BrisbaneTravel Guide

The capital of the Sunshine State rocks all the ‘B’ words – blue skies, beaches, beauty, bustle and the best of both worlds. Lying on the banks of the meandering Brisbane River, the city also enjoys life island-style. How can this be? Well, the city has islands dotted all around, as well as some beachside suburbs. How lucky are the Brisbanites? Add to that a subtropical climate, no wonder it’s a tourism hotspot.

While Brisbane may be one of Australia’s biggest cities, it prides itself on friendly people and a laid-back lifestyle. The city is also known for its café and culinary culture, as well as magnificent architecture like the Riverwalk – a water highway built into the river for pedestrians and cyclists. There are so many reasons to holiday in Brisbane. Lucky for you, we’ve put it all in one place.

Brisbane quick facts

Language

National language

English

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

NZD $4.65

Local time

Monday

10:16am

Currency

Australian dollar

NZD $1.00 = AUD $0.91

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

NZD $22.88

Electricity

Plug type: I

3 pins • 230V

Explore Brisbane

Where to stay in Brisbane?

Brisbane accommodation options are plentiful. All you need to do is decide: inner-city or outskirts? Five-star or laid-back resort? Whatever you’re looking for, Brissy’s got it.

Looking for the convenience of a top hotel near the airport and the CBD? The Pullman Brisbane Airport  hotel is it. Lavish five-star luxury literally on the airport’s doorstep. And you’re going to love the resort-style pool terrace.

 


Sometimes you want to stay on the outskirts, away from the city lights. New Farm is a riverside suburb about 2km from the CBD, one of the oldest in Brisbane and dotted with heritage sites. For luxury accommodation, you can’t go wrong with Spicers Balfour Hotelan award-winning boutique hotel that features a Vietnamese restaurant, and a rooftop bar as well.

The Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley is another stylish place to stay, complete with resort-style pool, and surrounded by some of Brisbane’s most fashion-forward boutiques and eateries.


Many five-star hotels are in the CBD, close to attractions, entertainment, nightlife and shopping. The Point Brisbane in Kangaroo Point with a rooftop bar is where you’ll want to sip on sundowners and drink in the river views. If pampering is part of your itinerary, consider the Westin Brisbane with its on-site spa. It’s also within walking distance of the City Botanic Gardens.


Attracting visitors from all over the world, the cultural precinct of South Bank is also home to several great hotels. If you’re the type who likes to stay fit while on holiday, The Hilton Brisbane has a gym and tennis court. Then there’s The Emporium where luxury accommodation includes poolside cabana suites (piña coladas anyone?). The hotel also certainly capitalises on the views over the river, city and beyond.

 


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • 4 cocktail drinks being made on a bar top, bar staff placing berries in glasses
    • Brisbane cross the river bridge lite up red with city view in background during nighttime
    • Bush of pink flowers in front of blurred Ferris wheel in Brisbane
  • 4 cocktail drinks being made on a bar top, bar staff placing berries in glasses
    4 cocktail drinks being made on a bar top, bar staff placing berries in glasses
    4 cocktail drinks being made on a bar top, bar staff placing berries in glasses
  • Brisbane cross the river bridge lite up red with city view in background during nighttime
    Brisbane cross the river bridge lite up red with city view in background during nighttime
    Brisbane cross the river bridge lite up red with city view in background during nighttime
  • Bush of pink flowers in front of blurred Ferris wheel in Brisbane
    Bush of pink flowers in front of blurred Ferris wheel in Brisbane
    Bush of pink flowers in front of blurred Ferris wheel in Brisbane

Things to do in Brisbane

There’s so much to experience in beautiful Brisbane, take a sneak peek:

 

 

A thriving city on the water’s edge, things to do in Brisbane often have to do with the river, so the best way to do sightseeing is on a boat cruise. Touring Brisbane by water, you’ll see the city’s skyscrapers, luxury homes and historical landmarks while relaxing comfortably on board, tipple in hand. You can also do the hop-on, hop-off thing and go exploring.


Move over, San Francisco, here comes Brisbane. The city’s iconic Story Bridge is an engineering feat that stretches over the Brisbane River. At 74m high (like a 22-storey building), the views are pretty spectacular and it’s well worth strolling down the pedestrian lane and capturing some amazing photos. Or take it up a notch and do a guided  adventure climb to the top.

 


Brisbane’s premier waterfront lifestyle destination, the Howard Smith Wharves is tucked underneath the Story Bridge, overlooking the river. Talk about location, location, location!
This is a fabulous mixed-use complex with bars and restaurants, a brewery and even an on-site hotel – in case you enjoy the local brew a bit too much…

 


Head to the cultural hub of South Bank. Take in a world-class show at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre or visit the QAGOMA. The two galleries exhibit a whopping 17,000 works of art from the classical through to the contemporary. Then pop over to the Queensland Museum, where fossils and dinosaur exhibits are among the highlights.

 

 

 


Now that you’ve seen the city from the river, see it from above. The Wheel of Brisbane is unmissable on the South Bank skyline – giving you a 360-degree view of the city. And just 6km out of Brisbane is the Mt Coot-tha Lookout viewing deck, for panoramic views of Brisbane both day and night. With picnic sites, a café and barbeque areas, it’s family-friendly and perfect for a day out.

 


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Brisbane

Brisbane food and drink

Brisbane has become something of a culinary hotspot, home to several celebrity chefs and a smorgasbord of restaurants and coffee shops.  It’s also packed to the gills with award-winning, fine-dining restaurants, like OTTO  (Italian food).

Vegan is big in Queensland and Brisbane has its own . Over in West End, the thriving, vibrant, arty multicultural community is reflected in its eateries. There’s a strong Greek influence, but you can literally go around the world when it comes to cuisine, from Mexican to award-winning Vietnamese, Indian to Asian and North-East African. This community is also known for great coffee shops.. This community is also known for great coffee shops.

The epicentre of entertainment, dedicated to bars and clubs, Fortitude Valley, on the city outskirts, also boasts some top-notch eateries like the SK Steak & Oyster, famed for its seafood platters and piano bar. For Mexican eats and great city views, book a table at Maya Mexican, a trendy rooftop serving equally appealing traditional Mexican fare.

A must-visit in the Valley is the vibrant Chinatown Mall, where you’ll be transported to the East with Chinese restaurants and dumpling eateries but also Japanese, Thai, Korean Barbeque and Indonesian.
 

 

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Brisbane through your eyes

Where to shop in Brisbane?

It may not have the retail reputation of its southern neighbours, Melbourne and Sydney, yet Brisbane is home to some enticing areas for a spot of retail therapy. With high end designer stores in the city, and Mediterranean-feeling shopping streets in the fringe suburbs, plus weekend markets and boutiques galore, you won’t be short of somewhere to pick up a souvenir or two.

Fashionistas and label-loving tourists descend on Brisbane because of its upmarket shopping complexes and high-end retail strips like Edward Street and James Street. In the CBD, Queen Street Mall is an open-air, pedestrian retail hub of more than 700 stores stocking all the big local and international designer labels.

For the best of Brisbane’s boutiques, James Street in Fortitude Valley with its distinct European vibe is where it’s at, while antiques and vintage clothing are the flavour of Paddington, on the fringe of the city.


A popular pastime in Brisbane, you can be sure there’s a market or 10 every weekend. West End Markets in Davies Park showcases the quirkiness and diversity of the suburb, supporting local creators of crafts, fashion, and farm produce. In South Bank, the three-day, Collective Markets is a treasure trove of handmade creations, jewellery, art, vintage clothing and collectibles.

 


Brisbane’s laneway scene is booming with tiny, tucked away record stores, hole-in-the-wall cafés, boutiques and galleries to be found in the shadow of the high-rise buildings, the most well-known and oldest being Burnett Lane.


Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Brisbane?

With a subtropical climate, Brisbane has warm weather pretty much all year round and the best time to travel would depend on what kind of holiday you have in mind. You may think summer (December to February) is the best time to travel to Brisbane for soaking up some rays and to swim, and it is! But be warned, due to its subtropical climate, temperatures are high, sometimes over 30°C (86°F) and there’s high humidity and frequent thunderstorms.

Autumn (April to May) is wonderfully mild with clear skies, while winter is popular because of its sunshiny days and it’s also when many events are held. 

Average temperatures: The annual mean minimum is 16.6 °C (62 °F) with the mean maximum 26.6 °C (80 °F).

Peak season: May to September, and then again from the middle of December to the end of January. Australian school holidays are also peak times:  over Easter, end June to beginning of July and the middle to late September.
Low season: November to early December and then again in February.

 

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How to get around Brisbane

There’s no shortage of ways get around town from river to road. Night and day. Seven days a week too.

 

Brisbane is famous for its river transport. Locals and tourists alike find getting around in Brisbane quick and easy using the free city hopper. The larger Citycats service suburbs all along the river, so you can venture out further.


Conveniently, the Airtrain operates between the airport and city centre while metered taxis in the city can be booked online, boarded at a taxi rank or hailed. There are also ridesharing services like Uber and Didi.


Other public transport options are trains and buses, both of which are inexpensive ways to get to Brisbane’s attractions. And guess what? There are even free bus services operating in the city centre.


Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Brisbane?

Beaches are plentiful in and around Brisbane, catering to your every whim, whether you want to surf, dip in tidal pools, go paddling with the kids or enjoy whale watching. Several islands close to Brisbane are ideal for day-tripping.

Theis third-largest sand island in the world, Moreton Island, is just 25km from Brisbane. Snorkel among shipwrecks, stroll down pristine beaches, swim in lakes and lagoons and watch the famous resident wild dolphins riding the waves. Just south is North Stradbroke Island, a popular weekend getaway spot for locals, where surfing is a popular pastime. Whales and mantarays are often spotted from here too.


Subtropical rainforests line the gorgeous beaches, humpback whales come visiting from June to November, craft beer tours get your tipple on in the Hinterland – what more could you ask for in a day trip or weekend away? Also just over an hour out of the city.


Last but not least and so unique, did you know Brisbane boasts her own impressive inner-city, manmade beach? Aptly named Streets Beach, located in South Bank, it’s an oasis amid skyscrapers and city bustle where you can lounge on white sand, surrounded by palm trees, then take a dip in the sparkling lagoon.


Say hello to the holiday capital of Australia! The Gold Coast is a day trip of note – just over an hour's drive south of Brisbane you’ll find the famed Surfer’s Paradise resort and theme parks like Sea WorldThe Coast's long sandy beaches and blue waters will take your breath away.


Because Brisbanites are big dog lovers, man’s best friend also has a long where he can let his hair down and frolic in the shallows. Perfect if you’re missing your pooch back home. where he can let his hair down and frolic in the shallows.

 


Make your exploring as easy as possible by choosing the right place to stay. Explore Brisbane accommodation.

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What are the best parks in Brisbane?

Brisbane’s climate means that parks and nature reserves, from inner city green spaces, heritage gardens and wildlife sanctuaries, can be enjoyed all year round. These safe green spaces are popular and well-maintained, so put on those walking shoes and connect with nature.

 

If you’re a hobby horticulturalist, among the must-visit parks in Brisbane is the City Botanic Gardens, dating back to 1828, making it the oldest park in Brisbane. Many rare and interesting botanic species are preserved there.


In the suburb of Spring Hill, the sprawling Roma Street Parkland shows off with impressive flower displays and invites you to linger longer with guided walks and barbeque areas. Children’s playgrounds in Brisbane are often incorporated into these spaces and this park is no different.


Just over an hour out of Brisbane you’ll find the Bribie Island National ParkIt’s connected to the mainland by a bridge, so it’s easy to get to but it’s another world – a combination of several gorgeous beaches, camping spots and a nature reserve. A must-do day trip.

 


Also boasting a long history is Brissie’s grandest park, New Farm, with thousands of visitors regularly flocking to its more than 15ha of manicured lawns and heritage rose gardens. Have a picnic while taking in the river views or make use of the barbeque facilities.


Want to meet the fascinating furballs that are the koalas? Get up close to this protected species, native to Australia, at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You can also enjoy encounters with other wildlife while you are there, like the weird and wonderful platypus.

 


Avoid the unexpected and make sure you have travel insurance before you travel.

Brisbane Frequently asked questions

Make sure you pack comfortable clothes & shoes for exploring! The weather varies so pack a light jacket for those Summer nights.


Brisbane City is bustling with activity but you can swap the city for the country & travel out to the Scenic Rim, Sunshine Coast & Gold Coast hinterland!


Life happens - we get it! Contact your Flight Centre Travel Expert to reorganise your travel plans, or read more here.


Brisbane is the perfect destination any time of year, but if you want to avoid the busiest crowds, try to plan your trip outside of the June-July and September-October school holiday periods.


Popular tourist spots include exploring the city's parks and gardens, visiting museums and galleries, taking a ferry ride on the Brisbane River, and sampling the local food and drink scene.


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The current requirements for travelling to Brisbane

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