With beautiful weather, friendly locals and plenty to see and do, there is loads of fun to be had in Brisbane. Even better, a lot of it can be yours for free. Here are five suggestions for free Brisbane activities that will keep you entertained. And they’re not just for tourists.
Brisbane Greeter Tour
These free tours are conducted by passionate volunteers who love sharing their city with visitors (and locals who’d like to learn more about their home town). There are two different types of Brisbane Greeter tours to choose from. The first is a ‘lucky dip’ known as Greeter’s Choice where the greeter shows you some of their favourite places. If you have something special you want to see or do, this can usually be incorporated into the tour. The second option is Your Choice which involves choosing a particular area of interest. For example, you might want to learn more about Brisbane’s heritage buildings, public art or a particular precinct or area such as Fortitude Valley or New Farm. You will be paired with a Greeter who specialises in this interest or area and they will show you around FOR FREE for up to four hours.
Free Brisbane ferry
The free CityHopper service allows you to explore Brisbane for free with ferries running every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight, seven days a week. The CityHopper travels along the Brisbane River, stopping at North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside and Sydney Street terminals. As the CityHopper is free, all you need to do is hop on and hop off and enjoy taking in the Brisbane River and city sights.
Museum of Brisbane
Some of my home town’s cultural attractions have a sparkling international reputation but my favourite Brisbane museum is less well known. The Museum of Brisbane is located inside City Hall and is part of the living history of the city. It celebrates Brisbane’s past and also looks at how individual and collective stories have made Brisbane what it is today. If you want to get to know the people and the spirit of Brisbane, you should definitely come here. Highlights include the short film Beauty: a journey down the Brisbane River which looks into the heart of the river running through the city, exhibitions by local artists and free tours of the historic City Hall and the clock tower. The latter involves taking a ride to the top of the clock tower in the oldest hand-operated lift in Australia. If you would like to do a tour, arrive early as these tend to book out fast.
Swim at South Bank
The swimming lagoon at South Bank is Australia’s only beach in the middle of the city. It has tropical palm trees overhanging a white sandy beach, deep and shallow areas, nice spots to relax and a fun interactive play area for kids. Lifeguards patrol the beach seven days a week. Arrive early to beat the crowds in summer.
Live music at The Powerhouse
What was once a coal-fired power station is now a vibrant arts centre, filled with cutting edge photographic installations, music, theatre and dance. On Sunday afternoon you can catch some of Brisbane’s best indie bands at a free Sunday afternoon Livespark session.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Brisbane, we have reviewed the Treasury Hotel, The Calile, Ovolo The Valley, W Brisbane, Capri by Fraser Brisbane, Hilton Brisbane, The Johnson, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, Sage Hotel James Street, The Westin Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Festival Suites, Royal on the Park, Ibis Styles Elizabeth Street, Sofitel Brisbane, Crystalbrook Vincent, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, and Pullman Brisbane Airport.