In the past 10 years, Brisbane’s popularity has been on the rise and there is a reason for that. Brisbane has a rich history, a population of over 2 million people, interesting events all year round, and strong city leadership that constantly invests in new and interesting things both for tourists and citizens.
Tourist attractions in Brisbane are definitely not lacking and there is a little bit for every generation and type. Starting with amazing parks and historical landmarks, to beautiful scenery and refreshing views of the Brisbane River, up to chic cafes, and exciting nightlife there are definitely plenty of things to do in Brisbane.
With so much choice it definitely isn’t easy to pick the best tourist attractions in Brisbane. That is why this article focuses on only the best things to do in Brisbane and helps you navigate the Brisbane city map with ease and confidence!
Let’s dive in!
History of Brisbane
Before we start guiding you through the best tourist attractions in Brisbane it is only fair to give you a short overview of Brisbane’s history and how it became one of the largest cities in Australia.
According to scholars’ examinations, the region of Brisbane was settled by Aborigines for around 40.000 years. Tribes named Jagera and Turrbal lived around the Brisbane river for a very long period before European settlers arrived.
It all started when the government of New South Wales was hoping to found a new prison colony to remove the worst of the convicts from the Sydney area and they sent Surveyor-General John Oxley with a ship to examine the coast. After exploring the area he has found a river and a suitable ground for the new prison. He named the river and the city by the Governor of New South Wales at the time, Thomas Brisbane. Also, the state of Queensland didn’t exist in 1823.
This discovery was just the beginning of the city. As the settlement continued to grow in 1842, the region of Brisbane was opened to free settlers.
After Queensland was made a state in 1859 and Brisbane as its capital, the growth of Brisbane was ready to begin. The Old Government House was built in 1862 and the Queensland Museum was founded in the same year too. Bowen Park was opened in 1867 and the Parliament House was erected in 1869.
In the following period, The Cathedral of St Stephen was built 1874 and the first railway station named Roma Street Station was opened in 1876. In 1900 Brisbane had about 130.000 the population. It has continued with rapid demographic growth and today with an official report of 2.3 million inhabitants is the third-largest city in Australia.
Top 4 Tourist Attractions in Brisbane
So what are some of the things to do in Brisbane? We have singled out 4 different activities and places that you must visit when visiting Brisbane. These tourist attractions are tailored to be suitable for families or single travelers and we promise you that you won’t be disappointed.
1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Image taken from kkday.com
A place that should be on top of your list of things to do in Brisbane is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was opened in 1927 and today is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary with around 100 koalas and over 70 species of other Australian native animals.
The Sanctuary is located in the suburb Fig Tree Pocket and it is open every day from 9 am until 5 pm including public holidays except ANZAC day (25th April) with working hours from 9 am to 5 pm.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is accredited by the Zoo and Aquarium Association for positive animal welfare and it seems like one of the best tourist attractions in Brisbane.
The programs range from kids’ activities to specially tailored attractions for adults so it is definitely one of the things to do in Brisbane that can satisfy any age group and fitness level. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy while there:
- Junior Keeper For A Day is the most popular school or holiday experience, and not one to be missed. It contains animal training, enrichment design, cleaning and food preparation for the animals, and a meeting with a koala at the end of the tour.
- Sanctuary Sprouts is made for the youngest (2-5 years old) and it offers a 45 minutes session with selected animals. It is more like a game where through stories, games, and movement kids explore and enjoy nature.
- All-stars tour is a 2-hour guided tour that includes encounters with owls and reptiles and a photo opportunity, exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Platypus House plus a feeding session and it ends with a Touch a Koala experience for each of the participants.
- The Koala Discovery Tour is a 60 minutes guided experience for all Koala lovers. This tour includes learning about food preparation and veterinary care for these amazing animals, entering a koala exhibit with your guide, special photo opportunities, and the closest encounter with koalas where you can hold them and capture your special moment with a photo.
- Live virtual group tour is the perfect way to experience the wonderful world of Australian wildlife from home. During the virtual tour, your group will get up close to some of the most wonderful species, including access to a koala habitat!
The tickets for the koala tourist attraction in Brisbane vary according to the age group of the visitors. Here they are:
- Child (3-13 years) is $35.00
- Student (14-17 years or with valid ID) is $39.00
- Senior (65+ years or with valid ID) is $39.00
- Adult (18+ years) is $49.00
- Family (2 adults + up to 2 children) is $135.00
- Mini Family (1 adult + up to 2 children) is $95.00
2. The Wheel of Brisbane
Image taken from queensland.com
Next on your list of tourist attractions in Brisbane should be the Wheel of Brisbane which is a remarkable entertainment piece that is great for both kids and adults.
The Channel Seven Wheel of Brisbane was constructed in 2008, as part of the 20th anniversary of Brisbane’s World Expo, 88 is a tourist attraction in Brisbane all visitors must-see.
Located at The Cultural forecourt south bank parklands off Russell Street, South Brisbane it is an attraction for all ages and it’s a unique way to take in a 360-degree panoramic view of Brisbane city.
It rises 60 meters above the ground and gives you a pleasurable ride in an air-conditioned gondola that seats up to 8 people. Furthermore, the visitors can choose the sights by day with a sunset ride or at night to see the sparkling lights of Brisbane accompanied by an audio tour of the Brisbane landscape.
The experience lasts around 15 minutes and includes a stop right at the pinnacle. This view is what makes the Wheel one of the best tourist attractions in Brisbane.
The Wheel is one of the few things to do in Brisbane which doesn’t require a reservation. It is open from 10 am until 10 pm (Sunday-Thursday) and from 10 am until 11 pm (Friday and Saturday). However, you can purchase your tickets online and skip the line.
Ticket prices depend on age. Here they are:
- $15,20 for children
- $19.95 for adults
- $ 61.75 for the whole family
- $18.05 for a student or concession card
- $57 for a VIP gondola (by person)
You can also get a group booking discount if you are a group, a social or a sporting group or just a group of friends. You have to fill in the required information online and also ask about the discount and other possibilities such as catering.
However, you must keep in mind some useful information, each gondola holds a maximum of 6 adults and 2 kids and kids under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult in the gondola.
3. Museum of Brisbane
Image taken from: blog.qm.qld.gov.au
The Museum of Brisbane is on top of the things to do in Brisbane list for any history lover. A tour of the Museum includes art and social history exhibitions, workshops, talks, tours, and children’s activities. It’s a stunning mix of old and modern Brisbane.
The Museum was founded in 2003 and first, it was located on the ground floor of City Hall. During the restoration of City Hall, the museum was placed at the Brisbane City Gallery and in 2010 it was relocated to Ann Street. After a brief closure, it was reopened in 2013 in the City Hall which now occupies a purpose-built space on the building’s third floor.
During a tour of the Museum of Brisbane, you should visit the Museum of Brisbane Collection and the City of Brisbane Collection. It contains more than 9.000 items depicting the city, various works by local artists, the largest textile collection from local designer Easton Pearson, and other historical objects from Brisbane.
The Museum of Brisbane is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm (except New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day). Admission is free, except for special exhibitions and programs. Since 2021 the Museum is opened exclusively to schools every Monday. The Museum of Brisbane virtual sessions are also available throughout the year and the students are allowed to take part from their classrooms.
The Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brisbane and the lines may get long. Therefore, we advise you to plan your trip on time and arrive early in the morning.
4. Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Image taken from mustdobrisbane.com
The riverside City Botanic Gardens are extended along the Brisbane River and are one of the best things to do in Brisbane if you would like to relax, meditate and clear your mind after a busy week at work. Located very close to the city center makes them easy and convenient to reach.
The entrance to the gardens is free, but pets are not allowed with the special exclusion for the guard and service dogs. Sometimes there are special events or concerts organized by the city or the gardens themselves and there may be an entrance fee.
The best tourist attractions that can be seen in the gardens are Bamboo Grove, Jemmy Morrill, and the Brolgas sculpture, ornamental ponds, weeping fig avenue, Walter Hill Fountain, and a Riverstage.
The gardens also offer a range of fitness activities and community and family-orientated festivals. Some special events at the garden require an appointment by booking sites.
The Gardens are considered to be tourist attractions in Brisbane but they are very quiet and there is space for everyone.
And there you have it, a complete list of the best things to do in Brisbane. Whether you are traveling with friends, family, or solo there are always interesting things to do and places to visit.
Brisbane definitely has much to offer. You will certainly not go wrong if you put Brisbane on your map of places to visit!