Things to do

Brisbane Attractions: Koalas, Climbing and More!

The biggest of Brisbane attractions is also the closest. South Bank Parklands on the Brisbane River is a downtown beach and pleasure area made for sunny summer days and, in Australia, that’s most of the year. It’s probably Brisbane’s most popular, most visited tourist attraction. South Bank has something for eveyone, from the sophistication of the art world to something as basic as the beach.

With its man-made beach, warm lagoon and many attractions nearby, South Bank has all the beachgoer needs right in the city. A day or two in South Bank can also be a cheap, fun, active way to spend your time in the city.

The photo shows South Bank and Griffith University.

A little ways down the river from the beach at South Bank is the Queensland Maritime Museum and farther downriver, at Kangaroo Point, is the RiverLife Centre which offers rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking and bicycle hiring. The photo shows HMAS Diamantina, Australia’s last WW2 frigate to be taken out of service, at the Maritime Museum.

Also down near Kangaroo Point is another one of the many Brisbane attractions, the Story Bridge Climb, something for the brave and active visitor.

The South Bank Parklands is also home to most of Brisbane’s art and cultural centres. Here you can find the second largest opera company in Australia in Opera Queensland. They regularly put on 3 shows in Brisbane each year as well as others in the surrounding areas.

Another cultural center in the South Bank Parklands is QPAC, or more fully, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre held in the Lyric Theatre. World class shows are performed each season by both international artists and well known Australian talent. It’s also home to the Queensland ballet.

Live theatre can also be found in the Bille Brown Studio by the Queensland Theatre Company. The company features mainly local plays with some international flavour brought in.

More theatre, featuring comedy and dance as well as music, is to be found at the Powerhouse.

To see young musicians, a great place to go is the Queensland Conservatorium of Griffith University. Their regular concerts are available to the public and showcase the brightest talent of the school. You can also see various performances of musicians, dancers, and movies in the Suncorp Piazza.

Music and fireworks are also on display here during the Brisbane Festival.

There are 3 art galleries in the area. The Queensland Art Gallery holds more than 10,000 pieces ranging from paintings and sculptures to videos. They also have special exhibitions throughout the year. Entrance is free except to the special exhibitions.

Attached to the Queensland Art Gallery is the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in which you can find different exhibitions depending on the time of the year. To find up and coming Australian talent the best place to go is the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University. Also free, the college displays works by its leading students in the areas of design, animation and photography among other disciplines.

The Sciencentre is great place to take kids to as it offers the opportunity to touch and experience most of the exhibits.

Among the most popular of Brisbane attractions is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a short ride (voyage?) up river from the city by river cruise boat or a short drive by bus or car. The Lone Pine is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary in Australia, which also means the world as this cute furry bundle is one of the many animals unique to the continent.

As with most of Australia, sport is probably the biggest of Brisbane attractions. The Gabba, Suncorp, and Ballymore stadiums providing an important part of any visit.

Another of the things to do in Brisbane, and one of the most popular, is diving. As you’d expect with the city so close to the ocean and close to world-famous diving sites, like the Great Barrier Reef (though that’s a fair way north), there are lots of diving companies to choose from.

Finally, for now at any rate, if you’ve an interest in gardens, Brisbane has a number of them, the most popular being the Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha, the City Botanic Gardens (near the Queensland University of Technology and Parliament House), and the Roma Street Parklands, shown here in this photo.

And like most of Australia, one of the best Brisbane attractions is eating out. Visit our pages of recommendations for restaurants in the West End, South Bank, City and Valley, New Farm and Riverside, and Milton, Paddington and St. Lucia. Making this list of restaurants has been an exhausting, fulfilling, labour of love and worth every minute spent on it:) And, of course, it’s a job that never ends.

Brisbane Pictures