If you’re looking for all the best things to do in Brisbane with kids, then you’ll love this post of all the must do family activities Brisbane has. When it comes to what to do in Brisbane for families, the good news is that many of the activities are free! That’s right, completely free. Brisbane for kids is great as they can swim in riverside lagoons and beaches, visit kid friendly art galleries and museums and play in awesome playgrounds, all for free.
There is even free transportation to get you around all the free things to do with kids in Brisbane.
So if you’re wondering what to do in Brisbane with kids, then keep reading!! In this post, I will cover off all the main family activities in Brisbane and provide tips on where to stay.
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- 1 Best Things to do with Kids – Brisbane Map
- 2 Best Things to do in Brisbane with Kids
- 2.1 Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb
- 2.2 Roma Street Parklands
- 2.3 Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower Tours
- 2.4 South Bank Parklands
- 2.5 The Wheel of Brisbane
- 2.6 Queensland Maritime Museum
- 2.7 Queensland Museum
- 2.8 The SparkLab Science Centre
- 2.9 Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)
- 2.10 State Library of Queensland
- 2.11 Museum of Brisbane
- 2.12 Kangaroo Point Cliffs
- 2.13 Brisbane River Cruises
- 2.14 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
- 2.15 Free Guided Walks
- 2.16 Queen St Mall
- 2.17 Brisbane Riverwalk
- 2.18 Brisbane Markets
- 2.19 Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
- 2.20 The Cube – QUT
- 2.21 Boggo Road Gaol
- 2.22 Mt Coot-tha and the Sir Thomas Planetarium
- 3 Things to do around Brisbane
- 4 Where to stay in Brisbane
- 5 Getting Around Brisbane
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Best Things to do with Kids – Brisbane Map
To help plan your trip and decide which things to do in Brisbane with family, I’ve provided this handy things to do with kids – Brisbane map below, which shows you where all the different Brisbane activities for kids. Zoom in and out for a better view.
Best Things to do in Brisbane with Kids
This guide covers the very best things to do in Brisbane for kids. Please note that information, including pricing, location and opening hours was correct at publishing and are subject to change at any time – I’ve prepared them just as a guide for planning your trip.
Brisbane Story Bridge Adventure Climb
For the best view of the Story Bridge, jump on a City Cat or River Cruise. However, for fantastic views across Brisbane City, then do the Story Bridge Climb. The Brisbane bridge climb is one of the cool things to do in Brisbane, particularly if you’re after Brisbane attractions for families with older children – plus, it is 1 of only 3 bridge climbs in the entire world.
The Story Bridge is 72 metres tall and from the top, you can see all the way out to Moreton Bay in the east and the Scenic Rim to the west. During the climb, you will learn some interesting facts about the bridge as well as Brisbane city. There is no required fitness level to do the bridge climb; however you must be ok with climbing steep stairs. The entire experience goes for around 2 hours.
There is a range of different climb options, including a day climb, night climb, twilight climb, lean out off the bridge, walk a plank out over the bridge, abseil off the bridge – and more. I’ve climbed the bridge during the day and abseiled off and let me tell you; it was absolutely brilliant!
Kids must be at least 6 years of age and all children up to the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (a maximum of 1 adult for 3 children).
Location: 170 Main Street, Kangaroo Point
Opening Hours: Daily
Price: From $129 per adult | $109.65 per child (6-16) | $399 per Family Pass or click here for discounted tickets from Klook.
Roma Street Parklands
If you’re after things to do in Brisbane for toddlers, then take them to the Roma Street Parklands. The Roma Street Parklands are located in the heart of Brisbane and is one of the best places to visit if you’re after kids things to do in Brisbane.
The parklands are huge, with lakes, playgrounds, flower beds, bridges, waterfalls and walkways for exploring, making it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Brisbane. The Roma St Parklands are one of the world’s largest subtropical gardens in a city centre and there is plenty to do here.
Here is a quick overview of Brisbane family activities in the parklands:
Playgrounds: there are 2 playgrounds here for the kids filled with swings, ladders, bridges, slides, forts suitable for children of all ages. There is also a herb and vegetable garden as well as a worm farm.
The Lake: Explore the walkways, watch the ducks or try and spot the lungfish.
The Rainforest: Various boardwalks take you through a subtropical rainforest right in the city centre.
The Lookout: From here, see the entire parklands and see City Hall.
Free Guided Walks: Guides will take you through the gardens and provide interesting details along the way. There are three guided tours available – Bush tucker and Rainforest, 20 years of Roma Street Parklands and Spectacle Garden in Colin Campbell Place. Click here to see what’s on. Otherwise, head to the information booth and grab a map for your own self guided tour around the parklands.
Wildlife: You will see a range of native wildlife in the park, including birds, bees, fish and water dragons. When we visited recently, there were so many water dragons throughout the entire park;
Train Tours: The kids will love jumping on board the train, which takes you on a 20 minute ride through the parklands. Tours depart from the top of the playground Wednesday to Friday (10.00 am to 12.30 pm) and Saturday and Sunday (10.00 am to 3.00 pm);
There is a café within the parklands, or a short walk away; you will find various Brisbane CBD cafes. Your best bet though, is to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy within the park or make use of one of the various BBQ’s found throughout the park.
There are usually some great free activities for the kids during school holidays as well. So if you’re visiting during the school holidays, be sure to check online.
The Roma Street Parklands is a great stop if you are looking for some free things to do in Brisbane with children.
Location: 1 Parkland Blvd, Brisbane
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower Tours
A must do Brisbane tour is the free Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower Tours. The Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower has been a central point of the City since the 1930s. Located in King George Square, you will hear the Brisbane clock chime every 15 minutes.
During the free Clock Tower Tour, you will not only get a closer look at the Brisbane Clock Tower; but also some fabulous views of Brisbane City. The kids and parents alike will love going into the original 1930 hand-operated lift, past the clock face to a platform 64 metres above the ground. In my view, this is one of the great family activities in Brisbane and it’s completely free!
Given this Brisbane must do tour is free, tours are very popular. I recommend arriving close to the opening time of 10.00 am and take tickets for your preferred time. We arrived right at 10.00 am and were lucky enough to get tickets for the first tour.
Location: Tours depart from the Museum of Brisbane, which is located on level 3 of City Hall.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10.15 am to 4.45 am with tours starting every 15 minutes
South Bank Parklands
Without a doubt, some of the best kids activities Brisbane has to offer are found at the South Bank Parklands. If you are holidaying with kids, you will most likely spend at least a day or two here, particularly in the hotter months.
There are so many things to do in South Bank that the Brisbane South Bank requires its own blog post; read it here. In the meantime, here is a quick overview of the kid’s activities in Brisbane – South Bank:
Streets Beach, Boat Pool and Aquativity:
Hands down, one of the most fun things to do in Brisbane with kids is to take them swimming at the man-made beach, rock pools and swimming pool at South Bank.
There are 3 main areas to swim at South Bank: Streets Beach Brisbane (man-made swimming beach), Boat Pool (lagoon style swimming pool) and Aquativity (water play area surrounded by shallow rock pools). All areas are patrolled by lifeguards and are one of the most popular Brisbane tourist attractions.
Riverside Green Playground and Picnic Island Playground:
Riverside Green is probably the most popular playground at South Bank, with a stack of interactive equipment for kids of all ages, including a separate toddler zoned area. The playground has giant slides, a skywalk, bridges, climbing equipment, a giant hamster wheel, a spinning wheel and swings.
Picnic Playground is located in a quieter setting but still has plenty of equipment for the kids including swings, slides, cubby house etc. Either spot is ideal if you’re looking for somewhere in Brisbane for toddlers or school aged kids to run around.
Rainforest Walk: Wander the raised wooden walkways through the man-made rainforest. The rainforest features tropical and sub-tropical plants, native wildlife and water features.
Visit the Nepalese Peace Pagoda: This three story high Pagoda was originally brought to South Bank as part of Expo 88. The pagoda took 160 Nepalese families to build over 2 years and features 80 tonnes of hand-carved Nepalese timber.
Southbank Cinemas: If you are wondering what to do in Brisbane for kids on a super hot day or even on a rainy day, catch a movie at the Southbank Cinemas. The best part is the movies here are cheap! Adult tickets are $8.50 and kids (12 and under) are $5.50. Click here for movie times.
Southbank Collective Markets: These markets are on Friday nights (5 – 9 pm) and all weekend (10 am to 9 pm Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday). Here you will find clothes, art, jewellery, home decor, food, live music and more.
Take your photo in front of the Brisbane sign: A must do whilst visiting Brisbane is to get your photo taken in front of the funky three dimensional, 3m high Brisbane sign. The sign was commissioned by the Queensland Government for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2014 and was designed by community groups across Brisbane. Now having a selfie with the Brisbane sign is one of the most popular things to do with family Brisbane offers.
Have a BBQ or Picnic: There are endless green grassy spaces in South Bank, with excellent BBQ and picnic facilities. If you don’t want to bring your own food, grab some take out from one of the many shops and enjoy in one of these open spaces.
South Bank is a short walk from the Brisbane CBD, or you can take a range of public transport, including buses, trains and ferries. The train station closest to South Bank is South Bank Station. For free transport, take the City Hopper Ferry from the Brisbane CBD to South Bank.
The Wheel of Brisbane
Another one of the fun things to do with kids, Brisbane offers is to ride the huge Wheel of Brisbane. Also located inside South Bank – the Wheel has guests ride in a fully enclosed air-conditioned gondola, and takes you 60 metres above the ground for fantastic 360 degree panoramic views of Brisbane.
During the 12 minute ride, you can listen to the audio commentary, which points out attractions around Brisbane. Also, if you are looking for fun things to do in Brisbane at night, put this on your list as the lights from the city buildings look gorgeous at night.
The Wheel is certainly one of the great Brisbane family activities.
Location: Cultural Forecourt, South Bank – off Russell Street, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am, closing Monday to Thursday at 8 pm and Friday and Saturday at 10 pm.
Price: $22 per Adult | $14.50 per Child (4-11) | $64 per Family Pass – or click here to buy discounted tickets online
Queensland Maritime Museum
Located at the far southern end of South Bank is the Queensland Maritime Museum. This old museum is one of Australia’s largest maritime museum and features various historic vessels and numerous items on display.
The kids will love exploring the huge historic boats, including the historic 1945 warship Diamantina, the 1925 steam tug boat as well as Jessica Watson’s Ella’s Pink Lady. Kids will just love climbing on board the Diamantina and exploring the ship – you’ll be able to get a real feel for what life was like on the naval ship during WW2. There is also a replica of the Pink Lady, which guests are welcome to board and get a feel of what Jessica’s journey around the world was like.
Location: 412 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Weekends from 9.15 am to 4.30 pm
Price: $18 per Adult | $8 per Child | $32 per Family Pass (2Ad+2C)
Another one of the best Brisbane activities for families is to visit the Queensland Museum. Over three massive levels, there are various interactive displays featuring dinosaurs, marine life, Australian animals, and a range of weird and unusual collections.
The Museum is particularly awesome for little dinosaur fans – both inside and out, there are lifesize dinosaurs on display as well as a range of information and interactive activities for the kids. Other awesome things on display include giant whales, the discovery centre, which has a huge range of smaller animals on display, such as spiders, stick insects, cockroaches and butterflies.
The Museum also has different exhibitions that change throughout the year.
The Queensland Museum is located in the Cultural Precinct, just north of the South Bank parklands. It is a short walk from the Brisbane CBD, or you can take a range of public transport, including buses, trains and ferries. The train station closest to the Cultural Precinct is South Brisbane Station. For free transport, take the City Hopper Ferry from the Brisbane CBD to South Bank and walk from there.
Location: Corner of Grey and Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30 am to 4 pm
Price: Free – although some special exhibits may cost extra
The SparkLab Science Centre
Located within the Queensland Museum is the SparkLan Science Centre, an interactive science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) space aimed at 6 to 13 year olds. I went here as a parent helper on an excursion when my daughter was in grade 3 and let me tell you the kids just loved it here – they could have easily spent the entire day here!
While the space seems quite small when entering, there is actually so much to do here. Across the three zones, there are stacks of interactive exhibits (in fact, pretty much everything on display is interactive), as well as a Science Bar where live experiments are held throughout the day.
The Maker Space is lots of fun too. This area is where kids get to design solutions to various challenges – the challenges change throughout the year. When I was writing this, they had the Spin Cycle – where kids were asked to make something that uses spinning parts to make something move. Various objects are available for the kids to develop various solutions, build something, test it out and then improve on their design.
If you have a young school aged child – I can pretty much guarantee they will love the Sparklab.
Location: Level 2, Queensland Museum, Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30 am to 4 pm
Price: $15.50 per Adult | $12.50 per Child (5-15) | $46 per Family Pass (2A +2C) | Under 5s are free
Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)
GOMA is fantastic for kids and has a range of interactive exhibitions and activities for kids throughout the year. Within GOMA, there is the Children’s Art Centre which, thanks to the work of various artists, has interactive installations and activities for kids to do while visiting. Exhibitions change throughout the year, so check out what’s on during your visit. If you visit during the school holidays, there is bound to be a stack of great activities for the kids.
Location: Cultural Precinct, Stanely Place, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Price: Free – although some exhibitions do require an admission fee.
State Library of Queensland
While a State Library might not sound particularly child friendly, this is actually a great place to visit with kids, particularly if you’re in Brisbane with little ones. All year round, kids can visit “the Corner”, where kids can read books, build structures out of large building blocks, participate in various arts and crafts and various other activities.
During school holidays, the library has various other free activities; check online to see what is on.
Over the years, we’ve visited the State Library many times during school holidays and always had a blast – they have some brilliant activities for the kids.
Location: Cultural Precinct, Stanely Place, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Museum of Brisbane
At the Museum of Brisbane, you can learn about the history of Brisbane through interactive displays, photos and film. The exhibits are changing all the time so that no visit will be the same.
This Brisbane Museum also has various activities designed just for kids. Activities include storytelling, kite making, craft, cooking, and more. Activities change regularly, so check online what’s on during your visit.
Location: Level 3, City Hall, 64 Adelaide Street, Brisbane – entry is through the King George Square Foyer.
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm except for Fridays where they close at 7 pm
Price: Free entry (some exhibitions may charge an entry fee)
Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Located just past South Bank Parklands is Kangaroo Point. It is a nice walk from South Bank along the river to the Kangaroo Cliffs and it is a lovely spot for a picnic. If the little ones are keen, climb the steep stairs to the top to play in the playground.
Location: Naval Stores, Kangaroo Point Cliffs Drive, Kangaroo Point
Opening Hours: The Cliffs are open all day, every day. Riverlife Brisbane is open Monday to Thursday 9 am to 5 pm, Friday 9 am to 8.30 pm, Saturday 8 am to 8.30 pm and Sunday 8 am to 5 pm.
Price: Free to walk through and play. Special activities are at a cost and tickets can be purchased by clicking on the links above.
Brisbane River Cruises
A cruise down the Brisbane River is one of the fun things to do in Brisbane for kids and is a must for anyone coming to the river city. There are various Brisbane river cruises on offer as well as the free City Hopper ferry and the City Cats, which will all take you up and down the river where you can see the Brisbane sights such as South Bank, Botanic Gardens, Kangaroo Cliffs, River Walk, the Story Bridge and the Brisbane skyline.
Below is information on the different cruise options.
River City Cruises
River City Cruises offer a range of different cruises. Most cruises are 90 minutes and include commentary with the Captain pointing out various places of interest in Brisbane as well providing historical information.
On the morning cruise, morning tea is provided, as well as the option to hop off at Newstead House at 11.15 am and re board at 1.15 pm. If you decide to do this, you may like to go and explore the historical Newstead House (only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) and / or have lunch at the iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel.
Location: Cruises depart from Jetty A, South Bank Parklands (right in front of the Wheel of Brisbane).
Opening Hours: Cruises depart daily at 10.30 am, 12.30 pm, 2.30 pm (summer only) 6 pm.
Kookaburra River Queens
These beautiful paddle wheelers offer a range of cruises, including lunch, dinner, high tea and sightseeing cruises. The duration of the cruises are 2 hours and take you past all the major sites in Brisbane and also includes live entertainment onboard. The Kookaburra River Queens are particularly popular for their Brisbane River dinner cruise.
Location: Cruises depart from Eagle Street Pier – 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane
Opening Hours: Cruises operate Thursday through to Sunday
Price: From $60 per adult | $50 per teen (13-17) | $30 per child (4-12)
A popular activity for families is to combine a Brisbane River cruise with a trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary located in Brisbane’s western suburbs.
Along the way, you will receive informative commentary about Brisbane and then spend 3 hours at Lone Pine, where you can feed kangaroos and emus, cuddle a koala, see Australian sheepdogs in action as well as various other Australian animals. This is a great activity whether you’re in Brisbane with toddlers or teens.
Location: Cruises depart from the Cultural Centre Pontoon – behind the State Library
Opening Hours: Cruises operate Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Price: $85 per adult | $68 per student (14-17) | $50 per child (3-13) | $240 per Family Pass (2A+3C) – Click here to book tickets online.
Another great way to explore the Brisbane River is to simply board one of the city’s iconic CityCats. CityCats are Brisbane’s public transport on the river. The CityCats go as far as The University of Queensland at St Lucia all the way down to Hamilton and operate every day with regular services every 15 minutes for most of the day, and express routes and more frequent services during peak times.
You can actually explore the Brisbane River for FREE!!! The CityHopper Ferry runs every 30 minutes between 6 am and midnight, seven days a week. Click here for the timetable.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The Closest zoo to the Brisbane CBD is Lone Pine – home to over 130 koalas and a range of other native Australian wildlife. At Lone Pine, you can cuddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos and see stacks of other animals in a replica of their natural habitat.
Throughout the day, there is a range of presentations and demonstrations such as lorikeet feedings, sheepdog show, bird show and more. These presentations are a great way to learn more about native Australian wildlife.
With Lone Pine is just 13 km from the Brisbane CBD and located on the banks of the Brisbane River, the best to get there is by boat. You can purchase combined tickets with Mirimar Cruises – see above.
Location: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket
Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Price: $37.80 per Adult | $22.50 per Child (3-17) | $79.20 per Family Pass (2A+3C) Click here to book tickets online.
Free Guided Walks
If you are the sort of family that likes a tour guide, then check out the free guided walks with Brisbane Greeters. Brisbane Greeters are locals who love living in Brisbane and are keen to share their intimate knowledge with others.
You can choose a Greeter’s Choice tour or Your Choice Greet. Basically, the difference being either the Brisbane tour guide determines the tour or the tour is designed around your personal interests.
Other free guided walks available include walks in Teneriffe, Paddington, Fortitude Valley, Fish Lane, Bulimba and more.
Location: Meet your greeter outside Brisbane City Hall (King George Square Entrance).
Opening Hours: Depart 10 am daily, 7 days a week
Queen St Mall
For those who love to shop, a visit to Queen Street Mall is a must. Here you will find over 700 retailers, heritage-listed arcades, large shopping centres, cinemas, a bowling alley, casino, pubs and some of the best cafes in Brisbane.
Popular shopping centres off Queen Street Mall include the Myer Centre, Broadway on the Mall, Queens Plaza, MacArthur Central, Queen Adelaide Building and the Wintergarden. You will also find food courts in these shopping centres if you are after some cheap places to eat in Brisbane City.
On any given day, you will often find various buskers or other entertainment to watch in the mall.
During the Christmas period, you will also find the Myer Christmas Windows and the David Jones Christmas Parade in the Queen Street Mall.
Location: Queen Street, Brisbane
Opening Hours: Varies between stores and restaurants
Price: Depends on how much you buy!
For some active things to do in Brisbane City with kids, grab your bicycles, scooters or just a good pair of walking shoes and explore the city along the 870 metres Brisbane Riverwalk. The Riverwalk juts out along the Brisbane River from the Howards Smith Wharves in the CBD to New Farm at Riverview Court. Along the way, you will see some of Brisbane’s most gorgeous Queensland homes.
I’d recommend going the entire length to New Farm and go onto New Farm Park. New Farm Park is another one of the great free Brisbane attractions for families. Here you will find a fantastic kids playground and a large gorgeous park. From New Farm Park, you can take a CityCat back to the CBD or make the trip in reverse.
Location: The Riverwalk starts at Howards Smith Wharves and ends at Riverview Court, New Farm.
Opening Hours: Always, but best during daylight
There are some great Brisbane markets to explore around the city centre and South Bank. Here is a quick overview of the more popular markets around the CBD:
- Riverside Garden Markets: Located in the City Botanic Gardens and the lower block of Albert Street, these Brisbane City markets are on Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm. You will find here arts, crafts, clothes, food, beverages, street performers and more.
- South Bank Collective Markets: Located in South Bank, these markets are on Friday nights and all weekend. Here you will find clothes, art, jewellery, home decor, food, live music and more.
- Brisbane City Markets: These markets are located in Brisbane Square from 8 am to 6 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays they are in Catherdral Square from 8 am to 2 pm. Here you will find a range of fresh produce such as pasta, cheese, jams, fruit and veg, fresh juices, meat, seafood, small goods and various other food from around the world.
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD and a great place to go if you’re after things to do in Brisbane city with kids. Here you will find large areas of manicured lawns, riverside pathways shaded by large weeping figs, ponds with ducks and an excellent all ability playground.
The playground here is excellent and the kids will no doubt love it. I love how this playground has been designed to ensure children of all abilities can join in the fun. There is even a ramp so kids in wheelchairs can go up onto the fort. There are plenty of interactive musical instruments, swings, slides etc. My only concern with this park is there is not a lot of shade and in the middle of a hot summer’s day, this is an issue. A couple of shade sails would make this an even better park.
Whilst visiting the Botanic Gardens, take a stroll along the river to the Cube at QUT – see below.
Location: 147 Alice Street, Brisbane City
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
The Cube – QUT
Need even more free things to do in Brisbane for families? Then take the kids to the Cube at the Queensland University of Technology, one of the best Brisbane attractions for kids. The Cube is one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces. The interactive display screens are situated across two storeys of the centre, and like a cube, there are 6 different touch screens for the kids to explore.
I am not going to lie; I found some of the display screens confusing and difficult to work out – but I am sure a smart little primary school aged child could quickly figure it out. Myla and I really enjoyed the Dino Zoo screen where life sized dinosaurs roamed as well as various dinosaur themed games.
What is on the screens changes regularly; you can check what is on here. There are plenty of seats surrounding the screens, great for parents to have some quiet time whilst the kids are engrossed in the displays. There is also a good food court just outside the building and down a set of stairs.
Location: 2 George Street in the Science and Engineering Building (Level 4, P Block) at Gardens Point campus.
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 4 pm
Boggo Road Gaol
Come and learn all about Queensland most notorious prison – Boggo Road Gaol. Via a guided tour, you will learn all about the inmate’s crimes, their daily prison life, as well as about the various officers that worked here.
There is a range of different tours available at Boggo Road, with options to suit kids of all ages. There are general history tours, while other tours give you more detailed knowledge about the more infamous prisoners. There are even tours where you’ll get to play the role of one of the prisoners as you become part of a live re-enactment.
Tours run for between 1.5 to 2 hours.
Location: 21 Boggo Road, Dutton Park
Opening Hours: Tours operate daily
Price: From $27.50 per Adult | $20 per Teen (12-17) | $15 per child (5-11) | $59 per Family Pass (2 A+2C) | Under 5s are free
Mt Coot-tha and the Sir Thomas Planetarium
Just outside the CBD, you’ll find Mt Coot-tha – the closed mountain to the city, which from the top offers amazing panoramic views of the city. There is a range of activities for families to enjoy here, including bushwalks, picnics and even a planetarium.
For brilliant views of Brisbane city – it is highly recommended to go to the observation deck where on a clear day you can see all the way out to Moreton Bay. You can either drive to the top or take the walking track to the top. There is also a cafe and restaurant here, so perfect if you’re looking for lunch or just a snack. And for those that walk to the top – grab an ice cream – you deserve it!
The foot of Mt Coot-tha is a very popular spot for families to have a BBQ or picnic. There are many lovely spots along the creek at JC Slaughter Falls or among the manicured gardens at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens.
The Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens are spread out across 52 hectares and has several different areas to explore. There is even a Japanese Garden with cherry blossoms, a gorgeous water lily covered lagoon and the Tropical Dome. Throughout the gardens, there is a Children’s Hide and Seek Trail – just grab a map at the start of the trail and learn about the native animals and plants as you go. Free guided tours are also available most days and The Gardens Cafe is open daily.
Before you leave, watch a show at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. There is a range of different shows to see, with a few designed especially for young children. As well as the shows, the planetarium also has a range of interactive displays, a gallery and a mini theatre.
Location: Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, Mt Coot-tha
Opening Hours: Gardens open from 8 am daily | Planetarium open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays 9 am to 3 pm
Price: The gardens, tracks and lookout are free; however the planetarium is from $10 per adult and $6 per child.
Things to do around Brisbane
Of course, there are plenty of fun things to do around Brisbane, but in this post, I only focused on the kid’s friendly things to do in Brisbane City (including South Bank), but here are some top things to do around Brisbane or from Brisbane as a day trip:
Dream World and return Brisbane transfers: (read our full guide to Dreamworld here) Jump on Dreamworld’s 9 big thrill rides, see the tigers, play at Wiggles World and Kung Fu Panda World, see native Australian animals, cool down at the WhiteWater World waterpark and much more. Click here for discounted tickets on Klook, which include transfers back to Brisbane.
Tangalooma: (read our Tangalooma guide here) Spend the day in the beautiful Moreton Bay Marine Park where bottlenose dolphins play and dugongs and turtles feed. Enjoy a snorkelling tour and buffet lunch. Click here for tour prices and / or to make a booking.
Mount Tamborine: (read our Mount Tamborine guide here) Spend a full day exploring the natural beauty of the lush hinterland of Mount Tamborine. See rare butterflies, crystal clear waterfalls, lush rainforest and more. Click here for tour options and prices.
North Stradbroke Island: (read our North Stradbroke Island guide here) Visit the second largest sand island in the world, swim in crystal clear water, see various marine life as well as other native Australian animals in their natural habitat. Click here for tour prices and / or to make a booking.
Fraser Island: (read our Fraser Island guide here) Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site, drive the scenic roads of the Glass House Mountains, cross to Fraser Island by ferry for a full day of exploration. Click here for tour selections and prices / or to make a booking.
Australia Zoo: Spend the day at the world famous Australia zoo where you can see various native Australian animals, including the giant saltwater crocodiles. During the day you can watch various wildlife shows and have the opportunity to get up close to a range of animals. Click here for discounted tickets.
Gold Coast: Explore the Gold Coast’s highlights, enjoy a seafood lunch cruise and shopping with Brisbane transfers. Click here for tour details and / or to make a booking.
Movie World, Sea World and Wet and Wild: This combined ticket option gives you entry into three of the best theme parks on the Gold Coast. Enjoy rides themed around your favourite movies as well as meet your favourite characters—several thrill rides as well as plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Click here for ticket prices and options.
XXXX Ale House and Brewery Tour: Tour Brisbane’s most iconic brewery and learn about the legend of XXXX as well as beer tasting. Click here for tour details and / or to make a booking.
Where to stay in Brisbane
So we’ve covered the things for kids to do in Brisbane, but what about where to stay in Brisbane? You will be glad to know that there is a great range of family accommodation in Brisbane, from self contained accommodation in inner Brisbane City Apartments to full service rooms in some great family friendly Brisbane hotels. As to where the best area to stay in Brisbane is, it really depends upon your individual circumstances and where you will be spending most of your time. I would definitely recommend either the Brisbane CBD or South Bank as being the best area to base yourself.
Evolution Apartments Brisbane
Evolution Apartments is located along the Brisbane River in Tank Street. Most likely, you will be spending your time between South Bank and the Brisbane CBD and as Evolution Apartments is located between the two it makes for a very convenient place to stay. From here your just a 5 minute walk from the nearest train station (being Roma Street) and the Queen Street Mall and then just 10 to 15 minute walk to South Bank and the Cultural Precinct.
The 2-bedroom apartments are very spacious – with excellent views from every room. There is a fully self-contained kitchen, dining area, lounge, balcony, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a laundry. Families could easily stay here for a week or more and feel perfectly at home. There are also 1 bedroom apartments available.
On level 6 you will find the recreation area, which includes a pool, spa, kitchen, media room, fitness room and outside BBQ area.
Fleet Lane Apartments
If you know you’ll be spending more time at South Bank than anywhere else, then a good place to stay is Fleet Lane Apartments. These apartments are located just minutes from the Cultural Precinct and a 10 minutes walk to South Bank. From here you’re surrounded by loads of places to eat, you have the South Brisbane train station nearby, plus it still just a 15 minute walk to the centre of the CBD.
The Fleet Apartments are perfect for large families, or just families wanting lots of space. These apartments give families the option of either a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment with the ability to sleep up to size people. Apartments are fully self contained coming with a full kitchen, washing machine, two bathrooms and a balcony with city views.
Guests staying at the apartments also have access to the rooftop terrace which has a spa, sun lounges, BBQ and outdoor dining area. It is the perfect place for families to relax after a full day of sightseeing. You’ll also have access to free parking.
For super spacious self contained accommodation, just minutes away from all the cities main attractions, you really can’t go wrong with Fleet Apartments.
George Williams Hotel
If you’d rather stay in the centre of the city, then a great option is the George Williams Hotel. This hotel is just minutes from the Roma Street Station making it easy to get around to all the cities attractions. Plus it’s just 500m to the Queen Street Mall and a 15 minute walk to South Bank.
Hotel rooms for families come with a queen bed and double bed so can accommodate up to 4 people. Rooms have tea and coffee making facilities and a TV with Netflix.
The hotel also has a restaurant, bar and parking on site.
Getting to Brisbane
Brisbane is located in Queensland on the east coast of Australia. You can fly directly to Brisbane from various international destinations or fly directly from most Australian capital cities.
To reach the Brisbane CBD from the airport, you have various options, including a train, taxi or shuttle bus. In most cases, for a family, I would recommend a taxi. It will cost around $40 to $60 in a taxi and by the time you purchase various train or shuttle bus tickets for everyone in the family, a taxi will be the cheaper option and more convenient.
The Air Train costs $19.50 one way per adult or $15 if you book online and at least 7 days in advance (kids under 14 are free); click here to book tickets.
Shuttle bus transfers to the city in a shared van usually start at around $20 per adult, $10 per child and $50 per family (2A+2C). Click here to book shuttle transfers.
Getting Around Brisbane
It is super easy to get around the Brisbane CBD with free buses and free ferries (note not ALL buses and ferries are free – just certain ones). It is also is pretty easy to walk around Brisbane CBD as it is not an overly big city. Here is a quick overview of the various modes of getting around Brisbane CBD:
- Trains: The main train stations are Central and Roma Street within the CBD, South Brisbane station for the Cultural Precinct and South Bank station for South Bank.
- Bus: There are various bus stops across the Brisbane CBD and South Brisbane. There is no need to pay for any buses though; you can easily get around with the free buses that operate between 7 am and 6 pm. Find out more about the free city buses here.
- Car: Plenty of taxies and rideshare in the Brisbane CBD or if you have your own car, you can drive. However, like most Australian capital cities, parking is very expensive both within the Brisbane CBD and South Bank and for this reason, I don’t recommend driving yourself around the city.
- Ferry: The Brisbane River is fairly large and so is a great way to get around. The CityHopper is a great free ferry service that operates every 30 minutes between 6 am and midnight. Find out more about the free CityHopper here. There are also the City Cats which go further up and down the river.
- Walk: Any place you want to go will be between 5 to 30 minutes walk away – so you can easily walk wherever you like within Brisbane CBD. Just a word of warning that in the Summer months, it can get super hot and pretty unbearable to walk long distances.
Click here for train, bus and ferry timetables and fares. This website will also help you work out the best mode of transport to get you to where you are going.
To enjoy all the attractions around the Brisbane area and the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast beaches, I recommend you hire a car. However, as stated above, it is unnecessary to have a car whilst you explore the Brisbane CBD, so save your money and don’t hire your car until you plan to leave the CBD or explore the surrounding areas.