Brisbane on a Budget: 9 Cheap and Cheerful Ways to Explore Bris-Vegas
Although it started out as a quiet and rural area, Brisbane has grown — and grown up — a lot over the last 10 years, and is now regularly seen as one of Australia’s most desirable places to both live and visit. While Queensland’s largest city is now offering almost as much urban sophistication as Sydney or Melbourne in the southern states, this thriving city still prides itself on being affordable and accessible to everyone. From free art exhibitions and growers’ markets to relaxing picnic spots and lookouts, Brisbane offers attractions for every age and budget. Read on for a selection of the nine best budget ways to enjoy Brisbane on your next trip to the Sunshine State.
After you’ve booked a flight to Brisbane and begun to research things to see and do in the city, you’ll no doubt quickly hear a mention of GOMA. One of Australia’s most exciting art galleries, the inner-city Gallery of Modern Art attracts amazing world-class exhibitions and is considered one of the most innovative artistic spaces in the country. Set on the banks of the Brisbane River, GOMA offers striking architecture, contemporary European, Asian and Australian collections, free guided tours and regular holiday activities for children.
Mt Coot-tha Lookout
If you’re keen to get a bird’s eye view of Brisbane and its surrounds, look no further than Mt Coot-tha Lookout. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Brisbane, the peak offers amazing panoramic views of the city and nearby areas. Whether you visit the spot by day or night, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the city’s buildings, the curves of the river that winds throughout Brisbane and the beautiful vista of Moreton Bay.
City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane’s original botanic gardens are an easy walk from the busy CBD and are popular with both local office workers needing to take a break and tourists wanting to soak up the natural habitat. Considered one of the most important non-indigenous cultural landscapes in all of Queensland, the gardens offer free walking tours and various music festivals and community events throughout the year. Highlights of the park include the Mangrove Boardwalk, the Bamboo Grove and the Weeping Fig Avenue.
Catch a CityCat Ferry
A cheap and easy way to get out on the beautiful Brisbane River is to hop on a CityCat Ferry. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the ferry system offers one of the most pleasant ways to experience the city. Cruise up and down the river enjoying views of million-dollar houses, the underside of the iconic Story Bridge and pretty suburbs like New Farm, Bulimba and Toowong. Hop on and off along the way or simply stay onboard for a relaxing ride.
XXXX Brewery Tour
Lovers of beer will enjoy taking the XXXX Brewery Tour at the Milton-based Ale House. Learn about the origins of Queensland’s famous local brew, hear the story of beer, tour the Ale House, learn to pour the perfect beer and taste test a variety of ales on this popular and affordable tour.
Get on Your Bike
An outdoor-lover’s paradise, Brisbane offers both beautiful weather and a plethora of bike paths throughout the city for cyclists to enjoy. With over 1,200 kilometres of bikeways on offer, Brisbane has connected cycling tracks throughout the CBD, along the river, over bridges and even out to mangrove areas further north of the city. It’s also easy for visitors to hire a bike at one of the 150 bike stations scattered around Brisbane.
New Farm Park
Inner-city dwellers and well-informed tourists flock to beautiful New Farm Park for their fix of green. Just three CityCat stops from the CBD, the park is the perfect place for couples and families to relax, read a book, throw a Frisbee, enjoy a picnic and literally smell the roses in the renowned rose garden.
A city haven that is the perfect spot for visitors to explore, iconic South Bank and its parklands offers something for all ages to enjoy. A versatile setting for a fun day out, South Bank features free live entertainment, markets, a sandy beach, picnic spots, shops, restaurants, walking paths and lush gardens.
Head Off to the Markets
If you’re looking to pick up a souvenir or need a shopping fix, you can’t pass up Brisbane’s markets. From the indie vibe at the West End Twilight Market to the organic produce at Jan Powers’ Farmers Markets and the homemade goodies at the South Bank Lifestyle Market, there are local collectibles, fashion and food for all tastes.
About the Author: Jacinta Bernwood is a travel blogger and Brisbane resident with a passion for affordable holidays, outdoor activities and arts and crafts. She loves to keep up to date with the latest news and events in the travel industry.