A great photo op – at the Brisbane Sign in Southbank
The capital of the state of Queensland is Brisbane. It is known for its winding river through the city, cultural diversity and near-perfect year-round weather. Being the third-largest city in Australia it is a versatile city offering many activities to enjoy. So, without further ado, here are the best things to see and do during your 2 days in Brisbane Itinerary.
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How to get around Brisbane
Before I get in to what to see and do in Brisbane, you will need to know how to get around. As a lot of the sites are located in the City of Brisbane you can easily walk, though your feet might get a bit tired. I suggest purchasing a TransLink Go Card – link them Translink – that will allow you to use the buses, ferries and trains in Brisbane. There is also the free City Loop and the free Spring Hill Loop bus services that circle the city every 10 minutes. Being on the river Brisbane has a very good CityHopper ferry service, also free, it travels from North Quay to Sydney Street, New Farm along the river. You can get more information on transport services around Brisbane at www.translink.com.au. If you are pressed for time, or don’t want to utilise public transport there are a tours you can do that will take you to the sights of the city.
Where to Stay in Brisbane
Accommodation in Brisbane is diverse and ranges from hostels to five star luxury hotels with everything else in between. The best news is many of them are centrally located making it easy to see all the sites and enjoy something to eat in one of the many eateries.
For a small apartment with a kitchenette check out Adina Apartments.
Explore Brisbane’s CBD
Brisbane’s CBD is quite compact so you can walk around its streets to see the sites. Why not start at Brisbane’s City Hall in the heart of Brisbane City. This heritage listed building was built between 1920 and 1930 and is the seat of the Brisbane City Council. There are four free guided tours daily so you can appreciate this building. Also take a tour up the iconic City Hall Clock Tower, also free. Then you have the Museum of Brisbane showcasing the living history of the city. It is located on Level 3 and provides spectacular views of the clock tower. Continuing on your way through Brisbane’s CBD you can visit the Queen Victoria Monument, Old Government House and then maybe sit down in the beautiful Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Or you may just want to shop till you drop in Queen Street Mall. This area is a style haven and home to many brands and there are a couple of historic arcades to visit. My favourites are Brisbane and Tattersall’s Arcades.
Enjoy a dip at Streets Beach and stroll along the Arbour in Southbank
After spending most of your morning in the City of Brisbane head across the river to Southbank. The Southbank of Brisbane is one of the best places to visit within the city and is filled with restaurants, cafes and Australia’s only inner-city, human-made beach – Streets Beach. It’s the only beach within Australia that’s right in the middle of the city! This is the perfect place for an afternoon of relaxation, a swim in the water, winding down on the sand or just enjoying the environment. It is free to use and has life guards. Or walk through the iconic Arbour. This steel structure weaves through Southbank Parklands and is covered in vines. Stop by for a photo when the flowers are in bloom and experience the vibrant colours that stretch for 1 km of the city! You will also find the large Brisbane sign in Southbank, making for a great photo opportunity.
If you start getting hungry, there are heaps of restaurants, bars, cafes and more to try out. Don’t forget to stop by some of the best burger joints such as Burger Urge, Bourbon Street or Brooklyn Depot!
Once you’ve taken in all the sites on foot why not take them in from the water. Maybe end day 1 of this Brisbane Itinerary on a cruise along the Brisbane River. There are many different cruises, maybe a dinner cruise.
Although you can get to the places on your itinerary today by public transport I would suggest you rent a car if you don’t have a vehicle. By renting a car you are not reliant on public transport timetables. But each to their own. But day 2 on my 2 day itinerary of Brisbane is more of an adventure day and having a car is easier and quicker to get around to the places so you can enjoy the activities.
Climb the Story Bridge
Start the morning with a climb up the Story Bridge. The Story Bridge is a heritage-listed steel cantilever bridge and is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. It spans the Brisbane River and links the northern and the southern suburbs of Brisbane. A climb will see you ascend 80 metres (262 feet) above sea level and provide you with views across the city. North to the Glasshouse Mountains and south to the Gold Coast. Pretty spectacular. Besides a morning climb, there are climbs at dawn, during the day, twilight, night and you can climb and abseil. Book your ticket here.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park
If you’e feeling adventurous, Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park might be right up your alley. Try abseiling down the cliff or kayaking along the Brisbane river below! Slightly more tame (but just as fun) activities, include having a BBQ with your mates in the park or taking your date on a picnic to enjoy the beautiful CBD views with a comfy blanket and fresh cheese in hand.
Hug a Koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
After climbing the Story Bridge head out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary began in 1927 as a place to help nurse sick koalas back to health. It has since taken in a wide range of native animals and is committed to protecting the wildlife and maximising their local and environmental impact. But the best part is, you can hug a koala. And who doesn’t love hugging a koala!
Walk through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens
Next stop after the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is at the beautiful Brisbane Botanical Gardens which are at the base of Mount-Coot-tha. The gardens include both national and international plants and species, making for a great place to enjoy a picnic. If wanting to look at the stars go inside the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. This is Queensland’s largest planetarium offering a number of shows to take you on an astronomical journey. But you don’t have to stop here, you can head straight up Mount Coot-tha.
Great Views at Mount Coot-tha
After the Botanical Gardens end your day with great views at the top of Mount Coot-tha. Mount Coot-tha is about a 20 minute drive from Brisbane, but well worth it for the view. If you don’t have a car get prices to rent one here. If you are brave enough you can hike up Mt Coot-tha. But here is a tip, as the sun goes down in Brisbane around 5.30pm every night if you want to see a beautiful sunset over Brisbane, I suggest you get there about 4.30-5pm to be in time for a spectacular sunset. As well as walking the length of the observation deck, there is the summit of the mountain you can explore so you may want to get there earlier. There are hikes and great bike tracks or take a picnic with you and sit amongst the trees. For a more formal experience there is the Summit Restaurant and Bar offering a meal with a great view over Brisbane. Whatever you decide to do on Mount Coot-tha it is a great place to end your 2 day visit in Brisbane.
And so ends my 2 day Brisbane Itinerary. These 2 days will give you a taste of what Brisbane has to offer. You can always spend as long as you like in Brisbane visiting all its interesting places. As there are plenty more places to visit.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.