Planning a trip to Brisbane? You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun. The good news is there’s plenty to do if you’re on a budget. Skyscanner Australia has pulled together our top ten favourite things you can do in Brisbane that are completely free.
A man made beach in the middle of the city? It’s just crazy enough to work! Streets Beach in South Bank is a glorious, man-made lagoon with picture perfect white sand… and it just happens to be surrounded by skyscrapers.
Lifeguards patrol the beach all year round and it’s the only manmade inner city beach in Australia. The best part? It’s completely free to enter.
As Brisbane’s highest peak at 287 metres above sea level, the Mt Coot-tha lookout offers a stunning panoramic view of Brisbane. You can see the CBD and all the way out to Moreton Bay. If you can brave the early hour, it’s spectacular at sunrise. But if you’re a late sleeper, it’s also beautiful at sunset.
While you’re there, you can check out the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and stroll through 52 hectares of subtropical gardens.
For a scenic ride down the river look no further than the City Hopper. The charming little red vessel travels down the Brisbane river making stops at North Quay, South Bank, the Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside and Sydney Street.
The ferries run every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight, seven days a week.
You can plan your journey by visiting City Hopper Translink website.
Brisbane River Walk
Stretching from New Farm to the CBD, Brisbane’s river walk offers a scenic stroll alongside the most picturesque parts of the Brisbane River. The 870m path is open to both pedestrians and cyclists with designated roadways for each, no collisions here. The walk is best in the morning or late afternoon, as there is limited shade available along the walk.
Brisbane City Hall
Open since 1930, Brisbane’s City Hall is located in the centre of the CBD at King George Square. There are daily guided tours that take in the main auditorium, the Father Henry Willis Organ and the clock tower.
At 92m high with an observation deck at 72m, visitors can be taken up the clock tower in a hand-operated lift. Tours depart every 15 minutes but get there early if you’re visiting during school holidays.
Daisy Hill Koala Centre
If you’ve got a soft spot for koalas, you’ll love seeing them in a natural setting at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre.
Located 25km from Brisbane’s CBD, the centre is home to a number of koalas who can’t be released back into the wild. Viewing platforms allow visitors to see the koalas from two different levels and informative displays teach visitors everything they need to know about koalas, from the koala life cycle to how to keep koalas safe in their own backyard.
Roma Street Parkland
A garden oasis in the heart of the city, Roma Street Parkland is the perfect place to slow down and relax. The subtropical plant displays, rocky peninsulas and ferny groves attract half a million people to the parklands every year. Take a picnic and enjoy the lush surroundings.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Located on the edge of the Brisbane River, Kangaroo Point Cliffs offer stunning views of the city skyline and are a fantastic spot for a picnic or a BBQ. Spend an afternoon wandering around its walking tracks, lounging at the viewing platforms, and taking a break in the shaded pavilions.
The Arbour, South Bank
Get your cameras ready, the Arbour at South Bank is an Instagram lover’s dream. Stretching for 1km through the South Bank Parklands, the whimsical awning is made up of 443 galvanised steel poles, each covered in bright bursts of bougainvillea flowers. It’s like nothing else in the city.
One of the longest recreational piers in Australia, Shorncliffe Pier stretches 350m out into Bramble Bay. A perfect spot to spend a Sunday afternoon, take a picnic or try your hand at fishing. It’s also a popular place for locals to walk their dogs, so be prepared for some cute canine time.
No matter what your interests or who you’re travelling with, Brisbane is a diverse city with plenty on offer. Best of all, much of it’s free.
Where can I go?
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FAQs about free things to do in Brisbane?
Queensland Museum on Southbank is free to visit for the general exhibits, but special features at Spark Lab have a fee, currently $15.50 for an adult and $13.50 for a concession ticket. An annual pass is $39 for an adult ($33 concession) which includes entry to Spark Lab, as well as discounts in the shop and cafe. It also includes free entry to select museums in other states.
There are plenty of free activities in Brisbane at night. Consider watching the sunset from Mount Coot-tha, strolling through night markets or making use of the communal barbecues. Throughout the week you may also find free events like comedy nights, music performances or slam poetry.
There are plenty of free outdoor activities for kids, like going to the beach (see Street Beach above) or a playground. Some of the best playgrounds can be found at Victoria Park, Civosity Park and Thornlands Community Park.
- COVID-19 has changed the way we travel. Find out about the latest border closures and COVID-19 travel restrictions on Skyscanner.
- Find out what Brisbane locals do in our insider’s guide to the city.
- Stretch your holiday by leaving Brisbane and experiencing the world in Queensland.
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