Brisbane, traditionally considered by travelers as not much more than the capital of Queensland and a stopover on the way to the tropical north, has in recent years done its part in acquiring a more funky and modern city vibe. In other words, it’s a growing city (around 1,000 people move to Brisbane every week) with plenty of fun to keep the casual traveler entertained on weekend trips or long journeys up the east coast of Australia.
Like any Australian city, however, the price for activities, accommodation and entertainment can be costly, so you might want to splice in some free activities in order to off-balance your expenditures. To help, we’ve prepared a list of free things to do in Brisbane.
Read or picnic at the City Botanic Gardens
The City Botanic Gardens is a serene patch of land encompassing 49 acres next to both the Central Business District and the Brisbane River. It’s the perfect place to picnic, read, relax or exercise without having to actually escape from the city itself. Points of interest in the park include the Weeping Fig Avenue, the mangrove boardwalk and Bamboo Grove.
Get closer to nature at Daisy Hill Koala Centre
Daisy Hill Koala Centre, for those interested in learning more about the famous koala, is located just 15 miles (25 km) south of the city and offers free admission from 10am to 4pm for 362 days of the year. Koalas can be seen here hanging in the eucalyptus trees, but most importantly, visitors get to learn about the nature of these endangered animals.
Enjoy a free Sunday concert at the Customs House
The Customs House, part of Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network, is a sight to see all its own. Why not enjoy a free concert while you’re at it? The Customs House opens its doors every Sunday around mid-day for a free-of-charge concert provided by the UQ School of Music.
People watch at the Queen Street Mall
The pedestrian mall on Queen Street can fulfill two fun tourist activities: shopping and people watching. Stretching for nearly 500 meters between George Street and Edward Street, there are countless shopping centers, restaurants and cafes to keep a person busy for an entire day.
Solve a crime at the Queensland Police Museum
The Queensland Police Museum introduces visitors to the history of police investigation, crimes, transport and other areas in its displays. The most popular display, however, would have to be the simulated murder scene where you can put your crime-solving skills to the test.
Take a dip at Streets Beach
Taking a dip in the Brisbane River is definitely off the to-do list, but that’s not an issue with the bustling and vibrant Streets Beach just around the corner. Located a jump away from the CBD, Streets Beach, a man-made swimming beach in the city, offers a true beach feel from sand to patrolling lifeguards.
Hop on The Loop bus
Both the City Loop and the Spring Hill Loop buses run their routes for free. Best of all, they run frequently from morning to night and hit up some major stops throughout the city including the Queen Street Mall, the Botanic Gardens and the Post Office Square. Learn more by reading how to get around Brisbane.
More free things to do in Brisbane include:
- Visiting the Queensland Art Gallery and Museum of Modern Art
- Exploring the Museum of Brisbane
- Browsing weekend markets like the South Bank Markets and Brisbane’s Valley Markets
- Taking a self-guided walking tour
- Getting outdoors at the New Farm Park