Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and the third biggest city in Australia, had never been on my Australia bucket list. I didn’t even go there during my first trip to Australia. It’s a job offer that took me there a few years ago. It first appeared to me as a beautiful town with its river, palm trees and jacarandas. And that’s it. So, have I changed my mind? Is Brisbane worth visiting?

Brisbane Panorama
View from the Emporium in South Bank*

Why I sometimes say Brisbane is not worth visiting

Don’t misunderstand me. Even if I didn’t fall in love at first sight; I enjoy living in Brisbane. I find it relaxing and easy-going.

When I ask the question, “Is Brisbane worth visiting?” I am not judging the city itself and our lifestyle there.

But living in a place is different from visiting it for a few days. I appreciate that holiday time can be precious, and we want to visit extraordinary destinations. If you are short on time in your Australian itinerary, I think there are better places to explore in Australia than Brisbane.

I associate Australia with wild and impressive nature, so visiting Australian cities isn’t a priority for me, except for the iconic Sydney. Brisbane isn’t very special as a city, apart maybe from the South Bank lagoons and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. You don’t often find a beach and natural cliffs to rock climb just in front of a CBD. Otherwise, from a tourist point of view, I found Sydney a lot more scenic and interesting (see my Sydney vs Brisbane article).

When Brisbane can be worth visiting

If you have time, it is worth visiting Brisbane for a couple of days or using it as a base to explore the region.

If you don’t want to pack again and again, it can be comfortable to stay at the same accommodation in Brisbane (see tips here). You can plan fantastic day trips to the Gold Coast in the south, the Sunshine Coast in the north, the stunning Moreton Bay or the rainforest hinterland. Brisbane is a perfect region in winter when the southern destinations in Australia will be a lot colder.

One day you are admiring beautiful corals at Flinders Reef or Cook Island, and the next day you are chasing waterfalls in the Springbrook National Park rainforest. You can spend the day in the wild on Moreton Island, one of the world’s largest sand islands, or explore villages in the countryside of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. And the stunning Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) may be the highlight of your stay in Brisbane. You can even find koalas in Brisbane.

This blog offers many trip ideas around Brisbane. I’ve lived in Brisbane for more than a decade and love exploring my region. The rest of this article will focus on things to do in Brisbane.

What to do in Brisbane

This is the itinerary around the city that I prepare for my overseas friends when they visit Brisbane. So far, they’ve all given me feedback that Brisbane was worth visiting. But we didn’t stick to the city, and they had a local show them around. This can surely change your experience. But I hope these tips will help you maximise your time in Brisbane.

Is it raining? Have a look at this list of things to do in Brisbane on a rainy day!

Loop to explore Brisbane city

This loop is great both during the day and at night.

From the CBD, I recommend going down Queen St to cross Victoria Bridge towards South Bank. You can stop there to relax near the lagoon with a view of the city. Then, board a ferry for a short cruise on the river up to Riverside. The Riverside Bar has a terrace with a perfect view of the Story Bridge. From Riverside, you can walk along the river and through the Botanic Gardens to return to the city. As you wander in the city, try to get a free ticket to go up the Townhall tower. You’ll get a nice view from up there.

Brisbane Botanic Garden
Brisbane Botanic Gardens

If you feel like more walking, head towards the Story Bridge and follow the Riverwalk to New Farm. Make sure you look back at the great views of the Story Bridge with the City behind it. The New Farm Park is a great place to chill. Have a look at what’s on at the Powerhouse, as they sometimes have good shows and exhibitions. You can then catch a boat or a bus back to the city.

If you don’t feel like walking, you can also easily hire a Beam or Neuron e-scooter or e-bike anywhere in the city.

New to Beam? You can download their app here and use the referral code ydXTF (it’s case-sensitive). We’ll both get free credits!
New to Neuron? Register here or use the coupon code 12D5HSYE, and we’ll both get a free 10-minute ride.

This loop is also nice at night when the city lights are on. The night photo below was taken from Bowen Terrace, near the Story Bridge. You can stop at the Felons Brewery for a drink or a bite to enjoy such a view.

View from Bowen Terrace Brisbane
Brisbane at night from Bowen Terrace

Kangaroo Point: Sunset & Climbing

Kangaroo Point is just after South Bank, with the town on the other side of the river. The top of the cliffs is a great spot to watch the sunset in Brisbane while enjoying a barbeque.

Best Brisbane Sunset - Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Brisbane City from Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Kangaroo Point is also an original outdoor climbing destination. The 20m wall is popular with different levels and even stitch plates on some routes. Read this article for more information.

Scared of heights? I know the feeling! Check out how I overcome my fear of heights.

Mount Coot-Tha: a bird view of Brisbane

You can hike up to Mount Coo-Tha via the Botanical Garden of Mount Coot-Tha. I actually prefer these gardens to the main ones in the CBD.

If you don’t feel like walking, catch a bus to Mont Coot-Tha lookout (timetables here) or go there by car. It is 287m above sea level and the panoramic view of Brisbane from up there is unbeatable.

Brisbane View from Mount Coot Tha
View of Brisbane from Mount Coot-Tha

Queen Street and the Casino

I’ll keep this part short: I never go shopping and don’t gamble. But I know some people enjoy these two places when visiting Brisbane, so I wanted to mention them! A part of Queen Street is accessible only for pedestrians and that’s where you’ll find most shops in Brisbane CBD – enough to keep you busy for the day if you wish.

Brisbane Queen Street

The Casino is at the end of Queen Street, just before Victoria Bridge which leads to South Bank.

Brisbane Queen Street Casino

Preparing a trip to Brisbane? Check out these tips about where to stay in Brisbane.

What’s the best season to visit Brisbane?

Brisbane is the capital of the Sunshine State. The climate here is generally very nice. My favourite seasons are Spring (September – November) and Autumn (April – May).

It does not get too cold during the winter months. But I would avoid the wet season from the end of November to March as it is hot and humid, with a high chance of rain and storms.

If I had to pick a date to visit Brisbane, I would come at the end of September. Temperatures are rising as it is the end of winter, and the Brisbane Festival is on. The streets are more animated than usual with art shows and food stalls for the occasion. The fireworks at the end of the festival are breathtaking. And the jacarandas season is not far away; the trees paint some areas of the town in a beautiful purple!

Jacaranda trees in Brisbane City
Jacaranda trees in Brisbane City (Cathedral Square)

What do you think? Is Brisbane worth visiting? Share your experience in the comments below!

Map of Brisbane Inner City

Brisbane is the second biggest city on Australia’s East Coast. It is around 900km north of Sydney.

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Is Brisbane Worth Visiting
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Brisbane Australia Itinerary


Eloise is the creator and writer of She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

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