48 Hours in Brisbane City
Brisbane City is a stunning destination, beautifully designed to host and entertain visitors and locals alike. The wider Brisbane region is a vast network of diverse, sprawling suburbs that offer countless opportunities for entertainment, but in 48 hours there’s plenty to occupy visitors in the city itself.
Airtrain can get you from the airport to the city in just 20 minutes. From there, all that’s left is to choose which of the unforgettable sights and experiences you’ll explore during your time in the city.
Getting Around in Brisbane City
Airtrain will get you quickly and comfortably from the airport to Brisbane City in 20 minutes. You can disembark at your chosen city station – Airtrain runs express from the airport, but stops at Fortitude Valley, Central, Roma Street, and South Brisbane stations.
Brisbane is a beautiful city for walking, and many fantastic destinations are within an easy stroll along attractive walkways. To get to your destination faster or to see more of the sights, Brisbane is connected by an extensive bus network and the river is crisscrossed by the CityCat ferries.
All Brisbane public transport uses a smart card for travel, or you can purchase a paper ticket. Short term visitors should check out the go seeQ card, which allows you unlimited travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days on buses, trains, ferries and trams. It also includes 2 Airtrain journeys to/from the Brisbane Airport. For longer stays, travel like the locals with a go card – just touch on at your station of departure and touch off when you arrive at your destination.
Unmissable ways to spend your 48hrs
Brisbane has so much to offer – from paid attractions to incredible free public spaces that will have you wishing you had more time to spend. Here are some great ways to spend your 48 hours in Brisbane.
Roma Street Parklands
A beautiful slice of greenery set right into the city, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens are tucked right into a bend in the river. With waterfalls, fountains, and a wide range of different plants and trees, the Botanic Gardens offer beautiful walking paths and are dotted with attractive places to sit. You might be lucky enough to catch a show or festival at the large amphitheater, which hosts cultural and musical events. There are maps posted around so you don’t miss any of the sights.
Anzac Square Memorial
Located in the CBD, ANZAC Square hosts a touching tribute to those who have fought, including an eternal flame and a haunting gallery. Surrounded by green trees and colonial buildings, it’s a beautiful spot to take a quiet moment of reflection and learn more about Australia’s military past.
Brisbane City Hall
More than just a beautiful building, the Brisbane City Hall is a must-see stop on any tour of Brisbane. Hosting the Museum of Brisbane and displaying impressive Italian Renaissance-style architecture, you’ll find the displays informative and interesting. Take a trip up the clock tower to see a different side to the city with a free tour, held multiple times a day. The square outside is a popular meeting place and a great opportunity to take some photos and grab a bite to eat.
Queen Street Mall
The Queen Street Mall is really a shopping district, featuring pedestrian-only streets lined with many different retail outlets and six major shopping centres. There are more than 700 retailers from a massive variety of different industries to explore, and plenty of food and beverage options to stop at along the way.
The Victoria Bridge connects the CBD to beautiful South Brisbane, allowing you to walk over the river and get a different view of the city. With the Treasury Casino on one side and the Cultural Precinct on the other, it’s a great spot to cross. If you fancy a longer walk, the stunning Kurilpa bridge is a pedestrian-only way to get across and offers plenty of lookouts.
Nestled at one end of South Bank, the cultural precinct is home to many of Brisbane’s most illustrious buildings for culture and learning. Within close walking distance you’ll find the State Library of Queensland, Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Art Galleries and Museum are free to visit (apart from the temporary featured exhibits), and the attractions at the other cultural buildings host an impressive rotation of local and international offerings.
Brisbane has taken a page from Melbourne’s laneway style, with Fish Lane hosting a fantastic collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. Located behind the Queensland Museum, there are plenty of options in this attractive destination. For dining and drinking the locals tend to head to Chinatown, Fortitude Valley, or the strip of restaurants that runs parallel to the South Bank Parklands. Otherwise, West End hosts some excellent dining options, including a small laneway of its own.
South Bank Parklands
One of the best features of the city, the South Bank Parklands are an unmissable destination for any visit to Brisbane. A path borders the river, taking you past a string of fun and attractive destinations. Hosting the iconic “Brisbane” sign for great riverside photos, a beautiful carved temple, an incredible playground for the children, a stretch of restaurants that offer a wide range of cuisines, the community garden called Epicurious, and numerous other treasures to discover along the way.
One of the best features of the South Bank parklands is a destination in itself- Streets Beach. A man-made swimming area in the middle of the city, it’s open air and free, with your choice of concrete pool, sandy beach, or small water park for the children. Swim with the stars overhead, river views along the path, and soaring modern buildings stretching up to the skyline.
Wheel of Brisbane
The wheel of Brisbane offers a panoramic view of the city, sparkling in the sunshine or with stunning city lights from every angle, depending on the time of day you choose to embark. A paid attraction, you’ll enter an air-conditioned capsule that can hold up to six adults and two children, and spend about 12 minutes slowly revolving up to a height of almost 60 metres and back for 360-degree views. Tip: buy your ticket at an Airtrain station and skip the queue.
A little further away, the Story Bridge soars into the sky with a strong industrial architecture, connecting the city to the Kangaroo Point cliffs. For a paid excursion, you can tackle the Story Bridge adventure climb, offering stunning views of the city from all directions. For a more relaxed option, the Story Bridge also has a pedestrian path to get you across the river in style.
The Kangaroo Point cliffs run along the edge of the river on one side, with a sheer drop to the water. With beautifully designed public areas, Kangaroo Point is popular place to exercise, have a BBQ or picnic at one of the free BBQs, or to just sit and take in the view. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time to see the sights. Kangaroo Point also hosts Riverlife, an adventure centre with a range of options such as guided paddleboard or kayak tours, rock climbing, abseiling, Segway tours plus rollerblade and bike hire.
Brisbane City with Airtrain
If you’re flying into the Brisbane Airport, take the quickest and most comfortable way into the city to see the unmissable sights. Airtrain’s fleet of modern, air-conditioned carriages are the perfect place to relax after a flight as you travel to Brisbane City in just 20 minutes.
Your City ticket is valid for travel to and from all stations between the Brisbane Airport and South Brisbane including: Bowen Hills, Fortitude Valley, Central Station and Roma Street Station. You can pre-book online and save with exclusive specials for advance purchasing, duo and group travellers as well as families.
Come and see what Brisbane has to offer, you won’t want to miss it! Take the comfortable, reliable option to begin your adventure in the city – the best way to get to your destination is with Airtrain.