Top 20 Things to Do in Brisbane for Under $20

Top 20 Things to Do in Brisbane for Under $20

Brisbane, the Sunshine State’s capital and Australia’s third most populous city, is filled to the brim with awesome and exciting things to do without burning a hole in your wallet.

Whether you want to walk or bike, eat or drink, touch the ground or touch the sky, there’s something for every traveller on a budget in Brisvegas.

Move over, Sydney and Melbourne – you’ve got some hot competition…


Search flights to Brisbane


Happy hump day BRISBANE! Thanks for this great pic @lady_brisbane #brisbaneanyday

A photo posted by Brisbane Greeters (@brisbanegreeter) on


1.Watch the skyline sparkle from The Wheel of Brisbane

Cost: $17.50/adult or $15/student. Where: Cultural Forecourt (next to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre), South Bank, Brisbane. See the city of Brisbane light up the night while suspended 60m high in the sky. Open till 9:30pm weeknights, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights (10pm on Sunday), you can marvel at the dazzling skyline from a fully windowed gondola offering 360-degree views.

  #WearOrangeWednesday to say Thanks to all the #SES volunteers @QldSES   A photo posted by The Wheel of Brisbane (@wheelofbrisbane) on

2. Eat your heart out at Eat Street Markets

Cost: Entry is free. Prices vary, but you can find great dishes from $10.

Where: Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton, Brisbane

Foodies, rejoice! Hamilton Wharf on Brisbane’s Northshore plays host to the most modern and collaborative market experience every Friday and Saturday from 4:00pm till 10:00pm.

From mouthwatering pies to fresh seafood, toffee apples with a twist to cuisine from all around the world; whatever you’re hankering for, you’ll find it here. Guaranteed.

3. Have a picnic and kick a footy in New Farm Park

Cost: Free. BYO picnic treats and football. Where: 1038 Brunswick Street, New Farm Where better to lay in the sun and enjoy the beauty of nature than on eighteen hectares of carefully manicured horticultural delights on the banks of the Brisbane River? A favourite of locals and visitors alike, New Farm Park boasts user-friendly facilities such as BBQs, picnic shelters, water bubblers, playgrounds, toilets, croquet lawns and a stunning rotunda area for special events. Grab your picnic blanket. Pack your lunch. Call your mates. And just hang out.

4. Take a stroll and spend a day with some of the most talented artists at GOMA

Cost: General gallery admission is free. Special exhibition costs vary e.g. $20/adult and $16/concession for a ticket to the current Future Beauty exhibition.

Where: Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank, Brisbane

The Gallery of Modern Art (or GOMA, as it’s called by the locals) showcases the works of some of the greatest Australian and international creative artists the world has ever seen.

Proudly adjoining its big brother institution, the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), GOMA has been curating groundbreaking modern art exhibitions for generations of culturally-forward Brisbanians.

From Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol, the inspiration on these walls never disappoints. Word on the street is that the current exhibition Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion is a must-see.

5. Drink cocktails poolside at Soleil Pool Bar and watch the beautiful people mingle

Cost: Free entry to Capri Sunday Sessions. Cocktails start at $18 (but totally worth it) Where: Podium Level, Rydges South Bank, Corner of Grey & Glenelg Streets, South Bank Brisbane’s coolest DJs spin the decks on this open-air rooftop offering kick-ass views of the Southbank Parklands. Home to an impressive cocktail collection and an even more impressive setting (hello, anyone keen for drinks by the rooftop pool?!), Soliel is THE place to go for a seductive Saturday night date or a sophisticated Sunday session. My tip? Indulge in their ‘Passion Is The Colour Red’ signature cocktail of Belvedere Pure Vodka, lemon, Rizzardi Prosecco with rose and raspberry sorbet, and a finishing spritz of rose water. #Drool. BYO swimwear and party people.

6. Visit the beach without leaving the city at Streets Beach

Cost: Free.

Where: Stanley Street Plaza, South Brisbane

Keen to feel the sand between your toes but can’t leave the city? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Located conveniently in the Southbank Parklands on the southern banks of the Brisbane River, and with views of the CBD, Australia’s only man-made metropolitan beach is the perfect spot to go for a quick dip when the coastline is calling your name (but you can’t answer).

Qualified lifeguards patrol Streets Beach all year round, but patrol hours vary in the cooler months, so check with them directly.

One of our favourite spots to cool off!:mrs_pooley #visitbrisbane   A photo posted by Visit Brisbane (@visitbrisbane) on

7. Shop local at Boundary Street Markets

Cost: Entry is free. Where: Corner of Boundary & Mollison Streets, West End Antiques and retro treasures. Arts, crafts, fashion, homewares. Music. Fresh food and coffee. And a damn funky setting in one of the trendiest ‘burbs in Brisbane. Spend your Saturday wandering the stalls of this industrial pop-up market and meet the homegrown artists and emerging entrepreneurs who are making a difference to the local culture (and economy).

8. Get to know the city on a free walking tour

Cost: Free.

Where: Tours depart from outside Brisbane City Hall (King George Square Entrance).

Every traveller knows that when it comes to visiting new places, a little local knowledge goes a long way. So if you want to get a feel for the city and see the best parts through the eyes of a local, then sign up for a free walking tour with Brisbane Greeters.

A free service provided by enthusiastic local residents who absolutely L-O-V-E their city, Brisbane Greeters offer two services: Greeter’s Choice, where you go along for the ride and follow your guide’s lead; or Your Choice, where you decide what parts of the city you want to discover.

Tours depart daily at 10am, seven days a week. Bookings essential.

Brisbane Greeters visit to the beautiful Redlands Region! It was a fantastic day out in Greater #Brisbane!   A video posted by Brisbane Greeters (@brisbanegreeter) on


9. Sink your teeth into something delicious at Chur Burger

Cost: Burgers are only $10 each. Add a delicious side for $6. For reals. Where: 20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley These dudes don’t let a little fire destroy their big burger dreams! A local favourite and the best reason to make a trip into the Valley, Chur Burger serves up Brisbane’s best burgers, fries, tacos, salads, snacks and desserts (um, hello pavlova ice cream sundae with strawberries), all with a reasonable price tag and no hassles. Named after New Zealand’s appreciative term for ‘awesome’ or ‘excellent’ or as a term of thanks, Chur Burger is amping up the flavours of America with a distinctive Kiwi twist. A damn great burger at a damn great price? Chuuuur, bro!

The Notorious B.I.G @churburgersurryhills A photo posted by Chur (@churburgersurryhills) on

10. Laze around in some of Brisbane’s most scenic spots

Cost: Free.

Where: Post Office Square (8am-2pm daily); Roma Street Parkland (10am-5pm daily); and City Botanic Gardens (8am-2pm daily)

Take advantage of Brisbane City Council’s free Chairs2Share program which lends out deck chairs for people to laze in whilst they enjoy the surrounds of some of the city’s loveliest outdoor spots. Lap up Queensland’s glorious sunshine and connect to the council’s free wifi hot spots at three locations across the city. Get yo’ tan on, city dweller.

11. Treat your taste buds at Green Beacon Brewing Co

Cost: Prices vary. Prices for a four-pack of takeaway beers start at $16.50. Where: 26 Helen Street, Teneriffe Love your beer? Then this is one microbrewery you can’t go past. Green Beacon is Teneriffe’s first boutique craft brewery and it looks like they got it right the first time. With ten brews on tap – including perennial favourites Anchor Amber Mild Ale and Windjammer IPA – all of which can also be taken home (yep, takeaway beers FTW!), and a delicious menu to complement your tasting session, Green Beacon is a must-see for craft beer connoisseurs.

12. Laugh your ass off at the Brisbane Comedy Festival

Cost: Ticket prices vary for different shows. Tickets to Class Clowns State Final are only $16.

Where: Various locations across Brisbane. Check the festival guide here for details.

Why did the traveller cross the road? To get to the Brisbane Comedy Festival! Um, okay, so I’ll leave the jokes to the professionals, but checking out this festival is no laughing matter!

From 24 February through to 22 March, the best Australian and international comedians [and wannabe class clowns] will be bringing their best jokes, puns, sketches, insults and sarcasm to Brisbane for a month of laugh-your-ass-off hilarity. From the big names to the no names, and all the wise quys in between, you’re guaranteed to find someone here who will tickle your funny bone or at least make you crack a smirk.

For a cheaper option and to show your support for young, up-and-coming, local talent, head along to the 2015 Class Clowns competition where the biggest smartasses aged 14-18 come out to shine and show what they’re made of.

Hold the press! #BrisComedyFest 2015 line-up has just been announced. See it on the website   A photo posted by Brisbane Powerhouse (@bris_powerhouse) on

13. Cheer on the Brisbane Heat at Cricket Australia’s 20Twenty Big Bash

Cost: General Admission tickets start from $12.20ea (when purchased as a family pack – 2 x adults, 2 x juniors. Price is per person). Where: 411 Vulture Street, Woolloongabba There are some things that just come with Queensland summers that you can’t hide from: Mangoes. Wild thunderstorms. 90 per cent humidity. And cricket. Lots of cricket. The best way to experience this quintessential Aussie pastime is to head along to The Gabba for some 20Twenty action. Cheer on the Brisbane Heat as they do big bash battle against the other Australian states under the cool summer night sky. The atmosphere is charged, the hits are big, and the beer is cold. This is the way cricket was meant to be enjoyed.

Is it enough? Another great knock of 52 off 39 from Nathan Reardon. #BBL04 A photo posted by Brisbane Heat (@heatbbl) on

14. Release your inner botanist at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coo-tha

Cost: Free.

Where: Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong

Set among 52 hectares of lush subtropical and native gardens, Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens at Mount Coo-tha are a must-see for nature lovers.

Explore the Cactus Zone, marvel at the Bonsai House, cool down in Bamboo Grove, loose yourself in the delectable smells of the fragrant plant and herb gardens, play hide ‘n’ seek on the children’s trail, or wander the Exotic Rainforest.You could easily loose a day here in Queensland’s premier living museum of native and exotic plant collections.

Open every day of the year for your wandering pleasure, the Botanic Gardens also offer free events and workshops for people of all ages and interests.

The view from the top!! #brisbane #brisbanebotanicgardens   A photo posted by Nickk Christian (@nickkc90) on

15. Chase food trucks

Cost: Prices vary, but dishes start at $9. Wheres: All around Brisbane. Check websites and Facebook daily pages for location details. The Bun Mobile. Juan More Taco. That BBQ Joint. The Pasta Cruiser. King of the Wings. Bring your GPS. Oh, and your appetite.

16. Get a dose of Eastern culture in Chinatown

Cost: Free.

Where: Mains Road, Sunnybank

Although the ostentatious pagodas and Chinese-character signage will tell you that Chinatown is in Fortitude Valley, don’t be fooled. Most local Chinese Australians have left the once-thriving (if not a little tacky) Chinatown Mall for greener pastures… if you can call Sunnybank that.

Home to three shopping centres – Sunnybank Plaza, Market Square and Sunny Park – this once semi-rural part of Brisbane is now the thriving melting pot of Asian cultures and cuisines that Brisbanites have dubbed as ‘Brisbane’s Little Asia’. Asian markets, bakeries, butchers and restaurants galore have taken over Sunnybank and it’s a damn good thing too.

Hit up Landmark in Sunnybank Plaza for the best yum cha in town.

17. Touch the sky at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

Cost: $18 for 1 hour jump time (includes your own pair of sky zone grip socks) Where: 544 Kessels Road, Macgregor Move over, ten-pin bowling. Step aside, video arcades. The latest craze in indoor entertainment has arrived and it’s got more bounce than Beyonce’s booty. Sky Zone’s Indoor Trampoline Park is made up of hundreds of trampolines, connected to form a single massive trampoline that literally allows you to jump off the walls. If you’ve ever dreamed of being Spiderman, then this is the place for you. Practice mid-air dunks, strike rad karate-style poses while soaring above, or just jump around like you just don’t care. Whatever your age, whatever your body type, whatever your fitness level, there’s a damn good time to be had here. Just tell your inner child to tell your outer adult to shut up and bounce.

18. See the latest blockbuster at South Bank Cineplex

Cost: $8.50/adult, weekends and evenings after 6pm

Where: 167 Grey Street, South Bank.

Who needs crappy quality movies on a laptop when you can see all the latest blockbusters in air-conditioned wide-screen comfort at South Bank? With the cheapest tickets in Queensland and plenty of screenings to choose from, you’ll never want to watch an illegally download movie again (but you don’t do that kinda thing, do you?).

19. Take a (cheap) bike ride with CityCycle

Cost: Daily subscription only $2. Rates apply for trips over 30 minutes. Where: Charlotte Street, Brisbane Skip the notorious Brisbane traffic and jump on to one of the Brisbane City Council’s CityCycle bikes for an easy cruise. Simply purchase a subscription based on how long you’ll be in the city and then choose from 150 bike stations to collect your wheels. Usage fees are then based on how long you ride (a 60 minute journey will set you back $2.20) and you can collect or return bikes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hot tip: keep your trip under 30 minutes and you ride for free.

20. Walk the streets

Cost: Absolutely nothing.

Where: Wherever your feet take you…

As a traveller, I derive more pleasure from walking the streets of a new city than going on any fancy excursion. It is the cheapest and easiest way to get to know the true essence of a city and its people. As long as you have two feet, a smile and a sense of adventure, you can never get bored. And if you get lost? Just use your manners and ask for help. So get out there, wander the streets and malls, explore alleyways, and discover new hidden gems. You’ll be surprised just how much you learn.



Featured image by iStock




13 bars in Brisbane you must drink in before you leave 2

13 bars in Brisbane you must drink in before you leave

Search flights to Brisbane   Whether it’s whiskey or wine, Coors or cocktails that gets you going, you’re bound to...
Shanny Matterson
30 things to do in London under £20

30 things to do in London under £20

London, as most people will tell you, can be soul-crushingly expensive. It’s fantastic if you’re an oligarch with sofas stuffed...
Adam Zulawski
10 things to do in Sydney for under $45

10 things to do in Sydney for under $45

It’s not Oslo or Tokyo, but Sydney can be an expensive place to go on a holiday. It’s #7 on this...
Jason Brick
Travel tips See all
10 ways to escape the crowds in London

10 ways to escape the crowds in London

London and crowds go together like summer and fruit flies; it sometimes feels like you just can’t escape them. While...
Emily Ray
9 things I wish I’d known before visiting Sri Lanka

9 things I wish I’d known before visiting Sri Lanka

Packing in history, culture, wildlife, food and activities from the lush hill country to its palm tree-fringed exterior, it’s really no...
Kirsten McCroskrie