Exploring Brisbane and Beyond

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland, home to 2.4 million locals and millions more in visitors each year. The cosmopolitan city on Australia’s east coast is sunny and sophisticated, offering gorgeous beaches, Aussie wildlife experiences, shopping, dining and more. Hire a Brisbane rental car and head just outside of Brisbane to explore the Gold Coast to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north.
 
Here are our top 10 things to do when exploring Brisbane and beyond. 
 
1 – Explore the City
 
There’s no better way to get to know a city than to head downtown and experience its heart. Get lost among the amazing shopping, stunning skyline and friendly locals that Brissie has to offer. Park that car rental in the city centre and explore the gems along Queen Street, James Street and the hidden delights on Winn Lane.  
 
Brisbane city
 
2 – See the Beach Within the City
 
In Brisbane, you don’t even have to leave the city to enjoy the beach. The iconic Streets Beach is Australia’s only beach within a city; it’s a free man-made beach with a beautiful lagoon, white sand and plenty of Aussie’s vibrant sub-tropical flora. 
 
Streets Beach Brisbane
 
3 – Brisbane River Cruise
 
Explore the city at sea level aboard one of the many Brisbane River cruises. Brisbane River is an important part of the city, connection the inner city and providing a beautiful background and a touch of nature within this busy city. A daytime or sunset cruise is a great way to relax while getting to know the history and culture of the city. 
 
brisbane-river-cruises-6
 
4 – Drink, Dine, Relax
 
Like many cosmopolitan cities, Brisbane has plenty to offer its guests in the way of food, drink and entertainment. Esquire and Urbane Restaurant often fight it out for the top spot in Brisbane’s fine dining scene and there’s no shortage of quality cafés like Coffee Anthology or Pourboy. Brisbane is a big city, so it’s a good idea to hire a car so you can reach wonderful restaurants and cafés easily, no matter where you’re staying in the city. 
 
Coffee Anthology Brisbane
 
5 – Abseil Kangaroo Point Cliffs
 
You don’t have to leave the city to get your heart pumping! Kangaroo Point Cliffs brings the adrenaline right to the heart of Brisbane, offering brave tourists the chance to abseil down 20-metre cliffs while taking in the city sights. Children eight and older can take the plunge too. 
 
Kangaroo Point Cliffs Brisbane
 
6 – Watch the Footy
 
If you’re in Brisbane during the winter, make like a local and head to a footy game. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into rugby union, rugby league or Australian Football League, Brisbane hosts them all. Word to the wise, to avoid confrontation you might want to dress in the local team’s colours!  
 
Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
 
7 – Australia Zoo
 
Just over an hour’s drive in the car hire will get you to the world famous Australia Zoo. Owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Crocidile Hunter Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo invites you to get to know the intriguing creatures and enjoy fascinating wildlife shows. The passion that the Irwin family feels for Australian wildlife is contagious!
 
Australia Zoo Brisbane
 
8 – Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
 
For a more tame activity, hop in that hired car and take the 12 km drive to the world’s largest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine. This really is a must-see as a trip to Australia is not complete without holding koalas, feeding kangaroos and observing the other weird and wonderful wildlife that Australia is famous for. 
 
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
 
9 – Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Day Trips
 
Brisbane is well located between two popular Queensland holiday destinations: the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Both are within a day trip’s distance, so pack the rental car with some snacks, sunscreen and swimmers and make your way up or down the coast. 
 
Road Trip from Brisbane
 
10 – North Stradbroke Island
 
Another excellent day trip outside of Brisbane is North Stradbroke Island, or as the locals call it, North Straddie. Stradbroke offers a peaceful day away from the city with rugged beaches, whale watching, plenty of surf an down-to-earth dining and relaxation. A day in Straddie will offer you a tranquillity and rest amongst a busy trip to Brisbane.  
 
North Stradbroke Island
 
Be sure to check out https://www.australia.com/en/places/brisbane-and-surrounds/guide-to-brisbane.html  for a more detailed assessment of Brisbane.