20 things to do in Brisbane during the Youth Water Polo Championships

You’ll have a ball in Brisbane while here for the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships (AYWPC) from 12-24 January. Plunge into the city and surrounds with this list of 21 must-do experiences, from island hopping and adrenaline-fueled fun, to a foodie feast and endless summer sport. As a fun bonus, we’ve pulled together a list of exclusive offers for AYWPC attendees and families for our top experiences for water polo champions, see here

The city will come alive when more than 190 teams from around the country compete in the National Age Championships for 12&U, 14&U, 16&U and 18&U divisions. We hope to see you, your team and family will be out and about exploring Brisbane’s must-do experiences.

1.  It’s love all at the Brisbane International 2019 

Why stop at one sport, right? In a case of excellent timing the Brisbane International 2019 falls just before the Water Polo Championships. A highlight on Queensland’s summer events calendar, plan to arrive early and catch courtside action with the biggest names in world tennis from 30 December to 6 January. 

2. Get lost in the South Bank Parklands 

Life guard looks over Streets Beach at South Bank

There’s a sandy beach, an edible garden, multiple playgrounds, an aquapark, picnic areas, rolling greens, cafes, restaurants and the towering Wheel of Brisbane. South Bank Parklands is 17 hectares of riverfront parkland for you to explore. It’s easy to get lost and be found – just look for the river or follow the architecturally designed Arbour. Discover more things to do at South Bank here.

3. Visit the home of the Crocodile Hunter 

The biggest animal park in the Brisbane region, this 100-acre zoo is just an hour’s drive north of the city. View everything from crocodiles, wombats and Tasmanian devils to rhinos, tigers, red pandas and cheetahs. The zoo also offers a range of unique one-on-one animal experiences and if you’re lucky, you may even catch Bob or Bindi Irwin at one of the shows.

4. Don’t miss the international water polo tests

Australia’s Women’s and Men’s water polo teams will host Japan for a two-match international test series. The Aussie Stingers and Aussie Sharks will take on the Japanese, a tough side that is preparing to host the Olympic Games. With less than two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, both sides will be eager to get this international competition under their belt. Both days – 17 and 18 January – will feature a double header with the Women’s and Men’s to play each day. 

TEST 1: Brisbane Aquatic Centre, Chandler: Thursday 17 January 2019, 6:30pm

TEST 2: The Valley Pool, Fortitude Valley: Friday 18 January 2019, 6:00pm

5. Kick back by the big stage at QPAC

Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. This is the story of how a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were thirty. Take the whole family for a night out to see the international blockbuster musical at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. 

6. Get up close with furry friends 

Brisbane Koala Bushlands

Did you know the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary is in Brisbane? Situated right on the banks of the Brisbane River, the sanctuary is the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature and see some of Australia’s most iconic species up close – including koalas, dingoes, wombats, Tasmanian devils, cassowary and platypus. 

7. The impressive art triennial is here 

The hugely ambitious 9th Asia Pacific Triennial Of Contemporary Art (APT9) series returns to Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) this summer, bringing influential art from across the Asia Pacific to Brisbane. Overflowing with colour and movement, immerse yourself in never-before-seen installations, paintings, sculptures and video from emerging and senior artists, together with leading works from indigenous communities. See our top picks here.

8. Add a dose of adventure with Riverlife

Riverlife

See Brisbane from a different angle as you kayak along the Brisbane River or abseil down the famous Kangaroo Point Cliffs. In the middle of the city, Riverlife provides a great alternative way to get out and see Brisbane. 

9. Park life + markets + arts = perfect day

Three-time Olympian (with two bronze medals) Bronwen Knox from the Aussie Stingers shared one of her favourite things to do in Brisbane: “I love checking out the Brisbane Powerhouse, especially on the weekends. Situated in New Farm park, right on the river, the Powerhouse provides a fantastic atmosphere to meet up with friends, grab a drink and check out a wonderful range of cultural and artistic events. Better yet, on Saturdays, Powerhouse plays host to markets – pick up some picnic supplies and enjoy some time lounging in the park.”

10. Switch to island time

If you have a few days in Brisbane, one of our favourite city day-trip escapes is to Tangaloona Island Resort. Enjoy the unspoiled splendour of Moreton Island, wild dolphin feeding, adrenalin activities and a unique Australian holiday experience. The world’s third largest sand island is a 70-minute cruise from Brisbane. Arrive on the beach and enjoy lunch at the resort paradise. A day cruise also includes a choice of either a signature 4WD Desert Safari Tour (with sand tobogganing experience), or a marine wildlife discovery cruise. 

11. Watch Brisbane’s home team play the world game

January is a big month for the Brisbane Roar. Wear your best and brightest orange and black to “roar as one” with the home team, or we guess you could support the opposition (not recommended!). Catch the Brisbane Roar play the Perth Glory on 6 January, Melbourne Victory on 15 January, or Western Sydney Wanderers on 25 January at Suncorp Stadium. Kick on with beers at Caxton Street before or after the game.

12. Hit the track… in a go kart 

Race your friends, family or team mates at Slideways Go-Karting Brisbane. Its adrenaline-pumping multi-level indoor kart track is the perfect racing circuit to gain speed, and a unique surface allows the karts to drift.

13. Taste the colour of Eat Street 

The sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Eat Street come to life in this container food village every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Leave plenty of time so you can arrive hungry via the river on a CityCat. Once inside the market feels like a giant food-filled festival and you can expect to find almost every cuisine and wild over-the-top dessert imaginable, along with live music, comedy and more.

14. Swing through the treetops 

Keep the active adventure going during your break in Brisbane. Fly through the trees, conquer your fears and have a whole lot of fun at TreeTop Challenge in Tamborine Mountain. It’s Australia’s largest adventure park with more than 120 activities that will have you swinging between lush rainforest trees, including 10 huge flying foxes! Whoa. 

15. Keep fit and take in the sights on a bike

Rhys Howden, three-time Olympian and Aussie Sharks player, suggests hiring a CityCycle or bicycle to explore: “An enjoyable and fun way to see Brisbane city is to cycle-hop your way along the Brisbane river from South Bank to Kangaroo Point Cliffs over the Story Bridge and back along the boardwalk in the city. You’ll get to appreciate all that Brisbane has to offer.”

16. Rise and shine for Mt Coot-tha views

Head to Brisbane’s highest point to savour panoramic views of the city, take a bush walk, browse the beautiful Brisbane Botanic Gardens or learn about the night skies at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Mt Coot-tha Lookout is great at any time of day, but arriving for sunrise is truly spectacular.

17. Get up and above for a new perspective 

Get a bird’s eye view of Brisbane from above with 360-degree panoramic and rotating views of the city from the Wheel of Brisbane. See the sights by day, the lights by night or experience a beautiful Brisbane sunset ride. 

18. Eat all the delicious Brisbane things

Love food? Us too. That’s why we wrote this guide to ALL this must-eat Brisbane foods. These dishes are the ones that every local talks about and no venue can take off its menu without public uproar. There’s everything from doughnuts and brunch spots through to the best steak and top degustation in town. Take a look and taste your first slice of the Brisbane pie. 

19. Embrace the summer of cricket 

It truly is all about sport during January in Brisbane. Australians are quick to jump on the bandwagon, so why not let that be cricket? There’s an international day-night test where Australia plays Sri Lanka from 24-28 January. Or if you like it short and sharp, there’s a 20-20 match where the Brisbane Heat will take on the Melbourne Renegades on 10 January.   

20. Basketball is back in a big way

We really weren’t joking about the amount of sport in January! Spectate courtside when the Brisbane Bullets take on the Cairns Taipans on 19 January, or when the Bullets play Sydney Kings on 25 January. Alley-oop!

But wait, there’s more...

Brisbane has plenty more to offer. Explore the city with a walking tour, join a bicycle or Segway tour or enjoy a river cruise. Further afield, cruise to more pristine sand islands on Moreton Bay or discover lush national parks and authentic farm experiences in the hinterland.  For more 

To learn more about exclusive offers for AYWPC attendees and families, visit Water Polo Australia

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