Discover Brisbane's top major attractions            

18 JANUARY 2023

Brisbane is full of unexpected surprises - and we’ve got the inside scoop. Whether you’re here for a day, a week, an extended holiday or you’re lucky enough to live locally, we’ve got a comprehensive guide to the most iconic Brisbane experiences, as well as some hidden gems- waiting to be explored. You’ll be pleasantly surprised just how much Brisbane City has to offer. 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. 

To keep the little ones entertained, experience 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.

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 Brisbane City or the nearby Moreton or North Stradbroke Islands. To keep your feet on the ground, enjoy stunning city views perched on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, or a different perspective from Eagle Street Pier on the opposite bank. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb is a great way to get another breathtaking view over Brisbane’s city skyline and surrounds. 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 The City well before the sunrise to take you down to O'Reilly’s in the Scenic Rim for a vineyard and coastal view. Thirty minutes west of the city in Ipswich, Floating Images promises the most beautiful countryside and cityside views across the Scenic Rim and the city of Ipswich.

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. to sample the beers brewed on premises, which are even more refreshing with a gentle river breeze. Just a few metres away is the effortlessly cool Mr Percival’s – the perfect place to sip cocktails and watch the sparkling city skyline work its twilight magic. 

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

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

South Bank Arbour
South Bank Parklands, South Bank

South Bank

South Bank is home to a whole precinct of activities and attractions perfect for you, your 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 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 – just 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 smack-bang in the middle. 


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 some bar hopping, some cheap and tasty eats or the perfect caffeine hit - 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 to the Scenic Rim for a day sampling some of the region’s greatest tastes, or stay local and enjoy stunning riverside eats overlooking Brisbane River.

Try something different with experiences like City Winery where you can blend your own wine in this unique, urban Brisbane’s winery. 

Cultural Centre 

At the top of South Bank, the Cultural Centre is home to Queensland’s largest galleries, 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 QPAC, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, to experience over 1200 world-class 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. 

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 escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and immersing in nature and adventure. You can jump on a ferry, charter a boat, join a tour, drive across or wade out at low tide and discover a different side of Brisbane.  

Tangalooma Island Resort offers day cruise options for dolphin and whale watching, shipwreck snorkelling, and ATV quad bike tours. In Moreton Bay, Brisbane Whale Watching and Aria Cruises also provide whale watching and dolphin tours between whale season (June and November). 

North Stradbroke Island/ Minjerribah just an hour from Brisbane City 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. 

Day trips 

Brisbane is a beautiful place to spend a day discovering all the regions have to offer. Up north, Australia Zoo is the iconic home of the Crocodile Hunter, delivering conservation through exciting education. While in the area, make tracks to explore D’Aguilar National Park - housing remote gorges, subtropical rainforests and spectacular views of Moreton Bay just half an hour out of the city. 

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 Tours, Vino Bus, Tash 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

Craft connoisseurs can rejoice – the world’s first carbon negative brewery, Brewdog has just opened an epic three-story bar in Fortitude Valley. The Byron Bay classic Stone & Wood is also home to 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 in Milton. 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? Head to Newstead to discover the locally adored microbreweries, Green Beacon Brewing Co. and Range Brewing

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. 

Shopping in the city 

If nothing else, a long wander through the concrete jungle is the perfect excuse to spend some of your hard-earned cash and glam up. 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 luxurious experience. 

Historical sightseeing 

Discover the storied convict history of Brisbane City with Boggo Road Gaol, Newstead House, and the Old Windmill. Flashback to the World Wars with Fort Lytton National Park or wander into the political backdrop of the Parliament House, Old Government House and Customs House. 

Some of Brisbane’s oldest churches are still operational today, such as; Catholic Old St. Stephen’s Church, St. John’s Anglican Cathedral and Albert Street Uniting Church host services every Sunday and are gorgeous relics of the 20th century. 

Discover Brisbane's culture 

The Brisbane Powerhouse is a local favourite with Friday night comedy, regular exhibitions, shows on stage and a bar and restaurant for a full night out. The Museum of Brisbane focuses on the art and stories of Brisbane, the Queensland Maritime Museum at South Bank examines our connection to the river and the bay, while the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium urges us to look to the stars. 

The Judith Wright Contemporary Art Centre, also known as the Judy, is home to a unique blend of cabaret, circus, dance, music and contemporary performance right in Fortitude Valley. The Institute of Modern Art inside the Judy is a free public art gallery and forum for art and its discourses. The Brisbane Arts Theatre, similarly, is an independent icon. 

The Fortitude Music Hall is Brisbane’s newest culture kid on the block, hosting the best up and coming gigs Brisbane has had to offer. Right in the heart of Fortitude Valley, it’s the place to let your hair down and get your groove on. 

Farmers' markets 

With unparalleled access to fertile regions all around, Brisbane’s farmers and artisanal market scene is thriving. This comprehensive list of markets will keep you busy around the city, but don’t forget the Redcliffe Jetty Markets or the Collective Markets for your artesian and produce goods. 

Crowd at Suncorp Stadium
Suncorp Stadium, Milton 

Catch a sporting showdown 

For sports, look straight to the two key Brisbane stadiums. Suncorp Stadium, or Lang Park, mostly hosts the rugby (league and union) and soccer, while The Gabba is a cricket and AFL ground. Weekend sport is also happening all over the city in the smaller leagues – keep an eye out.