Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there is never a shortage of things to do in Brisbane – especially when the school holidays roll around. Check out our top twenty!
- South Bank was voted Australia’s most pet-friendly place last year, but with its playgrounds, winding swimming pools and large, grassy areas, we reckon it’s perfect for families, too. You’re also spoilt for choice in the food department, so it’s not hard to spend the whole day here – and stay on into the evening. The view from the Wheel of Brisbane is another must-try, day or night.
- Speaking of South Bank, it’s also home to Brisbane’s major cultural precinct. Art lovers will love strolling through GoMA and the Queensland Art Gallery, but you can also tap your toes along to the musical numbers performed at QPAC. You can also dive into history at the Queensland Museum, which has no shortage of captivating experiences and exhibitions at any given time. Talk about endless school holiday fun!
- The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium offers loads of informative, exciting activities, shows and exhibits to make sure your school holidays are out-of-this-world. It’s free to access the main area, but you can also splash some cash to see some of the more exclusive exhibits and planet shows.
- Explore local history and climb to the top of the iconic Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower (which costs even less than a Macca’s soft serve) for an unparalleled view of Brisbane.
- Eat Street Northshore has firmly cemented its place as one of Brisbane’s best dining destinations, serving up street food, desserts, grog, live music and even retail, all out of shipping containers. Catch it on Friday and Saturday from 4 ‘til 10pm, or Sunday from 12 ‘til 8pm.
- Mount Gravatt Marketta is the southern suburb’s answer to Eat Street, and they certainly don’t disappoint. Come along on Saturday from 4pm ‘til 9pm for plenty of street food, bars and pumping live performances.
- Try a free kids’ program, like Kids’ Collective at South Bank and the Roma Street Parklands. This ongoing program delivers a tonne of free fun, both during the school term (for little ones) and on school holidays for the over-fives. Learn more right here.
- If there’s one thing south-east Queensland does well, it’s markets – and Brisbane is no exception. Perhaps the biggest are South Bank’s Collective Markets – which see the Stanley Street Plaza overtaken with hundreds of stalls selling everything from designer dog collars to crystals and coffee – but the Jan Powers Markets at the Powerhouse are also worth a visit.
- And while you’re there, be sure to take a look around the Brisbane Powerhouse’s surrounds, too. The gem in the crown of the leafy inner-northern suburb of New Farm, the Powerhouse sits adjacent to stunning New Farm Park and offers a great starting point to explore the history of the riverside region.
- A hub for high-end fashion and fancy food options, James Street is also a great day trip destination for its cute cafés, history and wall art – you’ll find a chalky mural of intertwining animals and a quirky artwork with the panagram, ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’, right near each other. Then, head up the road for a screening at the iconic New Farm cinema.
- Even Brisbane’s shopping centres can be considered destinations in and of themselves. The revamped Westfield Chermside is truly a sight to behold, with its North Shore eating area more closely resembling a tropical resort than a food court. We also love the Asian offerings in Westfield Garden City’s 8 Street, which gives off the coolest night market vibe.
- Lush green grass and blossoming flowers make botanic gardens the perfect picnic spot, and Brisbanites are lucky enough to have two to choose from! The City Botanic Gardens in the heart of the CBD offer a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city, while the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens that overlook the city from the west provide the perfect mountain escape, with a number of different attractions and areas to explore.
- Perched on a bend in the Brisbane river, Bulimba in the city’s inner-east is a pocket of history and culture. Visit the beautiful Balmoral or Hawthorne cinemas for an old-school movie experience, or stroll up Bulimba’s main street while poking around the shops and cafes.
- The Story Bridge features on just about every Brisbane postcard, so why not get up close and personal with this mighty landmark? You can walk along the roadside or strap in for a climb, depending on how daring you’re feeling.
- Or, if neither of those options tickle your fancy, why not sit on the grass at Felon’s Brewing Co at the newly-refurbished Howard Smith Wharves? You can still get a great view of the bridge and the city beyond – from right underneath it, mind you! –and you can choose between a fancy lunch at Greca or a relaxed pizza and beer from Felon’s depending on your mood.
- The Kangaroo Point Walk might just offer one of the best panoramic views of Brisbane’s skyline – the best part of it is, you can see the Story Bridge from here, too. Tackle the infamous stairs or stroll along the river for some fun fitness.
- If you’ve ever seen a celebrity holding a koala, it was no doubt snapped at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Discover why this spot is such a favourite for visiting performers and actors these holidays!
- Walk along Brisbane city’s Queen Street Mall – stopping in at the many fashion hotspots, including Zara, H&M, Country Road and Seed Heritage, and dining options, like Hog’s Breath Café and Jimmy’s on the Mall – all the way up to the stunning Treasury Casino. You’ll also get a great view of South Bank on the other side of the river.
- From the water parks at Wynnum to the sand dunes of Straddie, there is so much to discover in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay region. These three hidden beach parks are a great start.
- Catch one of the many events on in Brisbane these school holidays – and beyond! We’re talking…
SKATING AT FESTIVAL
Friday June 21 thru to Sunday July 14 // King George Square
If you’ve ever dreamt of a Canadian après-ski experience, dream no more – Skating At returns to Brisbane this winter, partnering with Skytrax to bring you the Air Canada Ice Rink, entertainment, icy-cool ice slide and delicious food and drinks. Each session is 45 minutes long and includes skate hire. Attendees can also grab onto a snow tube and enjoy a thrilling ice slide down The Runway or warm up with food at The Winter Market and Maple Leaf Bar // www.brisbane.skatingat.com.au
Friday June 7 thru to Sunday July 14 // King George Square
It’s finally Brisbane’s turn to experience the incredible 18-hole pop-up mini-golf course that Melbourne and Sydney have fallen in love with! The one-of-a-kind experience is inspired by the beloved stories, characters and icons of some of Disney-Pixar’s most iconic films – navigate the 18-hole putt putt course alongside characters from Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Inside Out and Coco. The June/July school holidays are the perfect time to check it out – be sure to book tickets ASAP // www.pixarputt.com.au
Saturday June 29 thru to Sunday July 14 // South Bank Piazza
The Snow4Kids festival returns to Brisbane for its seventh year, transforming your winter school holidays into a magical snow experience to enjoy with the family. The South Bank Piazza will become a winter wonderland with snow making, tobogganing, a snow mountain, snowball throwing, fun characters and so much more // www.snow4kids.com.au
NIGHT NOODLE MARKET
Wednesday July 24 thru to Sunday August 4 // South Bank
Brisbane’s Night Noodle Market is back at the end of this month, delivering plenty of noodles, dumplings and other Asian staples to sink your teeth into – but all with a fun twist. Pick up dessert gyozas and fluffy bao buns, then chow down by the river looking back at Brisbane city’s skyline // www.goodfoodmonth.com
NASA – A HUMAN ADVENTURE
Friday March 15 thru to Saturday October 19 // Queensland Museum, South Bank
Come face to face with NASA’s remarkable achievements in human space flights and space exploration – the greatest adventure that humans have ever undertaken. Discover the exciting history of rocket science and space flight, and learn about some of the most extraordinary accomplishments in space technology. NASA – A Human Adventure is the most comprehensive and extensive touring space flight exhibition in the world, featuring an extraordinary collection of more than 250 historically significant artefacts from the United States and Soviet Union space programs // www.space.qm.qld.gov.au