First, it’s pronounced “Bris-bin”. Second, this post will cover the in’s & out’s of how to spend a weekend in Brisbane – the capital of Queensland. I visited Brisbane twice and have several friends who studied abroad there, so thanks to their help and my personal experience in the city, here is everything you MUST know about Brisbane:
Disclaimer: This post was originally written in July 2019 and was updated in December 2021 for relevancy.
Brisbane is not located on Australia’s coast, but is instead situated on the Brisbane river. Southbank is the area in Brisbane where my friends lived (shoutout Urbanest) and is the cultural and recreational hub of the city. Here you will find Streets Beach – a man-made lagoon perfect for people of all ages (thanks for the photo Erica!) and the famous “Brisbane” block letter sign. Southbank also has a ferris wheel, several parks and playgrounds, and the Collective Markets on Saturdays and Sundays! This is a great place to spend the majority of your weekend in Brisbane!
Across from Southbank is Brisbane’s CBD (Central Business District – every Australian city has one) where you will find the City Botanic Gardens, Queen Street Mall – an outdoor, pedestrian mall located in the heart of the city, King George Square – where there is a farmers market every Wednesday (thanks for the tip Juliana!), and Fortitude Valley – the hub of Brisbane’s nightlife.
For nightlife, I recommend Down Under Bar & Grill – we went on a Friday night, but my friends never missed a D’under Tuesday! They also frequented Prohibition, Birdies, and Felons Brewery on Sundays. Yes, Australians go out on Sundays – don’t let Mondays ruin your Sunday!
Across the river you will find Kangaroo Point. My friends said that a lot of Aussie BBQs take place here, but we went one night to watch the sunset and really enjoyed it! The sun sets over the river and behind Brisbane’s skyline so I would definitely check it out.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary & Eat Street
A little further outside of the city you will find Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Eat Street Northshore. Lone Pine is a great place to visit if you want to hold a koala and Eat Street provides a unique food experience!
I recommend Eat Street because I went and ate my way through foodie heaven. It’s an absolute must for a weekend in Brisbane. Here’s what you need to know:
What: Over 100 “pop-up restaurants” housed in giant, colorful shipping containers. All food imaginable from around the world is offered here, including but not limited to: Fresh seafood, Italian pasta station, Asian noodles, dumplings, pizza by the slice, American BBQ, and don’t even get me started on the desserts. My friends and I went to a donut shop that serves a donut of your choice with ice cream and tons of toppings. I also saw fried Oreos, caramel apples, soft serve, etc. I think you get it… come hungry.
Where: Eat Street Northshore located at 221D Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton, QLD 4007.
When: Every weekend of the year – Open 4-10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 12-8 pm on Sundays.
How: One hour ferry ride from Brisbane or a 30 minute drive in a car. Bring $3 cash to get in.
Why: Do I really have to answer this?
Day Trips From Brisbane
Lastly, Brisbane is a fairly small city, but is an awesome “home base” in Queensland. From Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and the islands are all accessible for day trips. I checked out the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, but didn’t make it to the islands. My friends told me that visiting Fraser Island, Moreton Island, and North Stradbroke Island are musts from Brisbane.
I hope this post inspires you to want to visit Queensland in the future, and maybe even study abroad in Brisbane! If not, you should definitely spend a weekend in Brisbane! Special thanks to the lovely ladies of Brisbane for helping me with this post and for hosting me this semester!
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