Brisbane may well boast downtown skyscrapers and a population of over 2 million, but the warm climate, friendly locals and incredible natural bounty give it arguably the most easy-going atmosphere of all the cities in Australia. The way the Brisbane River, from which the city takes its name, snakes lazily through the Queensland capital mirrors the laid-back attitude of the inhabitants of “Brissie”.

The Sunshine State’s largest city has a vibrant cultural life and plenty of top-class bars and restaurants but the biggest draw for most visitors is the huge array of outdoor activities on the city’s doorstep. Whether it’s dolphin-spotting on Moreton Island National Park, climbing the Kangaroo Point cliffs or just escaping the heat and hustle of the city along the cool riverfront, you have a wealth of open-air options. Enjoying a pint of the local brew XXXX along with fish and chips is a popular way to spend a pleasant summer’s evening while the dry, cooler winters are perfect for whale watching and more active excursions. Daredevil visitors can try their hand at climbing the iconic Storey Bridge and the nearby Glass House Mountains make for a great day trip.

Another appealing aspect of the city for tourists is the number of attractions that are available free-of-charge – from nature reserves such as Roma Street Parkland and Mount Coot-tha to the government-funded Queensland Museum and Museum of Brisbane. The city also provides a number of free swimming pools, playgrounds and barbecues, as well as various cultural festivals which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

The city itself is the artistic heart of Queensland and the majority of the state’s most important cultural institutions, such as the Gallery of Modern Art – the country’s biggest – are located here. You’ll always find top-quality shows at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, which is home to the state’s ballet and theatre companies as well as its symphony orchestra.

The riverside walks in the city’s South Bank area and a scenic river ride on one of the public ferries are among the city’s other tourist highlights but be sure to rent a car or book a tour to explore the exquisite surrounding landscape.

Known for

Shopping, Dining and Family-friendly

Top hotels in Brisbane

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
ibis Brisbane Airport Hotel
ibis Brisbane Airport Hotel
3.5 out of 5
2 Dryandra Road, Brisbane Airport, QLD
NZ$171
per night
3 Nov. - 4 Nov.

Situated in Brisbane Airport, this hotel is within 6 miles (10 km) of DFO Brisbane, Portside Wharf and Brisbane Cruise Terminal. Doomben Racecourse and Eagle ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,100 reviews)

"It was literally walking distance from the airport!"…"

Reviewed on 15 Oct. 2019

ibis Brisbane Airport Hotel
Meriton Suites Herschel Street, Brisbane
Meriton Suites Herschel Street, Brisbane
5 out of 5
43 Herschel Street, Brisbane, QLD
NZ$126
per night
20 Oct. - 21 Oct.

Located in Brisbane Central Business District, this luxury aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of City Hall Clock Tower, Brisbane Private Hospital and Treasury ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (1,350 reviews)

"The hotel was older but in good condition. Very clean and the grounds were lovely."…"

Reviewed on 17 Oct. 2019

Meriton Suites Herschel Street, Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Brisbane
5 out of 5
Corner of Margaret & Edward Streets, South Brisbane, Brisbane, QLD
NZ$192
per night
3 Nov. - 4 Nov.

Located in Brisbane Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Eagle Street Pier. Queen Street Mall ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (2,035 reviews)

"Great Location Simple Elegant Old Fashioned Style and Service with a Smile"…"

Reviewed on 14 Oct. 2019

Stamford Plaza Brisbane

Popular activities in Brisbane

Queen Street Mall
Image for Queen Street Mall

Queen Street Mall

4.5/5(2,430 reviews)

Brisbane’s premier shopping destination houses bars, restaurants and shops of all descriptions in its 40,000 square metres of retail space.

Roma Street Parkland
Image for Roma Street Parkland

Roma Street Parkland

4.5/5(923 reviews)

Escape to this inner-city oasis right in the heart of Brisbane.

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
Image for Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

4/5(68 reviews)

Take a cosmic adventure with an enormous star projector, real artifacts from space missions and an observatory housed in Brisbane’s first planetarium.

South Bank Parklands
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South Bank Parklands

4.5/5(2,071 reviews)

Swim in the sparkling water of an inner-city beach, stroll through lush gardens and taste gourmet gelato all while staying close to Brisbane’s busy downtown area.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens
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Brisbane Botanic Gardens

4.5/5(993 reviews)

Tropical rainforest, temperate wetlands and rolling savannah are home to some of the world’s most amazing plants and flowers in Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Image for Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

4.5/5(132 reviews)

Cuddle up close with Australia's most iconic wildlife at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Top activities in Brisbane

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Day Admission
Image for Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Day Admission

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Day Admission

NZ$45

Spend a day at Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary; the world's first and largest koala sanctuary. Meet 130 koalas and 100 species of other Australian native animals, all in beautiful, natural settings.

Noosa & Sunshine Coast Hinterland Tour
Image for Noosa & Sunshine Coast Hinterland Tour

Noosa & Sunshine Coast Hinterland Tour

NZ$117

Explore Brisbane's neighbors, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, on this full-day tour. See the beautiful coastline of Noosa Heads, spend time at the famous Hastings Street, enjoy a scenic ferry ride on the Noosa River, and marvel at the breathtaking Glass House Mountains.

Moreton Island Full-Day Snorkel, Kayak & Sand-toboggan Tour
Image for Moreton Island Full-Day Snorkel, Kayak & Sand-toboggan Tour

Moreton Island Full-Day Snorkel, Kayak & Sand-toboggan Tour

NZ$160

Spend a day in the paradise of Moreton Island, where you can enjoy one of the most spectacular spots off the Australian coast. Relax on the golden beaches, take to the water for some incredible views on a transparent kayak or paddleboard, or ride a toboggan down the island's dunes.

XXXX Brewery Tour
Image for XXXX Brewery Tour

XXXX Brewery Tour

NZ$34

Uncover the history of Australia's very own XXXX beer with more than 140 years of brewing behind it! Discover the heritage of this locally produced beer and browse the many selections provided. Then sample some of the finest beers in Queensland, and learn how to pour the perfect glass.

Brisbane River Kookaburra Showboat Lunch Cruise
Image for Brisbane River Kookaburra Showboat Lunch Cruise

Brisbane River Kookaburra Showboat Lunch Cruise

NZ$53

All aboard a traditional paddle wheeler to cruise down the Brisbane River to see many of the city's waterfront beauties. Relax on the deck of the boat as you cruise through town, and at mid-day get your appetite ready for a delicious buffet-style lunch menu.

Brisbane River Steamboat Cruise with Buffet Lunch
Image for Brisbane River Steamboat Cruise with Buffet Lunch

Brisbane River Steamboat Cruise with Buffet Lunch

NZ$70

Spend an afternoon on the Brisbane River aboard an iconic Kookaburra Queen paddle-wheeler for a relaxing outing with some of the city's best sights. This cruise combines a buffet lunch with live music on the venerable vessel, all as you admire sensational attractions along the waterfront.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Brisbane

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