Top summer attractions

18 JANUARY 2023

Brisbane in summer is full of unexpected surprises - and whether you’re here for a day, a week, or an extended holiday - you’ll be delighted by just how much our city has to offer. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the most iconic Brisbane experiences, as well as some hidden gems. Cruises, culture and a city of excitement. What more could you want?

Cruise the Brisbane River

The iconic Brisbane River is the perfect backdrop to this city of lifestyle and leisure. Being on the water is one of the best ways to enjoy a Brisbane sightseeing adventure. Hop on board a River to Bay cruise to the city’s iconic cocktail, breweries or bars with picturesque river views. With a wide range of tour options, including blazing a trail of seafood, wine and craft beer, enjoy taking in Brisbane’s breathtaking skyline, all leaving from and returning to the heart of Brisbane.

To amp up the adventure, adrenaline seekers can ride with Jet Ski Tours Brisbane. See the sights along the Brisbane River for an unforgettable experience on the water. If an afternoon of leisure is more your speed, jump on a GoBoat for a picnic like no other! With no licence or experience required, captain your own ship along the Brisbane River, take in the sights and cruise along in these environmentally-friendly self-drive boats.

Get ready to party up the Brisbane River on the iconic YOT Club, the superyacht that brings Brisbane’s best events to the water. Hop aboard Brisbane's newest cruising entertainment venue, OASIS, and party across three different themed levels including a vibrant rooftop with a dancefloor and sun lounges. Book into one of these epic parties and raise your glasses to the sights of Brisbane. 

To keep the little ones entertained, experience is the relaxing and informative daily Koala and River cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, run by Mirimar Cruises, to take in the best of both worlds: wildlife and heritage cruise in a day.

South Bank

South Bank is home to a whole precinct of activities and attractions perfect for you, the family or a date night out. Located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River, the area is made up of 17 hectares of lush parklands and Australia's only inner-city, man-made beach. This makes South Bank Parklands the perfect place for a summer dip in the pool, stroll in the park or a barbecue with friends. Streets Beach is monitored all day by lifeguards and feels just like the real thing – without the waves.

For breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views at 60 metres high, the Wheel of Brisbane is an uplifting way to see the city. Perfect for snapshots and a change of pace, you can experience the city sights from a comfortable air-conditioned gondola or book a VIP gondola for special occasions. 

For a romantic night out, head straight for River Quay at the southern end of South Bank. Beautiful dining and drinks, plus a lush riverside lawn make for a perfect date night. For more dining choices, a parade of restaurants and bars line Little Stanley St and Grey St with the South Bank Cineplex central to dining hotspots.


Brisbane’s dining scene is booming, and you’ll soon find out why. With flavours to satisfy every set of taste buds, you’re spoilt for choice. Whether you’re ready for the best brunch spots or the perfect caffeine hit to eating local or some bar hopping - Brisbane has it all. With the Brisbane classics reopening their doors alongside an abundance of new openings, you’ll want to wine and dine every night of the week. Treat yourself to a meal with a spectacular view, hit up one of the many rooftop bars overlooking the city, or spend a whole Sunday checking it all out. Hop in the car and head for a day of some of the region’s greatest tastes, or stay local for some experiences like no other.

Try something different with experiences like City Winery for Brisbane’s funky urban winery, or book in for a gin class and tasting at the Brisbane Distillery Company.

Cultural centre

At the top of South Bank, the Cultural Centre is home to Queensland’s largest galleries and library and Australia's most popular museum. QAGOMA consists of the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. The Queensland Art Gallery houses more traditional mediums and exhibitions while the Gallery of Modern Art is where modernism meets the abstract. Head to QAGOMA until 23rd April is the “Air” exhibition, which will showcase immersive and large-scale works by leading international and Australian artists exploring the cultural, ecological and political dimensions of air.

QPAC, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, is home to over 1200 performances a year, boasting a catalogue of emerging, local, new and world-renowned productions.

The State Library of Queensland is a knowledge bank in the heart of the Cultural Centre, positioning itself as a community hub for sharing, learning, collaborating and creating. Register as a member for free to get access to the impressive catalogue and to book meeting and study rooms.

Queensland Museum is a museum of natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement that also tells the changing story of Queensland. Permanent and rotating exhibitions provide refreshing education experiences for kids and grown-ups while the Sciencentre on Level 1 gets you up close and personal with the latest in research and discovery. Entry to the Sciencentre is ticketed.

Shopping in The City

If you’re in the mood to shop, the Queen Street Mall is home to some of your favourite retailers and big international chains and luxury brands, while James Street in Fortitude Valley offers a leafy boutique and upscale experience.

Inner-City adventures

For an inner-city adventure, look no further than Riverlife. Take a segway spin under the Story Bridge, rock climb the Kangaroo Point Cliffs or glide down the river in a night-time kayak among the range of experiences.

Brisbane boasts two Botanic Gardens in which to explore and unwind. Bring a picnic blanket and friends or family to the Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens before a hike up the mountain for the breathtaking views of the city. Or relax in the City Botanic Gardens before shopping your stress away along Queen Street Mall.

Island adventures

Brisbane’s coastline is home to a multitude of idyllic islands, perfect for day trips or longer holidays to be immersed in nature and adventure. North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah just an hour from the CBD is known for some of the most spectacular scenery found anywhere in Australia. Famous for its scenic headlands, abundance of wildlife, freshwater lakes, rolling surf and endless white sandy beaches, the island is quite literally an adventure-filled paradise. Or, jump on a ferry to Tangalooma Island Resort to experience this nature lover's paradise. Discover unique wildlife and marine life, shipwreck snorkelling, sand boarding, a range of water based activities and ATV quad bike tours.

Food, beer and wine tours

Brisbane is home to a craft beer aficionado’s dream. Hop On Brewery Tours and the classic XXXX Brewery Tours will get you around to the city’s best breweries, as you can imagine. Or check out all the breweries you can visit in and around Brisbane.

For wine tours, Brisbane Winery ToursVino BusTash Maree and Kiff & Culture have you covered.

Go brewery hopping

Sometimes nothing tastes quite like a fresh crisp beer, and when locally brewed - even better! Brisbane has recently hopped aboard the brewery train, with some of Queensland’s best breweries.

Newly opened, Brewdog at Fortitude Valley has expanded into an epic three-story bar where craft beer connoisseurs can rejoice. The Byron Bay classic Stone & Wood, has opened an industrial-style micro-brewery in Fortitude Valley, serving up their all-time best as well as some limited-edition brews. Our tip - get a tasting paddle, you’ll want to try them all.

Take a lofty steel warehouse, add a microbrewery, pub and restaurant and you’ve got Newstead Brewing Co. This boutique brewpub has 12 taps on offer, with eight brews direct from the tanks. Feeling peckish? The kitchen pumps out gastropub feasts fit for craft brews. Why not make a day of it? While you’re in the area, stroll on over to Green Beacon Brewing Co. and Range Brewing and keep the brews coming.

Beer lover or yet-to-be convert, Brisbane breweries are the place to settle in for a relaxing day or night with a cold one in hand, to show some love to local producers.

Howard Smith Wharves

At the heart of Brisbane’s dining and entertainment hub is Howard Smith Wharves. Enjoy the best seat in the house right under the Story Bridge, on the edge of the sparkling Brisbane River. It’s a place where you’re spoilt for choice with some of Brisbane’s best restaurants and bars, and it just keeps getting better!

Your first stop has to be Felon’s Brewing Co. - a freshly renovated, old wool shed where the beer hall opens onto the river. Sample the beers brewed on the premises, which are even more refreshing with a gentle river breeze. Just a few metres away is the effortlessly cool Mr Percival’s. This is the place to sip cocktails and watch the sparkling city skyline work its twilight magic.

No matter what flavour you’re chasing, the Wharves have got something to surprise you. Try some authentic Greek at Greca, or funky Japanese at Yoko Dining, or if you’re feeling fancy, fine dine on Cantonese at Stanley Restaurant or traditional but trendy Italian at Ciao Papi.

From breakfast, to lunch, to the perfect afternoon beverage, to dancing the night away under stars (or lounging on a bean bag), the Wharves has it all. But don’t stop there, book a night at the Crystalbrook Vincent and have a drink at their sophisticated rooftop bar Fiume and watch the hustle and bustle of the Wharves from afar.

Breathtaking views

Off the watery path, Brisbane has plenty of other sights to marvel at. It’s hard to beat the bird’s eye view you can only get with a helicopter tour of the CBD or the islands. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb is a great way to get another breathtaking view over Brisbane. Or keep your feet on the ground and enjoy stunning city views perched on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. A quick drive up Mt Coot-Tha offers more wonderful sunrise and sunset views. Stay after the sun goes down and watch the city lights and star-lit skies sparkle to life.

For truly spectacular views you can climb straight into the sky with one of Brisbane's hot air ballooning companies. Hot Air Balloon Brisbane can collect you from within Brisbane City well before the sunrise to take you down to O'Reillys in the Scenic Rim for a vineyard and coastal view. Thirty minutes west of the city, Floating Images promises the most beautiful countryside and cityside views across the Lockyer Valley and the city of Ipswich.

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