Brisbane is a beautiful city that has emerged from the shadows of Melbourne and Sydney in recent years to become a world-class international tourist destination in its own right.
If you’re planning a family holiday in Brisbane, you’re in for a treat. It is now a family-friendly city offering exciting activities for kids of all ages, from swimming in the lagoon pool at Southbank to getting up close and personal with adorable wildlife. Subsequently, there is plenty to do in the city formerly (ironically) known as Bris-Vegas.
To help you plan your travels to the state capital of Queensland, we’ve devised this list of 15 fun and engaging things to do with your kids on a Brisbane family holiday. Take your offspring to any (or all!) of these places, and they are sure to have a fantastic time.
Best Time to Visit Brisbane
The great thing about going on a family trip to Brisbane is that it has a subtropical climate, and the weather is usually good. Indeed, on average, the city has 283 sunny days a year. So, there should be plenty of sunshine whenever you visit Brisbane with kids.
That said, the city does have distinct seasons that can influence your travel plans. So, it is worth taking a look at what to expect in each one:
Spring (September to November): Spring is an excellent time to visit Brisbane. The weather is pleasant and mild, with day temperatures ranging from 19°C to 24°C. These temperatures make it an ideal time to spend outdoors while you can also appreciate the city’s parks, gardens and green spaces in full bloom.
Summer (December to February): Brisbane’s summer is hot and humid, with the mercury typically hovering between 25°C and 33°C on average. If your family enjoys beach outings and water activities, this is the ideal time to explore the nearby Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast beaches. Just be prepared for occasional afternoon thunderstorms – which are a spectacular event.
Autumn (March to May): Autumn in Brisbane offers comfortable weather with average temperatures between 18°C and 24°C (59°F to 77°F). As the city is less crowded during this time, many families choose to holiday in this season. It’s also a good time of the year to explore the city’s various cultural attractions and enjoy outdoor festivals.
Winter (June to August): Unlike other cities in Australia, winter in Brisbane is mild, regularly around 11°C and 21°C. This season is perfect for outdoor adventures, as the weather is dry and pleasant, and the humidity is low. You can explore the city’s parks, go hiking, or visit wildlife sanctuaries without worrying about extreme heat.
Overall, the best times to visit the city for a holiday are spring and autumn due to the pleasant weather and the sheer range of things for families to do in Brisbane.
However, whenever you decide to go, it is worth considering the school holidays, accommodation availability and how busy the tourist attractions might be. So booking in advance is advisable if you plan to visit during these times.
Getting Around in Brisbane
Getting around Brisbane is relatively easy, so whether or not you need to hire a car depends on your budget, transportation preferences, itinerary, and the ages of your children.
For those who are okay with travelling on public transport, you can use various transportation options on your Brisbane family holiday. Brisbane’s public transport system, managed by TransLink, includes buses, trains, ferries and trams.
TransLink offers a cost-effective way to explore the city, especially if you’re staying within the central areas. Buses and trains can accommodate strollers, and the vehicles have designated spaces for families. Between them, they cover most parts of the city and surrounding suburbs.
One of the best family things to do in Brisbane is to ride the CityCats (high-speed catamarans) and ferries operating on the Brisbane River. They provide a scenic and enjoyable way to travel to different parts of the city and give you a unique perspective that you won’t get from trains or buses.
If you plan to explore areas outside Brisbane, like the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, or visit the attractions in the hinterland, hiring a car might be more convenient, especially if you’re travelling with very young children. It provides flexibility and the convenience of travelling at your own pace.
You will find all of the major car rental companies in Brisbane, either at the airport, in the CBD or even in certain hotels. When hiring a car, ensure it has safety seats appropriate for your children’s ages and sizes. Most car rental companies offer child seats for an additional fee.
Overall, if your itinerary mainly involves exploring the city centre and nearby attractions, relying on public transport is a cost-effective and hassle-free option, especially if your children are comfortable using public transportation. However, if you plan to venture outside the city or prefer the convenience of having a car, renting one with appropriate child-safety seats gives you a lot more freedom.
Where to Stay in Brisbane With Kids
When choosing places to stay for your family trip to Brisbane, several suburbs are worth considering. Each one offers something different in terms of landscape, attractions and accommodation. So it is worth establishing which is the most appealing choice given your preferences and itinerary.
If you want to be in the heart of the action, South Bank is a top choice for families due to its proximity to blockbuster attractions like the South Bank Parklands, Queensland Museum and Streets Beach.
You’ll also find plenty of public transport and restaurant options nearby. Should you intend to stay in this area, the Rydges South Bank Brisbane offers family rooms with modern amenities, an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant – always convenient when travelling with children!
Not far away from Southbank, the Brisbane CBD is another excellent place to stay for those wanting a central location. You’ll find plenty of shopping, dining and cultural attractions here and some of the most upscale accommodations in the city.
One is the Mantra on Mary, an apartment-style hotel with spacious rooms and kitchen facilities perfect for families wanting to self-cater. It conveniently resides within walking distance of Queen Street Mall and other CBD attractions.
For those who want to stay near the river, Kangaroo Point is a terrific spot with stunning river views and a location that offers easy access to outdoor activities like the Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park and Story Bridge Adventure Climb.
The Point Brisbane Hotel is an excellent choice in this area. Overlooking the Brisbane River and the CBD, it provides comfortable rooms and an outdoor pool that is a real hit with kids.
Should staying in the city be an overwhelming thought, why not consider booking accommodation in the peaceful suburb of Ascot instead? This area, just outside the city, is known for its beautiful heritage-listed homes. It is a good base for those wanting a quieter place to stay on their Brisbane family holiday.
You’ll also find accommodation prices slightly cheaper here than in the city, particularly at the Airport Ascot Motel. The hotel offers family rooms with basic amenities, so it is a good option for those on a budget. It’s also near Brisbane Airport, providing a short transit journey for those flying into the city.
Where to Stay Near Brisbane with a Campervan
The city has no viable options if you’re travelling with a caravan or campervan. However, you’ll find some decent choices nearby, including at the Brisbane Holiday Village in Eight Mile Plains, about 15 minutes south of the CBD. This holiday village offers powered and unpowered sites for caravans and campervans and facilities like a swimming pool, playground and barbecue areas.
Elsewhere, the Brisbane Gateway Resort in Rochedale offers various accommodation options, including sites for caravans and campervans. It also features a water park, pool and mini-golf, as good as any of the kids’ activities in Brisbane.
Best Things for Families to Do in Brisbane
Brisbane is a terrific destination to visit on holiday with your kids, offering many family-friendly activities and attractions for you all to enjoy. Here are 15 fantastic family things to do in Brisbane to schedule into your itinerary.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
A visit to Brisbane wouldn’t be complete without encountering Australia’s most iconic marsupial – the koala.
At the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, children can get up close to cuddly koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, and meet a variety of Australian wildlife. The sanctuary offers educational talks, interactive exhibits, and opportunities for kids to hold a koala for a memorable photo.
Overall, it’s an enchanting and educational experience that introduces children to Australia’s unique fauna.
Located in the vibrant South Bank precinct, the Queensland Museum offers a fantastic selection of exhibits to engage young minds.
The museum features a dinosaur exhibit that will captivate aspiring palaeontologists. There are also interactive displays covering everything from Australian natural history to cultural heritage. These hands-on activities and exhibits ensure that a visit to the museum is both a fun and informative experience for all.
South Bank Parklands
South Bank Parklands is a hub of family-friendly activities set against the backdrop of the Brisbane River. Whilst there, kids can enjoy the man-made Streets Beach, a sandy lagoon perfect for swimming and building sandcastles.
There’s also a variety of playgrounds, picnic areas and lush gardens to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if a lot of your family trip to Brisbane revolves around South Bank!
Roma Street Parkland
Located in the heart of the city, Roma Street Parkland offers a serene escape from the frenetic pace of sightseeing.
The entire family can explore the beautiful gardens, relax by the lake and picnic in this picturesque oasis. The park also features a children’s playground with climbing structures and slides – making it an excellent option to put on your holiday itinerary.
Wheel of Brisbane
Located in the South Bank Parklands, the Wheel of Brisbane offers a thrilling ride with breathtaking views of the city. Kids will love the experience of being in a giant observation wheel, and it’s a fantastic way to see Brisbane from a new perspective – especially at sunrise or sunset.
Science Centre at Queensland Museum
As part of the Queensland Museum, the Science Centre offers a hands-on learning experience for kids of all ages. You’ll find interactive exhibits covering a wide range of scientific topics, allowing children to explore, experiment and learn in a fun and engaging way.
From physics to biology, there’s something to pique every child’s curiosity in this fabulous Brisbane attraction.
City Botanic Gardens
Exploring Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens is a lovely thing to do as a family. There, you can wander through lush gardens, spot native birds, and have a picnic amidst beautiful greenery.
The park features a playground where children can play and expend their energy. It’s a tranquil, relaxed escape right in the heart of the city – perfect for quality family time.
Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
Introduce your kids to the world of art at QAGOMA, which features a wide range of captivating exhibitions.
While contemporary art might not be every child’s cup of tea, the gallery often hosts family-friendly workshops and interactive installations designed to engage young art enthusiasts.
Tour Suncorp Stadium
If your kids are into sports, they’ll love the opportunity to tour Suncorp Stadium. Doing this lets them enjoy an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Queensland’s premier sports and entertainment venue.
Kids can explore the locker rooms, walk through the player’s tunnel, and even step onto the hallowed ground where their sporting heroes compete. The interactive tour also provides insights into the stadium’s history and its role in hosting major events.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha
Located a short drive from the city centre, the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens offer a fantastic outdoor experience for families. Explore themed gardens, including the Japanese Garden and the Fragrant Garden. The wide-open spaces are perfect for picnics and there’s even a hide-and-seek children’s trail to keep the little ones entertained.
Queensland Maritime Museum
If your kids are fascinated by ships and maritime history, the Queensland Maritime Museum is a must-visit for them. Whilst there, they will love exploring various vessels – from historic warships to tugboats.
The museum also offers a glimpse into Queensland’s maritime heritage and regularly hosts a programme of interactive exhibits and activities for children throughout the year.
Climb the Story Bridge
If your children are over ten years old and 130 centimetres in height, one of the best things for families to do in Brisbane is to climb the Story Bridge. Offering an unforgettable adventure, this iconic bridge climb offers breathtaking panoramic views of Brisbane’s skyline, the Brisbane River and the surrounding areas.
Don’t worry, parents. Before the climb, everyone is equipped with safety gear and receives a thorough briefing from experienced guides. The climb itself is a guided journey featuring interesting stories about the bridge’s history and construction.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Check the schedule at QPAC for family-friendly shows, including musicals, plays and other live performances. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the world of theatre and the arts.
Look for productions specifically tailored to younger audiences, of which there are usually quite a few.
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
For budding astronomers, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is a fascinating place to explore the wonders of the universe.
Interactive exhibits, planetarium shows and telescope viewing sessions are all available to inspire a love of space and science in children.
Eagle Farm Park
Located just 20 minutes from the CBD, Eagle Farm Park is a fantastic destination for families visiting Brisbane with kids. This spacious park offers a range of amenities for children, including a fantastic playground that fuses the equipment with trees and treehouses!
The park also features serene walking paths and open grassy areas for picnics and ball games. Overall, its natural beauty and proximity to the Brisbane River make it an ideal spot for a family outing.
Overall, this is a small selection of the kids’ activities in Brisbane you can do on your family holiday in Queensland.
Whether you’re exploring the natural world, delving into science, or marvelling at the arts, Brisbane has a wealth of family-friendly activities for every one of you to enjoy.
More Tips For Visiting Brisbane
- If you intend to use any form of public transport, consider purchasing a Go Card. This rechargeable smart card offers discounted fares compared to purchasing individual tickets and can be used on buses, trains, ferries and trams.
- While driving in Brisbane is generally straightforward, parking in the city centre can be expensive. Consider accommodations that offer complimentary parking if you decide to rent a car and be mindful of toll roads around the city when plotting your route.
- If travelling with children, consider taking day trips to some of the major theme parks on the Gold Coast. They include Dream World, Wet’n’Wild, Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World. Your kids will have a wonderful time at any of them.
- About an hour’s drive north of Brisbane is Australia Zoo, a world-famous attraction founded by the late Steve Irwin. It’s an animal lover’s paradise, featuring a wide array of animals, including crocodiles, kangaroos, elephants and emus and wildlife shows and interactive encounters.
Continuing Your Journey in Queensland, Australia
If Brisbane is just the launching point for your road trip through East Coast Australia, you may want to check out next:
- Pack the car and head north on this incredible Queensland coastal drive from Brisbane to Cairns
- For an ultimate outback adventure, grab a camper or 4×4 and take on the epic Brisbane to Darwin drive through outback Australia
© Family Road Trip