Guide to Brisbane - Tourism Australia

Brisbane Australia Attractions

Attractions / July 7, 2019

The jewel in the crown of the Sunshine State, Brisbane is Australia's third largest city. Winding along the Brisbane River, the CBD blends historic buildings with modern elegance. Although the city's history dates back to 1824, Brisbane rose to the world stage after hosting the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and World Expo in 1988. The mild subtropical climate together with a relaxed yet sophisticated culture attracted a large numbers of tourists as well as permanent residents relocating from other Australian states. Today Brisbane is referred to as Australia's 'new world' city. It's clean, green, and friendly with an emphasis on innovation and creativity.

1 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

There's nothing quite like cuddling a koala. As the largest sanctuary in the world for Australia's iconic marsupials, a visit to Lone Pine makes for a memorable experience. Other Australian animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, dingoes, snakes, and even crocodiles live in this compact sanctuary nestled on the Brisbane River. Daily encounters and experiences include bird of prey flight demonstrations, platypus feeding, sheep dog and shearing shows, Tasmanian devil feeding, and barn animal encounters. In addition to the ultimate 'cuddling a koala' photograph, visitors can also have a holiday snap holding a snake or baby crocodile.

Address: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket

2 Cultural Centre

Located on the banks of the river, in the heart of central Brisbane, this precinct is a mecca for cultural experiences. Incorporating Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of Queensland, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and Queensland Theatre Company, the area is a hub of activity during the day and night.

Location: Grey Street, South Brisbane

3 Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

With panoramic views of Brisbane, the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens is a favorite attraction with locals and visitors alike. Located seven kilometers from the city, the various themed gardens take visitors on a journey through 52 hectares of horticulture. Housing the largest collection of Australian rainforest trees in the world, the gardens are also dedicated to fragrant plants, bamboo, cactus, wetland plants, indigenous plants, ferns, and bonsai.

Location: Mount Coot-tha Road, Toowong

South Bank

The original site of World Expo in 1988, South Bank is filled with parklands, plazas, and promenades. Located directly opposite the CBD, Streets Beach is at the center of this riverside paradise. A swim in the human-made lagoon is a popular choice on a warm Brisbane day.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the state of Queensland, the Wheel of Brisbane was opened in 2009. The giant Ferris wheel offers an exciting 60-minute bird's eye view over the river and city during the day or night.

5 Customs House

Owned by the University of Queensland, this magnificent 19th-century building offers a cultural and educational experience. Although operating as a function center, Customs House includes plenty of public spaces, including an indoor/outdoor restaurant offering unparalleled river and Story Bridge views. Free guided tours of the building are available on Sundays.

Address: 399 Queen Street, Brisbane

6 Ride a CityCat

The most scenic and exciting way to get around Brisbane is by CityCat. Gliding the twists and turns of the Brisbane River seven days a week, the fleet of CityCats and City Ferries with 24 hop-on, hop-off terminals highlights the history and beauty of the city. From the magnificent University of Queensland to the North Shore, the route takes in redeveloped industrial sites, riverside mansions, bridges, and parklands.

7 Queen Street Mall

This vibrant shopping precinct is home to more than 700 retailers showcasing local, national, and international designs and labels. In addition to the centrally-located, pedestrian-friendly street frontage, a labyrinth of heritage-listed arcades adds to the ambience for history buffs. Every Wednesday, the area at the bridge end of the mall transforms into a bustling Farmers Market selling local produce, flowers, and artisan products.

Address: Queen Street, Brisbane

8 Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Constructed during Australia's Great Depression in the 1930s, the attractive steel Story Bridge is a much-loved Brisbane landmark. As one of only three bridge climbs in the world (after Sydney and Auckland), this one also offers something totally unique - the choice to abseil the descent. Catering to people of all fitness levels and those older than 10 years of age, the two-hour experience takes visitors 80 meters above the Brisbane River for uninterrupted views of the city.

Address: 170 Main Street, Kangaroo Point

9 Moreton Island

Located 58 kilometers from Brisbane and easily accessible via ferry, Moreton Island is the perfect day trip. As the world's third largest sand island, it's a taste of tropical paradise without needing to travel further north. Rich vegetation frames the azure water gently lapping the pure-white sandy beaches. With very little development and 98 percent of the island designated as National Park, Moreton Island is one of Queensland's best kept secrets.

10 Museum of Brisbane

Housed in one of Brisbane's premier heritage buildings, the museum was redeveloped and reopened in 2013. Occupying the top level of City Hall, this 'small in size, big in stories' museum brings the history of Brisbane to life through a series of state-of-the-art exhibitions. Adding to the experience are the sweeping views of the city and the City Hall's magnificent clock tower and copper dome.

Address: Level 3, Brisbane City Hall, Adelaide Street, Brisbane

Where to Stay in Brisbane for Sightseeing