Heading to Brisbane but don’t want your itinerary to break the bank?
Whether you want to laze in the sun and listen to music, get a bit of culture at one of Australia’s best galleries and museums, chuckle at some fresh comedy or frolic in a water park, the best things in life are free, especially when you’re in Brisbane.
1. Howard Smith Wharves
Address: 5 Boundary St, Brisbane
One of Brisbane’s most historic sites, the Howard Smith Wharves precinct has undergone a complete transformation, making it one of the hottest spots to hang out in the city. And best of all you don’t have to reach into your pocket to enjoy the rejuvenated area under the iconic Story Bridge stretched along the banks of the Brisbane River. Every weekend there’s ‘Weekends on the Lawn’, a free event from 1-8pm with live music, food trucks, drink carts and lawn game.
If you fancy combining two of the city’s favourite pastimes – drinking and exercise – make sure you head to Felons Brewing Co., a popular riverside brewery which holds free community beer yoga every Monday evening and Saturday morning on the Felons Lawn. It’s free – just BYO yoga mat.
2. Kids Collective at South Bank
Address: South Bank Parklands, Brisbane
Turns out, fun doesn’t have to be expensive to entertain kids, especially if you take advantage of Kids Collective; a series of free, outdoor classes and workshops.
Each Thursday from February to November, you’ll find a huge range of engaging activities for children at South Bank Parklands.
Running between 9am-1pm the Kids Collective program includes a variety of classes for children under five years of age including creative art, rugby skills workshops, storytelling, early childhood music programs and Queensland Ballet’s Tiny Dancers classes.
Every activity is free and even better; you don’t have to book in to attend.
3. Bob Gamble Park
Address: 2 Blackall St, Ipswich
With gorgeous weather all year around, it’s always a good time to get some sun and have a splash in Brisbane.
Head to Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane, where Bob Gamble Park (also known as Riverheart Parklands) is a hit with kids and families. There’s a zero-depth water park that kids adore splashing around in (and even riding their bikes through), a 25-metre flying fox and a ‘discovery forest’ with forts, balance beams and totem poles.
It’s hard to believe that such a fantastic play area is free, so make a day of it by bringing a picnic or food to cook on the BBQs by the Bremer River.
4. The Cultural Centre
Address: Grey St and Melbourne St, South Brisbane
You could easily spend days wandering through the arts and cultural hub of Brisbane. The Cultural Centre, located at South Bank includes the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and the State Library of Queensland. QAGOMA alone is home to more than 17,000 artworks from Australia and around the world, and showcases renowned contemporary Asian and Pacific art.
When the sun really starts to heat up the city, these buildings are cool and quiet havens.
General admission is free but there may be a charge for some exhibitions and special events.
5. Roma Street Parkland walking tours
Address: 1 Parkland Blvd, Brisbane
If you’re keen to learn about local plants and wildlife, join one of the free daily-guided walking tours at Roma Street Parkland.
Meet your knowledgeable volunteer guide at the information booth in The Hub (there are two sessions each day leaving at 11am and 1pm) and set off on a one-hour exploration of the stunning gardens to learn more about the flora, fauna and design.
If you have kids with you, a gold coin donation will get you access to The Parkland Explorer train, which snakes its way through some of the 16 hectares of picturesque gardens, colourful flower beds and shimmering water features.
It’s definitely worth calling ahead to confirm your spot on the walking tour (phone: 1300 137 468).
6. Ipswich Nature Centre
Address: Queens Park, Goleby Ave, Ipswich
Queens Park in Ipswich is home to one of Brisbane’s best-kept secrets – the Ipswich Nature Centre. Picture a mini zoo where you can get up close and personal with your favourite Australian animals including kookaburras, wombats and wallabies as well as some of our less commonly seen critters like quolls and bilbies.
The rainforest bird aviary is colourful and boisterous, while the barn with its lambs and calves is always a favourite with the youngest of visitors. While the Nature Centre is free to visit, a gold coin donation is appreciated to help maintain the centre.
7. Livewired Comedy
Nothing will bring smile to your dial faster than the words ‘free comedy’.
Every Sunday from 5pm, the Brisbane Powerhouse serves up some of the best local and interstate comedy acts the world over. All you have to do is turn up and be prepared to laugh.
And after you’ve giggled, chortled, guffawed and chuckled, a couple of steps will get you to New Farm Park. Here you can snaffle a spot for a picnic, or step aboard the one of free red CityHopper boats that shuttle people between New Farm Park terminal and North Quay in the CBD.