How To See Brisbane in One Day

As the capital of Queensland, the official ‘Sunshine state’, Brisbane is a gorgeous city that is full of life, but has fewer tourists clustering along the sidewalks than in Sydney or Melbourne.

The secret to uncovering what makes Brisbane tick is to combine travel methods – and to have an eye for adventure!

By combing both walking and car travel you’re guaranteed to get the most out of Brisbane in one day. However, if travelling in the city via car, avoid driving during work hours as it can be a bit trying battling against commuter traffic.

Also note: parking is pretty easy to find throughout Brisbane, but it’s not cheap! Expect to pay anything from $6-$30 per hour.


Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 14 hours
Here's How:

1. From the Brisbane city centre, cross Victoria Bridge to start your tour at the Queensland Cultural Centre.

Beginning your tour at the Queensland Cultural Centre is a great starting point as this places you in the midst of the action whilst also showcasing some of Brisbane’s fine culture. Located in the South Bank precinct of Brisbane, the cultural centre is home to Brisbane’s art galleries, state libraries and performing arts centre.


2. Visit the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Museum.

The Art Gallery is naturally your next stop when trying to squeeze in as much of Brisbane’s best features in a day! The Queensland Art Gallery and Museums are rich with exhibits that you could spend hours appreciating – but for this trip, you’ll only have an hour or two to absorb their magnificence!  

Whether you’re more interested in the discovering dinosaurs or the science of after dark, or if you are anxious to see what the art-world of Japan has to offer, both spots will have something that is right for any observer.


3. Cross Melbourne Street to go to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre with its Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall and a small studio theatre.

With the Performing Arts Centre being a brisk walk away from the Museum and the art galleries, it is little wonder why this spot would be on the list. With the Performing Arts Centre being able to host thousands of differing acts, due to its versatile nature, there’s plenty to see in this large-scale venue.


4. Proceed to the South Bank Visitor Information Centre, just east of the Performing Arts Complex. Get maps and information here.

By visiting the information centre, you’ll be able to get all the information that you’ll need and you can customise the day trip to suit you. South Bank has a beautiful man-made beach area you can explore during the warmer months, and plenty of cafes and restaurants to refuel.


5. Head back over Victoria Bridge and visit the Treasury Casino for some gaming or for lunch.

The treasury Casino is the perfect spot for anybody eager to grab a quick bite. With countless options surrounding the Casino, you’ll have a great time exploring this area!


6. Head east to visit Queensland’s Parliament House and the Old Government House.

Head to the Brisbane’s Parliament House to see the hub of Queensland’s political activity. Though this spot may not be for everyone, it can be a revealing experience.


7. Cross the street to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

If you have an interest in old colonial or historic buildings, look at your map and proceed to the Gothic-style Old St Stephens on Elizabeth St.

This section of your tour is the most visually appealing aspect of the tour. With the gorgeous gardens on one side and historical buildings to the other, it’s quite easy to be swept up in all the beauty in Brisbane. You can also wander down to Queen Street and shop up a storm in the city’s popular shopping mall, if retail therapy is on the cards!

Though there’s so much to see, it’s fair to say that this list has done a great job of highlighting Brisbane’s best activities for a quick but busy day trip. You may want to consider staying on a night or two, so you can properly explore everything this city has to offer!


Edited and updated by Sarah Megginson.

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