The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is a relaxed place and one of Australia’s oldest cities. Set on Australia’s East Coast, it’s full of lush parks and South Bank Parklands where Streets Beach is located. There are numerous museums to explore, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Maritime Museum, excellent shopping opportunities in fashion boutiques and factory outlets and the surrounding countryside is picturesque. Of course, the Queensland coastline is a major drawcard – and Brisbane is popular as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
What we love about Brisbane
- The weather is excellent year-round, with moderate winters and warm summers.
- Its the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
- To get up close to koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world.
- In the legendary Southbank Parklands, you can sunbathe on a man-made beach, explore a rainforest, enjoy a meal, catch a movie and go shopping – all in one day.
- Culture abounds, from the Conservatory of Music to the Gallery of Modern Art.
- Brisbane’s craft beer is legendary.
- The beaches are numerous – and beautiful including the inner-city man-made beach!
- A number of the country’s best theme parks are just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, including Seaworld.
- You can go rock climbing and hiking, even in the inner city.
Brisbane may not boast a rich history like Melbourne or Sydney, but this modern city offers plenty of attractions and places to visit. There are fabulous food, excellent beer and stunning shopping options, making this vibrant leafy town a joy to explore on a tailor-made Brisbane holiday package in 2024 from Thompsons Holidays.
Things to do in Brisbane
When you visit Brisbane, expect many of the popular activities and tourist attractions to revolve around the Brisbane River. You can enjoy a free river cruise on the City Hopper or visit the spectacular Brisbane Botanic Gardens, enjoy outdoor activities in the lush 40-acre Roma Street Parkland, or head to the Brisbane City Look Out for a 360-degree view of the city. You can also climb to the top of Story Bridge, another Brisbane attraction, watch a rugby match at the Suncorp Stadium, shop till you drop on Queen Street… and that’s just the start of the myriad fun pursuits on offer in this buzzing cosmopolitan city.
Activities to include in your Brisbane holiday package
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Fortitude Valley.
- Go skydiving for breathtaking city views and an adrenaline rush.
- Spend the day enjoying all the activities on offer in South Bank, including the beach.
- Charter a boat and enjoy a fishing trip.
- Brunch is the dish of the day, so enjoy yours at a choice of excellent restaurants.
- Shop till you drop in trendy James Street.
- View Australian wildlife at the iconic Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
- Explore South Bank’s Culture Precinct, home to Queensland Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art and more.
- Ride on the giant Wheel of Brisbane Ferris wheel.
- Visit Moreton Island to dive, snorkel, whale watch, go quad biking and enjoy watersports.
- Enjoy high tea and a guided tour of the historic Customs House.
- Embark on the Story Bridge Adventure Climb.
Beer lovers will enjoy the tour of Castlemaine Perkins Brewery and a chance to sample Australian craft beer. Historians will enjoy visiting Brisbane’s oldest house, constructed in 1846. Nature lovers can relax at the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, and adventurers can go go-karting at Kingston Park Raceway. Brisbane offers something to keep everyone happy. Thompsons Holidays can take you on a personalised Brisbane travel adventure. Browse our Brisbane holiday packages below.
Know before you go...
- Best time to visit Brisbane is in the autumn months (March to May) when the temperature is moderate and there is little rain.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Brisbane via Sydney: 15 hours, 10 minutes with a stopover in Sydney. From Perth with a stopover in Perth: 16 hours.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Australia.
- South African passport holders require a visa to enter Australia.
- Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Australia.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after returning to South Africa.
- Apply well in advance (at least 4 weeks before departure).
- Brisbane is 8 hours ahead of South Africa.
- Currency is Australian dollars and cents (A$).
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom. In restaurants, tip 10% to the bill.
- English is the official language.
- Christianity is the main religion in Australia. About 36% of the population is either Catholic or Anglican.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
What must I pack?
- Depending on when visit, lightweight clothing for summer, rain gear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Brisbane has an excellent transport system, including trains, buses, ferries and taxis.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel or police immediately. Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
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