Sightseeing at South Bank

Stretching peacefully along the river bank, with scene-stealing views around every corner, South Bank is a non-negotiable when it comes to must-dos. 


Sure, it’s home to some of Brisbane's most iconic tourist attractions – the Wheel of Brisbane, inner-city beach Streets Beach and the blossom-covered Arbour. But the 17-hectare precinct is also a glittering showcase of this melting-pot city. 

Things to see and do at South Bank are almost innumerable and highlight the best of Brisbane’s covetable lifestyle: the sunny outdoors, lush tropical gardens and a bevy of feast-worthy eateries. And that’s before you even get to the epic views of the ever-changing skyline you’ll have from almost anywhere in the Parklands.

Nepalese Pagoda

Epic and impressive for the sheer amount of hours it took to create, the Nepalese Peace Pagoda is still one of South Bank’s most beloved attractions. Tucked into a tranquil corner of the Parklands, between Clem Jones Promenade and Rainforest Walk, it was created for World Expo 88 on behalf of the Kingdom of Nepal. Showcasing the intricate art of Nepalese wood carving, the three-storey structure is the only peace pagoda in Australia and a close replica of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. 

German architect Jochen Reier was tasked with managing the design, planning and production process before reconstructing the Pagoda at South Bank for Expo 88. But credit for the mammoth carving effort and skill goes to 160 Nepalese families, who hand-crafted the architectural marvel from 80 tonnes of timber over two years!

Walk through Pagoda to see the detail up close or simply take a moment to switch off in the cool and shade of this contemplative space.

The Arbour South Bank Parklands Couple Walking with Dog

The Arbour, South Bank Parklands

The Arbour

The Arbour is an undeniable South Bank must-see for out-of-towners, with its 443 curls of galvanised steel draped in climbing flowers, but the Arbour’s beauty is an ongoing source of joy and inspiration for both tourists and locals. 

Covered in a vivid blanket of magenta bougainvillea blooms year round, the award-winning architectural structure winds its way across the Parklands with easy access to South Bank’s biggest attractions. Aesthetics aside, the meandering path provides shelter and shade from the weather – thanks to a yellow ribbon of steel suspended between the posts – so you can strut or stroll any day of the year.

Streets Beach South Bank Parklands

Streets Beach, South Bank Parklands

Streets Beach

Can you say that you’ve been to a beach in a city before? If not, then Australia’s only manmade inner-city beach beckons with its cool waters and kid’s splash zones. Featuring three distinct pools (Streets Beach is flanked by the Boat Pool and Aquativity) and with regular lifeguard patrols, it’s one of Brisbane’s most unusual and iconic attractions. 

Fringed by palms and overlooking the CBD, it’s a slice of Queensland beach life and a tropical oasis rolled into one, right in the heart of the city. And although this is not saltwater you’ll be splashing and playing in, the sand is real. In fact, it takes 4000 cubic metres of sand (sourced from Moreton Bay’s Rous Channel) to keep the beach sandy. Sink your toes in, spread a towel and soak up some rays. Or find a spot in the shade and watch on as the kids squeal with delight at Brisbane-landscape themed interactive water-play park Aquativity.

If you would like to take a dip during your visit, please head to our swimming page for more information.

BRISSBANE Sign South Bank Parklands Couple Walking

BRISBANE Sign, South Bank Parklands


There’s nothing more meta (or must-do) than taking a picture with the larger-than-life BRISBANE sign in front of the Brisbane skyline. Although it was originally a temporary installation for the G20 Summit in 2014, it came back permanently by popular demand – thereby cementing its icon status. The first sculpture – built by volunteers to last only a month – was replaced with the current, more hardy version after the first made it to the four-month mark before succumbing to the elements. On any given day, you’ll find groups or solo travellers (and even a few locals) popping a pose and clambering in, on and around this riotously coloured steel structure. At night, lights cast a glow across the bright colours of each eye-catching letter, backdropped by twinkling city lights for a magical evening vista.

Epicurious Garden South Bank Parklands

Epicurious Garden, South Bank Parklands

Epicurious Garden

Taking the concept of curbside community garden to a new level, the ever-popular Epicurious Garden is always worth a visit. Next to River Quay Green at the southern end of the Parklands, this productive garden is planted with lush exotics, fragrant herbs, fruit trees and veggies, all tended regularly by a dedicated roster of volunteers and horticulturalists. Snag a spot in the shade and relax among the peaceful plots or chat to a volunteer to learn about the different varieties, which are switched out seasonally. 

The harvest cart is open from 7am–11am Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and you can chat to one of the knowledgeable and friendly volunteers who help keep this garden growing. Pluck a freebie from the produce on display (hot tip: get in early because it goes quickly) or taste the herbs or produce with help from a volunteer!

The Wheel of Brisbane South Bank

The Wheel of Brisbane, South Bank Parklands

The Wheel of Brisbane

Have a wheely good time and enjoy panoramic views of the city from on high thanks to the perennially popular The Wheel of Brisbane. Embarking on its maiden revolution during Riverfire in 2008 as part of Expo 88’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the Wheel has become a mainstay of the Brisbane ‘things to do’ landscape. Once you’ve traversed the Parklands, hop into a fully air-conditioned gondola with audio tour included to see the entire city from a different angle – almost 60 metres above ground at its highest. Operating everyday, and with two wheelchair-friendly cabins, you can book online for a five percent discount or purchase from the ticket office next to QPAC and the Cultural Forecourt.

Liana Lounge South Bank Parklands Couple Sitting

Liana Lounge, South Bank Parklands

Liana Lounge

The Liana Lounge offers outdoor seating with plenty of creative flair. The design was inspired by the native liana vines (found in South Bank’s rainforest walk and other rainforests throughout Queensland) and it is constructed from sustainable materials such as precast concrete and recycled plastics.

Rain Bank

Tucked up under the grass of Liana Lounge like some kind of sustainable secret, Rain Bank keeps South Bank hydrated year round. The award-winning urban stormwater harvesting and reuse centre is responsible for collecting up to 77 million megalitres of water each year. It collects and treats stormwater from a 30-hectare catchment across West End and South Brisbane. The equivalent of 30 Olympic swimming pools is then redistributed to the Parklands, ensuring the precinct has a drought-proof water supply.

Brisbane CIty View from City Hopper person taking photo

View of Brisbane City from the CityHopper


Looping through the city like the big brown snake that inspires its affectionate local’s nickname, the river is a centrepoint for stacks of waterfront fun in Brisbane. So naturally a cruise is in order. Setting off from various pontoons and jetties along the Clem Jones Promenade, South Bank’s best must-do cruises are easy to hop on board with. Or you can do a DIY-style cruise by taking advantage of Brisbane’s excellent free ferry service, the CityHopper, and making your own way around the city, at your leisure.


Riverlife located at the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs offer various adventure activities including kayaking tours, stand up paddle boarding and abseiling.

A distant shot of a couple sitting on a tree trunk on a beach