10 Free Things To Do In Brisbane

7 July 2017
Read Time: 6.5 mins

An outdoor city all year round, Brisbane's daytime temperatures rarely dip below 20 degrees. Make the most of the free sunshine and warm weather with the city’s abundance of lush parks, nature and swimming spots, while those interested in arts and culture are set with galleries, museums, markets and a Powerhouse.  

1. Brisbane Powerhouse

aerial view brisbane powerhouse The World Press Photo Exhibition is a popular exhibit, held at the Powerhouse every year. Image: Falcon View Aerial Photography/Brisbane Powerhouse

Sitting alongside the Brisbane River and New Farm Park, the Brisbane Powerhouse is a magnificent power station from the 1920s refurbished as an arts centre complete with onsite dining. On Friday nights the venue hosts a free comedy night ‘Knockoff’, featuring a variety of local and international comedians, while Sunday afternoons offer an eclectic mix of free live music including indie, pop, folk, alternative, country and rock artists.

2. South Bank

south bank parklands One of Brisbane's most pristine outdoor places, covering 17 hectares of riverfront land. Image: Getty

Brisbane’s popular tourist attraction is loved by locals and visitors alike, with its array of cultural activities, restaurants, bars, cafes and boardwalks to enjoy. One of the highlights is Streets Beach; this man-made city beach is serviced by lifesavers and open all year around to enjoy basking in the winter sun or swimming in the summer heat. Pack a picnic and relax on one of the many grassy patches around South Bank, or let the children run wild on the newly-built, impressive playground.

3. Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)

Exterior Gallery of Modern Art Linger awhile... GOMA also has one of the best gift shops in the city. Image: GOMA

Queensland’s premier arts precinct is spread across two contemporary riverfront buildings. QAGOMA hosts a dynamic program of Australian and international exhibitions, some of which are free all year round. GOMA also boasts a cinema which shows both paid and free films in a variety of genres.

4. Queensland Museum

Exterior Queensland Museum The popular Lost Creatures and Wild State are both permanent galleries at the Queensland Museum. Image: Queensland Museum

The Queensland Museum sits alongside QAGOMA at South Bank and offers visitors a diverse range of permanent and visiting exhibitions, both paid and free. Enjoy the vast collection of ‘Animals of Queensland’, as well as full-sized whales, dinosaur bones and megafauna, sure to delight the children, as well as visual projections, Queensland history, Brisbane fashion and the fight for indigenous civil rights from 1920-1970.   

5. Mt Coot-tha

Sunrise over Brisbane Sunrise breaks over Brisbane City, as seen from Mt Coot-tha lookout. Image: Getty

Visit Mt Coot-tha at night for spectacular, elevated views over Brisbane and its surrounds. This well-known landmark sits 287 metres above sea level and has a vast observation deck to enjoy the vistas, which on a clear day stretch all the way to Moreton Bay. The nearby Botanic Gardens encompass a dazzling array of subtropical gardens arranged in thematic and geographical displays, offering a serene space for a walk or picnic.

6. New Farm Park

Park bench and jacaranda tree Right on the river, New Farm Park is a big favourite with Brisbane locals. Image: Getty

Visit this lush, green, riverside park for a shady reprieve from shopping and brunching along New Farm and Teneriffe’s collection of shops and cafes. New Farm Park sprawls alongside the Brisbane River and Powerhouse, and features giant fig trees, a rose garden, barbecues and an incredible playground. For those keen on a little refreshment, there’s also a coffee booth and a waterfront cafe. 

7. Wynnum Wading Pool

foreshore pool Wynnum Wading Pool is a heritage-listed tidal pool on the foreshore of Moreton Bay. Image: Getty

Built during the 1930s Depression era as part of the Unemployment Relief System, the Wynnum Wading Pool and adjoining playground make for a fun and free day out in the sun. The pool fills with seawater at high tide and is surrounded by tiers of stairs, making it ideal for children to play in, while the adjoining playground and picnic areas provide further entertainment under the open sky.

8. Daisy Hill Koala Centre

koala in a tree Don’t miss the chance to see one of Australia’s most popular native animals. Image: Getty

 See koalas in a native outdoor setting at Daisy Hill Koala Centre. Admission is free to this small but interesting enclosure, which features two viewing platforms, boardwalks and an interactive centre designed as a dedicated koala education facility. The koalas can’t be touched, but they are easy to meet in close proximity and there’s also a resident kookaburra to engage with.

9. South Bank lifestyle markets

South Bank at night South Bank markets at night capture the vibrant energy of Brisbane. Image: Getty

These eco-driven markets pop up on Friday nights and continue all weekend under the sun and stars. Window shop the many stalls that wind around Stanley St Plaza selling fashion, jewellery, gifts, accessories, leather goods, toys, furniture and vintage pieces, and enjoy a backdrop of the Brisbane River, Wheel of Brisbane and CBD, with its many lights sparkling at night.

10. State Library of Queensland

library books Much more than just a library, the State Library is a great place to catch up for a coffee... yes, even with kids. Image: Getty

Find respite from the hustle of South Bank and the city at the State Library. This contemporary building sits in South Bank’s cultural hub along with QAGOMA and has varying free exhibitions as well as free meeting rooms, reading nooks, a piano practice room and walking tours. There’s also a children’s corner, designed for under-8s to explore creativity across the arts, science and technology.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Brisbane.

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