What to do in Brisbane on a budget - Visit Brisbane

What to do in Brisbane on a budget

Whether you're a student, a backpacker, or looking to save some cash, this three-day budget itinerary will put you minimally out-of-pocket while maximising fun.

Day One

Morning: Cultural Precinct

Two women walk through GoMA
Gallery of Modern Art

Start your day in South Bank’s cultural precinct with a visit to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). GoMA’s Children’s Art Centre presents an extensive program of exhibitions, artist-run workshops, festivals and performances often themed around feature exhibitions. Entry is free, except to special ticketed exhibtions.

Explore a fascinating and dynamic museum of natural history, culture heritage, science and human achievement at Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. Entry to the museum is free, the Sciencentre is under $15.

Afternoon: South Bank Parklands

Continue exploring South Bank and head to South Bank Parklands, a leisure oasis featuring Streets Beach, Aquativity Water Park, state-of-the-art playground and a diverse mix of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy lunch or a snack. 

Streets Beach
Streets Beach

You can join a free Brisbane Greeters tour at the South Bank Visitor Information Centre from 10am daily (bookings required 24hrs in advance. Contact (07) 3156 6366 or [email protected]). 

Afterwards enjoy a swim in the lagoon, take a stroll along the promenade or organise a picnic at River Quay.

Evening: Little Stanley Street

Explore the smorgasbord of restaurants as you stroll down Little Stanley Street. Enjoy dinner at one of the many venue showcasing almost every cuisine. Little Stanley street offers Turkish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Italian and contemporary Australian fare, plus American, gastro-pub fare and Japanese.

Day Two

Morning: Brisbane Powerhouse

This old power station on the river has been converted into what is arguably Brisbane’s hottest inner-city venue. Comedy festivals, live bands, plays and art exhibits all unfold inside the graffiti–heavy walls.

Are you a fan of free live music? Check out Live Spark every Sunday afternoon at the Brisbane Powerhouse for an ever-changing line up of eclectic local and national artists. If comedy is more your thing, pop by late Friday afternoon for a free laugh with Knockoff.

Lunch: Local Brisbane Markets

Family visit the weekly city markets
Brisbane City Markets is on every Wednesday in Brisbane City.

Spend an hour or two (or three) wandering around one of Brisbane’s farmers markets, which sell everything from the freshest homemade breads, jams, chocolates and cheese to chillies, beef, berries, biscuits and more. Chat to local producers and small-business owners before tucking into delicious goods. Try the Red Hill Farmers’ Market, Northey Street Organic Markets, Brisbane City Markets or the popular Jan Power’s Farmers’ Markets.

Evening: Films under the stars

Roll out the picnic blanket and enjoy new release, classic and cult films on the lawns of the South Bank Parklands with the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema from October to November, or New Farm Park’s Moonlight Cinema from December to March.

Day Three

Moreton Island

Before your holiday in Brisbane ends, make sure you tick Moreton Island off your bucket list. Australian Sunset Safaris run budget-friendly one-day and two-day tours to Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world. Join the one-day tour to experience sandboarding on giant dunes, snorkelling and fish feeding around the Tangalooma Wrecks, plus paddle out to the wrecks in clear kayaks. Best of all – lunch is included.

Day Four

Scenic Rim, Ipswich or more Brisbane

Family hop over stones in the Lost World
Lost World Valley, Scenic Rim

All you need is a set of wheels and you will be on your way to exploring Brisbane’s backyard. Travel west and take in the beautiful Scenic Rim which includes Beaudesert, Boonah, Mt Tamborine and Lamington National Park and enjoy lush rainforests, spectacular mountain ranges and ancient landforms. In Ipswich visitors have a great choice of accommodation to choose from and can drop into the Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum. 

If you haven’t got a car, purchase a day pass for the Brisbane Explorer. There are two bus tours included in the fare. One takes you around the city centre and inner-city suburbs including Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley. The other travels up Mt Coot-tha where from the summit you get a stunning eagle-eye view of Brisbane. Be sure to jump off and explore the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the base of the mountain too.

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