Looking for a weekend city break? You can’t do better than Brisbane. Here’s why.
Brisbane might not be the first destination you think of when considering a holiday to Queensland, but the state’s capital is more than just a busy city.
Amidst the city highrises, this underrated Australian city has secretly been building itself into a cultural hotspot. Its food, music, arts and sports culture is rich and dynamic, and its nightlife is exciting and edgy, making it ideal for anyone from families to friends.
Nothing is ever too far in Brisbane and with the pace being serenely slower than in Sydney and Melbourne, you can relax, unwind and enjoy it at your ease over a few days.
Got a spare weekend and are wanderlusting? Brisbane has the cure.
- Main airport: Brisbane Airport (BNE).
- On-ground transport: Bus, train, ferry and tram.
- Weather: Brisbane’s summers tend to see more rain than winter with temperatures hovering around a humid 30℃. Winters are mild and drier with maximum temperatures of 20℃.
- Top 10 must see: Story Bridge, Kangaroo Point, Lone Park Koala Sanctuary, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, South Bank, City Botanic Gardens, Queen Street Mall, Mount Coot-tha, Suncorp Stadium and The Gabba.
Best places to stay in Brisbane
Brisbane CBD: Staying in the heart of the city gives you the best access to Brisbane’s highlights, including Queen Street Mall, Story Bridge and Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.
Fortitude Valley: Once a quiet and vastly overlooked suburb, these days Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s youthful arts district. It boasts hipster cafes, late-night DJ sets and a bustling Chinatown.
South Bank: Located south of the Brisbane River, South Bank is Brisbane’s cultural precinct. Art museums line the riverbank alongside quality restaurants and local markets. It’s also home to Brisbane’s urban beach.
Kangaroo Point: South of the CBD on the other side of Brisbane River is Kangaroo Point. It’s best known for its heritage-listed cliff face and recreational activity offerings such as rock climbing and kayaking.
Check out accommodation options in these areas:
Top things to do in Brisbane
- See Brisbane from above: Take a scenic flight over Brisbane and marvel at this beautiful coastal city as well as the nearby Mount Coot-tha lookout.
- See koalas in Lone Pine Sanctuary: Lone Pine is the place to gaze upon and even hold a koala in the city. Make a trip of it by taking a cruise down the river to its doorstep.
- Climb the Story Bridge: Story Bridge is an icon of Brisbane and offers one of the best views of the city and the river from above.
- Abseil Kangaroo Point Cliffs: Feeling adventurous? Then scale the cliffs of Kangaroo Point and get your heart racing. Rock climbing the cliffs is also available.
- Discover Stradbroke Island: Brisbane’s most popular coastal island isn’t without reason. At over 40km long, Stradbroke is the second largest sand island in the world. Make sure to hit up Whale Rock, Brown Lake and Point Lookout while you’re there.
- Spend a weekend on Fraser Island: The nearby Fraser Island is a picture of perfection. Spot whales, comb beaches and walk through lush rainforest on a spare day or two.
- See Springbrook and Tamborine Mountains: Explore two of Australia’s World Heritage rainforests in a day trip from Brisbane. Teeming with life and rife with waterfalls, they’re a must for any nature lover.
- Sip wine in the Tamborine Mountains: Once you’ve finished marvelling at the wonder of your natural surroundings in the Tamborine Mountains, spare some time to wonder at its bevy of wineries… and your glass of wine, naturally.
Best events to attend in the year
- Brisbane Festival: Held at various venues throughout the city, Brisbane Festival is an international music, dance, arts and entertainment event. It is held over three weeks and concludes with fireworks displays off three city bridges. Annually in September.
- Brisbane Kite Festival: Masterfully crafted kites fill the sky in this one-day event spectacular. It also features food stalls, workshops and live entertainment. Murarrie Recreation Ground, annually in October.
- Brisbane Comedy Festival: Held in Brisbane Powerhouse, the Brisbane Comedy Festival is a crack-up with more than 40 Australian and international comedians. Brisbane Powerhouse, annually February-March.
- Brisbane Marathon Festival: Established as a public event in 1992, Brisbane Marathon is one of the oldest festivals on the calendar. It’s an open entrance event that crosses several city bridges and Brisbane icons making it a great way to tour the city by foot. Brisbane CBD, 6 August 2017.
- The Ekka: Formally known as the Royal Queensland Show, The Ekka is an agricultural festival that celebrates Aussie farmers and their produce. The program includes rides, cattle shows, fashion shows and whip cracking competitions. Brisbane Showgrounds, 11-20 August 2017.
- Valley Fiesta: Overflowing with new and emerging talent, Valley Fiesta is a celebration of music, arts, food and markets in Brisbane’s renowned arts and music precinct. Fortitude Valley, annually in October.
How much will a trip to Brisbane cost?
- Budget: Hostels can be booked from AUD$16 per person, per night
- Moderate: Moderate hotels and serviced apartments can be booked from AUD$60 per room, per night
- Luxury: 4-5 star hotels can be booked from AUD$93 per room, per night.
- Main: 300g porterhouse steak at a pub starts from $19.
- Beer: $7 for a pint of Fortitude Pacer on tap.
- Cappuccino: $4.50 for a decent cup from a cafe.
- Uber: A ride with the economical uberX from Brisbane Airport to Brisbane CBD is $21-$29.
- Taxis from the airport: Taxis from the airport to the city cost $30-$40.
- Local transport from the airport: Brisbane Airport is serviced by an Airtrain which departs every 15 minutes for Brisbane or Gold Coast. The price is $14 one way.
- Local transport throughout Brisbane: TransLink is Brisbane city’s public transport network. Fares are calculated by zone with a single one-zone trip costing $4.80. Electronic Go transport cards are available to purchase and charge less per zone (e.g. $3.35 for zone one trip). Most attractions are located within zones one and two.
Top Brisbane travel deals
Australia hotels from $99
Valid for stays between 5 March - 8 March 2017 only. Sample stays include Mantra in the Village (Tropical North Queensland) from $99 per night, BreakFree Bell City (Melbourne) from $102 per night and more.