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20 fun things to do in South Bank Brisbane (Complete Guide)

Are you planning a visit to Brisbane in Queensland, Australia? With a year-round warm sub-tropical climate the city has much to offer the growing numbers of domestic and international visitors arriving annually.

If you are visiting Brisbane one place that really has to be included in your itinerary is South Bank. Located on the south bank of the Brisbane river with stunning views of the city and surrounded by parks, pools, restaurants and the only beach located in a city in Australia it has something to appeal to all the family.

If you are wondering what there is to do in South Bank I have you covered! In this article, you will discover some of the best things to do in South Bank Brisbane

First visit to Brisbane? We recommend a walking tour of Brisbane City Highlights or this Brisbane river cruise (with lunch included) as perfect ways to familiarise yourself with this beautiful Queensland city.

Don’t miss these things to do at South Bank!

Take a photograph of the Brisbane sign

Who doesn’t want to take a picture of the Brisbane sign? Even better the sign is lit up at night so you can get that perfect shot of the skyline behind!

south bank brisbane and the brisbane sign just one of the things to do in south bank brisbane | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane
Brisbane sign 800 x 500

Take (or buy) a picnic or have a BBQ

You can purchase food (or take your own) just remember to take a blanket, wear a hat and lots of sunscreen! There are lots of green spaces available and finding a great spot is easy.

There are also BBQ’s available for you to use so bring your own food and cook at South Bank!

This is a popular option for lots of people and there is free entertainment too every Sunday at River Quay Green so you can sit back enjoy some music and just relax.  For up-to-date information on what is on this month at South Bank check out the official website.

Enjoy a picnic with a view in South Bank Brisbane.
A view of Brisbane from South Bank and a girl relaxing enjoying the view.

Take a stroll along the river and spot some of the local flora and fauna!

There are lots of birds and more exotic Australian animals to spot as you walk along the river!

Lizard at South Bank Brisbane.

Take a ride on the wheel of Brisbane in South Bank Brisbane!

These can be found in every city around the globe these days – I prefer my feet firmly on the ground but for a view of Brisbane from a slightly higher viewpoint try the Wheel of Brisbane!

If you want to have a go on the wheel check out the official website!

The Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank Brisbane
The Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank Brisbane 1

Take a Swim at Streets Beach!

One of the most popular of things to do in South Bank Brisbane is to go for a swim!!

South Bank Brisbane has the only man-made beach in a city centre in Australia. The facilities are excellent and the pool has lifeguards on duty – be sure to contact the South Bank Visitor Centre on (07) 3156 6366 to double check when they are there. And best of all it is free to use – yes you read that right – FREE!

At Christmas, there was an open-air cinema screen at the beach so you could enjoy the warm weather with a swim and a movie! One for next Christmas for us – this is a really unique experience!

Check out more things to do in Brisbane with children!

Brisbane streets beach | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane featured by top international travel blog, Tracy's Travels in Time
Streets Beach Pool at South Bank Brisbane.

Take a swim in the Boat Pool

Another free pool to swim in and again this is patrolled by lifeguards though as mentioned above check before you go!

Boat Pool at South Bank Brisbane.

Have fun at Aquativity

Aquativity is an interactive water-play park free for all to enjoy but the kids will love it! Again this is open daily and patrolled by lifeguards.

Aquativity at South Bank Brisbane has lots of water jest and water fun areas.
Aquativity area in South Bank Brisbane at night.

Take a book and relax in the beautiful South Bank Gardens

The parklands are a wonderful space to enjoy – a veritable oasis in the middle of the city. Take a stroll, get some shade, find a seat or somewhere to sit and enjoy the surroundings!

You can even visit the Epicurious Garden and find out about some of the wonderful fruit and vegetables that are grown there.

Gardens in South Bank Brisbane.
Gardens in South Bank Brisbane.

Stroll through the arbours

Beautiful bougainvillaea surrounds you as you stroll through the arbours – and lights at Christmas make them extra pretty!

If you are looking for somewhere extra special to visit there are lots of romantic getaways near Brisbane to see too.

Brisbane arbours with bougainvillaea.
Christmas Village sign on the arbours at South Bank Brisbane.

Visit the the South Bank Brisbane Market

The Collective markets can be found at the Stanley Street plaza at South Bank and are open

Friday 12pm – 9pm Saturday 10am – 9pm Sunday 9am – 4pm

The Brisbane Christmas markets at South Bank are also excellent and worth a visit.

Stall at Brisbane Christmas market in South Bank.
Hats for sale at a stall at South Bank Market.

Catch the City Cat and take a boat ride along the river

Catch the City Cat and enjoy a ride along the river taking in the sights of the city (and the cooler breeze in the summer too!)

The City Cat in Brisbane | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane featured by top international travel blog, Tracy's Travels in Time.

Visit the Nepalese Temple

The Temple was brought to Brisbane by the Nepalese for the World Expo in 1988. It is only one of 3 Nepalese peace pagodas to be located outside Nepal! I loved looking around the pagoda and this carving caught my eye!

Nepalese Temple in South Bank Brisbane.
Elephant at the Nepalese Temple in South Bank Brisbane.

Enjoy live music

There is free entertainment every Sunday at River Quay Green so you can sit back enjoy some music and just relax. 

For up-to-date information of what is on this month at South Bank check out the official website.

musicians play at south bank brisbane | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane featured by top international travel blog, Tracy's Travels in Time.

Pick Up a City Bike and go for a cycle along the river

Bikes available to hire 24 hours a day – what a brilliant scheme! You can use the bike for half an hour for free and it has to be returned to one of the many stations at this point or you will be charged a usage fee. Stations are in close proximity to each other and there are 150 across the city.

To find out more check out the City Cycle website!

Bicycles for rent South Bank Brisbane.

Walk Along to GOMA in South Bank Brisbane

If you are the arty type take a stroll along to the Queensland Art Gallery Of Modern Art.

Previous exhibitions include the art of YAYOI KUSAMA in the LIFE IS THE HEART OF A RAINBOW. You can find up-to-date info on exhibitions on their website.

Art exhibition in Brisbane.
Art exhibition in Brisbane.

Watch a Show/Musical at QPAC

Check out events and shows at Queensland’s Performing Arts Centre!  

QPAC Brisbane | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane featured by top international travel blog, Tracy's Travels in Time
QPAC Credit Christopher Frederick Jones

Visit the cheapest cinema in Brisbane

The cineplex South Bank is the cheapest cinema we have yet found in fact I double checked when told the price!

We love heading to the cinema in the evening after a day at South Bank so check out what’s on and add it to your itinerary!

Street in South Bank Brisbane.

Take your dog for a walk along South Bank

Why not take your pooch for a walk along the river? This little beauty is called Cassie and was only 4 months old – so cute!

Dog.

Let the kids play in the playground while you relax

There are lots of little play areas in South Bank and this huge one! I know my daughter would have loved this when she was younger.

Playground in South Bank Brisbane .

Have a meal at one of the many South Bank Brisbane eateries

There are so many restaurants to choose from and though I really want to try them all out my waistline dictates that I can’t!

So far I can recommend a Sunday roast at the Hop and Pickle if that floats your boat.

Otherwise there are so many other choices I will just say you will not have a problem finding one that satisfies your hunger!

Food in South Bank Brisbane.
Food in South Bank Brisbane.

Things to know before visiting South Bank in Brisbane

How to travel to South Bank

Bus – check out the Brisbane City Council website for information about buses that run in the city.

CityCat or CityHopper  – South Bank stops 1 and 2 are served by the CityCat and stop 3 by the CityHopper. Check out Translink for timetables and fare information.

Train – catch the train to South Bank station and it is a short 5 minute stroll to the riverside.

GoCard – Buy a GoCard and top it up for easy access to all types of transport in Brisbane. Buy your card at a station or on-line (you have to wait for it through the post) top it up and when you get on and off make sure to tap your card!

By car – If you decide to drive into the city there is an underground car park at South Bank with 800 spaces.

city cat Brisbane | 20 Top Things to Do in South Bank Brisbane featured by top international travel blog, Tracy's Travels in Time.

When is the best time of year to visit South Bank?

Brisbane has a sub-tropical climate with hot summers and dry warm winters. If you want to make use of the free bathing facilities they make be closed at times for cleaning so make sure to check!

Christmas is a great time to visit with fireworks, parades, festive markets and a cinema at the beach!

But to be honest ANY time of year is a wonderful time to visit Brisbane and South Bank!

What are the accommodation options at South Bank?

We have a couple of favourite hotels we recommend at South Bank.

The Mantra

The Mantra is only 2 minute walk from South Bank and has excellent facilities (pool/gym/amazing breakfast).

Click here for rates and availability at the Mantra Hotel South Bank

 Mantra Hotel South Bank Brisbane.
Bed at the Mantra Hotel South Bank Brisbane.

The Emporium

Fabulous infinity pool and bar with a beautiful view of the city. Luxurious bedrooms with excellent facilities.

Check here for rates and availability at the Emporium Hotel Brisbane.

View of Brisbane from the Emporium Hotel.

Read more – Where to stay in Brisbane (Area and accommodation guide)

More information about visiting Queensland Australia

You can find lots of articles about visiting Australia on this website and a number of these are focussed on the beautiful state of Queensland.

With an enviable climate, wonderful wildlife, stunning beaches there is so much to do and see it can be overwhelming putting together your itinerary.

Why not start with the top 23 places to visit in Queensland? This is the perfect bucket list for anyone visiting (or living in) Queensland!

Heading to the Sunshine Coast? Read my guide to the best things to do and see and my top 10 picks of Sunshine Coast accommodation for your stay.

Want to know what to avoid doing? Read all about what NOT to do when visiting Oz!