Planning a trip and looking for the best Brisbane Itinerary? Well, look no further, because I’ve put together a super fun and detailed itinerary for what to do, places to visit, tour ideas, and so much more!
Brisbane is the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland, where the weather is mild to hot year-round, the locals are laid back and friendly, and the outdoor lifestyle unparalleled.
Spending at least 4 days in Brisbane is super easy, thanks to an epic range of activities to do, sights to see, natural wonders to take in and beaches to swim at. Not to mention the easygoing Queensland lifestyle to get wrapped up in. This great city, located in the south-eastern corner of Queensland, is always growing and evolving and is rapidly transforming into a hip sunny oasis that’s a must on your Australian travel itinerary.
I absolutely loved my visit to Brisbane, and put together this 4-day itinerary to help you give you some ideas for what to get up!
Where to Stay in Brisbane
To begin with your Brisbane trip planning, you’ll obviously need a place to sleep! There are tons of different incredible options to choose from all over Brisbane, and it really just depends on your budget! Here are a few ideas for you though!
AIRBNB – The older I get and the longer I find myself traveling, the more I become absolutely obsessed with using Airbnb! I think it’s such a fantastic way to book travel accommodation, as it’s so fun to have your own place in the city, which can give you a much better understand of local life. When you’re swarching in Brisbane, you’ll find there are tons of awesome different areas and suburbs to choose from, with a variety of price ranges! While Brisbane isn’t known to be a budget travel destination, I do think there are some great deals on Airbnb apartments! Also, if you sign-up for a new Airbnb account, you’ll get $79 AD off your first stay (which can almost be an entirely free night!
- The Calile Hotel: This is one of the best-selling and top-rated hotels in the city, and would provide for an absolutely amazing stay for your time in Brisbane! It’s perfectly located in the heart of the city center, and walking distance to some of Brisbane’s best restaurants, shopping, bars, and nightlife. They’ve also got a stunning outdoor pool (which willl come in handy in the Australian heat), fitness center, and even spa facilities! The rooms are beautifully decorated, the amenities and the price is great for Australian standards!
- Brisbane City YHA: If you’re on a bit of a tighter budget, than look no further than the Brisbane City YHA! This is where I stayed during my visit to Brisbane many years ago, and had a fantastic experience. While it’s not a crazy party hostel or anything, it’s got an awesome backpacker atmosphere, cheap rates for dorm beds, and well located in the city center!
Brisbane Itinerary Day 1: Explore the City Limits
Welcome to Brisbane! Whether you’ve arrived in summer, spring, winter or autumn, the odds are the weather is mild to hot and the sun is out. The joys of Queensland living! Exploring Brisbane is fun, and there’s so much to see and do within the city limits you’ll easily while away the hours without even noticing.
If taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean is on your checklist, head to Streets Beach, a man-made beach with the city skyline as a unique backdrop. Located along the central South Bank, it’s free to visit and a city dweller hotspot to escape the Brisbane heat. It will also put you in the heart of the city, where there is so much exploration to be done! Even if you don’t want to go for a swim, it’ll be a great place to start your day of exploring!
Other than walking and wandering on your own time, there’s a range of unique ways to introduce yourself to this compact, fun city. Float along the Brisbane River on the CityHopper boat service – another totally free way to enjoy the city! Another fantastic service the city offers to visitors is the Walk Brisbane walking tour, or if you’re feeling game, Brisbane by Bicycle.
For those going it on their own, The Riverwalk idles its way along the Brisbane River from New Farm to the CBD and is a good jumping-off point. Stretch your legs after your long flight and explore Brisbane on foot from this picturesque riverside thoroughfare.
If you’re an art or history buff, head to Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Queensland Museum or the Museum of Brisbane. All offer a unique look at local life through the lens or the easel, and many showcase Aboriginal art and history, something very central to Brisbane’s identity.
Rest your feet with a bit of peace and quiet in the city’s many parks. New Farm Park, Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, South Bank Parklands and Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park all offer an oasis to get away from it all, a stone’s throw from the city.
The shopping scene in Brisbane is fantastic, so head to the Queen Street Mall for some deals, or simply to people watch. It’s the heart of the CBD, and where many commuters head to for the daily grind.
Finish your busy first day in Brisbane with a sunset on Mt Coot-tha, one of the most loved landmarks in the city. This mountain destination, located in the west of Brisbane, offers a range of things for adults and kids to do, and is totally worth a day all of its own. It offers the best lookout views over Brisbane and beyond, a range of restaurants and cafes, a long list of bushwalking and mountain biking trails, a Planetarium and its own beautiful Botanic Gardens. Take a good bottle of local Aussie wine, a delicious picnic and watch the sunset over this buzzing city.
Brisbane Itinerary Day 2: Island hop, Brisbane style
Brisbane’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean means you have a chain of islands to explore at your disposal. And the best part is, they’re all totally doable as incredible Brisbane day trips.
First up is arguably the favorite for many locals, North Stradbroke Island. They call it “Straddie”, and it’s not only a great day trip but also offers accommodation offerings for all budgets to stretch your island break a little further. And you might want to because the number of activities on Stradbroke Island to tick off is massive! There are whale and dolphin watching, picture-perfect beaches, pristine lakes, surfing (both in the water and on the sand dunes), walking trails, tours from fascinating Aboriginal guides, scuba diving, kayaking and 4WD safaris along the beach. Straddie is a little slice of paradise a 30 minute ferry ride or 40 minute drive from Brisbane!
I personally think no visit to Brisbane is complete without spending a day exploring Stradbroke Island, so make sure you add this to your Brisbane itinerary!
Tours to North Stradbroke Island
While it is possible to do this trip on your own (you’ll want to rent a car though), I’d recommend booking a tour which will take the stress out of the day. If you do want to do it on your own, you can read through this article for “How To Get to North Stradbroke Island“, and it’s filled with super helpful information!
- Stradbroke Island Day-Tour: “Take a day trip from Brisbane to Stradbroke Island and discover Queensland’s most popular island and its National Park. The park is almost completely controlled by the aboriginal Quandamooka people. At almost 40 kilometers long, Stradbroke Island is the second-largest sand island in the world. Located just off the coast from Brisbane, it has beautiful beaches, a rugged coastline and forests that are home to large numbers of kangaroos and koala bears. The crystal clear waters are safe to swim in year-round.”
- Duration: 9 Hours
- Price: $109.45 U.S.D (Read Reviews & Check Availability
But Stradbroke Island isn’t Brisbane’s only stunning island.
Neighboring Bribie Island and Moreton Island are smaller sand islands accessible from Stradbroke Island, and offer up the same unrivaled outdoor lifestyle and overall visitor experience.
Bribie Island is a beautiful spot to swim, sample fresh local produce and to get a much-needed dose of that strong Queensland sunshine. There’s epic bars, restaurants, beaches and national parks, and a trip to Bribie Island is a refreshing and relaxing sojourn from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane.
Moreton Island is another Brisbane day trip boasting turquoise waters, white sand and steep sand dunes. It’s popular with adventurous types, thanks to its many diving opportunities. Swim amongst tropical fish and explore sites like the sunken boats at Tangalooma Wrecks. If diving isn’t your thing, you can also feed dolphins or whale watch on Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world! It’s an exotic getaway less than 90 minutes from the heart of Brisbane.
Brisbane Itinerary Day 3: Experience Brisbane wildlife
It’s essential to carve out some time to visit the local wildlife on your trip to Brisbane, after all, it is home to a world-famous destination that brings visitors in droves.
Australia Zoo, the late Steve Irwin’s labor of love and a legacy carried on by his family, is a great day trip from Brisbane. Nestled one hour north of Brisbane on the breathtaking Sunshine Coast, Australia Zoo spans over 100 acres and is a natural, humane home for over 1200 animals. It’s an up close and personal chance to say hi to koalas, wombats, kangaroos and other cute and cuddly Aussie animals, and the midday Wildlife Warriors Show that Steve made famous is worth a visit.
If you just can’t get enough of koalas (note, they are not bears), head to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s just a few minutes drive from Brisbane CBD and has the claim to fame as being the “world’s first and largest koala sanctuary.” This is a once in a lifetime chance to actually hold and feed these gorgeous native – and very sleepy – animals.
An insider tip? Head to their website and watch the koalas in real time thanks to their cool live stream. As I wrote this, I visited the koalas and they were sweetly cuddling while sleeping. They’ve also got a platypus camera, but they didn’t come out to say hi.
But it doesn’t end there. Brisbane has so many animal sanctuaries on its doorstep, you’ll want to take a week just to visit them all.
There’s also Daisy Hill Koala Centre, Walkabout Creek Wildlife Centre, Summer Land Camels, Ottaba Llamas, Lyell Deer Sanctuary and Try It Emu Farm. There’s a home for every type of creature, and adults, big kids and little kids alike will love it.
Brisbane animal sanctuaries are less about cramming visitors into a concrete jungle and more about caring for these animals in a comfortable, kind and natural habitat for them.
- Brisbane River Cruise and Koala Sanctuary Visit: “The Koala and River Cruise takes you on memorable journey to the oldest and largest Koala Sanctuary in the world. This popular excursion has been taking visitors to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for over 60 years and is a must-do activity in Brisbane.”
- Duration: 5.5 Hours
- Price: $55.07 U.S.D (Read Reviews & Check Availability)
Brisbane Itinerary Day 4: Explore the Brisbane Hinterland
Your final day in Brisbane should definitely be spent getting back to nature and exploring the surrounding hinterland.
Queensland is an outdoor lovers paradise, and the Brisbane Hinterland offers up an experience you’d be crazy to pass up. Moreton Bay Hinterland is just 90 minutes drive from Brisbane and is a great day out for single travelers, couples and families. It provides a glimpse of the many natural wonders this part of the world offers.
There’s horse riding, mountain biking and hiking opportunities across a range of trails, parks and lakes. Take a splash in a swimming hole under a real waterfall at Rocky Hole on Mt Mee – it’s nestled deep within a eucalyptus forest. There’s lots of water sports on offer at Bunya Crossing Reserve Swimming Hole or hire a 4WD and head to Bellthorpe National Park.
If you’re an avid camper, there’s lots of epic spots across the hinterland to set up your tent and get in touch with nature in an untouched environment. Permits are required.
The Hinterland region is also close in proximity to the Moreton Bay islands that I listed earlier, so you can access these from here.
It’s so easy and enjoyable to spend 4 days in Brisbane, but I guarantee that you’ll be so relaxed and at one with this beautiful, warm and friendly corner of Australia, you’ll be extending your trip for sure!
What am I Missing from this Brisbane Itinerary…?
There’s honestly a whole lot more you could get up to while in Brisbane, but I wanted to keep this a bit shorter and sweeter, and to give you a general idea of what do while you’re in the city (and explore the nearby attractions)!
If you think I need to add any specific tour, day-trip, restaurant, museum, attraction, or whatever else, please do let me me know!
Planning a trip to Australia…?
Having lived and worked down in Australia for over a year, as well as numerous different trips down under, my website is filled with helpful travel articles, itineraries, and lots of stunning photography!
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