Brisbane is one of the hottest cities in the world right now. Sprawling along the sunlit Pacific coast, it is the capital city of Queensland and, with a population of 2.4 million, a third most populated city on the Australian continent. Its vivacious cityscape, welcoming multicultural community, and forward-thinking cultural milieu put it right on the top among the leading megalopolises of the world. If a chance (or a twist of fate) ever brings you to its gentle white-sand coasts, here are top 10 free things to do in Brisbane.
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Sunbathe at Streets Beach
People naturally tend to gravitate towards natural beauties a city has to offer. Since Brisbane spreads across the coast of the Pacific, the first free thing you are obliged to do as a newcomer is – visit one (or all) beaches Brisbane has to offer. Streets Beach at South Bank is an extremely popular sunbathing and swimming spot for tourists and residents alike. It is a man-made lagoon that offers everything the best coastlines in the world can offer and it is absolutely free. Take a dip in the cool turquoise ocean shallows and spend some time sunbathing on the sand. Who knows, you might just end up meeting some interesting people.
Hop onto a CityHopper
If somebody told you there is a ferry ride you can take along the Brisbane River which is absolutely free, you’d be forgiven for shaking your head in disbelief. However, CityHopper ferry is free of charge and, if that wasn’t enough, it covers a long stretch of the river from Sydney Street in New Farm and to the North Quay. The ride itself takes half an hour and you can hop on a ferry every day, even on weekends, and enjoy the cityscape of what Lonely Planet dubbed the world’s hippest city.
Know your transport
You are in the mood to hit the downtown and really soak in the streets of Brisbane. However, the public transport in the city is known, or better yet notorious, for being one of the most expensive in the world. Fortunately, there is a free City Loop bus that passes through some crucial hotspots, such as Eagle Street Pier, Queen Street Mall, and City Botanic Gardens. If you are in the mood for some light “urban exploring”, make use of this transport for all it is worth.
Take a stroll through the gallery
QAGOMA (an abbreviation of -The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) is a treat with its constantly changing line-up of exhibitions. If the sun has reached its zenith and you feel smoldering pavement will swallow you like quicksand, take a stroll through the pleasantly air-conditioned halls of QAGOMA. Now, although not every exhibition is free of charge, more often than not, you will likely be able to catch an exclusive, world-class exhibition (or two) without paying a dime.
Rest your eyes at Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens
If you have the time, take Milton Road and head west until you arrive to Mt Coot-tha Reserve, which is just as impressive as City Botanic Gardens. It will take you about 15 minutes by bus to get there, but considering that there is no entrance fee, it is well worth the ride. Rest your eyes by inspecting an impressive variety of flora, visit a planetarium and enjoy a quaint environment away from the city verve.
Take a closer look at koalas
There is nothing more unique and exciting about visiting new places than taking a closer look at local flora and fauna. Koalas are exceptional creatures which are, just as kangaroos, the mascots of Australia. If you ever wanted to spend time near them, the Daisy Hill Koala Centre offers you this chance. It is located south of Brisbane and the entrance is free, as expected.
Soak in some history in City Hall
Brisbane City Hall was built over two decades ago (through the 1920s and 1930s) and it remained the tallest city building up until 1960. It is an impressive heritage site that you can explore via a free guided tour, but you have to be quick with registering since groups tend to fill up in the blink of an eye. Additionally, if you arrive at the location during opening hours, there is a free-of-charge tour up to the city hall’s impressive clock tower. The tour is repeated every 15 minutes during opening hours, so try not to miss it!
Take a hike on the outskirts
Brisbane has some exciting hiking trails within 30km of the city. If you are in the mood for an adventure in the outback, have a taste of the local hiking paths. Make sure to have a local come along with you and you are all set. The outing itself is free, but you will probably have to spend some money on supplies and the bus fare.
Find free accommodations
It sounds too good to be true, but you can actually find free accommodation in Brisbane, one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you love animals, you should contact agencies that offer reliable house sitting in Brisbane – in exchange for looking after somebody’s home or pets, you could stay in the city for free. The arrangements can be made easily and reliably online, just like with Airbnb.
Sway while listening to City Sounds
Brisbane is home to Australia’s biggest free live music program which is known as City Sounds. It proudly presents local and touring bands on locations that are usually filled with people – Queen Street Mall, South Bank, Post Office Square, etc. If you are in the mood for dancing and just can’t keep the groove in, find out where the next local live performance will be held, and head there for the amazing night out.