Whether you want water views, panoramic vistas, adrenaline-fuelled adventures or lazy days on relaxed islands, Brisbane is packed with activities and sights you’ll love.
At sunrise, sunset and all points in between, catching a stunning view in Brisbane is easy. In a city blessed with plenty of hills, high points and river vistas, there’s a plethora of the best lookouts in Brisbane to choose from.
The best views in Brisbane? Well, everyone has their favourites. Here are a few of ours.
Get the heart pumping and abseil down Kangaroo Point Cliffs. (Image: Kenny Smith)
1. Climb the Story Bridge
For two amazing hours, you can take in incredible views of Brisbane from atop the Story Bridge, 80 metres above Brisbane River.
Sunrise and sunset are terrific times to look out on the expanse of the city on one of only three bridge climbs in the world. But don’t limit yourself to the climb itself, as there many experiences available through Story Bridge Adventure Climb, including bridge abseiling.
Climb the iconic Story Bridge.
Cameras are banned on the climb, but the guides will capture your big moments along the way and the memories will last forever.
2. River views from Howard Smith Wharves
Enjoy a craft beer from Felon’s Brewery on the boardwalk at Howard Smith Wharves, taking in the view from a curve in the river beneath the Story Bridge.
Watch the rivercraft pass by, gaze up the bridge and take a stroll or cycle along the floating Brisbane Riverwalk to New Farm.
The lift or stairs to the top of the cliffs gives you a higher vantage point, or you can head to Fiume Rooftop Bar at Crystalbrook Vincent for cocktails with a view.
Drink in the view (and maybe a brew or two) from Howard Smith Wharves.
3. Kayak Brisbane River
Getting out on the river gives an entirely different perspective on the city. Paddle a kayak with Riverlife by day or night for a water-level viewpoint as you glide under some of Brisbane’s many bridges.
Depending on the tide, you might even see the shipwrecked Myora clinging to the riverbank among the mangroves. Twilight tours reveal reflections of the skyline on the water, and some include a grazing platter beside the Kangaroo Point Cliffs – perfect for date night.
Find the best views in Brisbane from water level.
For a different pace, grab your friends and skipper your own picnic boat from Go Boat (no licence required) to explore the river. BYO food and drinks – and as a bonus, canine companions are also allowed aboard.
If you want someone else to do the driving as you take in the views, combine a river cruise with visits to some of the city’s best cocktail bars or craft breweries aboard a River to Bay tour.
On a budget? Hop aboard a CityCat ferry and travel from the University of Queensland at St Lucia to Northshore Hamilton for just a few dollars.
Grab your friends and skipper your own boat around the river.
4. Hike to Mt Coot-tha lookout
Brisbane’s best-known lookout is at the top of Mt Coot-tha, with sweeping panoramic – if distant – views back to the city.
The expansive observation deck has telescopes for a closer peek at city life and it’s a great place for a selfie or two. Take a picnic or grab a bite at the casual Summit Cafe for a meal with a view.
For energetic visitors, there are walking and mountain biking trails lead to Mt Coot-tha’s summit, many starting at JC Slaughter Falls at the foot of the mountain (for those who’d prefer to drive, there’s parking at the top).
Find the perfect Brisbane skyline views from Mt Coot-tha’s summit. (Image: BEDA)
And don’t miss the 52 hectares of glorious sub-tropical Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
On Brisbane’s south side, the Mt Gravatt lookout is tucked away in bushland with views to the city, Moreton Bay and Mt Coot-tha, with a social enterprise cafe, playground and native garden on the grounds.
Enjoy the view for longer with a picnic.
5. Find Brisbane’s best rooftop bars
Stylish and sophisticated rooftop bars are all around Brisbane. The Terrace at Emporium Hotel South Bank boasts mesmerising views over Southland Parklands, across to the CBD and along the river. With a retractable ceiling and glass roof to deal with any weather, it’s open from 7am until late for everything from breakfast to post-show cocktails.
Enjoy sweeping city views and great drinks from The Terrace.
In the heart of the city, Sixteen Antlers, atop Pullman Brisbane King George Square, is a great space to sip and enjoy a birds-eye view of the City Hall clock tower next door.
On the city fringe, vibrant Fortitude Valley is bristling with rooftop bars. Valley Hops Brewing above Cloudland is for beer lovers, while Brisbane’s newest rooftop bar, Soko in Jubilee Place, where the menu lists Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.
For margaritas and more, head to Ann Street, where MAYA Mexican offers lush Mexican Riviera-inspired surrounds and sensational views from the 11th floor.
Celebrate the lush Mexican Riviera-inspired surrounds and sensational views at MAYA Mexican. (Image: Jake Roden)
6. Walk to Kangaroo Point Cliffs lookout
The towering cliffs at Kangaroo Point provide a gorgeous backdrop to the river opposite Brisbane Botanic Gardens, and are popular with rock climbers and abseilers. Get your thrills with Riverlife’s adventure experts, or take the 107 steps to the top for fantastic views.
For a gentler experience, book a cliffside table at Joey’s on Riverside Terrace for tapas, pizza and cocktails.
Watch as sunset transforms the city skyline at Kangaroo Point. (Image: Kenny Smith)
7. Snorkel Moreton Island/Mulgumpin
From above, below or dry land, the views from Moreton Island/Mulgumpin are hard to beat.
Take a helicopter joy flight as part of a day trip with Tangalooma Island Resort, or snorkel around the Tangalooma wrecks to spot turtles, dugongs and other aquatic wildlife.
The resort offers a host of activities, from whale watching to sand tobogganing and quad biking; at the end of the day, enjoy a drink from one of the few locations in Brisbane where you can watch the sun sink into the sea.
If you’re keen to stay on island time, Tangalooma Island Resort offers a wide range of accommodation options.
Snorkel around the Tangalooma wrecks.
8. Explore more of Moreton Bay
Gaze out over the vineyards of Ocean View Estates as you unwind beyond the city in the beautiful Moreton Bay region, or take in the view of southeast Queensland’s largest lake from the Lake Wivenhoe Lookout.
You can also cross the bridge to Bribie Island for spectacular views of Pumicestone Passage and the Glasshouse Mountains.
For something completely different, take in the sights from a Venetian-style gondola with Island Gondolas. Look out for dolphins.
Cross the bridge to Bribie Island for more spectacular views.
9. Sail to North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah
North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah offers many great views, but one of the best is from the North Gorge Walk at Point Lookout, where you can look down into the gorge to spot turtles and manta rays, and marvel at the power of the ocean at the Blow Hole.
Marvel at the views along North Gorge Walk. (Image: Damien Bredberg)
Another top vantage point is on the headland next to Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club, where you can see along the expanse of the 32-kilometre-long Main Beach.
To connect with the island’s Quandamooka people, join Elisha Kissick from Yura Tours for a walkabout or drive-about, or meet with Quandamooka chef Keiron Anderson for cultural and cooking workshops with Yalabin Dining.
For a cold craft brew or dining with an ocean view, head to Straddie Brewing Co.
Enjoy never-ending views in Brisbane’s North Stradbroke Island.
10. Discover the Scenic Rim
With boutique gin distilleries, wineries, rainforest walks and picturesque villages, Scenic Rim lives up to its name.
Just over an hours’ drive from Brisbane, this region offers plenty to discover. Look out on fields of lavender from Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm as you enjoy tastings or a lavender gelato, or drop in for a tipple at Tamborine Mountain Distillery or Cauldron Distillery.
Catch your breath with unbelievable rainforest views along Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk.
Burn some energy on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, which takes you 30 metres into the canopy for breathtaking views of the rainforest below. Serious hikers might prefer to tackle the multi-day Scenic Rim Trail through Main Range National Park.
To start planning your perfect Brisbane view, go to visitbrisbane.com.au.