs and admire Australian art, all for free.

Check the programme of events at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) here.

If you’re planning on exploring this precinct thoroughly, take a tip and book a hotel in South Bank.

Compare prices for hotels in Brisbane here.

23- Ride The Brisbane CityHopper

As a river city, journeying on the water is the top way to get around, and the Brisbane City Council operates 21 CityCats and nine ferries across 25 terminals from St Lucia to Hamilton.

The free CityHopper is an inner-city Brisbane River hop on and hop off service running from 6 am to midnight.

The free ferry is a great way to get your bearings and to travel between the CBD, South Bank, Kangaroo Point and New Farm. See the timetable on TransLink’s website. 

24- Ride The Brisbane City Loop

Brisbane’s free public buses operate every 10 minutes during weekdays from the red bus stops.

Bus 40 travels in a loop from the Queensland University of Technology, Government Precinct, Queen St Mall, City Hall, Central Station, Wharf St, Riverside, Eagle St Pier, Stamford Plaza, Botanic Gardens and back to QUT.

Bus 50 also stops at all the places above travelling in the reverse direction.

25- Go Bushwalking in the D’Aguilar National Park

romantic things to do in brisbane - couple at mt nebo
Another romantic thing to do in Brisbane is to hike Mount Nebo.

D’Aguilar National Park is a stunning natural region of gorges, subtropical rainforest and eucalypt woodland, with stunning views to Moreton Bay.

There are picnic areas, walking tracks, lookouts and streams with unusual species such as giant barred frogs and spiny crayfish.

It’s a fantastic place to spot bowerbirds, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, wompoo fruit-doves and owls.

550 m above sea level, Mount Nebo is a 45-minute drive from the centre of Brisbane, and Mount Glorius is a little higher and a bit further away.

Things to do in Brisbane At Night

26- Watch A Show

shows in brisbane
Wondering what’s on in Brisbane this weekend? Check out the Brisbane cultural precinct.

Also in South Bank, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre Company offer a changing menu of live performances.

Book your tickets to see a ballet, concert or show at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). International ballet companies and orchestras often perform here.

Opera Queensland has a programme of traditional European operas to modern Australian works, such as Bran Nue Dae.

From Shakespeare’s Othello to David Williamson’s Emerald City, the Queensland Theatre Company has an excellent variety of plays.

27- Have a flutter at the Treasury Casino

places to visit in brisbane Treasury Casino
The Treasury Casino is one of the fun places to visit in Brisbane. You never know when you might get lucky!

Try your luck at one of the 80 gaming tables and thousands of slot machines in Brisbane casino’s stately 19th-century sandstone building.

Brisbane’s Treasury building is one of Australia’s grandest heritage buildings and was the seat of power for the Queensland Government Treasury for 70 years.

These days, this stately building houses a casino that is open 24 hours a day and a five-star hotel.

The Treasury Hotel has a programme of events, five restaurants and bars, and is a classic hotel for a weekend of fun in Brisbane.

The Treasury Hotel has a programme of events, five restaurants and bars, and is a classic hotel for a weekend of fun in Brisbane.

28- Hang out at Howard Smith Wharves

Brisbane’s newest and coolest entertainment precinct occupies historic wharves buildings that are a State Heritage Place on the Queensland Heritage Register of the Department of Environment and Science.

Brought back to life using existing materials, such as recycled timber, the 1930s wharves once served the Howard Smith shipping company.

It’s a stunning transformation from a working area to a vibrant riverside entertainment precinct with bars, a brewery, restaurants and an art hotel themed around the works of Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo.

Hanging out at Howard Smith Wharves is fast-becoming a popular thing to do in Brisbane at night and on weekends.

29- Taste A Cornucopia of Delights on Eat Street

Queensland king prawns
Heading to Eat Street for international food is one of the popular things to do in Brisbane today.

Eat your way around the world at Eat Street Northshore, which is Brisbane’s version of the hawker centres popular in Asia.

The international street food centre has over 70 food stalls.

From Shanghainese dumplings to Brazilian bites and paella from Peru, Eat Street demonstrates the multicultural city that Brisbane has become.

There are a big screen and two stages with live entertainment as well as a jazz music lane and street buskers to entertain while you eat.

Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and halal food are also available here.

Eat Street is at 221D Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton, Brisbane. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays (4 pm to 10 pm) and Sundays (12 noon to 8 pm).

30- Party on Caxton Street

brisbane night
Head to Caxton Street for a fun Brisbane night.

Caxton Street (The Cacko) is one of Brisbane’s oldest entertainment destinations and is an ideal spot for a fun night in Brisbane.

A plethora of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and pubs make Caxton Street a Brisbane party precinct to tick off your things to do in Brisbane at night list.

Party on the D-floor (Friday and Saturday nights) at the Caxton Hotel, which is Brisbane’s oldest licensed premises (1884).

31- Party in Fortitude Valley

From Spanish tapas bars and Irish pubs to cocktail bars and nightclubs, Fortitude Valley is the hub of Brisbane’s nightlife.

There’s a fabulous choice of nightspots, from The Beat Megaclub to the intimate The Bowery bar.

Cloudland (Ann Street), is a jaw-dropping entertainment destination with several floors of bars and restaurants, 5000 plants and an iconic bar made from 19,000 crystal balls.

Fortitude Valley also has an underground music culture and the place to spot new talent.

It was the birthplace of bands that went on to gain fame internationally, such as Powderfinger and Savage Garden.

International fashion brand Sass and Bide started at the Valley markets, which is the place to check out up-and-coming fashion, accessories, crafts and homewares designers.

See the most up-to-date prices for hotels in Brisbane.

32- Go On A Brisbane River Dinner Cruise

things to do in brisbane river cruise
Cruising the Brisbane River is one of the top things to do in Brisbane for your first visit.

Tuck into a delicious meal and enjoy live entertainment as you cruise the Brisbane River aboard a paddle wheeler.

Cruise under the Story Bridge, past the Brisbane Wheel in South Bank and the Botanic Gardens is also a fairyland at night.

It’s a great way to see the lights of Brisbane at night.

Kookaburra Showboat Cruises is at 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

33- See The Night Lights On An Electric Bike Tour

Riding an electric bike takes all the hard work out of pedalling, which makes this kind of tour a relaxing way to spend some time after dark.

Of course, you’ll need to know how to ride a bike, but the big plus of exploring with a guide is you won’t need to worry about trying to find scenic spots on your own.

It’s a great way to get to various vantage points around Brisbane after dark and to see the buildings, fountains and trees lit up like a fairyland.

34- Enjoy the Night Theatre on St Helena Island

Exploring St Helena Island during the day is an activity for history lovers but learning about St Helena Island at night is an exciting show.

The St Helena Island night theatre tour lasts for four hours and includes dinner and transport to the island followed by dessert in the St Helena prison.

There’s a bit of walking around the island, and actors bring stories about this gruesome prison to life as you walk around the prison, ruins and cemetery.

35- Tour Fort Lytton at night

Sign up for one of the evening programs at Lytton, which include a theatrical tour and storytelling about the soldiers who fought in Gallipoli and the Western Front.

The lantern tour is a guided tour of the historic fortifications after dark, using lanterns that project lights and sounds, suitable for kids.

It’s a step-through Fort Lytton’s glory days when the fort played a significant role in defending Brisbane.

Brisbane Events

36- Curiocity

20 March to 5 April 2020
brisbane event curiocity
One of the newest Brisbane events is called Curiocity.

Curiocity is a new festival that challenges the imagination with innovation, creativity, science, technology and art.

Festival highlights include the World Science Festival, technology and innovation event (QODE) and interactive installations.

The installations and events happen along the Brisbane River between South Bank and the Brisbane Powerhouse. Check it out here.

37- Royal Queensland Show (Ekka)

August 2020
brisbane events royal queensland show
The top Brisbane event is the Royal Queensland Show.

Queensland’s largest show, the Ekka, has been running since 1876 and attracts 400,000 visitors each year.

Over 10 days, the Royal Queensland Show is a showcase of Queensland’s agricultural roots.

The competitions are a fantastic attraction, from woodchopping to displays of giant vegetables and farm animals such as cattle and chickens.

There’s live entertainment, carnival rides, show bags and food and wine.

The Ekka is at the Brisbane Showgrounds. 

38- Brisbane Street Art Festival

2 May to 17 May 2020

The Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF) is a showcase of creativity and an art event that brings colour to the city.

The two-week Brisbane artistic festival offers mural art, music and theatre along with masterclasses, workshops and exhibitions.

39- Brisbane Art Design

10 to 26 May 2020

Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is a celebration of visual art and design and another great time to visit Brisbane if you’re looking for some colour in the city.

25 places in Brisbane are brightened up with artistic displays including parks, laneways, galleries and studios.

This Brisbane festival is a showcase for Brisbane’s talented artists and designers, with the main exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane.

40- Panyiri Greek Festival

23 and 24 May 2020

You might be surprised to learn that Brisbane has a large population of residents who have Greek heritage.

The Paniyiri Greek Festival is a celebration of everything Greek and is the longest-running Green festival in Australia.

60,000 people attend the events, which include a Greek Village Experience and a programme of Greek dances, music and cooking.

41- Queensland Music Festival


With its home base in Brisbane, the Queensland Music Festival has performances in over 100 places in Queensland.

From massive open-air opera to intimate chamber music, the Queensland Music Festival offers a varied programme of musical activity.

42- Abbey Medieval Festival

11 and 12 July 2020

Winter in Brisbane is a great time to dress up as a Medieval knight or lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

The festival provides a colourful and fun atmosphere that allows everyone to experience the Middle Ages.

Go dressed up as anyone you fancy from 600 to 1600AD in Europe and the Middle East.

The festival has been wowing folks for 30 years, and participants are experts and re-enactments.

Watch knights on horseback jousting and sword fighting, blacksmiths making armour, skilled weavers and potters demonstrating their crafts.

Join in the merriment at the two Medieval Banquets and cheer on the jousters at the Tournament Weekend event. Go here for more. 

Day Trips From Brisbane

43- Go on a Day Trip To Moreton Island

day trips from brisbane
Another of the most popular day trips from Brisbane is visiting Tangalooma Island.

Although the world’s second-largest sand island consists mostly of a national park with expansive white sandy beaches and sparkling freshwater lakes, it does have a few small villages.

You can hire a 4WD on the mainland, catch the ferry across and drive straight to the beach where standard traffic rules (and a 60-kilometre per hour speed limit) apply.

When American heiress Paris Hilton visited Australia, she was spotted feeding the dolphins at Tangalooma Resort.

Tangalooma provides the opportunity to hand feed wild dolphins on the beach, as well as a raft of nature-based activities suitable for families.

Moreton Island is an outdoor island playground offering a raft of adventure activities including snorkelling around the Tangalooma Wrecks, sand tobogganing and four-wheel bike riding along the beach.

Book your Moreton Island tour here

44- See the wildlife at Australia Zoo

Spending the day at Australian Zoo is one of the many things to do on the Sunshine Coast, which is about 100 km north of Brisbane. 

The main stars of Australia Zoo are the saltwater crocodiles, so make sure you catch one of the daily feedings to see brave Steve Irwin look-alikes dangle chicken carcasses to entice the cranky crocs out of the muddy billabongs.

There are other animal shows that feature Asian otters, cuddly koalas, snakes, a giant Galapagos tortoise, elephants and camels.

The Tiger Temple is a Southeast Asian temple replica with an underwater viewing area, home to five tigers.

Book your Australia Zoo tour here

45- Take The Ferry To North Stradbroke Island

The beautiful island is fondly known as “Straddie” is a small sub-tropical island 30 km southeast of Brisbane.

The world’s second-largest sand island is much easier to get to from Brisbane than the more well-known Fraser Island, which is a World Heritage site.

Highlights on North Stradbroke Island include hiring a 4WD to drive on the beach, stretching your legs on the North Gorge Walk, visiting Brown Lake and admiring the stunning ocean view at Point Lookout.

Other activities include sand-boarding, surfing and bike riding.

North Stradbroke Island is a water taxi or ferry ride from Cleveland, which is 30km from the centre of Brisbane.

46- Enjoy music at Woodford Folk Festival

Held over six days and six nights, 2000 Australian and international performers strut their stuff at Australia’s largest folk festival.

With over 400 events (such as concerts, dances, workshops, forums, street theatre, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debates) Woodford devotees often bring their camping gear and camp out in a particular area on the grounds.

There is also an entire children’s festival, art and craft workshops and late-night cabarets.

47- Go Rockclimbing On Mount Barney

brisbane day trips mount barney
Looking for more Brisbane day trips? Try climbing Mount Barney.

Mount Barney National Park has several high peaks and steep trails, so if you’re planning on hiking the 1351 m East Barney Peak without a guide, be prepared for some rock climbing.

Here’s what to expect on the Mount Barney hike.

48- Go Camping at Lake Moogerah

Camping, boating, water and jet skiing are some of the popular activities at Lake Moogerah.

Boating is free, but you need a permit to go fishing.

There are barbecue facilities at Haigh Park, where you can walk across the wall of the Moogerah Dam.

Moogerah Peaks National Park has several scenic hiking trails and volcanic peaks – Mount French, Mount Greville, Mount Moon and Mount Edwards.

Lake Moogerah is 100 km from Brisbane on Reynolds Creek near Boonah, a town in the Scenic Rim that was settled by German and English pioneers in the early 1800s.

49- Hike Mount Mitchell

day trips from brisbane mount mitchell
Looking for day trips from Brisbane? Mount Mitchell is an excellent place to go hiking.

Another mountain to hike nearby is the Mount Mitchell track in the Cunningham’s Gap section of Main Range National Park.

The park has stunning vistas of ranges, with plenty of scenic lookouts spectacular lookouts and local wildlife.

Mount Mitchell’s peak is known as ‘Cooyinnirra’ to the Aboriginal people.

The 3.5-hour return trek passes through rainforest, and open eucalypt forest and the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are worth the effort.

50- Visit a Farm In The Scenic Rim

woman holding a pig at a farm
Another thing to do in Brisbane with kids is to visit a farm.

Watch a sheep shearing demonstration, feed the pigs, chickens, cattle and goats.

There are several farms around Brisbane you can visit on a day trip, but the most picturesque farming country near the capital is the Scenic Rim.

Most farms offer hands-on experiences like milking the cows, feeding the animals and collecting eggs.

Options are Tommerup’s Dairy Farm, which is a working dairy farm in the Kerry Valley, and Cedar Glen Farmstay also has horse riding. 

Looking for more things to do in Queensland? 

For more things to do in Queensland, read:



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Christina Pfeiffer
Christina Pfeiffer is a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia. She has lived in three continents and her career as a travel journalist has taken her to all seven continents. Since 2003, she has contributed travel stories and photographs to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. She has won many travel writing awards and is a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.