52 Brisbane adventures to have in 2018

2018 is the year of adventures, so here are 52 epic Brisbane adventures that we can bet you're either yet to do (bucket list!) or would love to do again. 

Pencil them in and enjoy 52 weeks of pure fun in 2018.

1. Cruise around Moreton Bay

Have you seen a photo of the bay from above? It's a surreal painting of teal, aqua and baby blue water hues. If you don't have a boat, join a tour or charter your own – we've made a guide to boating around Brisbane. Packing a picnic and landing on Peel Island for a post-lunch dip is a right treat. Every Wednesday, weather permitting, enthusiastic yachties escape to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for a sail around Green Island. Registrations are taken at the RQ bar at noon and prospective sailors can join a crew for free, even if you’ve never done it before.

2. Watch the sun rise over Brisbane CBD from Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coottha

Rise and shine early birds. It’s the sunrise not the sunset that’s most spectacular from Mt Coot-tha. Drive up pre-dawn to watch the bright globe rise behind the skyline. Take a rug, pop yourself down and wait for golden hour to arrive. Post-sunrise, you’ll be first in line for breakfast at your favourite cafe – if you don’t have a favourite, visit one of ours.

3. Go night kayaking at the wrecks

It’s pitch black as you push your clear Perspex kayak off the shore of Moreton Island – relying on the moon and two LED strips as your guide. The historic, rusting wrecks are all the more eerie and quiet at night. Your bright LED lights attract fish that will leap at your vessel. But even better, curious turtles might come to say hello – and you’ll follow them drifting 200m offshore without a care. Australian Sunset Safaris offers the experience as part of its overnight Moreton Island tour – it’s one of the best ways to see the island.

4. Ride the City Loop 

The best food with views can be found by the river – jump on a CityCycle or bring your own bike and let your tastebuds explore the city on two wheels. Start at the City Botanic Gardens, bike through the middle or follow the path along the river towards the restaurant haven that is Eagle Street Pier. Pedal down Adelaide St until you find Noosa Chocolate Factory and The Cheese Pleaser. Cross King George Square and follow Roma St before crossing the Kurilpa Bridge. Cool off at Streets Beach in South Bank – the ultimate reward – before making a final stop at River Quay Green for a picnic. If you call ahead, Popolo will arrange a hamper with wine to enjoy on the green. 

5. Catch a gig in an old WWII hangar at The Triffid

The Triffid

Our already excellent live music scene added another, rather large (probably peacock) feather to its hat when Powderfinger’s bassist John Collins opened The Triffid. The renovated World War II hanger has incredible sound quality, pulls killer acts and has a top beer garden. If you have tickets to a gig, head in early to get a discount on food.

6. Explore Brisbane’s front yard – South Bank

South Bank

It’s easy to make a day of it wandering around Brisbane’s 17ha green riverside gem. South Bank is home to Australia’s only beach located in the middle of a city, Streets Beach. Then there’s the edible Epicurious Garden to explore, the 1km Arbour to wander through, restaurants to dine at, the Wheel of Brisbane to climb, the Rainforest, Nepalese Pagoda and riverside Clem Jones Promenade. Phew. Not to mention the Cultural Centre…

7. Experience world-class art, performance and ancient worlds at the Cultural Precinct

“Have you been to GOMA?” will be one of the top three questions any local will ask. We’re proud of our modern art gallery. It’s the largest in Australia, it recently turned 10 and when you finish exploring the international and other incredible exhibitions there pop into QAG, the Queensland Art Gallery next door. If you speed through both galleries, head to the Queensland Museum and find the bones of Queensland’s own dinosaur, a giant squid and other changing exhibitions. At nearby QPAC, see the latest big stage musical, symphony or theatrical production.

8. Go for a laneway bar crawl through the city

The real question is, where to begin? Perhaps in Albert Lane with dumpling and sake shots at Harajuku Gyoza or tequila and tacos at Latin American Comuna Cantina. Then happy hour at Brew, cocktails at small bar Super Whatnot, hop to whisky house The Gresham, down a burger at Red Hook, and finish with a boogie at Brooklyn Standard. Brisbane’s laneways have it all.

9. Abseil down the Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Once you make that nerve-rattling first step over the edge, it’s easy as pie. Stop halfway and take in the view. Once at the bottom, you can keep adventuring with Riverlife – hike bikes, do a Segway tour, paddle kayaks along the Brisbane River. Why not walk along the river to South Bank and visit the Maritime Museum, or go the opposite direction and eat crab at St James Crabhouse?

10. Explore historic Fort Lytton by night

One of Brisbane’s closest national parks is home to the historic Fort Lytton, built in the 19th century to protect the city from possible enemy raids by ship. Every Thursday, actors bring the story of decorated WW1 hero and Brisbane local Raymond Augustus Stanley to life. Theatre performance, sound, light and a projection transport you to another time.

11. Feed the hungry masses at Eat Street Northshore

Eat Street Northshore

A feast for the senses – drop into the multicultural shipping container market to experience the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Brisbane’s much-loved Eat Street Markets. They are now open Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sundays. Been there, done that market? Try Mt Gravatt's Marketta or Chefs Inc in Cleveland.

12. Take a Brisbane Greeters tour

Have you seen the locals with the bright red shirts and big friendly smiles? Join a free tour with a volunteer Greeter and unearth knowledge for trivia night and beyond. Take a Classic Greet and learn about the city on foot, or make a specific request and charter a free specialised tour – street art in Fortitude Valley, the Greek side of West End, tours inside the Walter Taylor Bridge tower? It’s all possible.

13. Crawl between Brisbane’s craft breweries

Scenic Rim Brewery

Booze on with bonza brews from Brisbane’s best boutique breweries. Say that 10 times fast, after 10 beers. In Newstead try Green Beacon or Newstead Brewing. In Milton head to XXXX, Aether or Newstead Brewing’s newer headquarters. All In at Banyo is great, as is Bacchus Brewing in Capalaba, Ballistic Brewing in Salisbury and Scenic Rim Brewery in Mt Alford. 

Even better, Hop On Brewery Tours will drive you around and educate you at the same time.

14. Ride on the last steam locomotive to be built in Australia

Choo choo! All aboard for Steam Train Sunday. Travel through Brisbane on a historic steam train to relive the romance of travel from a bygone era. The one-hour journey travels through city stations, with you wandering about the restored old-world carriages. 

Or for train lovers and children haters, Destination Blues is the immersive music and train adventure for you. Jump aboard the old locomotive heading for the Glasshouse Mountains station – on board musicians will roam the carriages while you drink beers, jump off for lunch at the Glasshouse Mountains local pub with a live gig there, before boarding the train back to Brisbane.

15. Dive into a hatted dining experience

Brisbane is home to Queensland’s highest number of National Good Food Guide hatted restaurants. A high number of the city’s top restaurants are in the CBD, so bookend the degustation at Urbane or Esquire with high-end shopping along the Queen Street Mall and Edward St and a post-dego riverside bar hop or relax at the very cute Elizabeth Picture Theatre.

16. Hold a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koalas

Did you know that Queensland is one of only two states where you can actually hold a koala? Prep those guns for a snap with your new furry best friend. While here, keep those muscles flexed for a kangaroo selfie, hang out with the wombats, see the dingoes and more. 

17. A day of markets and chilled culture by the river

Get to know what grows around Brisbane at the local weekend farmer markets, where on Saturday the Brisbane Powerhouse Jan Powers market is one of the best. Laze around on a picnic rug in New Farm soaking up rays and good company, before hopping over to the Brisbane Powerhouse for an evening show, drink at the bar and bite at Italian restaurant Bar Alto. The Powerhouse has a program of regular exhibitions/shows on stage and free Friday night comedy.

18. Feed dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort

Stand knee-deep in the shallows at Moreton Island and watch as if on cue wild bottlenose dolphins swim in to pluck fresh fish from your hands. Go for a day, a weekend or a week – Tangalooma Island Resort will have you coming back to the mainland relaxed.

19. Ride the clock tower, dive beneath the city’s skin

CityHall

Do you even Brisbane if you haven’t been to the Museum of Brisbane? Besides riding up the historic clock tower (free tours every 15 minutes while open), MoB focuses on the art and stories that make up the fabric of Brisbane. Pair it with the CBD laneway crawl while in the city.

20. Experience Australia’s best land-based whale watching

From June to October, Humpback Highway cruises right by Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island. Do the North Gorge Walk or simply sit on the headland (a scoop of fresh Oceanic Gelato in hand) and watch the magical sea beasts swim by.

21. Catch a cricket ball at The Gabba

Well, your chances of actually catching a cherry are slim – but it’s worth a shot. Slap on some zinc, grab mates and head to The Gabba for a summer game of cricket. From the Big Bash league to one day internationals, to the Ashes series – history is made here.

22. Chase sunflowers in the Lockyer Valley

For two weeks each year around late January or early February, field upon field of sunflowers bloom west of Brisbane. A small slice of sunshine found closest to Brisbane is near the University of Queensland Gatton Campus.

23. Did someone say wine tour on horseback?

Explore the Brisbane region…via your glass...with Brisbane Winery Tours, Vino Bus and Tash Maree tours. The majority of Brisbane’s wineries live on Tamborine Mountain, and rather than designate a driver – get everyone in on the tasting fun, worry free, with a tour. Been there, done that? Slickers Horse Riding takes trail tours to Oceanview Estate for cheese, tastings and lunch before walking bushland trails back.

24. Explore North Stradbroke Island

Visit a freshwater, tea tree-stained lake in the centre of the world’s second-largest island, learn to surf with Straddie Surf School, lick artisan gelato while watching dolphins splash and turtles bob about – this island off Brisbane is relaxation station. Discover 42 things to do on North Stradbroke Island and get yourself there asap.

26. Spend a day or the week at the Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival

Over six days and nights, more than 2000 performers gather for a program of live music, dance, street theatre, panels, film, comedy acoustic jams, social debate and more. It’s an unforgettable experience, and it all happens late December – set the goal to bring in NYE 2019 at Woodford.

27. See the universe at the Planetarium

Have your La La Land moment hand-in-hand with a loved one while looking at the stars from the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Before the Friday or Saturday night evening shows, plan a cute picnic for two at the neighbouring Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. Cuuuuute.

28. Cruise the Brisbane River

Plenty of bridges criss-cross the Brisbane River, but being on the water itself is one of the best ways to enjoy an adventure and get around. Plan a CityCat pub crawl, jumping from terminal to terminal, or board a cruise such as the Kookaburra Showboat Cruises, Koala and River Cruises by Mirimar and River City Cruises

29. Go for a cooking class at Wild Lime 

Once you’ve finished cooking up a storm with a mix of local and native ingredients, take a seat at a long table on the deck of the small Worrendo Cottage, pour yourself a vino and settle in to endless views of the Lost World Valley. More cooking classes around Brisbane here.

30. Chase waterfalls

Curtis Falls

The Brisbane region is teeming with cascading waterfalls, expansive lakes and trickling waterholes. Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails to discover cooling waterfalls and waterholes, or take in a spot of fishing, boating or paddling on one of Brisbane’s lakes. Go on, chase them down – and don't forget to pack togs (or bathers or swimmers, or whatever you like to call them).

31. Watch the sun rise from a hot air balloon

Set off in darkness and take flight before sunrise. Pastel-coloured skies will greet the breaking day as you beat the world to wake up. Back on solid ground, enjoy a champagne breakfast. Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights or Hot Air Balloon Brisbane can take you there.

32. Abseil off the Story Bridge

We are assuming you’re well acquainted with the Story Bridge Adventure Climb (one of only three bridge climbs of its kind in the world), but did you know it also offers abseil climbs? This means you climb to the top of the bridge as per normal, but on the last leg abseil 30m straight down the pylon. Phew.

33. Connect with Aboriginal culture 

A new and thrilling live theatre and dinner experience called Spirits of the Red Sand takes the audience back to 1800s Queensland to experience the trials and challenges as British and Aboriginal lives collide. The show is set within a real 19th century Australian town, complete with church, pub and indigenous village.

34. Trek the Lower Portals to a secret swimming hole at Mt Barney

There are plenty of epic trails to trek around Brisbane, so what makes this one special? Swimming through two gorges. It takes three hours for the round trip.

35. Follow this art trail through Fortitude Valley and New Farm

There are a dozen galleries dotted within a couple of kilometres of each other in these two suburbs. Make a day or dash between them, checking out the work of local and international artists. Find the trail here.

36. Go on a helicopter pub crawl

Holy goodness. Drinking beer is fun, yes. But arriving at pubs like you’re the country version of James Bond to drink beer is, well, legendary. Pterodactyl Helicopters’ Captain Mike will take you on the pub crawl of a lifetime, even stopping for lunch at one of the country pubs.

37. Relax by the bayside at Sandgate

Shorncliffe Pier

Remember when you’d step out of the car barefoot in that beachside village as a kid, the sound of the ocean shifting in the air and a sea breeze washing over your skin? The bayside stretch made up of Shorncliffe, Sandgate and Brighton on Brisbane’s northside, a 25-minute drive from the CBD, has the seaside village thing down pat. Here’s 27 things to do there.

38. Slip through door #37 for a barre class at the Spring Hill Baths

Unanimous winner of the unofficial "cutest public pool in Brisbane" award, the Spring Hill Baths were built in 1886. Slip through changeroom door #37 to a small conjoining room for a class with Brisbane Barre Studio. 

39. Walk over to King Island

Look, it’s no tropical island paradise but at low tide a sandbank appears in the bay off Wellington Point. Stroll across to King Island, tick it off your list and keep an eye out that the bank doesn’t disappear on you. It’s all about timing.

40. Visit local Buddhist and Hindu temples

Constructed in the Chinese palace architectural style with red and gold theming, Chung Tian Buddhist Temple is a little community worth visiting. Stop by the tea room for a ceremony, wander the art gallery, museum and prayer spaces, learn to speak Chinese at a class or enjoy a meal at the diner. Not too far away is Sri Selva Vinayakar Temple, a Hindu temple that has recently been rebuilt in South Maclean.

41. Tour Pumicestone Passage in a gondola

Imagine this – you and your beloved, arm in arm watching the sun set over the Glasshouse Mountains while cruising the picturesque, crystal-clear passage. Bliss. Bribie Island Gondola makes all this a reality. Closer to Brisbane, try a Golden Gondola paddle around Newstead area and Breakfast Creek. 

Alternatively, gather mates and hire a BBQ Boat to cruise up and down Pumicestone Passage. The crystal-clear, calm passage is abundant with wildlife and sits between Bribie Island and the mainland. Discover 20 things to do on Bribie Island here

42. Run through a lavender farm, swim in a lake

Looking for a cute day trip? A 70-minute drive from Brisbane, the town of Mt Alford is batting above its weight. Stop into Bunjurgen Estate for a wine tasting, before heading down the road to Kooroomba Lavender Farm & Winery for either lunch or cheese. The lavender farm has fields, photo ops, wine tasting and more. Finish with a beer paddle at Scenic Rim Brewery before heading to Lake Moogerah for a dip and to soak in the view. The campground at the lake is a great spot to pitch for the night.

43. Go on a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef

Feel like the reef is a world away? If you’ve got just one day and a little cash to splash, a seaplane departing Redcliffe will take you to Lady Elliot Island for the day (or weekend). Here you can snorkel and dive around the coral cay, considered one of the best spots on the reef to do so.

44. Head to the Gutter Bar for a drink and a dozen

The Gutter Bar

At the bottom end of Moreton Island is the Brisbane area’s most remote bar – the Gutter Bar. Located in the tiny township of Kooringal, the Moreton Island Oyster Farm just offshore provides the fresh goods perfectly paired with any cold drink. Cheers!

45. Wheel over to one of two drive-in cinemas

Everyone knows about the Yatala Drive-In Theatre, so the other one is our better kept secret. Heading towards Ipswich, the Tivoli Drive-In operates every Saturday night, with a fully serviced cafe on site to cater to those hunger pangs.

46. Climb into the canopy on the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk

Nine suspension bridges swing high above in the trees through ancient Gondwana rainforest. Climb ladders a further 30m to the top of an old tree and pop your head out above the canopy to view Lamington National Park around you. Another good one to experience is the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. 

47. Get lost in nature near the city

Right in the heart of it, Roma Street Parkland is a landscaped paradise for picnics, meditation or barbecues with friends, while a wander along the boardwalk and flat pathways of Boondall Wetlands will reveal plenty of bird species and changing bushland.

48. Take on the Three Peaks Challenge

Launching around Easter this year, the Three Peaks Challenge is a five-day walking adventure that tackles South East Queensland’s great peak – Mt Barney – along with Mt Maroon and Mt Gillies. Test your endurance with the help of fully accredited eco-guides based at Mt Barney Lodge.

49. Explore the Workshops Rail Museum

The Workshops Rail Museum

Steeped in history, the now award-winning museum was once the workplace of over 3000 railway workers. Enter via the historic Timekeepers' Building - it merges the romance of yesteryear with the exciting technological breakthroughs of the present.

50. Keep calm and cool at Enoggera Reservoir

Escape the city heat and lay out a rug on the grass by Enoggera Reservoir. Here you can swim in the old 1866-built dam or launch a canoe to explore the area. On hot days Brisbane locals love to head here for the day.

51. Go on a food safari along Fish Lane

La Lune

South of the river, but in the heart of it all, Fish Lane is quickly becoming Brisbane’s coolest laneway. As new buildings pop up, restaurants, cafes and bars are moving in beneath them – making the journey from West End to South Bank an adventure in itself.

52. Build your own neighbourhood adventure

Plan your own historic pub crawl through Woolloongabba or shop the Valley laneways. In Teneriffe, wander between the Woolstores of yesteryear, and in Bulimba catch a flick at the historic (and cheap) Balmoral Cinemas. Experience the boutiques and cafe scene of Paddington, or plan a late night out hopping between bars, lounges or clubs in Fortitude Valley. Explore Brisbane’s neighbourhoods here.

More to do around Brisbane