30 things to do this autumn in Brisbane

Brisbane’s autumn calendar is jam-packed with exciting festivals, delicious food, toe-tapping entertainment and all things nature. 

Read on to discover our 30 best autumn ideas. Be sure to share your moments with us using #brisbaneanyday.

1. Watch the Brisbane to Gladstone set off from the Bluewater Festival| 30 March 

The Bluewater Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the Shorncliffe Pier and Moora Park, Sandgate on Good Friday to take advantage of the best waterfront views for the start of Australia’s second-biggest yacht race. The 70th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race will set sail from Shorncliffe on the morning of 30 March. The race record was set in 2004 in a time of 20 hours, 24 minutes, 50 seconds … can it be beaten this year?

2. Stumble upon Brisbane's laneways

Move over Melbourne – Brisbane's strong list of hip laneways is ever-growing. As self-confessed coffee connoisseurs, this makes our heart sing. Those looking for something harder will enjoy one of the many hidden bars dotted across the city.

3. Eat all the ice cream at Gelato Messina in South Brisbane

Gelato Messina

Across 200sqm of floor space you’ll find three counters filled with 40 flavours of colourful gelato (including five rotating weekly specials), timber shelving filled with its signature gelato cakes, and a classroom off to one side. Our pick from the standard 35 flavours? Well, we’re yet to try them all but the salted caramel and coffee is a winner, the macadamia crunch is something else, and the salted coconut sorbet with mango salsa is surprisingly rich and hits the spot. 

4. Sleep under the stars

If getting back to basics is your style, pitch a tent at one of these camping spots near Brisbane where the air is crisp, and creepy crawlies are welcomed with open arms. In autumn the sun is rising later and that means more of a sleep in.

5. Put on your ballet shoes for Mao’s Last Dancer the exhibition: A Portrait of Li Cunxin | until 29 April

Moving from a best-selling novel and award-winning film, the story of Li Cunxin is now shown in a world-first exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane. Discover his moving personal narrative and artistic achievements with never before seen interviews, original objects, documents and footage of Li at the height of his career.

6. Treat someone special to a romantic dinner

An anniversary, birthday, or even a proposal calls for the ultimate romantic restaurant – but surely you don’t need an excuse to celebrate love? Keep February’s loved-up vibes going in March, April and May by treating your special one to a night on the town.

7. Show your colours 

Brisbane Lions

Whip out the war paint, crazy hats and foam fingers for the start of winter sports season. Catch the Roar kicking the round ball or the Queensland Reds and Brisbane Broncos kicking the red egg all around Suncorp Stadium. Over at The Gabba, cricket season is over and AFL is the game of the moment. Don’t miss the Brisbane Lions on the field.

8. Ain't no mountain high enough

Hiking in Brisbane Forest Park

A 16km hike over nine hours at 1351m above sea level? Challenge accepted. When you reach the summit, it will make the pain worth the gain. Climb these mountains around Brisbane this weekend.

9. Don't miss Picasso's The Vollard Suite at GOMA | Until 15 April 

One of 20th Century's most influential artists has come to GOMA. Pablo Picasso's 'Vollard Suite' is a set of 100 etchings, engravings and aquatints created by the artist in the 1930s and named after Ambroise Vollard, his sometime art dealer and publisher. 

10. Go on an island adventure

Moreton Island

Autumn’s not too hot and not too cold – which makes it just right for a Moreton Island adventure. It’s an easy overnight or weekend escape only 75 minutes from the mainland. Unsure what you can do? Check out these 35 ideas for things to do on the island.

11. Catch theatre all around Brisbane at Anywhere Theatre Festival | 10 – 27 May

The nooks and crannies of Brisbane will explode with over 500 performances in places you least expect it to. Theatre in car parks, comedy in laneways, opera in reservoirs, dance in stairwells and quirky workshops exploring arts and craft from cooking to jewellery.

12. Go shopping in The City

What The Teacher Wears: Trends

Queen Street Mall host to 700 stores. Yes, that does sound daunting but fear not, as we have your comprehensive guide to shopping Queen Street Mall. Check out big international brands Uniqlo, H&M, Forever 21 and Zara, shop luxury stores on Edward St and inside QueensPlaza, and hunt out boutique finds inside the Brisbane Arcade and Showroom. Find parking deals from $5 here.

13. Don your best fascinator for Brisbane Racing Carnival | 12 May - 9 June 

Have your form guide at the ready for the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival 2018. Dry-clean your best frock or suit for one of seven Group One races, including the AAMI Stradbroke Day.

14. Dance the night away to live jazz, blues and soul music

If you’ve got Georgia on your mind and want to find your own brown-eyed girl, perhaps you’ll find her at one of Brisbane’s live music bars – specifically those with a little more soul...

15. Head back to high school with a Shakespearean classic Twelfth Night | 28 April - 19 May

A shipwreck sets in motion a wild and whimsical tale of mistaken identities, separated twins, rebellious servants, unrequited love and a pair of ridiculous yellow stockings. After the twelfth night, the land of Illyria will never be the same.

16. Discover Brisbane's best vegan eats

Your vegan friends need not worry about dining out with our list of the best vegan eats in Brisbane. Yes, vegan food is having a moment with one of Brisbane’s newest bars opening with an entirely vegan menu. Oh, and your mates willl love you more than tofu if you take them out for one of these meals.

17. Get amid the NRL Double Header | 12 May

Suncorp Stadium’s legendary double-header is back again and this year the Broncos are facing off against the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans will go up against the Melbourne Storm. Usually a sell-out event, get tickets as soon as possible.

18. Take the last chance to swim at beaches near Brisbane

Moreton Island

The ocean takes a long time to heat, and a long time to cool down – what does that mean? Yes, in autumn the waters are still warm. Go on, jump in the car and hunt down a beach nearby.

19. Book an iconic weekend away

Wild Lime Cooking School

Already used up all that annual leave but desperately need a break? Try a weekender close to Brisbane. Relax by a log fire in a heritage homestead with a glass of red and your favourite person. Lead a llama around 85 acres of bushland. Walk along a seemingly endless island beach and dive into the refreshing ocean.

20. Cheer on fellow Australians at the Commonwealth Games | 5 - 14 April 

Meet the Commonwealth’s best cyclists at the Anna Meares velodrome in Brisbane as they battle it out for a gold medal and a good chance at the 2020 Olympics.
After Australia takes out the gold medals for cycling, head a little down the road and see the same thing happen as some of the world’s best shooters vie for the top place at Belmont Shooting Complex. If you don't have tickets, keep an eye out for the Festival 2018 arts and culture program.

21. Take yourself out on a photography adventure

Photo by Greg Sullavan

Want to challenge your photography game? Professional photographer and Canon Collective Ambassador Greg Sullavan gave us intel on the best photography spots, photo challenges and experiences to have around Brisbane.

22. Get fit for free with the Medibank Feel Good Program | until 31 March 

Held on South Bank’s leafy Little Stanley Street Lawns for a mix of free exercise classes including yoga, pilates and more. No bookings are required for the al fresco classes that are taught by qualified instructors – just turn up and get your body moving.

23. Make a day of it with these 37 things to do in Ipswich

Pumpyard Bar & Brewery

The heritage city of Ipswich is just a half hour drive from Brisbane and while it has a reputation as being a little sleepy, something is brewing. No really, Ipswich has an excellent craft brewery now – check it and this list of 36 other things to do out. Use it to plan your perfect day out.

24. Look in the mirror with Me, Myselfie and I at GOMA| Until 25 April

‘Me, Myselfie and I’ is a Collection-based exhibition which explores representation of self and includes interactive making and multimedia artist projects that invite children to consider different ways of creating their own portraits.

25. Embrace your inner child

Bring back playtime we say! And we’re not the only ones. Release your inner ‘kidult’ and get into these 21 epic activities to do around Brisbane.

26. Discover something different at Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection | 24 March - 5 August 

Globally renowned for her adventurous use of sculpture, installation, video and sound to create imaginative hybrid creatures, Piccinini is bringing her recognisable collection from the last ten years and showing it exclusively at GOMA.

27. …things every local should have done in the CBD

The City Sounds

North side or south side? If the two have one thing in common, it is that every Brisbane local has done these 27 things in the CBD. 

28. Relive your childhood at Disney's Aladdin - The Musical | from 20 February 

With breathtaking sets, mind-blowing special effects, over 300 lavish costumes and a fabulous cast – catch the magic of Disney’s Aladdin on stage when it plays at the Lyric Theatre in Autumn. The musical production includes all your favourite Disney songs and some additional new music.

29. Eat at one of Brisbane's newest restaurants, cafes and bars

Madame Rouge

The Brisbane dining scene is ever-expanding and full of surprises around every corner. We’ve rounded up the new crop of bars, restaurants and cafes that have recently opened to add to your must-try list.

30. Laugh yourself silly at Brisbane Comedy Festival | until 25 March 

International and national headlining comedians will take over the Brisbane Powerhouse (and spill into Brisbane City Hall) for the 2018 festival. Expect more laughs than ever with over 65 comedians across the two venues.

There's plenty more where that came from