One Day in Brisbane Itinerary – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane is the perfectly located capital city of the “Sunshine State”, i.e.  Queensland. Built alongside its namesake, the Brisbane River, there is no shortage of stunning scenery, with reflections and contrast against skyrises providing picture-perfect moments. Not only is this a diverse metropolitan of art, cuisine, and shopping, but it is also just a hop, skip and jump away from some of mother nature’s most spectacular creations. The city is situated between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, home to some of the most ideal beaches and breathtaking ancient rainforests. And that’s not all! This Brisbane itinerary will show you much more, so your one day here will be nothing short of perfect. Enjoy!

One day in Brisbane Itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Brisbane?

Brisbane is a sub-tropical paradise in the Southern Hemisphere, which keeps the June-August winters mild and the humid December-February summers a beach-goers dream. This makes it a year-round travel destination, really just dependant on your preferred activities whilst visiting. However, for those who aren’t partial to hot tropical weather, you may prefer to travel outside of the summer months.

Brisbane, Author: eGuide Travel, Source: Flickr

A few facts about Brisbane:

Brisbane, or “Brissie” as it is referred to by the locals, is well-known for its friendly, laidback residents and is often referred to as the most liveable city in Australia.

There is a train, bus, and CityCat ferry service that operates throughout the city, making local travel a breeze for tourists.

Street of Brisbane
Street of Brisbane, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

The city enjoys over 280 days of clear weather every year, typical for “The Sunshine State”, and it embodies perfectly Queensland’s catchphrase “Beautiful one day, perfect the next”.

The Brisbane Ekka is celebrated annually in August, and the event is held in the heart of the city with fairground attractions and agricultural displays.

Brisbane River
Brisbane River, Author: eGuide Travel, Source: Flickr

One Day in Brisbane Itinerary

Brisbane’s surrounding attractions spread across some large distances, which are easiest to get to if you rent a vehicle for your adventure.  You may even opt for a campervan rental and combine your wheels and accommodation all in one. If neither of these options is feasible, there are also many packaged day tours available, to make sure you don’t miss out.

Don’t worry, there is also plenty to keep you busy within the city limits, and this is all accessible by walking, public transport, or a short taxi/uber ride as this Brisbane itinerary will soon show.

Check out the City Hall Clock Tower

Brisbane is home to many heritage-listed buildings, and although the City Hall Clock Tower is no longer the city’s tallest building, it still provides a 360-degree birds-eye view. Plus, tours of the tower are FREE – you simply pre-book online, and they run daily.

City Hall Clock Tower
City Hall Clock Tower, Author: Su-Hwan Pyo, Source: Flickr

In addition, the City Hall is also home to the Museum of Brisbane, another place very much worth visiting while you’re here.

So why not grab a coffee on your walk to City Hall and start your one day in Brisbane on a high note? You can find loads of café options at nearby Southbank, just a stroll away.

Enjoy Southbank Parklands

Brisbane wheel
Brisbane wheel, Author: eGuide Travel, Source: Flickr

When Brisbane hosted the World Expo in 1988, Southbank Parklands were created as a place to host the event. Since then, the precinct has flourished into a cultural mecca. You will find theatres, exhibitions, first-rate restaurants and cafes, and even a man-made beach where you can go swimming.

Southbank, Author: eGuide Travel, Source: Flickr

Southbank is home to the Riverfire Festival, which runs each year in September and showcases a mixture of art and entertainment, plus an extravagant display of fireworks.

Riverfire Festival
Riverfire Festival, Author: Josselin Berger, Source: Flickr

Soak in some culture

Close to the parklands is the Cultural Centre. Now, this place is something the whole family can enjoy thanks to its galleries, museums, and various great performances you can come across. Not to mention that the architecture is quite beautiful.

Inside Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Inside Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Author: eGuide Travel, Source: Flickr

It’s a great place to combine with the parklands because it’s so close, and with a bit of luck, you could even catch a show of some kind here because the Queensland Performing Arts Centre regularly sets things up here. From concerts to comedies, there is a lot to see.

Climb to Mount Coot-tha Lookout

For a dinner with a view, Mount Coot-tha lookout is a short 10-15 minutes by taxi/uber or 30 minutes by bus. Situated on the most elevated point in the city, the sparkling city lights below and the dazzling starry night above will make your visit worthwhile.

There is a café and restaurant here, and the menu is friendly for those with special dietary requirements. And if you come here during the day, you will be able to enjoy a nice stroll through Brisbane Botanical Gardens, which are also located here.

Brisbane Botanical Gardens
Brisbane Botanical Gardens, Author: Tim J Keegan, Source: Flickr

Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Follow the Brisbane River 20 minutes south by car or bus, and you will find this one-of-a-kind animal sanctuary. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a refuge for over 400 animals of varying species, and animal welfare is at its forefront. See platypus, echidna, wombats, and dingos.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Author: Christopher Neugebauer, Source: Flickr

Feed the kangaroos and come face to face with an emu. Have your picture taken with a koala and have a conversation with a chatty cockatoo.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Kangaroo
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Kangaroo, Author: Zvi Leve, Source: Flickr

Have fun at the Sit Down Comedy Club

If you’re not ready to turn in for the night quite yet, how about some after-dinner entertainment? The Sit Down Comedy Club at the Paddo Tavern in nearby Paddington is a 10-minute car ride away from Mt Coot-tha and one of Australia’s largest comedy producers.

Brisbane at night
Brisbane at night, Author: bpaties, Source: Flickr

There is a new show presented each week, featuring high-quality performers hailing from both near and far. Some of the previous acts to take the stage here include Eric Bana, Arj Barker, Carl Barron, and Fiona O’Loughlin. Being such a popular venue, you may wish to book ahead via their website, to secure seats for your preferred evening and artist.

Where to stay in Brisbane, Australia?

Emporium Hotel South Bank

Emporium Hotel South Brisbane

267 Grey Street, South Brisbane, 4101 Brisbane

For the ultimate luxury in Brisbane, book a room in Emporium Hotel South Bank. You really get it all here, from an incredible view of the city’s skyline and the river to picture-perfect rooms and impeccable service. Everything about this place is just so stunning, and the people working here will make sure you feel pampered. After you’ve stayed here once, you’ll always want to come back and enjoy this hotel some more.


Capri by Fraser Brisbane

Capri by Fraser Brisbane

80 Albert Street, Brisbane CBD, 4000 Brisbane

If you want to stay at the very heart of Brisbane, Capri by Fraser is an excellent choice. This great aparthotel looks amazing with its modern interior, and provides you with access to its indoor pool, sauna, and a fitness center that’s open around the clock. The rooms are phenomenally equipped, plus you can enjoy a spectacular view and get to many sights and attractions in mere minutes. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?


ibis Brisbane Airport

ibis Brisbane Airport

2 Dryandra Road, 4008 Brisbane

Should you decide to stay only one day in Brisbane, you may want to stay in a hotel close to the airport. ibis Brisbane Airport is a perfect solution because this hotel comes highly recommended by its guests and is just a few minutes away from the terminal. Don’t worry, the rooms are exceptionally quiet, and the food is very good, too! Oh, and you’ll want to visit the Cribb Island Beach Club – they serve an awesome pizza there!


Brisbane Quarters

Brisbane Quarters

413 Upper Edward Street, Spring Hill, 4000 Brisbane

Spending one day in Brisbane on a budget doesn’t have to be a problem! Brisbane Quarters is a great hostel with plenty to offer, including an outdoor swimming pool, and you can count on various forms of entertainment here in the evening. Situated in a great part of Brisbane, this hostel is bound to provide you with a wonderful stay.


Day trips from Brisbane

Brisbane City is an ideal base to explore the surrounding regions via some well-organized day trips. To help you choose the destination, here are a few options to inspire your next Brisbane holiday.

Lamington National Park

A picturesque section of the ancient Gondwanan rainforest. This amazing place offers walking trails, an abundance of wildlife, streaming waterfalls, and plant life that is reminiscent of the Jurassic period.

Theme Parks

Near Brisbane, there is a theme park for just about everyone. For thrill-seekers, Dreamworld and Movieworld have some adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions, but water enthusiasts might prefer Wet’n’Wild or WhiteWater World.

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is a seaside area of the popular Gold Coast holiday destination, an hour and a half south of Brisbane. It is famous for its beautiful surf beaches and popular for its main street Cavill Avenue. Here you will find glittering nightlife, trendy markets, and an abundance of cafes and restaurants.

Scenic Rim

West of Brisbane, the Scenic Rim is a rural district that travels through mountain ranges and wine country. You can book a hot air balloon ride, go four-wheel driving, or explore many of the areas walking trails. Maybe visit a working dam or take a walk through an apple orchard?

DFO Shopping

If you find yourself needing some retail therapy, DFO Brisbane will no doubt appease you. A factory outlet center containing over 140 retailers, some with savings of up to 70% off the RRP. You can make a day of it and have lunch at one of the bistros, or use it to fill some time before a flight, with the convenient location beside the Brisbane Airport.

Extra tips for visiting Brisbane:

  • With such a huge variety of activities and attractions to see and do while you holiday in Brisbane, remember this when packing! You may need hiking shoes one day and your swimwear the next, a pair of comfy flip-flops, or your best pair of dancing shoes.
  • Additionally, you can easily find everything you need to know about Brisbane’s public transport online. So, getting around is easy with a little help from your phone. However, having a car is often better, so do consider renting one while visiting, especially if you’re planning to go outside of the city itself.
Brisbane, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Leila Gear
Leila Gear

Leila was lucky to have the opportunity to travel from a young age, and has visited over 20 countries, including Oceania, Asia, Pacific, Europe and USA. After finishing her Tourism studies in 2000, she began her adventure in the travel industry, where she worked for an International Travel Agency. In 2014, Leila joined the team at Discovery Rentals, this current role corresponds perfectly with her passion for road-trips, eco-tourism and self-drive holidays.

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