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Stroll or cycle from Story Bridge to New Farm via this scenic Riverwalk floating above the Brisbane River – and when you get to the other end, laze around beneath the brilliant jacaranda trees in New Farm Park.
If you’re loving the river, hop on the free ferry that crawls up the river from the Sydney St terminal in New Farm to North Quay. Grab a rooftop spot on the tiny red vessel for the best views.
Explore 17 hectares of lush parkland in the shadow of the city, peppered with top-draw eateries and boutiques. Don’t forget to snap a selfie in the Grand Arbour, a kilometre-long walkway that snakes through the park beneath a canopy of colourful bougainvilleas.
Unlike Australia’s other capitals, Brisbane doesn’t have a city beach . . . so they built one. Have a splash at the South Bank Lagoon or the boat pool next door, and kids will love the Aquativity water park.
The Cathedral of St Stephen is only a couple of kays away but Queensland’s most revered site is Suncorp Stadium, the state’s sporting sanctuary and the scene of so many sacred Maroons triumphs. It’ll cost you to get inside for a game of footy but it’s free to stroll around Suncorp Stadium to admire the statues of Queensland’s patron saints Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga, and Darren Lockyer.
Those cheery guides in red T-shirts showing visitors around the city? Their services are absolutely free. You can book a ‘greeter’s choice’ tour or tailor one to your own interests.
We would recommend seeing the sun rise over the city skyline . . . but hey, we’re realistic, pencil in sunset instead. Trek to the top of Mt Coot-Tha for the best view of Bris Vegas.
Another celestial treat lies at the bottom of Mt Coot-Tha: the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Entry to the planetarium is free and it might be worth shelling out for a show in the 12.5-metre Cosmic Skydome, too.
And while you’re at the mountain, add another activity to your to-do list. The gardens – which are crawling with water dragons – include a 9m-high dome and a traditional Japanese garden.
If you’re in a green mood, hit up the city’s oldest park, too – it’s located on the northern banks of the river in the heart of town.
For a bird’s eye view of King George Square and the surrounding city, take a tour to the top of city hall – every 15 minutes between 10.15am and 4.45pm. And don’t worry, you’ll go up in a hand-operated lift, so you won’t be the one getting sweaty.
The museum lives on the third floor of City Hall, tracing the history of Brisbane and its people. And get your fill of natural history at the Queensland Museum and Science Centre just across Victoria Bridge.
Its name looks like a terrible Scrabble hand but QAGOMA – the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art – brings together world-class old and new art in twin riverside buildings either side of the ultra-modern State Library, which is also free.
History buffs will love these 26 steps through Brisbane’s history, starting at the Regent Theatre and taking in the Brisbane Arcade and old convict sites along the way.
If you prefer urban art to the stuff hanging in galleries, head to Fortitude Valley, follow Brunswick or James St down to New Farm, and keep your eyes peeled for some spectacular murals.
Okay, you’ll have to pay for the snags, but the million-dollar views from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs don’t cost a cent. The perfect way to spend those balmy Brisbane evenings.
You don’t have to be a politics junkie or a Sir Joh disciple to appreciate this spectacular piece of 19th Century architecture, a grand French Renaissance Revival construction.
Bohemian locals transform Davies Park and its iconic fig trees into a hub of organic food and second-hand clothing every Saturday morning – one of dozens of markets that pop up around Brisbane each weekend.
That’s right, walk. Not swim. Not catch a ferry. Not row. But walk to an island, thanks to a 1km walkway that emerges at low tide. It’s one of a number of great day trips from Brisbane, including North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Springbrook National Park.
Another beautiful, green, outdoor space to lounge around in . . . have you noticed a theme? And the Arboretum is located just across the river from the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary if you’re willing to pay for some koala cuddles.
The UQ School of Music holds a concert at Customs House every Sunday morning, while the City Sounds music program brings free tunes to Queen Street Mall, Post Office Square, South Bank and other spots around the city.