I was impressed by the variety of stuff to do in South Bank. Best of all, most of it was free!

If you are heading to Brisbane, block off one of your days to commit solely to South Bank.

After the trip to Indonesia came to a close in early May, I had to have my return flight booked to somewhere in Aussie.

To win the big brother of the week the choice was made, to visit the sister in Brisvegas.

stuff to do in southbank

The city doesn’t look so bad right?

Brisbane seems to get lots of bad reviews from both locals and backpackers. Before arriving I found a bunch of comments from Brisbane locals online saying:

  • lost its soul
  • pretty shitty city
  • let me out
  • big country town
  • over-rated, over-priced, over-regulated
  • nanny, backward, lazy

From what I could tell, these locals liked Brisbane 10 years or so, but don’t like the changes going on. That’s cool, their choice. No one loves change but I was going to give Brisbane a chance.

From my limited experience of Brisbane (10 days), it’s a nifty city. I liked the variety of things to do in South Bank (formerly known as the South Bank Parklands), and the city itself seemed alright. Plenty of people around, the botanical gardens, walks along the river, Kangaroo Point isn’t far away and the Queen Street Mall is a hive of activity.

Hundreds of cities around the world could do worse than modelling an area of their city based on BrizVegas’ South Bank.

The South Bank of today almost didn’t happen. The area was earmarked for commercial development after Expo ’88 was staged in the area. Luckily passionate locals convinced the council to develop the area into a recreational space and now there’s plenty of things to see and do in South Bank to keep everyone entertained.

There’s The Epic Streets Beach

Streets Beach on a Monday

Streets Beach on a Monday

First, before we get onto the iconic Streets Beach. I thought Brisbane was close to the ocean. It’s not. Though there are world-class beach locations The Gold Coast to the south, and The Sunshine Coast to the north. No one should complain about Brisbane not having a beach.

They have Streets Beach (man-made), the only inner-city beach in Australia. It looks like its been taken from an Indonesian Paradise. Minus the coconuts.

I thought the beach was going to be packed when headed there with Juli and Sam on a sunny weekend but it’s large enough to ensure there’s plenty of room for all.

It wasn’t all city slickers in suits or chicks forever tanning. The beach is welcoming for all, including the young ones with the beach patrolled by Surf Guards year round.

The scintillating (clean) blue water and white sand looks over the river and skyscrapers of the CBD on the other side. Can’t argue with the view.

The Impressively Hand Carved Nepalese Temple

nepalese pagoda

This was carved this by hand!

I haven’t been to Nepal yet, but it was fun to see this Peace Pagoda (one of only three outside of Nepal).

The architecturally inclined will be impressed with the hand carving of the Terai Timber that took two years to complete with the help from 160 Nepalese families.

Originally in Brisbane as a contribution to Expo ’88 on behalf of the Kingdom of Nepal, the pagoda was a big hit attraction during the expo and eventually found its permanent home on South Bank.

A Rain Forest In The City? You Know It

stuff to do in southbank brisbane

Nothing too dangerous here

The rain forest walk manages to take you away from all the other senses around South Bank. It replicates exploring the actual rain forest, I was sweating like a boss.

Like the beach, it’s a man-made attraction. You’ll be walking under the roof formed by the tropical trees with various plants and wildlife completing the transformation to a rain forest….in the city. Magic.

For those who need a dose of quiet, the rain forest walk is definitely a must do attraction in South Bank.

The Wheel Of Brisbane For Your 360-degree Views

Wheel of Brisbane things to do

Spin me right round

It’s no London Eye (135 metres) but you can still get some cool views from the top of the Ferris Wheel overlooking Brisbane River and life on either side of it. 360-degree views win.

The Wheel of Brisbane nearly takes you 60 metres above ground and with 42 capsules, there’s no long queues while I was there before you spend the next 12 minutes snapping away.

You can fit 6 – 8 people/cabin. Price for adults is $19….find out all the details here.

Things To In South Bank: Brisbane Sign Photos

brisvegas sign

The Brisvegas Sign

The Brisbane sign is cliche having debuted for the G20 summit in 2014. It was taken down before becoming a permanent attraction on the river bank providing easy social media fodder for young and old.

I found it hard to get a quality photo of the sign with the skyline in the background because of the sun. I’m guessing it would be best in the morning and evening….when I wasn’t there.

If you feel like doing your good deed for the day, help someone take a photo with them and the sign. Easy karma points!

Free Water Taxi? Claim That!

ferry stop southbank

Take advantage of that freebie

If Juli hadn’t told me about this I would’ve missed out on jumping on the City Hopper water taxi. There’s a good 10 stops or so along the Brisbane River that you can get to for free between 6am and midnight.

Once you’ve finished checking out the stuff to do in South Bank, simply head to the South Bank 3 pier (timetable) and you can get pretty darn close to your next Brisbane attraction.

Pro tip: Sit at the back outside, it looks like there’s no seating outside but a good 8 – 10 people can fit out there.

I Can Eat/Drink At South Bank Right?

Yup, there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants in South Bank. I really, really, like really really, liked the donuts at Donut Time.

South Bank in my opinion is a world class recreational facility offering plenty of things to do for people of all ages in Brisbane.

There’s also the cultural center which I didn’t get around to looking into!