Asia & Oceania Travel

Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia

Location: Brisbane, Australlia

We started our second visit to Australia in the beautiful city of Brisbane. We came to Australia six years ago and saw many of this country’s top sites. But not Brisbane. So on this visit, which will be for two entire months, we began in Brisbane. What a delightful surprise it was. Here are my tips to Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

Brisbane Skyline at sunrise

Where to Stay

We spent four nights in Brisbane and wanted to be in the center of town, so booked a room at Royal Albert Hotel/Apartments in the CBD. In a historic building, we chose the Royal Albert for its location but what a nice surprise it was. A huge room with a small kitchen and a washer dryer were a big bonus for us. At only $114USD per night we were really happy with this choice.

The Royal Albert Hotel

We did not do and see everything in this beautiful city, but we did as much as we could. Brisbane is undergoing a big transformation in preparation for hosting the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, so there is a lot of construction. But we easily managed around it and enjoyed everything we saw. Below is our day by day recommendations to Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

Arrival Day

Our overnight flight from Manila had us arriving in the morning – too early to check in to our hotel. So we dropped off our bags and headed out to wander and get a feel for the city.

We were hungry so we headed down to the Brisbane Riverwalk area, one of the best things this city has going for it. On the way we enjoyed a stroll through the City Botanic Gardens, a beautiful space right in the CBD. Next we wandered the Riverwalk, but we did need to dodge some construction, before arriving at the Riverbar and Kitchen for lunch. Absolutely delicious and healthy lunch at this riverside open air restaurant.

City Botanic Garden
Riverbar and Kitchen
Quinoa, kale and chicken salad at Riverbar and Kitchen

Feeling revived we wandered away from the river and made brief stops at the Anzac Square Memorial, Jacobs Ladder and the beautiful City Hall at King George Square. Definitely go inside and check out this gorgeous building. We headed back to check-in to our hotel and had an early night with some much needed rest.

Eternal Flame at Anzac Square
Auditorium at City Hall

Day One Highlights

City Botanical Gardens

Brisbane Riverwalk

Riverbar and Kitchen

Anzac Square Memorial

City Hall and King George Square

Royal Albert Hotel/Apartments

Day Two

I got up early and did a long run on the river walk enjoying the sunrise on this remarkable and well-used space. Runners, walkers, cyclists all enjoying a beautiful early Sunday morning.

Riverwalk ancient lava flows, Kangaroo Cliffs

Back to the hotel for a shower than off we went. This was going to be a full walking day but we were rested and ready. We had yet to pick up any groceries, so we began with a delicious healthy breakfast at Felix For Goodness, just a few blocks from our hotel. Fantastic food. Don’t miss it.

Aussies love Avocado Toast and so do I
Coffee at Felix for Goodness
Falafel with red pepper hummus

After breakfast we crossed over one of several pedestrian bridges to the South Bank of Brisbane. We spent the next several hours walking for miles admiring the sun, the river, the impressive architecture and the clean and sparkling skyline. We made brief stops at the iconic BRISBANE sign, Nepalese Peace Pagoda, Rainforest Walk and Kangaroo Point.

Brisbane Sign on the South Bank
Nepalese Pagoda
Rainforest Walk
Historic Kangaroo Point Neighborhood

We had walked about 8 miles so it was time to try the City Cat Ferry, one of the best things Brisbane has going. A dash into the convenience store to purchase the GO Card (also works for buses) and then on board the ferry. Just for fun we rode down river away from the city to admire some of the well appointed homes before disembarking and grabbing the next boat back towards the CBD and an afternoon rest at our hotel.


The City Cat Ferry offers efficient, inexpensive and abundant boats up and down the river all day every day. Cost is minimal. A much smaller boat called the KittyCat hops back and forth across the river, and the City Hopper runs a limited route to some of the central stops – both are free! They are all frequent, clean, and easy to use.

After a quick refresh at the hotel, we grabbed an Uber to a restaurant recommended to us called Kick’in Inn to try Australia’s famous “bugs”, similar to crawdads. It’s a fun spot especially if you are with a group where you can order a wide variety of Cajun style foods dumped directly onto your paper covered table.

Kick’In Inn
“Bugs” and more

Day Two Highlights

Breakfast at Felix for Goodness

South Bank Brisbane

Brisbane Sign

Nepalese Peace Pagoda

Rainforest Walk

Kangaroo Point

City Cat Ferry

Kick’in Inn

Day Three

After another morning run on the Riverwalk we were off to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We had booked our visit a few weeks ago, including an opportunity to hold a koala. Queensland and Lone Pine are one of the only places where holding koalas are allowed.

It was after we had booked our Lone Pine visit that we realized there is a boat you can take right from South Bank Brisbane up the river to the sanctuary. Most people book both the boat and the sanctuary tickets together, but if you are like us and already have your sanctuary tickets, you can book the boat separately with Mirimar Cruises. I’m really glad we took the boat. It offered an interesting narrated hour-plus boat ride. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 when Queenslander Claude Reid realized that the fur-trade was decimating the koala population. Starting with just two, he began his life’s work of protecting, rehabilitating and breeding Australia’s unique marsupials (no they are not bears!) Today the sanctuary is also home to a large collection of native birds, kangaroo and wallaby, tree kangaroo, amphibians, reptiles, dingo and 130 koalas.

A Koala Cuddle at Lone Pine
Mama Roo with Joey

Back to the hotel for a quick refresh and then we go back on the City Cat to ride at sunset in hopes of seeing Brisbane’s Flying Fox. Brisbane is home to a large population of Flying Fox (also known as Fruit Bats) and dusk is the time to see them. The City Cat is a great way to enjoy viewing these animals that are so important to the balance of the ecosystem.

Historic Story Bridge

We disembarked after dark near the beautiful historic Story Bridge built in 1935 and enjoyed the Brisbane night skyline as we walked to our dining destination of Greca. Definitely eat at Greca, located under the Story Bridge and offering delicious Greek food and wonderful service all at a great price.


Day Three Highlights

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Mirimar Cruises

Story Bridge

Greca Restaurant

Day Four

There aren’t many hiking opportunities near Brisbane, but we had heard about Mount Coot-tha, so on day four we headed that way. Back on the City Cat just a few stops to Regatta, where we admired the historic Regatta Hotel. We then walked more than two miles to the Brisbane Botanic Garden detouring unexpectedly through a very old cemetery. We were happy for the detour though because the cemetery offered some outstanding bird spotting opportunities.

Historic Regatta Hotel
So many Cockatoo in the cemetery

We arrived at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, a wonderful large garden space and we were amazed it was free. The 56 hectare gardens are part of the city of Brisbane since 1970. A definite must-visit. The hike up Mount Coot-tha Reserve begins at this park. Starting at the Botanic Gardens visitor center the climb to the lookout is about two miles. The dirt path with several stair climbs meanders through native trees and flora and we spotted so many common and one rare bird.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Mount Coot-tha Reserve
The Lookout at the top

Reaching the summit you are rewarded with a spectacular view back down to the city. If you aren’t up for the climb, it’s possible to drive or take a bus to the summit. We caught the bus back to the CBD.

Our final night in Brisbane we walked back to the South Bank and enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner with a lovely view of the river at River Quay Fish. Another perfect way to end another great Brisbane day.

Beautiful Brisbane
Local Baramundi at River Quay Fish
River Quay Fish

Day Four Highlights

Regatta Hotel

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Mount Coot-tha

River Quay Fish

Time to Go

Our four days in Brisbane was only the beginning of a two-month visit that will include Tasmania. As part of a visit to Brisbane it is an absolute must to head up to the Australia Zoo. We did this on day five as we headed out in our RV for a month on the road. I’ll talk about the Australia Zoo in next Friday’s blog post. But it would be easy to add it when you Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

Next week I’ll have a post all about the amazing Irwin Family Australia Zoo

Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia

Brisbane was so much better than I expected and I would love to visit again when all the construction has wrapped up. There are numerous museums we did not make it to, and wonderful performing arts of all kinds. One of Australia’s largest cities, I have to say it is now one of my favorite cities in the world.

Brisbane Sunset

Check back next week to learn more about our visit to the Australia Zoo and keep following as we continue our Australian journey.

See last week’s post Our Favorite Things to do in Panglao Bohol and our popular post Cooking Class in Hong Kong.

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  • Reply Adéle

    Lovely post. Brisbane is my favourite city in Australia, such a cool vibe.

    November 11, 2023 at 12:16 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Yes! I loved it.

      November 11, 2023 at 12:34 am
  • Reply Viola

    Your detailed exploration of Brisbane has me itching to add it to my city adventures! I’ve toured various cities in Australia, but not Brisbane – yet! Can’t wait to make it there!

    November 11, 2023 at 1:27 am
    • Reply Laureen

      A nice surprise!

      November 11, 2023 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Terri

    I visited Brisbane about a decade ago and fell in love with this city! There is so much to see and do, including cuddling a koala. I love all your animal pics!

    November 11, 2023 at 3:44 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    We missed Brisbane on our first visit to Australia. But I can see we need to plan to visit when we finally get back. We definitely would head out and just wander. And plan to try out the ferries. A great first stop on your visit to Australia.

    November 11, 2023 at 9:02 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Thanks Linda. It was such a pleasant surprise.

      November 11, 2023 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Sara Essop

    I haven’t made it to Australia yet but when I do, I will definitely be adding Brisbane to my itinerary. It looks like a beautiful city.

    November 11, 2023 at 11:22 am
  • Reply Erica

    So many great things to do in Brisbane, thanks for all of the ideas! Here in Seattle, Washington, I always recommend visitors take a ride on the ferry because it is so great to see everything from the water. Wonderful that ferry rides in Brisbane are part of the Go Card– it looks like it is a quintessential experience there too! Enjoy your two months in Australia!

    November 11, 2023 at 3:48 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      It actually reminded me a bit of Seattle – I’m from the Seattle area too.

      November 11, 2023 at 7:06 pm
  • Reply Anne Betts

    You’ve done Brisbane justice. Unfortunately, many folks on Facebook suggest Brisbane be missed in favour of other cities. I’d go back just to hunt down that Greek salad you photographed!

    January 20, 2024 at 5:23 am
    • Reply Laureen

      I’m so glad we went to Brisbane. Loved it.

      January 20, 2024 at 2:37 pm

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