Whether this is your first time in Brisbane, you've been here before or even if you're a local, here are some of the places we feel visitors must see in Brisbane to gain an insight into Brisbane and its people. Take note these will be in no particular order:
things to do in Brisbane
Mt Cooth-tha Summit
Have a drive to the very top of Mt Coot-tha (7km west from the CBD) where you'll get a spectacular panoramic view of the complete of Brisbane city and surrounds. On a clear day you will notice all the way to the distant ranges in the south-Moreton and west Bay towards the east. Here you can invest some time in the cafe sipping a latte, cool off using a gelato ice-cream or take advantage of the famous Summit restaurant around the mountaintop. For a real buzz come at night and you'll view the city ablaze with lights (very romantic indeed! )
Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
While you're at Mt Coot-tha Lookout, go to the Botanic Gardens. These 52 hectare gardens contain subtropical and Australian flora in a setting of lakes, streams and ponds. Mt Coot-tha also hosts a planetarium, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, a certain favourite of kids.
For the more adventurous, require a two and a half hour climb to the peak of Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge. Here you'll experience uninterrupted 360 degree views of Brisbane, its river and surrounding mountains. Dawn climbers will capture the beauty of sunrise on the bay, while dusk climbers will see the setting sun reflected within the glass and steel of the city's high-rise office and apartment buildings. One of the things to do on New Years Eve in Brisbane is to head down to Southbank and watch the fireworks explode around the Story Bridge if you happen to be visiting Brisbane on New Year's Eve.
Go ahead and take one hour brewery tour in the Ale House at Milton where you'll obtain a glimpse into the past of the Castlemaine Perkins brewery and its world-famous beers. Only minutes from Brisbane's CBD, you will find an entertaining and interactive brewery tour, pick up some souvenirs and sample some ales in the Ale House bar - a true experience. And what could be more Australian than beer!
It's difficult to imagine Brisbane without South Bank. Just over the river from your CBD, you may enjoy South Bank's sandy beach (Streets Beach), open grassy picnic areas, shops and a plethora of eating spots. Free live entertainment, fireworks and festivals throughout the year increase the vibrancy you'll experience here. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, visit South Bank Art & Craft Market where you'll find crafts by local artisans including fashion, homewares, jewellery and tarot and even a massage. It's at South Bank where you'll also find Queensland's arts and theatres. Places to see range from the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of contemporary Art. The Queensland Museum Sciencentre is popular with children.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is for you if you are wanting to experience Australian wildlife without leaving the city! Hold a koala, feed a kangaroo, hear a discuss our reptiles. You can the RiverCat from the city to Lone Pine for a truly Brisbane experience.
Many state that Brisbane River defines Brisbane, all things considered, we're known as the RiverCity! A wonderful way to see Brisbane would be to take a ride on the CityCat - a easy and cheap way to get around. Require a cruise up and down the river, stopping where ever you like as you go along - South Bank, University of Queensland, New Farm. Another way to begin to see the sights of Brisbane is to use an entertaining cruise down the Brisbane River on among the Kookaburra River Queens.
Brisbane CBD Historic Walking Tour
Brisbane hasn't enjoyed a great reputation for preserving its heritage buildings. The drive to modernize the city for economic purposes saw a lot of historic sites torn down inside the 1980's and 1970's. A day or two's walking will be enough for you to see most of the really old sites, though there are still a number of them around, particularly in the CBD districts.
Queen Street Mall
Within the heart of Brisbane's CBD, Queen Street Mall is actually a busy half kilometre pedestrian open air thoroughfare including al-fresco shopping and dining. With wide swooping sails to provide necessary shelter from your sun and rain, Queen Street mall draws over 26 million visitors annually. Queen Street Mall is considered to be the greatest retail precinct between Singapore and Sydney, and houses an exceptional selection of high fashion labels, international and national retail chains, independent boutique outlets, jewelrydesigners and bookstores, shoe shops and a lot more. If you like to people-watch, come here as the mall is a hive of activity. A purpose built performance stage features regular free live entertainment, and buskers never forget to delight passers by making use of their antics. There are several 24 / 7 bars and eateries that can be found along the mall's central spine for those that want to party on.
City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane's (original) botanic gardens extend for the river on three sides where you can walk or cycle your path around to adopt within the exotic plants that flourish within our sub-tropical climate. A simple and relaxed walk from your CBD, a must do would be to go for a walk through the mangroves around the boardwalk. Continue along to Eagle Street pier to browse the many stalls at the Riverside Markets, open every Sunday from 7am, if you're here on a Sunday.
Fondly referred to as 'The Valley' it provides made a term for itself with locals and visitors alike and remains at the forefront of alternative and emerging entertainment, music and fashion. Walk into any main street within the Valley and you're sure to find a collection of trendy locations for drinks, dance or food. Try James Street, Brunswick Street, or Ann Street. You can find a large number of venues being offered, each making use of their own style and atmosphere. Some compare the Valley to Sydney's Oxford Street for nightlife. Take your pick of designer nightclubs and make sure to not miss Family Nightclub, recently awarded Australia's best nightclub. The Valley is also at Brisbane's forefront in live music experiences. A good starting point a visit to The Valley will be the Brunswick Street Mall that is lined with cafes, bars and eateries. Right close to Brunswick Street is Ann Street, with a lot of avant garde fashion boutiques which feature cutting-edge and retro designs.