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Brisbane River Cruises: Compare your options

See Brisbane’s sights or celebrate a special occasion on the water.

Brisbane was originally founded as a river port city and no trip would be complete without a trip on the water. You don’t have to be a tourist to take a Brisbane river cruise though – get on board a special dinner cruise or celebrate an occasion like New Year’s Eve or Riverfire.

Head out into Moreton Bay for a spot of fishing or whale watching, or escape to Tangalooma for a day of outdoor activities. With so many cruise companies we are certain there’s a Brisbane cruise to suit the voyage you seek.


Popular types of Brisbane cruises and where to book

Type of CruiseDurationPriceWhere to book
SightseeingUp to 3 hours$29-$129RedBalloon, Adrenaline, Viator, City Discovery, finder.com.au
Lunch2 hours$49 each or $98 for twoRedBalloon, Viator, finder.com.au
Dinner2 hours$69 each or $178 for twoRedBalloon, Viator, finder.com.au
High Tea2-2.5 hours$45 each or $98 for twoRedBalloon, Viator, finder.com.au

What happens on a Brisbane day cruise?

Depending on the theme and itinerary, there might be some canapés and drinks served when you board, and most will have a bar or café onboard. Many Brisbane river cruises have lunch or dinner included and you can sometimes pay extra for an all-inclusive drinks package, especially on party cruises. You should aim to get to your river cruise boat 15-30 minutes before departure as they don’t normally wait for latecomers!

Where to go on a Brisbane cruise

Cruising the river is a relaxing way to sightsee in Brisbane: take in Kangaroo Point, Story Bridge, South Bank, the botanical gardens and the city skyline. Moreton Bay and Tangalooma on Moreton Island just 14km out from Brisbane are prime destinations for day cruises from Brisbane. The area is a hotspot for whale watching, kayaking, snorkelling, swimming and more – and all of these activities are available as part of a cruise.

There are also day cruises to or from the Gold Coast, taking in small but beautiful islands along the way. There’s also a good chance of spotting wildlife such as dolphins and turtles from the deck.

Free river cruises Brisbane

Brisbane City Council’s CityHopper is a hop-on, hop-off service on the water. Ferries run every day between 6am-midnight – and best of all, they are absolutely free! Services runs every 30 minutes between North Quay terminal on Queens Wharf Road to Sydney Street Terminal in New Farm, with six stops and a few interesting sights along the way.

CityCat is another public ferry service with viewing decks and lots of stops. You can purchase single tickets or use your go card or visitors travel card.

Brisbane whale-watching cruises

Visiting Brisbane any time between June and November? Chances are it’s a good opportunity to go whale watching. Catch a glimpse of southern humpbacks migrating to or from Antarctica, with lunch and refreshments normally included on-board these full-day cruises.

Brisbane whale-watching cruises are provided by a range of cruise companies and the staff on board are experts in getting out to the best spots for tracking and spotting these giant mammals.

Where do Brisbane river boat cruises leave from?

Most Brisbane cruises depart from South Bank jetties. Double check your booking confirmation and be sure to check your phone and emails before departure in case of updates or cancellations.

Brisbane river cruise gift ideas

Here are some of our top picks for a unique way to celebrate:

  • Jazz Lunch Cruise on the Brisbane River from $124 for two on Red Balloon
  • City Lights Dinner Cruise runs on Fridays and Saturdays, from $79 per person on Tourstogo.com
  • Brisbane River High Tea Cruise, from $58 per person on Experience Oz

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