Australia can be an expensive place to travel, and Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, is no exception. However, it is still possible to travel on a budget, with plenty of excellent budget hotels in Brisbane and an abundance of cheap, or even free things to do. In fact, many of the city’s best attractions are completely free to visit, meaning that you can save a bunch of money to spend on other things, such as eating out or shopping. Here are 10 things to do for free in Brisbane.
Located in the cultural precinct of Southbank, the Queensland Museum is one of the best things to do in Brisbane, with lots of amazing exhibits ranging from local history to dinosaurs. The best part is that general admission is free.
Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art
Located next to the museum in Southbank are the two premier art galleries of Queensland. The Queensland Art Gallery displays stunning classical pieces, while the Gallery of Modern Art displays the best from today’s artists. The galleries have a focus on Australian, Asian and Pacific art and there is also a children’s art centre. The art galleries are all free to visit, and even some of the special art exhibits won’t cost you a thing.
A great place to go after enjoying the museum and art galleries is for a wander through the Southbank Parklands – a lush tropical oasis next to the Brisbane River, right in the heart of the city. There is a lovely boardwalk along the river and some nice paths through the trees and gardens. You’ll also find a stunning replica of a Nepalese temple here, called the Nepalese Peace Pagoda. Enjoy a picnic on the Rainforest Green, wander along the Arbour or enjoy a nice meal or coffee on Little Stanley Street. There is also an excellent playground here for the kids.
If it’s warm and you feel like heading to the beach, there is no need to head all the way to the Gold Coast. You can enjoy a swim and a sunbake at Streets Beach in Southbank – an artificial beach and pool that is free for the public to enjoy. Cool off in the water or sunbake on the sand with a view across the river to the Brisbane CBD. There are change room and shower facilities here, as well as a lifeguard.
City Botanic Gardens
Another great spot to go for a picnic and escape the hustle and bustle of the city is at the City Botanic Gardens, located right along the river in the Brisbane CBD. These lush gardens in the Botanic Gardens are very peaceful to visit with lots of amazing flora on display. Take a stroll along Bunya Walk for a relaxing view of the river where you can watch the boats go by.
One of the best things to do in Brisbane is to go for a cruise on the river to see the city from one of the best vantage points. There are several ways to do this, but surprisingly, you can even do this for free by jumping on the City Hopper. This free ferry service makes use of the old river ferries that were eventually replaced by the modern City Cats. It is a limited service that runs from North Quay to Sydney Street in New Farm, stopping at several main piers along the way such as Southbank and Eagle Street. The City Hopper is a wonderful way to see the city, cruising along the river and under the magnificent Story Bridge. The best part – it is totally free and you can hop on or off as often as you like, with ferries coming along around every 30 minutes.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park
The cliffs along Kangaroo Point provide one of the best close up views of the CBD you can get, and the park here is a wonderful place to go for a stroll along the river or enjoy a picnic or barbecue. You can reach the park by walking from Southbank or catching the ferry.
A wonderful way to get from New Farm into the city is to walk along the River Walk – an interesting boardwalk that sticks out into the river. It takes you along a very scenic part of the river from New Farm to close to the Story Bridge. A nice option is to take the City Hopper from the city to Sydney Street, and then walk back via the River Walk.
Mount Coot-tha is the closest place to the city to go bushwalking. There are lots of scenic trails through beautiful eucalypt forests, ranging from short easy walks to longer walks, climbing up Mount Coot-tha itself. If you don’t like walking, the good news is that there is a road that goes right to the top, as well as a bus service. The lookout at the top provides probably the best view of Brisbane you can get, with a long uninterrupted view across the city and out to sea. This view is particularly stunning at sunrise.
Queen Street Mall
The Queen Street Mall is Brisbane’s main shopping drag, with most major brands available along with plenty of cafes and eateries, making it the perfect spot for some window shopping and people watching. There is also always something happening in the Queens Street Mall including lots of free entertainment and live music.
Brisbane has an abundance of free activities to keep you entertained during your stay, all without breaking the bank. Just another great reason to visit Queensland’s beautiful capital.
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Images credit (under CCL) by order: feature, Rivercity, Streets Beach