Top 10 Brisbane attractions

Top 10 Brisbane

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

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33 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    If you want the city feels, go to South Bank. If you want the relaxing and green environment, go to parks like Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.If want to feel the sea, ride on CityCat. That is Brisbane!

  2. You are absolutely right last month one of my friend was went to Australia on official tour and she visited story bridge and city can and she was explaining these places are really awesome because these places are describing the whole story of nature and science.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Great Article! Thank you for your sharing!

  4. Joey says:

    Of all the cities in Australia, I think I’m looking forward to this one the most – thanks for all the great info on Brisbane!

  5. It has been so long since my brief visit to Brisbane. I remember being impressed with the city and much better than I am expecting. Your post has made me appreciate it even more as we didn’t do half of these suggestions. #citytripping

  6. I’ve got to admit I knew so little about Brisbane before I read your post – I hadn’t realised quite how much there was to do there. The bridge climb would definitely be on my list, and the koalas on my daughter’s. We do have friends who live not too far away, so I shall have to keep that for when we finally get out there to visit! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Three days out in Pembrokeshire with kidsMy Profile

  7. Kat says:

    I used to live in Adelaide in the 1990s, and I remembered a short visit to Brisbane and Gold Coast. Honestly, I can’t recall the exact names of the places I visited but as I was reading your post, 2 names were still clear in my memory – South Bank and Moreton Island 🙂 It has been almost 20 years now since I left Australia and sadly, I had not returned to Down Under (discounting a work trip to Sydney in 2005 hahah) – perhaps I should come back to Australia again and see how things have changed 🙂 Cheers! #citytripping

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. Tami says:

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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. Allison says:

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

  32. 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

  33. 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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