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| 14 April

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 69th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race will set sail from Shorncliffe on the morning of 14 April. 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. Try out the new 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. Julie Andrews is here with My Fair Lady | 14 March – 30 April

My Fair Lady

Director Julie Andrews has assembled a cast of theatre royalty for this 60th anniversary production. The stellar line-up includes Downton Abbey star Charles Edwards as Henry Higgins when the story graces QPAC this autumn.

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. Explore Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe | from 27 May

Following Marvel heroes from comic book page to the cinema screen, this much anticipated ticketed exhibition is coming to QAGOMA late May featuring original artwork, film props, costumes and more.  It will give significant focus to the Marvel comic artists, and the development teams who translate the drawn narrative to the screen through production design and storyboarding, costume and prop design, special effects and post-production.

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. Take part in the Straddie Salute Triathlon Festival | 20-21 May

Held annual on the picture-perfect North Stradbroke Island, Straddie Salute is gaining a reputation as one of Queensland’s emerging destination triathlons. This is the 10th year and the weekend will feature five events for everyone from kids to adults. 

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 | 13 May - 10 June 

Have your form guide at the ready for the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival 2016. 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. Don’t miss Sugar Spin at GOMA | until 17 April


Our arts juggernaut GOMA is celebrating its 10th birthday with an epic exhibition that’s a load of fun. Stroke a furry wall, ride the slide and wander around a room of live finches. Yet to see it? You’ll regret missing it. We’ve pulled together eight highlights from exhibition here.

16. Discover Brisbane's best vegan eats

Kwan Brothers

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 | 13 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. Wear maroon to the State of Origin | 31 May and 12 July

Queensland will attempt to assert its superiority over New South Wales once again. Suncorp Stadium will host the first game and what promises to be a nail-biter final game in July. Tickets are on sale now, with two-game packages on offer.

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 | 27 February – 6 May

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. Step into the world’s greatest experiment, the Hadron Collider | Until 25 April

Showcasing the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, this exhibition is a celebration of a landmark experiment in human history and sure to delight adults and kids alike. The award-winning exhibition is here from London’s Science Museum.

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. Have an ace weekend at the tennis | 7-9 April

Nick Kyrgios

Get ready for a clash of the titans as Australia takes on the United States for a place in the Davis Cup semi-finals. The two most successful nations in Davis Cup history will go head to head across three days of enthralling action at Queensland Tennis Centre, host venue for the Brisbane International.

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. Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom | 1-9 April

Come and see Ben Elf and Holly The Fairy as they explore the fun of playing games these school holidays on the Queen Street Mall stage. Each show runs for about 25-minutes and is suitable for children aged 2-10 years. But best of all, it's free.

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. Love comes to life with Queensland Theatre’s Constellations | 9 March – 9 April 

Constellations tells the story of a love-struck beekeeper and a quantum physicist. The odds of them getting together are astronomical, but when their two worlds do collide, all the possibilities of their life together flicker across the stage.

There's plenty more where that came from