Things to do in Brisbane

Fun Things to Do in Brisbane

Discover the delights of Brisbane with this list of our favorite local activities.

Brisbane, also known as Brissie among the locals, is the third-largest city and the capital of Queensland, Australia. It is a central hub for art, culture, and outdoor adventures. The city stretches along the Brisbane River between the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, attracting tourists with its year-round sunshine and relaxed vibe.

Whether you visit during the steamy summer months or the balmy winter, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Brisbane.

South Bank and CBD

The central business district and the South Bank area are the center of activity in Brisbane. It's the ideal place to get a feel for the city — and maybe sneak in a bit of shopping.

As you explore this vibrant, energetic area, take advantage of these great activities. If you have time left over, the CBD is also home to some of our favorite spots for karaoke in Brisbane.

1. The Wheel of Brisbane

A ride on the Wheel of Brisbane is one of the city's best experiences. Hop into one of the air-conditioned gondolas and enjoy the spectacular view of the city and ocean as you ride up to a height of 60 m.

An audio guide plays over the speakers as you ride, making it easier to identify landmarks on the Brisbane skyline. The ride takes 10-15 minutes and is accessible to people of all ages.

General admission tickets to the Wheel of Brisbane are widely available. If you want to take this experience to the next level, book the VIP car, which includes a 25- to 35-minute ride and a beverage. Or choose the Sunset Sessions ticket for a double-length ride and two beverages.

Photographer: Alice Duffield

2. Clock Tower Tours

With its sandstone exterior and gleaming white opal clock face, the City Hall Clock Tower stands out against the sleek, modern skyscrapers of the Brisbane CBD. From 1930 to the 1960s, the tower rose higher than any other building in the city. While that's no longer the case, it's still one of the town's most popular tourist attractions.

The best way to see this iconic structure is on a clock tower tour through the Museum of Brisbane. You'll ride the historic, cage-style lift, view the city and the tower bells from the observation deck, and check out the massive clock face from behind. The entire tour takes 15 minutes and is free for everyone.

3. Brisbane City Hall Tour

Once you've seen the clock tower, head back to the museum for a Brisbane City Hall Tour. If you think the neoclassical exterior is stunning, wait until you see the inside. It features an enormous pipe organ, grand architecture, and a jaw-dropping auditorium with a dramatic round ceiling inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

City Hall tours are free and suitable for various fitness levels, but remember you'll need to climb stairs. People who use wheelchairs or mobility aids can take the elevators instead. The Brisbane City Hall tour is pretty popular, so booking your spot in advance is a good idea.

Moreton Bay and Islands

Brisbane is an island-hopper's paradise. It's also a stone's throw from beautiful Moreton Bay, which offers convenient access to world-class snorkelling, diving, and swimming.

4. Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Island Resort is only a 75-minute cruise from the city center. It's perfect for experiencing Australian island life any time of year. During Brisbane's sweltering summers, head straight for the ocean. Swimming or snorkeling in Moreton Bay is extra refreshing when the humidity is high.

You can also go kayaking, scuba diving, paddleboarding, or parasailing. If you're an animal lover, take advantage of the opportunity to feed the resort's dolphins. Don't feel like getting wet? Hop on a bus tour or see the island from above on a scenic helicopter ride.

For an adrenaline rush, roar across the dunes on a quad bike or try sand tobogganing on a desert safari. There's so much to do that you might need to stay overnight to pack it all in.

5. Snorkel near the Tangalooma Wrecks

Just off the coast of Moreton Island, you'll find one of our favorite secret Brisbane spots: a line of submerged boats.

Despite the name, the Tangalooma Wrecks were actually created intentionally. In the 1960s and 1970s, the ships were deliberately sunk to create an anchoring spot for visiting boaters. The 15 hulls have become a habitat for all kinds of colorful sea creatures. The best way to witness the true beauty of the Tangalooma Wrecks is by taking a snorkeling tour.

You'll board a boat and head out to the site, which is located about 30 meters offshore. The guide will lead the group through the wrecks, where you can see more than 200 species of fish and 100-plus types of coral. Keep your head on a swivel, and you might even spot sea turtles gliding through the sea.

6. Day Trip to Stradbroke Island

Immerse yourself in nature on North Stradbroke Island, which is also called Minjerribah and Straddie. One of the biggest sand islands in the world, it's a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane.

Strap on a pair of sturdy shoes and hike along the coast on the North Gorge Walk, go for a swim at the beautiful Cylinder Beach, or watch the surfers at Main Beach.

As you explore the island, try to watch for wildlife. Here, kangaroos run wild on land. You might even see dolphins and humpback whales if you look out to sea. If you're interested in the history, take a tour with a Quandamooka to learn about the island's Indigenous people. It's one of the most unforgettable cultural experiences in Brisbane.

Photographer: Thicia Luiza Zuqui

North Brisbane

As you head north out of the CBD, the towering glass and steel buildings give way to fields and forests. This peaceful, verdant area is a haven for anyone looking to surround themselves with nature.

7. White Ridge Farm

Tucked into the trees about 63 km north of Brisbane, White Ridge Farm is beloved among local families. There's plenty to keep your entire crew busy for hours. Kids can feed and pet the animals or run out of energy on the playground.

To take the day to the next level, load your little ones into the farm trailer and go for a tractor-powered ride around the farm. Pack a picnic, or pick up some food at the on-site shop. The outdoor picnic area is ideal for taking a break before diving back into the farm fun.


Located just north of the mountains and rainforests of the lush Scenic Rim, Ipswich is a natural jumping-off point for outdoor expeditions. You'll need to drive about 40 km to reach this revitalized city from Brisbane, but the journey pays off in excellent restaurants, interesting shops, and fascinating museums.

8. Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

See the Queensland countryside from above on a hot-air balloon ride with Floating Images. As you drift above the silent landscape, you'll enjoy the spectacular city and surrounding views.

This is one of the most enchanting experiences in Brisbane. Most flights leave early in the morning, and some include breakfast so that you can make a morning of it. Every flight is piloted by the company's owner, who takes pride in sharing the area with residents and visitors.

Book a regular tour, or work with the company to create a custom trip to celebrate a special occasion. You can even get married in the balloon.

Photographer: Craig Shine


Hamilton, which sits between the CBD and the Brisbane Airport, is one of the city's most desirable suburbs. It's also home to an activity with special meaning for our team.

9. Flipside Circus

It should come as no surprise that a trip to the Flipside Circus is one of our favorite unique things to do in Brisbane. In fact, some of our talented performers started their careers at the training center. Throughout the year, the circus hosts innovative shows for kids and adults. Check the schedule for upcoming events.

Want to see what it's like to be in a circus? Join one of the Flipside Circus workshops. We love Waterways, which explores First Nations history and culture. Make sure to note the location of each event. The Brisbane Circus Centre has been closed for repairs since a fire in January 2024.

Inner Brisbane

The inner suburbs of Brisbane are overflowing with exciting activities. And since they're not far from the CBD, you can usually drive or take public transportation.

10. Slideways Go Karting

Fuel your need for speed at Slideways Go Karting, an enormous facility that attracts both adrenaline junkies and newbies.

This isn't your ordinary go-karting track. It stretches for 425 m across two levels. Roar around corners, speed up and down hills, and try to beat other racers to the finish line. Part of the track even leaves the building, creating a fun outdoor loop.

Slideways offers two session types: the gentler Family Session and the high-octane Pro Session. Family Sessions feature rev-limited go-karts for safer racing. No matter which you choose, make sure to wear close-toed shoes and fitted clothing. Sandals, flip-flops, and loose clothes are not allowed for safety reasons.

11. Mount Coot-tha Lookout

You won't find a better view in Brisbane than the one from Mount Coot-tha Lookout — it's the highest point in the city, after all. As you approach the summit, the skyline spreads out dramatically before you. It's easy to spend an hour or two at the top, wandering the paths and enjoying a coffee in the café.

While you walk, a series of informative signs provide a glimpse into the area's history. The easiest way to reach the lookout is to drive, but public transportation is also available. You can take a bus directly to the top and back. If you have the time, stick around to check out Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the many local hiking trails.

12. Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

While you're visiting Mount Coot-tha, stop by the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, which the Brisbane City Council runs. Look at the stars in the observatory, try to tell time using the sundial in the courtyard, and pick up a souvenir in the gift shop. The highlight of any visit is a trip to the Cosmic Skydome, a massive projection dome that features regular shows.

Bring the whole family to one of the kid-friendly cartoons, or break out your inner science nerd to learn about dark matter, the solar system, and cosmic events that shape the universe. Shows can fill up quickly, so try to reserve your spot early.

Across Brisbane

If you're ready to get out of the busy city center, the greater Brisbane area has a wealth of activities that most visitors miss. Most are outdoor-oriented, which is a no-brainer, given the area's beautiful weather and lush green spaces.

13. Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail stretches more than 160 kilometres, from Yarraman in the north to Ipswich in the south. If you're looking for awesome things to do in Brisbane, it doesn't get much better than biking the full length.

For an easier trip, rent a bike in Ipswich and ride from south to north before taking a local bike shuttle service back to the start. Depending on your skill level and riding time, it usually takes two to four days to cover the entire route.

Hikers are also welcome on the trail. Just wear bright clothes for visibility and keep an eye out for cyclists. Expect a mix of paved paths and dirt or gravel trails. If you want to do only part of the route, consider tackling the popular downhill section from Yarraman to Linville.

14. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

If you want to see a koala during your trip to Australia, stop by the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. More than 100 koalas make their home here. You can observe them from afar, but we recommend booking one of the experiences. That way, you can pet or hold one of these cute creatures.

The sanctuary is also home to other fascinating critters, including Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, cassowaries, and dingoes. Get up close during a wildlife encounter, or join a twilight or night tour to see what the animals get up to after the sun goes down. Book online to avoid the line at the entrance. Kids under the age of 3 enter free.

Photographer: Bob Walker

15. Lyell Deer Sanctuary

Many of Australia's wild animals are dangerous to humans, but not at the Lyell Deer Sanctuary. Here, a group of rescued deer live safely after recovering from injuries and displacement.

This isn't a sprawling zoo. It's a tiny, family-run sanctuary that's all about caring for the animals. Here, you get a true hands-on experience, and you might even get to help feed the deer.

The Lyell Deer Sanctuary is a labor of love, and your entry fee helps the dedicated staff care for animals in need.

Discovering Brisbane's Diverse Activities

When you're ready for a break from the brilliant Australian sun, join us at one of our innovative performances.

Our shows push artistic and practical barriers to create a symphony of acrobatics, music, color, and cutting-edge technology. Marvel at our remarkable performers as they execute mind-boggling choreography that transports you into a new, dreamy reality. We invite you to step into our world at one of our shows in Brisbane.

More articles about