Brisbane - Queensland's capital - is a great holiday destination for families, with fantastic parklands, river cruises and great shopping and dining. There are many festivals and events held throughout the year for visitors to enjoy. Its proximity to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts makes it a great base for your Queensland holiday.
Brisbane's metropolitan area starts near Caboolture in the north, down to Beenleigh in the south, and across to Ipswich in the south west.
Brisbane is a vibrant, modern city that has a lot to offer holidaymakers. It is a great starting point to your Queensland holiday.
South Bank is a great recreation and entertainment area right in the heart of Brisbane. There are parklands, water activities, and many cafes and restaurants. The Brisbane Festival is held here and in other Brisbane locations every September.
Brisbane is home to many large sporting events. Suncorp Stadium hosts rugby league, union, and soccer while AFL and cricket are played at the Gabba.
You won't be lost for somewhere to dine in Brisbane. The main dining areas include the CBD, Riverside, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Southbank and Paddington.
Only 30 minutes from the coast, Tamborine Mountain has many wineries and restaurants, art galleries and craft shops and fabulous views back to the coast. Springbrook has beautiful waterfalls and pools and the Natural Bridge is a must see. Lamington National Park has great rainforest walking trails and many waterfalls to see.
Population: Over 2,000,000
Location: Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and is located in the south-east corner of the state. It sits on the Brisbane River.
Climate: Brisbane is subtropical. Average summer high is 29 degrees with the average summer low at 20 degrees. The winter high is 22 degrees and the winter low is 10 degrees.
Time Zone: There is no daylight saving time in Brisbane. Time zone is Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Transport: Plenty of taxis and extensive local bus, rail and ferry services are available. If you need to hire a car you will have no trouble finding a car hire place, but stick to the well known companies (Avis, Hertz, Budget etc).
Flying Times To Brisbane: Direct flights from Sydney - 1 hr 25 mins , Melbourne - 2 hrs 20 mins, Perth - 4 hrs 45 mins.
Medical: There are many medical centres and hospitals located in the suburbs of Brisbane.
Sun: The summer sun can get very hot especially between 10am and 2pm. Cover up and make sure you use sun protection.
Airport: Brisbane Airport is located 20 mins from the CBD. It has connections to international and domestic destinations.
Electricity: 240v at 50Hz.
Visa/Passport: Visas are required to all visitors travelling to Australia except for New Zealand passport holders.
Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways fly directly to Brisbane. This competition has brought about some very cheap airfares. You will need to book early to secure these cheaper airfares especially if you plan to travel in the school holidays. You can check the airlines web sites: Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger Airways.
There is plenty of family friendly accommodation available in Brisbane. You can choose from 5 star luxury resorts to basic apartment accommodation.
Check our Brisbane accommodation page for a listing of the family friendly resorts and hotels available.
Booking accommodation online is now the norm, with most resorts offering an online booking facility. There are also numerous online travel companies where you can check resort facilities and accommodation types, check for availability and price, and book your holiday using a credit card.
Mantra offer a number of family friendly properties in Brisbane.
Hotels Combined allows you to search a number of accommodation providers at once to make sure you get the best deal.
There is a good public transport network in Brisbane including buses, trains, and ferry services. Weekend services may not be as frequent as
on a weekday. You can catch the 'Airtrain' from the airport directly to the CBD in 20 minutes.
There are plenty of car hire companies available, but best to stick to the better known ones and shop around for the best deal. Some offer special discounts through motoring associations, travel agencies, credit card companies, airlines, discount books, licensed clubs and other sources.
Budget is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and the absolute best in service; Budget offers a wide range of cars, 4WDs, and minibuses, as well as Australia's largest fleet of trucks and commercial vehicles.
There are a variety of shopping options in Brisbane.
Queen Street Mall, in the heart of the CBD, is home to 6 separate shopping centres, including designer and specialty stores, department stores and many places to eat.
There are many large shopping centres located in Bisbane's suburbs including Indooroopilly and Carindale. Stones Corner has good outlet shopping. For a different shopping experience head to Paddington, for vintage clothing, antiques, jewellery and fashion shops.
South Bank hosts art and craft markets on Friday nights and on weekends. On a Sunday, head to Rocklea for Brisbane's biggest weekend market or for arts and crafts go to the Riverside markets. The Valley Markets in Fortitude Valley operate all weekend, and you can find fashion and jewellery from local designers as well as second-hand items.
Things To Do
There are endless activities available for families in Brisbane. Here is a list of the most popular ones:
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Get to cuddle a koala here and see all other types of Australian wildlife. There are lots of talks and animal feeding opportunities. Located 13km from the CBD, in Fig Tree Pocket. Open from 9am.
Great place for a picnic or BBQ with the kids, lots of open space and a playground. Located an hour north-west of Brisbane.
Queensland Museum, South Bank
Always lots of interesting exhibitions on and also has the Sciencentre. Lots of interactive displays and kids holiday programs. You can buy souvenirs of your visit at the shop. Admission to museum is free, but Sciencentre and some exhibitions will have a fee. Open from 9am weekend, 9:30am weekdays.
South Bank Parklands
There are parks, playgrounds, a man-made beach and lots of cafes and restaurants. The water-play park is a highlight for kids. The beach is patrolled during the day. There is also a good Visitor Centre here.
Alma Park Zoo
Located 30 mins north of Brisbane, you will get to see lots of native animals as well as some exotic animals from around the world. You can pat and feed some of the animals. There is a cafe or you can bring a picnic or have a BBQ. There is parking within the zoo grounds and there is a souvenir shop. Open from 9am.
Lots of companies offer cruises down the Brisbane River. These range from sightseeing cruises to lunch and dinner cruises or have dinner on a gondola.
Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort
Located on Moreton Island, you can spend a day at the resort and feed the dolphins at sunset. There are also dolphin and whale watching cruises available. Moreton Island is 58km northeast of Brisbane.
Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Also features an optional abseil climb, you will get a great view of Brisbane and its surrounds from the top of the Story Bridge. Ages 10 and over.
Daisy Hill Koala Centre
Located in Daisy Hill, 25km south of Brisbane, this is a great place to see and learn about koalas and have a picnic or BBQ. There are walkways through the eucalypt forest. It's free to enter and is open from 10:00am.