Finding things to do in Brisbane with kids is made easy with an array of outdoor and indoor activities suited to kids of all ages. From museums and river cruises, glorious gardens and even an inner city beach, get ready to enjoy the sunshine state.
1. Ride a City Cat
The Brisbane River winds its way around the city, passing through its outer suburbs, right through the city centre and out to Moreton Bay. Taking a pedestrian ferry known as a ‘City Cat’ is one of the cheapest and best ways of exploring the Brisbane River. As well as being a relaxing way to get from A to B, it is also a fun way of seeing the city sights. Ride the ferry for a great cruise around the city, or jump off at any of the local stops. Highlights include South Bank, New Farm Park, Riverside and Portside Wharf at Northshore Hamilton.
2. Cuddle a Koala
Located just 12 kilometres from the city centre is the world’s first and biggest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Here you can get up close and personal with a photo experience cuddling a koala. You can also feed wild lorikeets, hand-feed gorgeous kangaroos, and learn about a whole range of amazing native wildlife, from snakes and lizards to echidnas and emus.
3. Enjoy a beach in the City
That’s right — just a short stroll across a bridge from the Brisbane CBD you can be lying on a beach or going for a lovely swim! Located at in the South Bank Parklands, Streets Beach is a must-visit attraction for anyone in Brisbane. This manmade beach and turquoise lagoon is the perfect place to unwind from a busy time seeing the city sights. While it can get busy at times, the beach and waters are kept in pristine condition, and there are amazing amenities on hand, from BBQs and change facilities to lovely restaurants, cafes and a state-of-the-art playground.
4. Walk to an Island
Did you know there is an island that you can actually walk to from Brisbane? It is called King Island, and it is a stunning conservation park in Moreton Bay. At low tide, you can walk from Wellington Point to the island, to explore, go to the beach and spot wildlife. It is an easy one-kilometre walk across the sandbar, but just be sure to check tide times before you set off or head back.
5. Ride the Wheel
The Wheel of Brisbane is located on the waterfront of the Brisbane River at South Bank. Having a ride on the wheel gives you a great 360 degrees perspective of the city and is a lovely and relaxing way to see all the landmarks and sights from the comfort of an air-conditioned gondola. Plus the audio system delivers informative commentary as you enjoy the ride.
6. Experience Culture
While in Brisbane, one of the best places to visit is the Cultural Precinct, South Bank, which is located just across the river from the Brisbane CBD. This vast area is home to the Queensland Academy of Performing Arts, Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art and the State Library of Queensland. This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in culture, whether seeing world-class art exhibitions or watching a live show to learning about dinosaurs or uncovering your family history. There is something for all ages at this vibrant precinct!
7. Abseil the Cliffs
The Kangaroo Point Cliffs impose a dramatic natural feature along the banks of the Brisbane River. These sheer cliff faces stretch 20 metres high, and as well as being beautiful to see, they are perfect for abseiling down! This is not for the faint-hearted but definitely a unique experience to try in Brisbane.
8. Get outdoors at one of Brisbane’s best playgrounds
Brisbane is home to some of the best parks in the whole of Australia, and no trip to the city would be complete without visiting a local park. Highlights include the beautiful natural setting on the banks of the Brisbane River at New Farm Park, the haven within the city centre that is Roma Street Parklands, and the great kids’ playground parks such as Rocks Riverside Park at Seventeen Mile Rocks and Frew Park in Milton.
9. Visit Botanical Gardens
Brisbane features not one but two stunning Botanical Gardens — the City Botanic Gardens in the city centre, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. The Riverside City Botanic Gardens are the original botanical gardens of Brisbane and feature ornamental ponds, a weeping fig avenue, a cannon, sculptures, an all-ability playground and the live entertainment venue, Riverstage. The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha is a subtropical botanic garden with a fern house, bonsai house, Japanese gardens, herb and vegetable gardens, lagoons, rainforest, a nature-based playground and a children’s trail.
10. Explore Historical Buildings
History does not have to be boring! In Brisbane, there are incredible historical buildings that are really beautiful to see and exciting to visit. There is the iconic City Hall in the city centre, where you can take a free tour and ride the vintage lift to the top of the clock tower. For a different adventure, head to Fort Lytton, a military fortification where you can explore tunnels and see canon firing. There is also ANZAC Square in the CBD, with its amazing eternal flame. Plus, you can visit Parliament House and Old Government House near the City Botanic Gardens to get hands-on with history through interactive exhibits.
There is so much to see and do in Brisbane with kids! We hope you get the chance to experience just some of these fantastic highlights of this remarkable city!
This guest post was written by Ngaire Stirling from Brisbane Kids, the official guide to child friendly Brisbane.