Looking for new places to explore in Australia? If yes, we have one word for you: Brisbane! You’d be surprised to know that there are many things to do in Brisbane. From the world’s best whale watching spot to the largest koala sanctuary, you wouldn’t want to miss the fun!
Australia’s third largest city is beaming with adventure thrills, shopping spots and urban convenience. With great weather almost all year round, every day is a great day to explore the sights and sounds of Brisbane. If you’re ready, let’s start with this one ?
#HHWT Tip: Did you know that Malaysia Airlines flies 4 times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane? Check out promotional airfares to Brisbane on Malaysia Airlines here!
1. Marvel at the amazing scenery and nature
Mt Coo-tha lookout point
Located just a 20-minutes’ drive from Brisbane CBD, Mt Coot-tha is a great place to see a scenic panoramic view of the Brisbane skyline and Moreton Bay region.
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Whether you’re here in the day or at night, you’ll be greeted with a magnificent sight. A photo here with the stunning backdrop is a must! There are many activities you can do here like having a picnic, visiting the botanical gardens or go on a hike.
Kangaroo Point’s Cliff
Although Kangaroo Point is located in Brisbane’s city centre, the vibe here is a world away, with its vast green spaces and majestic cliffs. Here’s where you can also catch amazing views of Brisbane’s skyscrapers and the Brisbane River ?
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If you love the adrenaline rush from rock climbing and abseiling, you can do that here too! Strap on your safety gear and let the scenic landscape win you over. From the top, you can also spot Brisbane’s oldest park, the City Botanical Garden. What a view!
Lamington National Park
For lush rainforests and endless mountain views, Lamington National Park is the place to be. This UNESCO World Heritage listed area is densely forested with trees that date back over 2000 years ago, breathtaking vistas and stunning waterfalls.
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There are a few walking trails here and taking the Border Track will give you one of the best views of the mountains surrounding Lamington National Park. For those of you who prefer views of cascading waterfalls, take a walk from O’Reilly’s Rainforest to Moran Falls instead!
[P.S. Think Lamington is beautiful? Then, you need to check out these 12 surreal places in Australia!]
It’s hard to say no to crystal blue waters and untouched beaches and Moreton Island fits this idea of paradise!
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Ranked as the world’s third largest sand island, this well-loved spot is the place to hand-feed wild dolphins, snorkel amid the shipwreck and hit the toboggan on the island’s sandy hills.
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If you love the sun, sand and sea, why not stay here for a night? Book a stay at the Tangalooma Island Resort where you can choose between villas, suites and luxury apartments. Waking up to the sound of waves crashing and a lovely view of the Moreton Bay? Sign us up any day ?
Alternatively, you can also sign up for a day tour from Brisbane. You’ll hop on a ferry ride to the island and get to explore the island’s scenic spots like Honeymoon Bay, Cape Moreton Lighthouse and more. You’ll also get a chance to ride on transparent kayaks around the Tangalooma Wrecks!
[P.S. Don't leave Australia without getting these 10 awesome and Muslim-friendly souvenirs!]
2. Animal Encounters
Feed adorable koalas
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When we think of Australia, koalas are the first thing that comes to mind. When you’re in Brisbane, you can meet your new furry friend at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary! Known as the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, they also made it to the Guinness Book of Records. Check out the ‘Meet a Koala’ experience where you can pose next to a koala held by a Wildlife Officer. It’s free!
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Koalas aren’t the only animals you get to meet here. You can mingle with free-roaming kangaroos, feed and pat them or even take a selfie. But do note that pellets bought from the store are the only food you can feed them! Besides koalas and kangaroos, Lone Pine’s where you can learn more about Australian wildlife too. Get acquainted with Tasmanian devils, platypuses, wombats, freshwater crocodiles, lorikeets and more ?
#HHWT Tip: Not driving and looking for a fun way to get to Lone Pine Sanctuary? We recommend taking the Mirimar River Cruises instead! You can choose to go on an express boat ride (35 min) to Lone Pine or have it with a relaxing cruise ride (with full commentary!) along the Brisbane River (75 min).
Every year between June and November, the humpback whale makes an appearance as they migrate from the South to warmer waters up north. Good news! Here’s when they’ll also pass by Southeast Queensland so you can spot them! Moreton Bay is also known as one of the world’s best whale-watching spot.
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To get the best out of this rare sight, we recommend going on a cruise tour from Brisbane. The cruise around Moreton Bay will guarantee that you’ll get as close as possible to the whales. Plus, you’ll also get an informative commentary about the whales. There are a few tour operators which conduct these tours but the more common ones are Brisbane Whale Watching and Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruises ?
BONUS: Farm stay for families with kids
Another way to get close to animals is by trying out a farm stay. Not only are farm stays an eye-opening experience, but it’s also perfect for those of you travelling with kids as they can learn a thing or two.
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With many farms around the Brisbane, you’ll be spoilt for choice but one farm that stands out is Cedar Glen Farm Stay. Located in the green pastures of Scenic Rim, you’ll experience feeding farm animals, milking cows and collecting eggs. Plus, the farm has also been around for more than 100 years, so you’ll get to experience how a traditional farm is run!
#HHWT Tip: Book a horse-riding tour for more interactive fun! They also run a 4WD Twilight Tour where you’ll get the most spectacular views from Jack’s Rocks. Enjoy a glass of complimentary juice from Jack’s Rocks!
3. Enjoy a Muslim-friendly feast
Everyone loves sinking their teeth into something delicious. Halal-certified restaurants may not be everywhere around town, but many Muslim-friendly eateries are serving halal meat, or seafood and vegetarian options.
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For a lip-smacking treat, dine at Oporto for their flame-grilled chicken and burger wraps. Don’t leave this place without trying their Bondi Burger that is topped with Oporto’s legendary original chilli sauce ?
Address: The Myer Centre, Shop 22/Level A, Myer Centre, 91 Queen Street, Brisbane City, Queensland
Opening hours: 7.30am - 8.30pm (Mon - Thur), 7.30am - 10pm (Fri), 7.30am - 8pm (Sat), 8.30am - 7.30pm (Sun)
Halal status: Halal meat available (all chicken are from a halal-certified supplier)
Mado Café and Restaurant
Get your fix of Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine at Mado Restaurant in South Bank. At Mado, they recreate traditional dishes that have been passed down from generations to generations.
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Choose from a variety of their scrumptious mains like the Mixed Grill Platter – a mix of char-grilled lamb and chicken shish are served with rice and their very own Turkish bread! Pair this appetising platter with their Cheese Pide (Turkish pizza) and wash down your meal with refreshing Turkish tea.
Address: 1-3/15 Tribune St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
Opening hours: 11.30am - 9pm (Sun - Thur), 11.30am - 10pm (Fri - Sat)
Halal status: Halal ingredients used, alcohol served in establishment
Eat Street Northshore
Foodies, you’ll love Eat Street Northshore! This cool container and food truck hangout spot offer a variety of cuisines from around the world. It’s only opened from Friday to Sunday of the week, so count yourself lucky if you’re in Brisbane on those days.
Credit: Eat Street Northshore on Facebook
There are halal, seafood and vegetarian options too. Slurp up fresh oysters or feast on other mouthwatering grilled seafood. If you’re craving meat, not to worry! There are stalls selling halal pizzas and pastas too. Check out the list of halal stalls here.
Address: 221D MacArthur Ave, Hamilton QLD 4007, Australia
Opening hours: 4pm – 10pm (Fri - Sat), 12pm – 8pm (Sun)
Black Hide Steakhouse
Treat yourself to a lavish meal at Black Hide Steakhouse, located about a 10-minutes’ drive from Brisbane CBD. Specialising in Wagyu and Angus beef, here’s where you can satisfy all your meat cravings!
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You can take your pick from a variety of meat cuts like fillet, ribeye, sirloin, rump and even Tomahawk! But their juicy meats aren’t all that Black Hide is known for. They serve other appetising mains as well such as beef short ribs, roast prawns and grilled scallops ?
#HHWT Tip: Prepare to spend more than AUD50 at Black Hide Steakhouse!
Address: 36 Caxton St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia
Opening hours: 11.30am - 4pm, 5.30pm - 11pm (Tue - Fri), 5.30pm - 11pm (Sat), closed on Sun - Mon
Halal status: Halal-certified meats, alcohol is served in establishment
4. Unleash your adventurous side
Story Bridge Adventure Climb
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If an urban adventure is your kind of thing, you’re going to enjoy your time at Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Climbing up Brisbane’s famous structure, the Story Bridge, is the ultimate way to appreciate the cityscape. It’s also one of the three bridge climb experiences in the world, so muster your courage to explore new heights!
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Kayak Brisbane River to see the city
Want an adventure in water without going out of the city? Then try kayaking on the Brisbane River! The Riverlife Adventure Centre conducts kayak tours daily.
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While cruising through the river on your kayak, you’ll get awesome views of the cityscape, the South Bank Parklands and even the chance to kayak under the iconic Story Bridge! With so many sights to see, you won’t even feel tired while kayaking ? Each tour lasts for about 2 hours and costs AUD49.
Sporting activities at Tangalooma Island Resort
A little sport and adventure while you’re at a resort won’t hurt! If you’re staying at Moreton Island’s Tangalooma Island Resort and you want to do more than just chill, try out the many sporting activities available.
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Whether you’re itching to try tobogganing on Moreton’s fine sand, or roughing it out with an ATV quad bike, there’s a whole slew of activities you can sign up for. Those of you who prefer some water fun can snorkel around Moreton Bay or try jet boating! For the uninitiated, jet boating is where you sit in a power motorboat and it will bring you on an exhilarating ride on water.
#HHWT Tip: Don’t miss the daily wild dolphin feeding (around 6pm onwards) near the pier – this is an activity you’d want to sign up for!
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5. Enjoy Brisbane without breaking the bank
Immerse in the art scene
Let’s face it, you’ve already spent a lot on flights and accommodation that sometimes it’s great to just find free things to do. Fortunately, immersing yourself in Brisbane’s vibrant art scene doesn’t cost you a penny ?
The city’s passion for urban art and architecture is apparent through the art galleries you’ll discover along the way. Start with the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) where you’ll find contemporary artworks of Australian and international influences on their walls. Can you believe there’s a total collection of over 17,000 works here?
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The city’s street art scene is another way to discover art too! Head over to Hope Street at South Brisbane to soak up the sun and amazing street-art murals at The Pillars Project. Beneath the rail overpass, you can see many massive, vibrant murals of Australian and aboriginal theme. Remember to snap lots of photos ☺️
Take the Cityhopper
In many cities, you’d have to pay to go on a river cruise, but not in Brisbane! Characterised by their iconic red and white boats, the Cityhopper runs a free ferry service along the Brisbane River. It stops at 8 terminals and brings you through the city’s landmarks.
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What’s great about this service is that you can sit on the upper deck and take in the river views of Brisbane, including the city skyline! This is definitely a perfect way to do some sightseeing without forking out a single cent. The whole journey one-way takes 45 minutes but you can choose to hop on and off the Cityhopper any time you like!
Free city tours
Here’s a little tip - you can learn all about the history and culture of the people of Brisbane for free! Join a Brisbane Greeters tour and see the city through a local’s lens. You can explore any district you’d like or let the greeter decide it for you! Not to mention that there are over 100 greeters who can guide you in more than 20 languages ?
The iconic City Hall also provides free guided tours. This 80-year old building has been an important cultural landmark of Brisbane and it houses the Museum of Brisbane too.
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The free guided tour will tell you more about the lives of locals through art and social history exhibitions. What’s more, you’ll also get to learn from a local and interact with them. But don’t just stop there, take this chance to also ride up the iconic City Hall Clock Tower! Do note that tickets for this are allocated at a first come, first serve basis.
6. Capture your best Instagram moments
To capture the best holiday moments, seal your experience with a snapshot at Brisbane’s most Instagram-worthy places.
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After sunset, meet your friends at Goodwill Bridge Fairy Lights located at the City Botanic Gardens Domain. As part of Brisbane City Council’s City of Lights initiative, many local companies come together to enliven the city with creative lighting. Other spots include Breakfast Creek Road at Fortitude Valley and William Jolly Bridge at Brisbane City.
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For a touch of springtime splendour, look out for the gorgeous fuchsia bougainvillaea at Southbank Arbour, which blooms almost all year round. Flourished in a sky-high structure, take a walk and let your friends capture your perfect moment!
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If you’re in Brisbane from early October to early November, then you’re in luck! The city comes alive with purple hues of the jacaranda flowers. From stunning parks to tree-lined streets, these jacarandas are too beautiful to miss. Head over to Dockside Walk at Kangaroo Point, New Farm Park or Princess Street Park for some of the best views of the jacarandas. Just make sure you bring a camera and snap that shot of the “purple rain” ?
7. Local creators and producers at the markets
Brisbane City Markets
Every Wednesday, Brisbane Square in the CBD is bustling with activity as farmers and producers sell their items. This is one of Brisbane’s best farmers’ markets and you can get fresh vegetables and fruits, cheese, jams, seafood and more here!
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If you’re feeling a wee bit peckish, you can also nibble on warm food like pita wraps or enjoy refreshing juices. Visiting this market will definitely be an unforgettable experience!
Riverside at The Gardens Market
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For the best of Brisbane, check out this well-loved Riverside at The Gardens Market! Held every Sunday, make your way to the City Botanical Gardens to find handmade crafts, pretty jewellery, printed dresses and more!
Collective Markets, South Bank
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If you've promised a souvenir for someone back home, find something new and interesting at the Collective Markets. Situated at Stanley Street Plaza, this weekend market is beaming with live music, vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind collectables.
8. Exciting day trips out of Brisbane
1 hour south: Gold Coast
The best part about Brisbane is its proximity to many interesting attractions, which makes it perfect for spontaneous day trips! Day-trippers can explore everything that the Gold Coast has to offer, which is an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
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Ask the locals about their favourite places, and they’ll rave about the beaches and surfing spots at Surfers Paradise. You can also go up Australia’s only beachside observation deck, SkyPoint Observation Deck and admire a 360-degree view of the ocean and Gold Coast city.
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If you love theme parks, you’re in luck! Gold Coast is home to one of Australia’s most popular theme parks, the Warner Bros Movie World. Catch up with your favourite Warner Bros characters or take the Southern hemisphere’s tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster, the DC Rivals Hypercoaster! Want more theme park fun? Then head over to Dreamworld and Sea World!
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If you’re not planning on ending your fun-filled time in the Gold Coast, we recommend spending a night or two here. The two main beach areas – Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach – have a range of accommodations to suit all your needs, whether you’re a single traveller, couple or with friends and family. Check out Paradise Resort, Q1 Resort & Spa or Sea World Resort for the ultimate retreat!
#HHWT Tip: Don’t need to worry about getting to Gold Coast if you’re not driving! From Brisbane Central station, you can take the Airport line train to Helensvale and then change to the G link train that’ll bring you to Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
1 hour north: Sunshine Coast
Another region that’s bursting with activity is the Sunshine Coast! Pristine beaches take centre stage here, especially when they have some of the cleanest and whitest sands you’ll ever find. Whether you’re in the mood for surfing, swimming or just lazing around, you’ll definitely enjoy your beach getaway.
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For an all-in-one beach experience complete with dining and shopping options, head over to Mooloolaba or Noosa Heads beach. Those with kids in tow might want to stop by Caloundra or Coolum instead!
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If you’re a nature lover, then you’re going to love the Glass House Mountains! There are many walking trails and gorgeous lookouts, and you can find them at Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Ngungun. Different walking trails cater to different fitness levels so don’t worry if you’re a first-timer! The awe-inspiring views here are bound to captivate you ?
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For those travelling with kids, make a trip to the SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, Queensland’s largest aquarium and oceanarium. Head over to The Tunnel where you’ll get impressive views of the marine life or you can even swim with seals if you’d like. There’s definitely a great deal of fun for the whole family!
If you’re looking for a reason to book your next flight to Australia, let it be the sights and sounds of Brisbane! Whether you’re challenging yourself to a bridge climb or capturing the best of local street art, Brisbane will be your holiday to remember.
P.S. If you're still not convinced, we're pretty sure this video would change your mind!
FLY TO BRISBANE WITH MALAYSIA AIRLINES!
Did you know that Malaysia Airlines flies 4 times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane? Check out promotional airfares to Brisbane on Malaysia Airlines here!
This article is brought to you by Malaysia Airlines.