A Brisbane travelguide must be placed in context. Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and the capital of the state of Queensland. Brisbane is usually a starting point or end point of a journey on the east coast of Australia. Depending on this, you will experience the city differently. Brizzy’ or ‘BrizVegas’ mark the beginning of the Gold Coast and the end of the Sunshine Coast. The above nicknames are a reference to the few activities and places of interest here according to the locals. Aussies mock this relaxed town where the pace is a bit slower. Nevertheless, there is a lot to do and experience. Moreover, a majority is completely free! A Brisbane travel guide is ideal to prepare yourself for a city trip. We just had a trip from Cairns to Brisbane. After weeks of seeing red dust in the Outback of Australia during our Working Holiday Visa.
Cost and Budget
Important to know is that your trip to Brisbane should not cost a lot of money. There are a lot of free activities to save your budget. With some smart thinking your transport costs can be minimized. Eating and drinking is something you have to do everywhere, of course.
Where to stay
To complete a Brisbane travelguide, you’ll need some accommodation options. We always look for a low price for our overnight stay. During our visit to Brisbane we opted for a slightly larger budget. Airbnb has a wide range of options in Brisbane and something for every budget. We had a nice apartment in Kangaroo Point with a beautiful view of the sunset. Use this link and get up to €43 discount on your first stay!
Our sunset view:
Anyone looking for a cheap route will find plenty of hostels. The official Brisbane travelguide even recommends booking accommodation on arrival. In the city centre you will find nice hostels including swimming pool for 25 AUD. Some recommendations are:
- Nomads Brisbane Hostel located in the heart of Brisbane
- Brisbane Backpackers Resort located in the West End
- BUNK in Fortitude Valley serving free breakfast
- Brisbane City YHA that can offer a competitive price
Most tourist activities are located around the city centre (CBD) and South Bank. So you don’t have to spend hours on the bus or train to explore the city. You can see the majority of the city on foot. Public Transport consists of bus, train and ferry in Brisbane. The bus and train system is TransLink. With this system you pay per ride and the cost depends per zone. Do you want to use the bus a lot? Then it is best to buy a GoCard. On this card you can put $10,00 and save 30% per ride.
Protip! Are you here for a few days? Then you don’t need this card since you have to buy the GoPass. Bus and train are quite expensive in Australia.
The paying ferries in Brisbane have the same system as bus and train. However, you can use the free ferry in Brisbane. The CityHopper. A real city symbol that takes you to all the important places in the city. Here you’ll find the timetable. Below you can see the different stops.
Protip! Book your accommodation close to a CityHopper stop and save on transport.
Brisbane has nice bike paths that take you through the city. Moreover, you can fully explore the River Walk by bike. Brisbane also participates in the cycling initiative that can be found all over the world, the city bike. ‘CityCycle‘ is the name of the project. No less than 150 bike stations can be found in Brisbane. This initiative is mainly used by locals with an annual subscription, but tourists can also make use of it. At a bike station you can buy a casual pass for 2 AUD which gives you 24 hours access to the bike offer!
The bad news is that there is no bicycle helmet. And a bicycle helmet is compulsory here. In other words, before you can make use of the casual pass, you have to buy/hire a helmet.
Taxi & Uber
Taxis are insanely expensive in Brisbane. There are different rates for different hours:
5AM – 7AM: $2.90
7PM – 12PM: $4.30
12PM – 5AM: $6.30
On top of that is $2.17 per kilometer. If your driver has to wait for seats then there is an additional $0.82 per minute. In short, not a smart plan to take a taxi in the city.
Uber is much cheaper and ideal if you want to go quickly from A to B in the city. Keep in mind that Uber does not accept cash in Brisbane. So you have to have a credit card linked to your Uber account, otherwise you won’t be able to take rides.
Best Time to Travel
No less than 280 days of sunshine can be found in subtropical Brisbane. The summer is hot and wet. The winter has a pleasant temperature and is dry. If you go between December and February, make sure you have your summer clothes with you, because it can get quite warm and sticky here. April and May seem to be the best months for weather, crowds and prices.
Sights of Brisbane
A Brisbane travelguide isn’t complete without listing the sights. The beating heart of Brisbane is undoubtedly the river. It shapes the city and provides nice views of the skyline. Make sure you have walked down the River Walk! Moreover, you can find all kinds of activities here. Free sports lessons, climbing rocks, free barbecues, kayaking on the river or just have a drink and enjoy the view. Moreover, you will sail the Brisbane River daily with the CityHopper. The vista’s keep coming here!
Undoubtedly the nicest place to visit in Brisbane. Pick up free vegetables and herbs at the Epicurious Garden or put on your swimming shorts and jump into a giant public pool on Street Beach. South Bank is an impressive piece of urban planning. You’ll also find plenty of great places to eat and drink. Don’t skip the region around South Bank. You’ll find the Queensland Museum of Modern Art, the Maritime Museum, lots of restaurants and nice bars overlooking the river. Moreover, you have to bring up your camera and walk through the flower corridor.
Outside of Brisbane
For nature lovers there are two ‘musts’ to do in the Brisbane area. One of them forces you to get up early and take a ride by car. About twenty minutes outside the city you’ll find Mount Coot-Tha that gives impressive views over Brisbane. What makes this view special are the morning colours that hang behind Brisbane. There’s also a good chance that there are mystical clouds in the city that make your picture more beautiful.
The other nature activity is the region of the Glasshouse Mountains. A group of mountains shooting up out of nowhere in the flat landscape. My advice is to first drive to the Visitor Centre and be advised which hikes you can and want to do. There are adventurous hikes that can be a physical challenge. There are also one-hour hikes where you have a beautiful view of the Glasshouse Mountains. The drive is an hour by car from Brisbane. The ride itself is beautiful because of the nice presence of the mountains in the background.
Every large city tries to have enough green to maintain the balance between grey buildings and green nature. Brisbane follows Singapore’s example and manages to give the city a pleasant appearance. Moreover, all these parks can be visited for free.
The City Botanic Gardens is a small park that is best visited on Sundays between 8 am and noon so you can visit the markets.
Epicurious Gardens can be found in South Bank and is an ideal place to unwind. You have a magnificent view of the Brisbane River. You can also pick up free vegetables and herbs from Tuesday to Thursday after 7am.
Roma Street Parkland is perhaps the most beautiful park in Brisbane. If you can count all the exotic flowers here, I’ll call you a mathematical genius. Also you have the chance to walk in a mini-jungle.
New Farm Parkland is a favorite with the locals. A large expanse of grass park that is ideal for a picnic. Is it a hot day? Then come in time to find a spot in the shade. Here you’ll also have an excellent view of the Brisbane River, which winds its way through the park and you’ll be able to spot all kinds of ferries.
In this Brisbane travelguide you’ll also find a list of the districts. Each district is known for its typical characteristics.
The CBD is nothing more than the city centre. CBD stands for Central Business District and indicates that most of the work is done here. Expect large buildings, a lot of traffic, wide lanes and people in costume who want to go from A to B as fast as possible. After a period of Australian Bush it was sometimes nice to walk in a busy city. You will find chic restaurants, supermarkets such as Woolworths and the most famous fast food chains.
You can’t skip this neighbourhood. A wide range of rooftop bars with excellent views of the Brisbane River. Chinatown for a crazy array of spices, drinks and food. If you want to go out for a night out, this is an ideal place to hang out. A neighbourhood with many personalities harmoniously brought together by its architecture.
Probably the highlight of your visit to Brisbane. No less than 17 hectares of nature can be found here. Put on your hiking boots and swimming trunks because here is a laundry list of activities to do. Take a refreshing dip in Street Beach, fill your basket with fresh herbs in Epicurious Garden or just stare at the beautiful views of the Brisbane River. You’re most likely going to spend some time here!
The West End is a rougher side of Brisbane. You’ll find many university students, artists and Brisbane hippies here! Think bookstores, live music and cafes with loyal visitors, if you know what I mean.
Are you fanatical about coffee? Well, this Brisbane travelguide then orders you to come to New Farm!. It’s a neighbourhood that’s made for having a good weekend. You’ll be swamped with coffee bars and trendy eateries. Don’t you like hip places where it’s seen and seen? Then bring your towel and sit in New Farm Park where you can dream away in subtropical temperatures and a light breeze coming from the Brisbane River. New Farm is the ideal place to explore the latest trends in Brisbane.
Hopefully this Brisbane travelguide has been able to help you!