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8 Best Ways to Make the Most of 24 Hours in Brisbane

Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

Make the most of every minute in Brisbane with our ultimate 24-hour guide! From sunrise to sunset, we’ve got your day packed with the city’s best-kept secrets. Start your adventure with a breathtaking sunrise at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, indulge in a gourmet brunch in the vibrant West End, and explore the cultural hub at South Bank.

As the stars come out, dive into Brisbane’s lively nightlife. Whether you’re a local looking for a day out or a visitor on a quick stopover, this guide promises an unforgettable day in Brisbane. Get ready to explore, indulge, and discover!

At a Glance

Our list of best places to spend 24 hours in Brisbane goes like this:

1. City Botanic Gardens

Ah, the City Botanic Gardens, where the morning dew meets the early risers. This is where your Brisbane adventure begins. Picture this: a serene oasis in the heart of the city, where ancient trees whisper stories of the past and exotic plants from around the world dazzle with their beauty.

Whether you’re jogging through the lush greenery or simply meandering along the winding paths, the City Botanic Gardens offer a tranquil retreat from the urban hustle. It’s a place where nature, history, and culture intertwine, inviting you to explore its many hidden gems, from ornamental ponds to the enchanting bamboo grove.

  • Best Time to Visit: November/December for pleasant weather, though it’s rewarding all year-round.
  • Known For: A diverse collection of botanical species, including a special cycad collection, and historical features.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Nestled within the Brisbane CBD, a leisurely 10 to 15-minute walk from the city center.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/iUHwQoApJ2236J5i6

Next, let your cultural journey continue at the Gallery of Modern Art, affectionately known as GOMA. Situated in the bustling South Bank Cultural Precinct, GOMA stands as a beacon of contemporary art, inviting you to explore its thought-provoking exhibitions and installations.

From cutting-edge digital works to powerful indigenous art, GOMA offers a diverse palette of artistic expressions that challenge and inspire. It’s a place where the world’s creative minds converge, offering a glimpse into the future of art.

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring for pleasant weather, though indoor activities are great year-round.
  • Known For: Its extensive collection of Australian and international modern art and thought-provoking exhibitions.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Located in the South Bank Cultural Precinct, a short walk or a quick ferry ride from the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZTpJuUrSqH1tZcXD8

3. South Bank Parklands

As the afternoon sun begins to warm the city, make your way to the South Bank Parklands. This vibrant, riverside oasis is where Brisbane comes to play. Dive into Streets Beach, Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach, or wander through the lush rainforest walk.

With its sprawling lawns, modern playgrounds, and bustling marketplaces, South Bank is a microcosm of Brisbane’s lively spirit. It’s a place where laughter fills the air, and the city’s panoramic skyline serves as the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable day out.

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for the man-made beach, though attractions are enjoyable year-round.
  • Known For: Streets Beach, lush parklands, and a plethora of dining and entertainment options.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Less than a kilometre from the CBD, easily accessible by foot or public transport.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/xQPTJGSrhNWFr1TC7

4. Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Elevate your Brisbane experience—quite literally—with the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. It’s not just a climb; it’s a journey to the skies. As you ascend the iconic bridge, each step brings a new perspective of the city and the winding Brisbane River below.

The view from the top? Absolutely breathtaking. Whether you choose the dawn, day, twilight, or night climb, each offers a unique canvas of Brisbane’s skyline. It’s an exhilarating adventure that will leave your spirit soaring and provide you with stories to tell for years to come.

  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime, with different experiences offered day and night.
  • Known For: Offering panoramic views of the city skyline and an exhilarating climbing experience.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: The Story Bridge is adjacent to the CBD, with the climb starting point easily accessible within minutes by car or public transport.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/cmpvQjaXPm1HTvBy5

5. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

From the heights of the Story Bridge, come back down to earth and into the arms of Australia’s cuddliest creatures at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This is where you’ll meet the true locals of Brisbane—koalas, kangaroos, and a host of other native wildlife.

It’s not just about seeing them; it’s about connecting with them. Cuddle a koala, hand-feed kangaroos, and witness the extraordinary care given to these animals. Lone Pine offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Australia’s wildlife, making it a heartwarming and unforgettable part of your Brisbane adventure.

  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime, as it’s an all-year attraction.
  • Known For: Being the world’s largest koala sanctuary and offering close encounters with Australian wildlife.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Approximately a 20-minute drive from the CBD, or accessible via public transport with a bit longer travel time.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/esUV9oyPCHam9K7j6

6. Mount Coot-tha Lookout

As the day begins to wane, make your way to Mount Coot-tha Lookout for a sunset spectacle that will take your breath away. This is Brisbane’s panoramic perch, where the city, sea, and sky converge in a kaleidoscope of colors. It’s a moment of reflection, a chance to take in the vast beauty of the region from its highest point.

As the city lights begin to twinkle below, you’ll understand why this is a must-visit spot for both locals and travelers alike. It’s not just a lookout; it’s a memory etched against the backdrop of an Australian sunset.

  • Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon for sunset views.
  • Known For: Offering some of the most stunning views of Brisbane and its surroundings.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Around a 15-minute drive from the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Si9pea9yRG5748X98

7. Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)

End your evening with a flourish at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the beating heart of Brisbane’s cultural scene. Here, the arts come alive in a symphony of sound, movement, and emotion. Whether it’s ballet, opera, theater, or music, QPAC’s stages showcase the best of local and international performances.

It’s more than a show; it’s an experience that captivates and enthralls, leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the arts. As the curtain falls, you’ll find yourself already planning your next visit to this cultural gem.

  • Best Time to Visit: Evening for performances.
  • Known For: Being a premier venue for the performing arts and hosting a wide range of shows.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Located in the South Bank Cultural Precinct, a short walk or a quick ferry ride from the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/bFFSsNPWkDPQBCkt5

8. Rooftop Bars

As the sun begins to set, it’s time to elevate your Brisbane experience once again, but this time with a cocktail in hand at one of the city’s many rooftop bars. Brisbane is known for its beautiful sunny weather, making it the perfect destination for an abundance of rooftop bars.

One of the top recommendations is the Soko Rooftop, known for its modern cocktails and stunning views of the city. Another popular choice is the Lina Rooftop, which not only offers breathtaking views but also features its own pool, providing a unique and relaxed way to enjoy the city’s skyline.

  • Best Time to Visit: Evening, to enjoy the sunset and city lights.
  • Known For: Offering panoramic views of the city skyline, unique cocktails, and a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Most rooftop bars are located within the CBD or nearby suburbs, making them easily accessible within minutes by car or public transport.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/f7Jcfktt6ymrCFycA

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-visit places if I only have 24 hours in Brisbane?

The must-visit places in Brisbane for a 24-hour trip include the City Botanic Gardens for a tranquil retreat, the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) for contemporary art, the South Bank Parklands for leisure and culture, and the Story Bridge Adventure Climb for panoramic city views.

Can I experience Brisbane’s wildlife within a day?

Yes, you can visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is the world’s largest koala sanctuary, to experience Australian wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, and more.

Is it possible to enjoy Brisbane’s nightlife in just one day?

Absolutely, after a day of exploring, you can experience Brisbane’s nightlife by visiting one of the city’s rooftop bars for stunning views and cocktails, or head to Fortitude Valley for a variety of clubs, pubs, and live music venues.

How do I get around Brisbane to see all these places in one day?

Brisbane has an extensive public transport system including buses, trains, and ferries. Many of the attractions are also within walking distance from the CBD, or you can use taxis and ride-sharing services for convenience.

Are there any cultural performances I can attend during my 24-hour visit?

Yes, you can check out the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for a variety of performances including ballet, opera, theater, and music, depending on their schedule.

Lachlan Taylor

Lachlan aka Lockie is a contributing writer at Humble Trail, known for his down-to-earth style and passion for the great outdoors. Born and raised in the small town of Deloriane, Tasmania, Lockie developed a deep love for nature and adventure from a young age.

His articles are a blend of his personal adventures and insightful explorations, often focused on sustainable travel, wilderness treks, and the serene beauty of untouched landscapes.

Always with his own reusable coffee cup in hand, Lockie loves a good caffeine fix as much as everyone else on the Humbletrail team.

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