Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, located on the east coast of Australia. It is famous for warm weather and it’s colourful and vibrant city life. It is popular as a holiday destination for many Australians and for international visitors as well.
With plenty to see and do in Brisbane, you can easily fill a weekend with fun activities. Below I will give you a sample itinerary so that you can get to know the best of Brisbane in only a weekend.
This is a guest post by Rochelle of Love Family Life Travel.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.
Table of Contents
- 1 Two Days in Brisbane: Where to Stay.
- 2 How to Spend 2 Days in Brisbane, Australia.
- 2.1 2 Days in Brisbane – Day One
- 2.2 2 Days in Brisbane – Day Two
- 3 Practical Tips for your 2-Day Brisbane Itinerary
Two Days in Brisbane: Where to Stay.
The best and most central locations to stay are Brisbane CBD or Southbank.
The public transport all goes outward from the CBD, so if you are planning on using trains, buses, and ferries to get around, the CBD is best.
Southbank is just across the river from the CBD and is also very central and easy to get around from.
Brisbane airport is located north of the city. If you are flying in and hiring a car while you are in town and want to stay close to the airport there are plenty of options nearby.
How to Spend 2 Days in Brisbane, Australia.
2 Days in Brisbane – Day One
Your first day in Brisbane will be spent getting to know the CBD, Southbank area, and the Brisbane River.
Roma Street Parklands
Spend the first couple of hours in the morning at the magnificent Roma Street Parklands, located on the outer edges of the CBD. Catch a train to Roma Station or walk the 10 minutes from the city center to get there.
The Roma Street Parklands are a beautifully manicured garden that sprawls over 16 hectares. Enjoy the bright gardens that are blooming with botanical colors. There are lakes, rainforest boardwalks, playgrounds, picnic facilities, and events all year round.
To save your legs you can hop on the Parkland explorer, a trackless train that will take you on a tour of the garden, which is a great way to see the whole 16 hectares.
Keep an eye out for the water dragon lizards which can be found on the paths and gardens throughout the park. There are hundreds of them in the garden and you are sure to spot at least a dozen as you explore the park.
Brisbane Town Hall and the Museum of Brisbane
Now it is time to explore Brisbane Town Hall, which includes free entry to the Brisbane Museum. The Museum of Brisbane tells the story of Brisbane, beginning with the indigenous culture of the traditional owners of the area, through to the convict history and colonial settlement of the area. There is no better way to learn about what makes Brisbane special.
Lunch at Queen Street Mall
The Queen Street Mall is the major thoroughfare of Brisbane’s Central Business District. It is closed to cars and is bustling with pedestrians all day long. It is the perfect spot for a lunch break.
There are quite a few arcades with food halls with a large variety of dining options. Or you can try Jimmy’s on the Mall which is located at the center of Queen Street Mall. It is an icon of Brisbane restaurants, with a large menu and plenty of atmosphere to go with it.
Explore Brisbane River with the City Hopper Free Ferry Service
Brisbane is known as the River City. The Brisbane River is long, peaceful, well-loved, and well-used by the local population. It snakes through the city dividing it into different precincts, creating separate areas with individual personality and cultures.
The City Hopper Ferry Service is a great way to experience the Brisbane River. There are multiple ferry stops in the inner city area. Full details, including the timetable, are located on the Brisbane City Council website. Don’t confuse the City Hopper with the City Cat, which is the larger paid ferry service that operates in Brisbane.
I recommend taking the ferry all the way to the end and back again, getting off at Southbank to explore that area. The full ferry ride takes about an hour and a half. If you are lucky, you can get a seat on the roof top level which has views over both sides of the river.
Explore Southbank and the Brisbane Cultural Centre
Depart the City Hopper ferry to have a look around Southbank. There is so much to do in this area of Brisbane.
If you are tired after a busy day, I would recommend relaxing by the man-made beach and having a swim in the pool. There are lifeguards on duty and a few sheltered areas if you would prefer some shade.
Southbank is also home to the Brisbane Cultural Centre which houses the Museum of Queensland and the Art Gallery of Queensland. Both are free to enter, and I would recommend the museum to get to know more about the greater Queensland region.
Southbank is a great place to stop for dinner, with multiple restaurants lining Grey Street. As the sun goes down the Wheel of Brisbane will light up. Having a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane is a great way to end your evening before heading back to your hotel.
2 Days in Brisbane – Day Two
For your second day in Brisbane, we are going to head out of the city and go to the Mount Coot-tha (pronounced Cootha) area in the morning and the Moreton Bay region in the afternoon.
Mount Cootha is a large park with heaps to explore. It is a great option to get to know some of the natural beauty of the Brisbane region.
Bushwalk to a Waterfall
There are two waterfalls in Mount Coot-tha with a variety of tracks leading to and from them. I recommend having a look at JC Slaughter Falls which is accessible from the JC Slaughter Falls picnic area.
From the picnic area, it is a short 600 metre walk to the waterfall. There is also the option to add the aboriginal art trail loop, which will add another 20 minutes to the walk.
For the more adventurous and active, you could also choose to do the 2km summit walk. This is a harder walk as you walk up hill to the summit which has sweeping views over Brisbane city and the Moreton Bay area.
Mount Cootha Botanic Gardens
If you decide to skip the Summit walk, I would recommend a quick stop at the Mount Coot-tha Botanic gardens. The Botanic gardens include native and and exotic plant collections and gardens. Stop in at the visitor centre for a map and choose which area of the 56 hectare park you would like to explore.
Fish and Chips for Lunch in the Moreton Bay Region
It is time for a classic Aussie lunch of fish and chips, and the Moreton Bay region is the best location as it is the home to Brisbane’s northern beach side suburbs.
Morgans Seafood is located in Scarborough harbor and is famous for its fresh fish and chips and atmospheric outdoor area. Grab a table in the sunshine looking over the harbor.
Explore one of Brisbane’s Beaches
Nearby are the best of Brisbane’s beaches. Scarborough Beach has a lovely grassed area with multiple large playgrounds for the kids to have a play. The water is calm and safe to swim.
Or you can head to Redcliffe, the neighbouring suburb to have a walk along the pier and a stroll down the Bee Gees Way. The Bee Gees grew up in Redcliffe and an alley way has been turned into a memorial recognizing their history in the area.
Practical Tips for your 2-Day Brisbane Itinerary
When is the Best Time to Visit Brisbane
Brisbane’s amazing weather means that it is warm all year round. November through to March are generally the rainy months and are warm and humid, but any other time of year is perfect.
Be aware that it can get cold in winter (June to August). Although the days can still be sunny and pleasant, as soon as the sun drops it gets cold quickly.
How to get from the Airport to the City Centre
Air Train or Shuttle Bus: There is a train service that runs from Brisbane airport directly to the city center. It is fast, direct, and easy to use. You can buy tickets from machines at the entrance or online. Full timetables and pricing are available on the Air Train website.
Alternatively, the Shuttle Bus offers a similar service for a similar price. Have a look at the timetable online and then select the train or bus, depending on which suits you better.
Neither will be booked out and they are unlikely to be full, so you can always wing it and head to one or the other depending on what time you land.
Taxi or Uber: Taxis will be available from the official taxi rank out the front of the airport. They run by the meter, and although generally a little more expensive than an Uber, they are easy and trustworthy.
There is a separate pick up area for Uber or other ride share companies.
There is a $4 fee added to both taxi and ride share from Brisbane airport.
Hire a Car: There are multiple car hire companies at the airport as well that allow you to pick up and drop off at the airport. This is a convenient option that will give you plenty of flexibility for your trip. The traffic in Brisbane is generally easy to navigate outside of peak hour traffic periods. There are quite a few one-way streets, and it doesn’t work on a grid system, so definitely use some sort of navigation system so you don’t get lost.
Bio: Rochelle lives to travel and to write. Her blog Love Family Life Travel focuses on family travel in Australia. Her family has recently returned from a 15 month trip around Australia, so she is busy writing up as much helpful information as she can for her readers.