12 Top Tourist Attractions in Brisbane, Australia

Martina Rosado
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Brisbane Powerhouse

A must-see for those interested in the history of the city, the Powerhouse Museum features the largest collection of original Brisbane material in one place.

Start in the archaeology room, where gems and symbols are on display to tell the story of Indigenous life and the land. Then head to the extensive history room to learn how the city has grown from the primitive to the present.

One feature you should not miss is the Railways and Wagon Trails exhibit, which showcases the city’s early history with steam locomotives and horse-drawn wagons. In addition to being fun for the kids, this exhibit is sure to grab their attention and get them interested in the history of this city.

Also, be sure to stop by the steam room. Mixing coal dust with water, the steam room creates thick, black smoke that’s great for the kiddos to photograph.

Queensland Cultural Centre

This large museum houses thousands of artifacts and features artworks from across Queensland and the Pacific region. The Queensland gallery features Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks from across Australia.

It is home to striking artwork and displays from over 50,000 years of the Australian Indigenous people, some of the oldest known art in the world.

Queensland Art Gallery

Queensland Art Gallery houses a wealth of works by Australian Indigenous artists from across the country. The Gallery features the work of many Aboriginal artists and also artists from the Torres Strait Islands.

Their collection includes individual paintings, appliqué, rugs, and ceremonial items from across the country.

Bronzewood Gallery

Bronzewood gallery demonstrates one aspect of the creative tradition of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders: the creation of wood carvings. Visitors are invited to view personally crafted wood masks, carvings, and ornaments from which the artists, in a very real sense, modern living art.

Brisbane Aquarium

Brisbane Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Australia. It features an impressive collection of aquatic life that you can observe through the tank windows, as well as diving displays of marine life.

City Botanic Gardens

The City Botanic Gardens are the gardens of Brisbane City Council and part of the South Bank Parklands.

The gardens are located at the eastern edge of the South Bank Parklands. They were opened in 1866 and were originally designed by architect John James Clark. There are two main parts to the gardens, the Rose Garden and the Lilies Garden.

The Lilies Garden takes up the middle of the site with a large lily pond with a single tree in the middle. The greenhouses are located at the north end of the site and there are plenty of seating and sitting areas such as stone benches, picnic tables and footpaths.

The Rose Garden is at the southern end of the site and the garden has roses, camellias and a lone large tree in the middle. There are also many seating and sitting areas.

The parklands have a number of other special features including a water feature called the Neptune’s Tank which is a narrow basin. The tank has a number of small jets spread around its edge.

Things to Know before You Visit

Attendance is free for the general public. The gardens will be closed for special events on the following dates:

  • 22 and 23 April 2010
  • 11 and 12 December 2010
  • 20, 21, 22 and 23 February 2011
  • 3 and 4 April 2011

Museum of Brisbane

The Museum of Brisbane is located on a massive 17.8ha site within South Bank Parklands, a short distance from the CBD. While the original Museum of Brisbane was opened in 1971, this new facility opened in 2010 to consolidate and display the historical, natural and cultural collections of Brisbane. Moving from the South Bank site, it was designed in an architecture style which evokes the story of Brisbane, from the indigenous peoples through to the establishment of the colony, colonial times, the Gold Rush and the city’s growth during wartime.

The Museum of Brisbane is found on Queens Wharf Road, Brisbane, Australia. It is one of the largest museums in Queensland.

Opening Times

Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 8pm

Getting There

From the Sydney Fish Market head south along the wharves and turn right on Queens Wharf Road. The museum entrance is on your right.

Getting Away

Over one million cars pass through Brisbane’s Queen Street carpark every year, making it Brisbane’s busiest. Learn more about Brisbane Public transport and gives some tips to help you plan your trip to Brisbane.

Wheel of Brisbane

Little world on wheels, its main feature is a huge high-speed ferry that takes you on a circular journey of the city. You can enjoy the harbour, the city, and the mountain as you travel around. The Wheel is very eco-friendly due to its solar power generation system, and gas is not only used for the engine but also for the heat in the summer and the air conditioning in the winter.

3 Crocodile Dundee’s Lookout – Standing 145m above sea level on the summit of Mount Cootha, you can see out over the city and all the way to the beach and forest. The Lookout is a historical landmark and was the filming location for the first two Crocodile Dundee films.

Skyline Walk – This is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll at the end of the day. It runs the entire length of the city and is well signposted. The views along the route are incredible.

Royal Botanical Gardens – A visit might be worth your time just for the sheer range of plants that it houses. Situated right next to the Botanical Gardens is the historic Mount Coot-tha Lookout, which has panoramic views across Brisbane.

City Hall

City Hall is where Brisbane City Council meets and it's right in the middle of the bustling Central Business District. There's a large bronze sculpture that dominates the front and both sides as you approach the building. Both are left over from the old City Hall that once stood in this spot. The new city hall is a modern marvel with all kinds of sculpture adorning the outside. You'll want to pop inside for a look around and to see some of the marble in the building.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

One of Brisbane's top tourist attractions is right in the middle of the city. You can walk along a walking track with some of the city's best botanic garden displays. You'll see a variety of beautiful flowers, trees, and even ferns. Make sure you pop outside to see the double-tiered fern grotto and take in the view of Moreton Bay.

Queen Street Mall and Albert Street Mall

Any shopping you'll do in Brisbane will be centered on the Queen Street Mall and Albert Street Mall. While you can walk around them, you'll likely be a little tired by the time you've explored the entire street. You're also likely to see more people out and about since there are more tourist destinations on these streets.

Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha

Make your trip to Brisbane more enjoyable and save money by negotiating for cheaper lodging when traveling as a tourist. Hotels and other lodging accommodations tend to be quite a bit cheaper than going through a tour company. The best thing about traveling on your own is that you can see whatever sights the area has to offer.

The Botanic Gardens are located far from the city center, in the suburb of Coorparoo.

Coot-tha is also known as Mt. Coot-tha and is the nearest mountain to Brisbane. It’s the name shared by a popular hill with a ski resort and a beautiful botanic garden.

There are many activities to be enjoyed while exploring this large hill. The Skytower is located at the top of the hill. At the top, you will find amazing 360-degree views of Brisbane and the surrounding mountains of the nearby Gold Coast.

Of all the places to go in Brisbane, the most popular is the Great Barrier Reef.

The reef is one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. It is located approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) off the coast of Queensland. The reef is large enough to earn the title Great Barrier Reef.

The reef sharks are some of the largest sharks in the world. There are multiple types of sharks. Some of them only attack if they feel threatened.

The Queensland Art Gallery houses one of the finest collections of modern Australian art in the world. At the top of the building, the Sidney Nolan Gallery specialises in modern art. Some of the pieces to look out for include “The Great Big American Dinner” by Sidney Nolan, “The Tropical Window” by Charles Blackman, and “Portrait of Alex” by John Brack. The Knight Gallery and the Terrance Brennan Gallery also display impressive collections of modern art, including works by Brett Whiteley, Margaret Preston, Sidney Nolan, and John Perceval.

The grand gallery of the State Library houses an impressive collection of first-edition books edited by renowned authors such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. Other popular attractions in the area include the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Queensland Museum.

Brisbane Arts Centre is Queensland’s premier arts venue, with a multi-venue site that hosts a range of events throughout the year. The largest events include the Brisbane Festival, the BAC Awards, and the BledFest. It’s also the main venue in the Brisbane International Jazz Festival and the Australian Chamber Orchestra It hosts a wide range of exciting Australian, international, and local artists.

Roma Street Parkland

Located in Roma Street Parkland, Australia, Roma Street Parkland is a great area to spend the afternoon in. Adjacent to the Elizabeth Street Mall, the parkland is surrounded by a boardwalk which gives pedestrians a nice area to stroll along. When you’re done strolling around, pop in the cafe and grab a coffee at Graffiti Grounds or, if you’re shopping around the street, buy a cheese platter for lunch from Chef & The Farmer.

The parkland also hosts the street theatre of the Brisbane Festival, as well as concerts and other activities.

Mount Coot-tha Lookout

Mount Coot-tha is an ancient volcano that rises 250 meters (820 feet) above the Brisbane city centre, providing a great view of the city skyline and the surrounding region in all directions. There are a number of paths that take you to the top of the mountain. You can take the Mount Coot-tha Railway, a funicular to the top, which involves traveling in a tram carriage pulled up the mountain by a cable.

You can also walk around the summit loop, which is a circular 2 kilometer (3 mile) self-guided walking track that takes about 40 minutes to complete. The total grade is gentle, and you can enjoy the views at any distance you choose.

A good time to go to the top is early in the morning, as it is quiet. The weather is often extremely hot during the day and cool at night, so pace yourself as you walk and allow for time to rest in the shade areas along the way.

In the spring, the mountain is lined with wildflowers, and it looks like a spectacular carpet of color.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is located at the eastern end of Moreton Island, south-east of Brisbane. You can travel to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary by a scenic ferry ride from the Brisbane Port.

Lone Pine sanctuary was opened in 1999 to provide a safe and protected space for koalas to safely live on stage during their feeding time. In the 80’s, koalas were commonly hunted for their fur via snares. This is why the general public cannot visit the sanctuary unless they have personal animal tours with the Lone Pine Koala Foundation.

This magnificent habitat provides the ideal environment for the koalas to naturally thrive. At the sanctuary, you can watch the koalas perform their daily activities.

Similar to herding cats, the koalas must strategically move in a way that ensures that every koala remains close together. This is so they can successfully gather food each day.

Koalas will never roam freely. They must always keep their group together to stay safe and to survive.

At Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, you can watch koalas gather fresh food each day and rest in the branches. Koalas are masters at tree-climbing skills, so touring the koala sanctuary is an unforgettable experience.

You can watch these fascinating animals interact, and have a wonderful time at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

South Bank Parklands

A large parkland that begins at the Exhibition Building in the inner-city and extends out to the waters of Moreton Bay. Not a bad place for a stroll, dog-walking, or jogging.

Brisbane Forest Park A 320-hectare bushland just south of Brisbane. Beautiful tree-covered parkland is a haven for all wildlife on the banks of the Brisbane River. The Brisbane River Trail is a long-established walking track.

Moreton bay and beach The longest sandy beach in Australia with breathtaking views from Currumbin to St. Lucia.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens A beautiful oasis in the heart of Brisbane that extends from North Quay west to South Quay. You will find crocuses in colourful bloom during spring and over 31,000 exotic plants and trees.

Art Gallery of Brisbane A cultural hub that houses a permanent collection of Australian art, a gallery devoted to modern and contemporary art, a planetarium and a planetarium cafe.

Old Government House The most beautiful example of a Queenslander house in Brisbane, home of the governor for over one hundred years.

Frisquet Street bridges A set of iconic, graceful and famous bridges connecting South Brisbane and the Brisbane River.

Transition Gallery, Wacol The art gallery that has opened up a brand new home in the suburbs of Brisbane.