Things to do in Brisbane over 48 hours

By Carla Grossetti

Things to do in Brisbane over 48 hours
From its vibrant arts precinct to its quirky shopping strips, stylish hotels and world-class restaurants, Brisbane, Brissie or Bris Vegas, as it is affectionately known, is Queensland’s new capital of cool. Here's our pick of top things to do in Brisbane on the weekend.

There’s a lot to love about the sun-soaked city of Brisbane. By identifying the mighty Brisbane River as one of its major assets the city has steadily transformed itself into a brilliant place to spend a weekend away. Here’s our suggestion of things to do in Brisbane and how to spend the perfect 48 hours in this vibrant city.

Things to do in Brisbane on the weekend

9 am   

Start your day early by pounding up the steep streets of Red Hill to Gramps Café, where you can sit cheek to jowl alongside locals enjoying the signature dish of Grampy Eggs (featuring butterbean hummus and nut crumble).

10 am    

The Brisbane River flows straight past the city’s glittering skyline. See a different side to the city by carving through it as captain of your own kayak on a guided session with Riverlife.

Things to do in Brisbane - Felons Brewing Co.
Felons Brewing Co.


Enjoy lunch and a brew with a view at brand-new Felons Brewing Co. on the Heritage-listed Howard Smith Wharves. Order a middy of the Munich Helles-style Lager alongside fresh market fish at the brewery, located under the Story Bridge.

3 pm  

As the capital of the Sunshine State, Brisbane is known for its beautiful balmy weather. Bask in the glorious tropical breezes at Streets Beach, where the manmade lagoon is the jewel in the crown of the city’s Southbank. BYO bucket & spade.

5 pm

You can walk to The Calile Hotel from Southbank via Victoria Bridge. After checking into your Urban Suite, follow up a few lazy laps of freestyle with a poolside cocktail or three. Alternatively, give your credit card a workout at one of the designer boutiques located on James St, on the ground floor of this urban resort.

7 pm

Mr Percival’s is also part of the ambitious Howard Smith Wharves precinct. Start with drinks on the sun-splashed deck followed by dinner at the waterside restaurant run by head chef Damien Styles.

Things to do in Brisbane - Post Office Square, with views of the Brisbane skyline.
Post Office Square, with views of the Brisbane skyline.

Day two

Gauge Kitchen is the go-to café for smug locals who want to show off their city’s best side. And with good reason; the little restaurant that could featured in The New York Times, no less. The sleek space serves killer coffee and inventive brunch dishes such as crumpet toast with chicken mortadella. Get there.

10 am

Join the locals wielding eco-friendly trolleys to one of the many Jan Powers Farmers’ Markets, which have mushroomed across the city – from New Farm to Manly. Here, you will find some of the State’s top growers as well as producers selling everything from curry powders to pasta, beer and bagels.


The staff at El Camino Cantina have attitude aplenty, which adds to the vibe at this new eatery located in the heart of the King Street Co-Op dining precinct. From the bold furnishings and neon-bright décor to a Tex Mex menu featuring char-grilled fajitas and soft tacos, the cantina adds to the neighbourhood’s appeal. (Opens November 30).

Giant spinning Ferris wheel at night dominates the cultural centre of South Brisbane.

2 pm

Go on a post-prandial culture trip to Brisbane’s Cultural Centre (Queensland Art Gallery, Museum, Performing Arts Centre and State Library) to see why the city is also heralded as the art and cultural capital of the State.

4 pm
Sit shadowy still in the shade under one of the eucalyptus trees forming a sentry line in the beautiful Mt Coot-ha Botanic Gardens. Enjoy an informative guided walk around the gardens, which features regular walks and workshops.

5 pm

Get your bearings by taking a stationary spin on the Wheel of Brisbane, which is a 60-m tall circle that forms part of the South Bank skyline. The wheel has 360 degree views of the Queensland capital, which puts Bris Vegas into perspective.

6 pm
You can also get an elevated view of the city from Sixteen Antlers, on the 16th floor of the Pullman & Mercure Hotel. Nab a spot near the bar as the sun hangs low and heavy in the sky and stay until the city skyline starts winking into view. The bar boasts uninterrupted views of City Hall and has a new pool deck to boot.

9 pm

GOMA Restaurant, located at the Queensland Art Gallery, is where you will find Brisbane’s moneyed crowd. Douglas Innes-Will is executive chef here and his modernist cuisine has made a window table here one of the hottest tickets in town. Fittingly, dishes present like artworks on the plate: order the Fremantle 9Dorf Farms chicken with black rice, black vinegar and black garlic.

Read more: Things to do in Canberra



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