Pretty purple skies above Brisbane's famed Story Bridge

Must-See Places in Brisbane: Top 5 Things To Do

Whether you’ve never visited this part of the world or are simply looking for some #travelinspo, brace yourselves as we cover our top 5 things you must do to experience all that Brisbane has to offer.

When planning an Australian adventure, Sydney’s Opera House and the sunburnt colors of Uluru probably come to mind. But did you know there’s a city that has it all? Brisbane has one of the biggest backyards in Australia, chock full of vineyards, beaches, and everything in between. If you want an authentic taste of the Land Down Under that won’t break your budget or exhaust your travel itinerary, look no further.

Dine at the top of Mount Coot-tha

If you want to see the city from arguably one of the best viewpoints, you need to add Mount Coot-tha to your itinerary. Standing tall at 1,017 feet, this mountain is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, with a restaurant summit offering panoramic views, and it also sets the scene for the perfect date night. Aside from impressing your loved one, Mount Coot-tha is also home to many hiking trails, botanical gardens, and parks fixed with good ol’ Aussie barbeques – so bring your ‘snags’ (Aussie for sausages), and why not the whole family while you’re at it! With so many things to do, it’s no surprise Mount Coot-tha secures the top spot on our list. I mean, just look at that view!

View of the Brisbane City skyline from Mount Coot-tha | © Kerry Dunlop/Pixabay

Stroll (or swim!) along the Brisbane River

No, that’s not a typo. You can actually swim along the river. The Brisbane River has played a vital role in shaping the city since the early days and was used for travel and trade. Today it’s the perfect place for a stroll on warm weekends and cool evenings. Our favorite spot along the river would have to be Streets Beach, an inland swimming pool with front-row seats to some of the most picture-perfect scenes in Brisbane. The Southbank Parklands, created to showcase the city for World Expo in ’88, paints a fine picture of Brisbane’s social scene. With restaurants, bars, parks, and playgrounds, the southern banks of the river are a destination the whole family will love.

Take a stroll through the decorative arches of the Southbank Parklands | © SolStock/Getty

Take a trip on the KittyCats

Although they may sound cute and furry, in Brisbane, KittyCats have a different meaning. The KittyCats are catamarans that travel along the Brisbane River that are open to the public. Taking a ride on a KittyCat is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the river from a different angle. You can hop on and off the KittyCats as often as you like, making them a convenient and great way to explore the city for a small fee. Be sure to hop off and admire the views from Kangaroo Point cliffs; you’ll get a fantastic view of the Story Bridge and the city skyline as it wraps around the botanic gardens.

Admire the picture-perfect views from Kangaroo Point cliffs | © MaytheeVoran/Getty

Spend a day out on the waters of Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay is home to Brisbane City, its surrounding suburbs, and islands. Moreton Island is just a short boat ride away, where sand dunes and dolphins await. Here you’ll also find Tangalooma Resort, a quiet island paradise surrounded by golden beaches that give Bali a run for its money! Take a tour of the bay or hire a boat to explore on your own. Moreton Bay isn’t only an aquatic paradise for humans to enjoy but also for animals too. You’ll find many birds and marine life swimming in the bay, so be sure to bring your camera (and some diving gear) with you!

Take your diving or snorkeling gear for an adventure with dugongs | © Lemga/Getty

Head to the ‘Home of the Crocodile Hunter

We couldn’t talk about the Gold Coast without also mentioning the Sunshine Coast on the north side of Brisbane. Known all around the world as the Home of the Crocodile Hunter, Australia Zoo is home to koalas, kangaroos, snakes, and more. Behind-the-scenes experiences of the zoo offer up-close encounters with some of Australia’s most iconic animals. You’ll also find the Glasshouse Mountains National Park here, where a romantic escape is hard to beat! The contrast of the calm surroundings to hip and metropolitan Brisbane makes for a wonderful ‘best of both worlds’ adventure, and any lookout point is a feast for your eyes. There’s a reason why Maleny’s picturesque views make their way into every wedding photographer’s portfolio!

A sunrise hike amongst the Glasshouse Mountains is a must-do activity | © Josh Withers/Unsplash

BONUS: Go on a day trip to the Gold Coast

One of the best things about Brisbane is its location. It sits nicely between the country’s most beautiful coastlines, the Gold Coast to the south and the aptly-named Sunshine Coast to the north. The Gold Coast is home to the golden beaches of Surfer’s Paradise, where cracking open a cold beverage can be done at the arcade or the many bars and restaurants around, such as in surfy Burleigh Heads or Coolganatta further south with its amazing shoreline. You’ll also find the Gold Coast Hinterland here, where mountain towns are scattered with vineyards and breweries, perfect for an afternoon of both sipping and sightseeing. For the young and young-at-heart, there’s also a highway full of theme parks that make a great day out for the whole family. We recommend buying a 3-day family pass to see your film favorites at Warner Bros Movieworld, or cooling off in the wave pool at Wet N’ Wild. Best of all, the Gold Coast takes just over an hour to reach and is easily accessible by bus, train, or car from Brisbane City.

Burleigh Heads, one of the most Instagrammable spots on the Gold Coast | © Marc James/Unsplash

As the B2B Content Manager here at TourRadar, Jenna certainly knows her stuff when it comes to travel writing. Hailing from the Brisbane office, she loves hopping on a plane every once in a while and is a sucker for Christmas Markets and mountains!

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