Top 10 Brisbane attractions

If you are heading to Brisbane, you can’t miss out on the best attractions that the city has to offer. Here are the 10 highest-rated things to see and do in this Australian holiday spot.

Brisbane sunrise from Mt Coot-Tha

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

This is, of course, the top place in the city for snuggling up with a koala. You can actually get up close and personal with them in this sanctuary, which is the most popular attraction in Brisbane. It is also home to kangaroos and other Australian native species.

Cultural Centre

Try to find a place to stay near the Grey Street area to put yourself right in the cultural centre of the city. What can you find here? As much culture as you can handle. There’s the Queensland Art Gallery, State Library, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and the Queensland Theatre Company, which makes this a very busy zone indeed.

Directions in the city centre

Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

If you want panoramic views of the city, you’ll find them here with no comparison to anywhere else. There are 52 hectares to explore, including the largest collection of rainforest trees from Australia in the world. Plenty of indigenous plants call this slice of paradise home.

Totem Poles at Mount Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens

Image by ~ James Niland – Own work, CC BY 2.0

South Bank

Right across from the CBD, you’ll find Streets Beach, the main hub of the South Bank. There’s a man-made lagoon here which is perfect for a swim, and there’s also the Wheel of Brisbane – similar to the London Eye, it offers great views over the rest of the city. You can take a ride at night for an even more stunning experience.

City lights at South Bank

Customs House

Those who love a bit of history will admire this 19th-century customs house, which now operates as a function centre with a restaurant and free guided tours. You can only take them on Sundays, however, so you will need to plan your visit.


CityCats and City Ferries patrol the Brisbane River all day long. There are a total of 24 terminals along both sides of the shore, and you can purchase tickets to hop on and off all day whenever you want to. This is a great way to not only see everything from the river, but also get around the city quickly. It stretches from the University of Queensland down to the North Shore.

City Cat water taxi

Story Bridge

Who hasn’t heard of the Story Bridge? This is one of the most iconic sights of Brisbane, and it’s famous as one of the few major bridges in the world that you are allowed to climb. This is a great adventure that you just have to try before you leave the city.

Story Bridge night lights

Queen Street Mall

Want to pick up some souvenirs? Make sure that you head to the Queen Street Mall. There are more than 700 shops here, with a street frontage that backs onto heritage-listed mazes of arcades. On Wednesdays, the open area by the bridge turns into a Farmer’s Market where you can buy food and craft items.

Treasury building in Queen Street

Museum of Brisbane

If you hate trawling for hours inside huge museums, then the Museum of Brisbane is perfect for you. It’s a much smaller site than you might expect, on the top floor of the City Hall, but it is jam-packed with fantastic stories – and views.

Museum of Brisbane

Moreton Island

This is a great day trip for anyone staying in Brisbane. It’s a bit of a tropical paradise, with rich and lush vegetation framing sandy white beaches, 98% of the island is a national park, so it remains undeveloped.

If you want to hit all the best spots in Brisbane, then don’t miss these off your list. 

Have you been to Brisbane? What did you do that you’d include in this top 10 Brisbane to do list?

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Photos were sourced by Pixabay

26 Responses

  1. Oooh – so many great things to do in Brisbane! I am somewhat obsessed with visiting Australia again lately and pinning this for later! Cheers from Copenhagen and thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, erin

  2. Christie says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous! I visited Brisbane several years ago, and this makes me want to go back! The koalas were my favorite 🙂 #citytripping
    Christie recently posted…Saved By The Max – Chicago, ILMy Profile

  3. I didn’t know there was so much to see at Brisbane! The last time I visited Brisbane briefly from Gold Coast, I only visited South Bank. Oops. #CityTripping
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…Experience a different Pattaya @ Sea Sand Sun Resort & VillasMy Profile

  4. I have been to/done some of these on our last visit! The koala sanctuary is a must!! We loved it! We are hopefully moving to Brisbane in the next 6 months so this will be a great guide to things to do! #citytripping
    Tracy McConnachie Collins recently posted…My friend in Nottingham EnglandMy Profile

  5. JO says:

    I have to get me to that koala sanctuary! Its worth the ticket to Oz alone! So much to do in Brisbane – is Moreton Bay where the Moreton Bay Bugs come from – I remember eating them in Australia! Thanks for sharing with #citytripping

  6. Hilary says:

    What a lovely guide! I’ve only ever seen koalas in the zoo, so I can understand why it might be a big draw! #citytripping
    Hilary recently posted…InstaLA! 15 Places to Snap Those InstaGood PicsMy Profile

  7. Katy Clarke says:

    OK this is embarrassing, I’ve only ever been to Brisbane for work and just walked through the mall. I am a bad Australian! Hope to rectify that situation soon. Thanks for sharing with us on #farawayfiles
    Katy Clarke recently posted…Faraway Files #18My Profile

  8. I would love to get up close to a koala and the Botanic Gardens look stunning. Thanks for sharing this great guide to Brisbane on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Searching for King Arthur in GlastonburyMy Profile

  9. love the photos! #farawayfiles
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…My English bucket listMy Profile

  10. I’ve never been to Brisbane. Thanks for the list. I knew about Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and have always wanted to visit. I’m now adding the Wheel of Brisbane and CityCat to my To Do list now that you’ve introduced me to them.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Disney’s Art of Animation ResortMy Profile

  11. eileen g says:

    you had me at Koala Sanctuary. But the rest of the city looks lovely too. i would add Brisbane to my (long) Australia bucket list.

  12. Sherman says:

    Hi, just reading your blog….we have just returned from 20 months travel with our two kids to start school…but I’m wondering whether we needed to!! We are finding it hard to settle in, after so much family time together…and. Work, school etc taking so much of the precious family time! We hope we can get ourselves financially independent again to start the travels again! We would definitely love to come to Brisbane. We should have done it already…the pictures are so beautiful.
    Sherman recently posted…Best Garmin FishfindersMy Profile

  13. beautiful photos of a city that I tend to bypass. Bad Paula, may have to go and check it out again soon.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…How to Watch Sumo Wrestling Tournaments in JapanMy Profile

  14. There’s some great inspiration in this post. First of all, snuggling a koala would be a dream! Whenever I get to Brisbane, I’d love to check out the cultural centre and the botanic garden, too. #WeekendWanderlust
    Erin Klema | The Epicurean Traveler recently posted…First-ever Dearborn Restaurant Week Offers Diverse Dining OptionsMy Profile

  15. Tami says:

    Nice and concise, well-documented and described… Wonderful photos! I really enjoyed this post!
    Tami recently posted…Thailand: Discovering PhuketMy Profile

  16. Great list – we are moving there soon so will be pinning this!
    Tracy McConnachie Collins recently posted…Cape Town to Cairo – A journey through AfricaMy Profile

  17. Your photography of Brisbane is beautiful! Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration, see you next week!
    Jim ~ ReflectionsEnroute recently posted…How To Reach Breakneck Speeds Sledding the Preda-Bergun RunMy Profile

  18. On top of all the things you mention, Brisbane is terrific for cycling. There are some lovely paths along the river.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…The Huts of the High CountryMy Profile

  19. Wow, that photo from Mt. Coot-tha is beautiful! Lots of great things to do, but yeah…Koala Sanctuary! Can’t think of anything more emblematic of Australia. As always, great photos – thanks for sharing!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…How Disney World Changed My Travel StyleMy Profile

  20. Rhonda Albom says:

    We were recently in Brisbane as a cruise ship stop and managed to hit three of these. The botanic gardens were my favourite.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Norway in Vibrant Colour: Waterfalls, Fjords, Flowers and moreMy Profile

  21. Ruth says:

    You got me at Koala Sanctuary! I would love to visit one of those places! Honestly, I think I would be happy in any big city in Australia. In Brisbane, I would visit every place in your list. #wkendtravelinspiration
    Ruth recently posted…Great Market Hall in BudapestMy Profile

  22. Lolo says:

    Brisbane looks like a pretty cool city to visit! Although I have to admit, I like Stephanie’s idea of visiting a Koala Sanctuary! That would be exciting! #Wkendtravelinspiration
    Lolo recently posted…A Beginners Guide to OktoberfestMy Profile

  23. I recommend the koala sanctuary! Holding a koala was the Aussiest thing I did on my trip. I only spent a full day in Brisbane, but I took about 800 selfies since it’s such a good-looking city.
    Stephanie ( recently posted…Turn Your Tinder Date into a Tour GuideMy Profile

  24. Allison says:

    I would love the botanic garden. I try to visit them whenever I can when I travel. #weekend wanderlust

  25. Love that sunrise photo – and any place described as a tropical paradise is always a great bet 😉
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats recently posted…Comprehensive Guide to the Top Harry Potter Sites in Edinburgh ScotlandMy Profile

  26. Brisbane has many things to see think so, your pictures made me eager to visit the place especially the museum of Brisbane, thank you so much for your travel tip

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