Soak up Some Sun at South Bank
South Bank is a weird and wonderful place that you will only understand once you’ve arrived. It’s easy to get to on the bus or train, and the beautiful parklands, heaps of modern dining, and the inner-city beach await your arrival—it’s the perfect alternative when you can’t make it out to the coast, and it’s nearly as good as the real thing.
South Bank Parklands, South Brisbane, Australia, +61 7 3156 6366
Enjoy the Variety at Queensland GOMA
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a mecca of modern fun with exhibitions, movies, social events, food—the works. Check out upcoming events here before you go, but there’s bound to be something wonderful for your eyes and your Instagram goggles.
Take in the Views at Mount Coot-tha
Mount Coot-tha is best at sunrise, but the view over Brisbane is always beautiful. The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are at the foot of the mountain and include a super Instagram-able cactus garden. Take your walking shoes, and have a wander through the gardens on your way back to the city.
Ride the River on the CityHopper
Although the CityCat ferry will get you to the hip pocket for a price, the CityHopper takes you down the river for free! You can only catch the free ferry at Eagle Street, but the ride is worth the walk—there’s nothing quite like seeing the city from the river.
CityHopper, multiple locations, Brisbane, Australia, +61 7 3851 8700
Tour the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower
The clock tower tour has so much to offer, even the ride up is a treat in the old, hand-operated elevator. The view is among the best in the city, and the tower itself holds loads of history. Free tours are offered on a first-come basis, so be sure to arrive early, as they tend to fill quickly.
Brisbane City Hall, 64 Adelaide St, Brisbane City, Australia, +61 7 3403 8888
Have a BBQ in the Park
Brisbane has so many beautiful parklands that are set up for outdoor BBQs, but among the best is Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park. It’s popular among Brisbaners, so be sure to arrive early to nab a place.
Enjoy Comedy at Brisbane Powerhouse
This one is such a score—Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm hosts Knockoff, a free comedic experience, each week at 6pm. Knockoff usually takes place on the venue’s Turbine Platform, but for the summer, you can enjoy your comedy al fresco on the Rooftop Terrace. This event is recommended for adults only, so if you’re bringing your kids, keep attendance to the 15 and older crowd.
Join a Free Fitness Class
The Brisbane City Council Active Parks program puts on a huge number of free (or low cost) fitness classes in more than 50 parks across Brisbane. Classes include cycling, Pilates, mums n’ bubs, dance and heaps more. You can check out the schedule to see which ones suit you. If you’re a lone wolf and prefer running, check out Brisbane’s beautiful running routes.
Take a Dip in the Enoggera Reservoir
This one is a favourite because it makes you feel as though you’re in the deep Australian outback when really you’re only a few kilometres from the city! Take a picnic blanket and your swimmers and make a day of it.
Learn about Natural History at Queensland Museum
Although adults usually bring their children to the Queensland Museum, it’s a toss-up as to who loves it more. The permanent and changing exhibits centre around natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. Although some exhibitions are ticketed, general admission is always free, and it’s easily accessible by public transportation.