One of the best ways to explore Brisbane is to walk along the Brisbane River, visit a museum or take a dip in Streets Beach in South Bank. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning to move here, if you’re looking for what to do in Brisbane, Australia, check out these ideas for budget and free things to do in Brisbane.
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What to do in Brisbane
When I first moved to Brisbane, I did a lot of exploring to get to know my new home. There is always a new restaurant to experience, a free outdoor concert, or event happening in Fortitude Valley, West End, Bowen Hills, Queen Street or South Brisbane.
Here’s a list of the top free things to do in Brisbane to help you plan your trip on a budget.
1. Streets beach
Escape the Queensland heat by taking a dip in this man-made beach in South Bank. Streets Beach is a giant pool in the middle of the city. It’s a must-visit when you’re in Brissy, and it’s one of the best free things to do in the city. Sandy beaches and beautiful plants surround the blue lagoon, making it a great place to cool off, people watch and fun activity for families.
Where to stay in South Brisbane
- Novotel Brisbane South Bank – Novotel Brisbane South Bank has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar in Brisbane.
- Emporium Hotel South Bank – This hotel has a rooftop pool with stunning city views. It’s located a short distance from attractions such as the Brisbane Exhibition Centre.
- Mantra South Bank Brisbane – An outdoor heated pool, a spa pool and a fitness centre, this hotel is in a perfect location.
I use Airbnb and Booking.com to search for the best places to stay. Use this link to book your next Airbnb and get $40 off your first stay. If you already have an account on Airbnb, the discount won’t apply.
Travel Credit Card: Want a credit card with no foreign transaction fees? I use the United Explorer Card for all my travel purchases.
2. Kangaroo Point
Kangaroo Point has excellent views of the city and the river. You can also try abseiling if you have room in your budget. Walk along the river, stop into a cafe for a cappuccino or dine in one of the restaurants.
Where to Stay in Kangaroo Point
Perfect Peninsula location at Kangaroo Point – Close to Story Bridge, and less than 1 km from The Gabba – Brisbane Cricket Ground.
3. Daisy Hill Koala Centre
Visit cute koalas at Daisy Hill Koala Centre in the Daisy Hill Conservation Park. There are 435 hectares of open eucalypt forest, and you can see the koalas from two different level viewing boardwalks.
The centre is approximately 25km south of Brisbane, and it’s free!
253 Daisy Hill Road Ph (07) 3078 3101
4. Be inspired and meet locals
Want to hear creatives, entrepreneurs, and artists share their ideas and learn about their success journey? CreativeMornings hosts free monthly breakfast lectures, and anyone is welcome. Events take place at local bars in Fortitude Valley and other cool venues in the city.
Bring your own cup and enjoy free coffee and breakfast treats.
Check out the next CreativeMornings event the next time you’re in town.
5. Brisbane Riverwalk
From New Farm to the CBD (Central Business District) walk, run or cycle on the Brisbane River Walk. It’s free and a great way to get moving and explore the city’s neighbourhoods. The suspended path offers excellent views of the River City.
You can access the path from Riverview Court in New Farm, and Howard Smith Wharves in the CBD.
Where to stay in New Farm
New Farm Parkland Apartment – Only 2.1 km from New Farm Riverwalk.
6. Floral Walkway
When you visit Streets Beach in South Bank, you’ll come across one of my favourite spots in the city, The Arbour. The steel structure in South Bank Parklands is such a beautiful place to walk through, and it’s covered in pink and green bougainvillea vines.
Things to do in Brisbane for free
7. Roma Street Parkland
Every year around the holidays, Roma Street Parkland transforms into a The Enchanted Garden. It does get busy, but you can enjoy a nice walk around the park and see the colourful display of bright lights in the garden.
Not visiting during the holidays?
Visit the 16-hectares of stunning gardens and lawns for free any time of year. Don’t miss free Zumba classes at Roma Street Parkland.
8. Listen to Free Live Music
The Sound Society is a free live music program held in South Bank and Roma Street. The Sound Society at South Bank is held four times a year at Rainforest Green. And one Sunday a month at Roma Street Parkland.
9. Mt Coot-tha Sunset and Botanic Gardens
Before you watch the sunset at the top of Mount Coot-tha, visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha for free. Stroll through the 56-hectare gardens visit the fragrant garden, bamboo grove, arid zone, Japanese Gardens, waterfalls, and the largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees in the world. The Botanic gardens are open daily. Check out the tropical dome! It’s awesome.
Don’t miss the City Botanic Gardens along the river!
QAGOMA – The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are stunning galleries with contemporary art pieces from Australia, Asia, and the Pacific. Both museums are free to visit! I like to pop in regularly to visit new exhibitions.
Travelling with kids? Children’s Art Centre has interactive art for kids and families.
Queensland Museum – Located on the corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets in South Bank, the Queensland Museum is your go-to place for all things science, natural history, and cultural heritage. Check out the T-rex and learn about the artifacts that tell the changing story of Queensland. This museum is also free!
Museum of Brisbane – On your visit to Brisbane, at some point, you’ll likely end up in King George Square. Located in the heart of the city, the Museum of Brisbane is on level 3 of Brisbane City Hall. While you’re at Brisbane City Hall, go on a free clock tower tour to see views of the city.
11. BRISBANE sign
Snap a photo next to the colourful Brisbane letters in South Brisbane. Find the Brisbane sign near the river outside QPAC. You’ll get a magnificent backdrop of the city in your photo and a great memory of your trip to Brissy.
If it’s your first time here and you’re on a budget, explore Brisbane with a local. Book a free walking tour with Brisbane Greeters. VisitBrisbane.com
12. City Hopper
Want to see a great view of the city? Of course, you do. Jump on board the CityHopper to for a free sightseeing experience.
Catch the ferry here:
- North Quay, Brisbane City
- South Bank 3, South Brisbane
- Maritime Museum, South Brisbane
- Thornton Street, Kangaroo Point
- Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane City
- Holman Street, Kangaroo Point
- Dockside, Kangaroo Point
- Sydney Street, New Farm
Best things to do in Brisbane on a Budget
13. Free Fitness Class in South Bank
Wondering what to do in Brisbane? Stay active by joining a free yoga, pilates, or dance class in South Bank Parklands. The Medibank Feel Good Program hosts the free classes. The program runs for a few months a year, so mark your calendar to join a free fitness activity.
14. Brisbane Visitor Information & Booking Centre
Capture a glimpse of the heritage-listed entrance and foyer of the Regent Theatre inside the Brisbane Visitor Information & Booking Centre on Queen Street. While you would never know it from the outside, when you walk into the building, you’ll see the original interior, original brass railings, and iconic entrance to the former Regent Theatre.
It’s worth a quick visit when you’re shopping at Queen Street Mall. Plus, you can get more information about Brisbane events and happenings while you’re there.
15. Nudgee Beach
Watch the sunrise at Nudgee Beach, just outside the city. Bring your dog to the Nudgee Beach dog park, and enjoy a picnic at the park.
Visit the Boondall Wetlands nearby to explore tidal flats, mangroves, saltmarshes, melaleuca wetlands, grasslands, and open forest. Bike or walk along the tracks or mangrove boardwalks.
Where to stay near the airport
- Novotel Brisbane Airport – Novotel Hotel Brisbane Airport offers a massage service to unwind after a long flight, a fitness centre overlooking the airport, sauna, and rooftop relaxation terrace with glass-sided swimming pool. Amazing!
- ibis Brisbane Airport – Convenient if you have an early flight to catch.
Keen for an adventure outside of the city? With the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast a short drive away, you have so many options. Visit the Fairy Pools in Noosa or head south to explore the top things to do in Tasmania.
You don’t have to break your budget while you’re visiting Brisbane. From Streets Beach to museums and botanical gardens, there are many options for cheap and free things to do in Brisbane. I’m always up for trying new activities. If you know of a top thing to do that should be added to this list. Send me a message!
What’s on your Brisbane travel bucket list?
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