November 21st, 2023
5 minute read
Brisbane (Meanjin) is a bustling city full of friendly locals, colourful culture, buzzing nightlife and things to do! While like most cities, a weekend in Brisbane can sometimes be expensive, there are plenty of cheap things to do if you know where to look! So, let our locals guide you around this exciting city with both quirky and quintessential activities and sights to see!
Not only are city cats an excellent way to get around the city, of which the Brisbane River winds through, but they are also a quintessential Brissy experience to have while you’re seeing the sights! Grab a Go-card, Jump on the free city hopper service, and stand up the front of your smooth and accessible vessel for brilliant city views and a lovely breeze! The free route from North Quay to New Farm and back is serviced by KittyCats, so look out for these cute vessels for your next trip up the river!
The Brisbane River, locally known as the Brown Snake, at dusk.
If you’re feeling up for it, pack a rug, some snacks, a frisbee and bring your mates for a picnic in the wide-open New Farm park! Whether you catch the bus, CityCat or an electric scooter, New Farm is a wonderful, charming suburb only minutes from the city. Grab a spot by the river under a grand shady tree for a simply delightful afternoon. With spectacular views and sunlit moments, you’re in for a relaxed session in the lush heart of Brisbane. Or, for something closer to the south side, Kangaroo Point has a lovely stretch of riverside parklands, where you can find BBQs, playground equipment and even natural rock walls for rockclimbing!
Kangaroo Point picnic by the Brisbane River in the evening.
Brisbane’s summer heat can seem unbearably inescapable, but it’s not! Head down to South Bank and discover the glistening waters and sandy bays of Street’s Beach. Nestled amongst the vibrant green public spaces of South Bank parklands, this lagoon faces the river boardwalk and backs onto an array of restaurants, bars and pubs! With plenty of space for everyone, have a cooling dip, lay out your towel, soak up the sun and have a beach holiday… in the city!
Brisbane city and surrounding gems are incredibly accessible by the newfound shared e-scooters. Currently brimming with both Neuron and Beam electric scooters and electric bikes, Brisbane is your oyster on one of these zippy rides! See Queen Street Mall, ride over picturesque bridges and through colourful botanical gardens to see all of the Brisbane highlights with ease. Simply download the respective app for your ride, and enjoy this cheap and fun way to see Brisbane City!
Neuron's publicly accessible electric bikes make exploring the city and river a cinch!
Make a day of it and duck down to the vibrant streets of West End. Accessed best by bus, bike, ferry or e-scooter, West End is renowned for its eclectic ambience, colourful collection of locally-owned shops and community events. With an abundance of vintage boutiques and op-shops, spend a day sifting through second-hand threads! We recommend a coffee and lunch at The Burrow before a browse at the cozy Bent Books on the corner.
SWOP Clothing is one of the many op-shops, vintage stores and awesome junk shops in West End's streets.
Feeling artsy? The Gallery of Modern Art in South Bank is the perfect free activity for a rainy Brisbane day! With a variety of incredible art, both interactive and enticing, GOMA puts a vibrant spin on current issues from renowned and local artists alike! Accessible by bus, a leisurely boardwalk stroll or CityCat, GOMA is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the cultural hub of Brisbane.
Planning on hitting the town? Fortitude Valley is the place to be, as any young local will tell you, and is bustling with countless bars, clubs, venues and party-goers. For arvo beers, we recommend Felons Brewing Co, for local gigs we recommend The Zoo and for a downright boogy we recommend Retro's. All within walking distance and surrounded by colourful nightlife, this is the strip to be for a night on the town!
Holey Moley in Fortitude Valley is a fantastic place to start your night off, with a colourfully designed putt-putt course, pool tables and flowing beer taps!
Another charming, chic yet quirky superb is the locally-loved Paddington! The perfect place to spend the morning after and to bask in the leafy, charming streets with your friends, Paddington is home to excellent breakfast, lunch and coffee spots, as well as antique and boutique stores. We recommend Anouk for all-day breakfast, Tall Short Espresso for coffee and Remy’s for a casual lunch!
Avo on toast is the quintessential Aussie breakfast, served with a delicious, barista-made coffee!
Escape the city bustle and head out to the Enogerra Reservoir. Accessible by bus or car, the “resi” as locals call it is a huge freshwater swimming spot that backs onto a dam. Surrounded by peaceful forest and bush, this is one of Brisbane’s best-kept secrets! Have a walk around the beautiful water or check out the wildlife sanctuary on the hill, home to an array of incredible creatures! Or, just set up for the day with towels, sunnies, snacks and good friends for a classic Aussie arvo session.
Avoid the busy weekend rush by heading out to Enogerra on a weekday, so you can cool off and chill out.
Head down to Davies Park in West End to mosey through stalls of fresh produce, flowers, food trucks, second-hand goods, records, plants and more! Grab a delicious coffee, listen to the gentle live music and enjoy the local vibes at this eclectic market. The perfect way to slow it down, score some cheap goods and soak up the wonders of Brisbane, the Davies Park markets are a must-do when you’re next in town.
Queensland is renowned for its awesome variety of tropical fruits - you may have heard about all of the mango-picking farmwork up north!