A Fun Weekend in Brisbane on a Budget

We think it’s pretty easy to spend a weekend in Brisbane on a budget, so today, we have pulled together some of our favourite things to do in this vibrant riverside city that will keep you busy and help you go home with great memories.

Travelling in Australia can be expensive sometimes. You could empty your bank account on a quick trip with no trouble at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Australia has amazing budget activities, just like any other travel destination. All you have to do is look for them when you’re creating your Brisbane itinerary. So, if you’re ready to spend a weekend in Brisbane, here are some of the best budget sightseeing choices.  

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The Best Things to Do in Brisbane on a Budget

Spend time at Southbank

Southbank must be on your Brisbane itinerary because it’s one of the city’s most diverse and interesting areas. Right in the heart of the city, it’s an oasis of calm and creative expression with its own beach, a water park, a playground, and an interesting mix of cafes and restaurants.

Southbank Skyline view at night
Visit Southbank day or night.

You could spend most of your two days in Brisbane in this area and only spend money on food if that’s what you want to do. Some of the best things to do here are:

  • Take a dip at the ‘beach’.
  • Check out the local eateries, which vary from expensive to budget.
  • Head down Friday to Sunday for the Southbank markets.

Want more views? Check out this list of Brisbane lookouts.

Muse around the Museums – QAGOMA

If you’re on a budget during your 2 days in Brisbane, make sure you pay a visit to South Bank’s cultural neighbourhood. It’s air-conditioned, which is awesome if you aren’t used to the Queensland sun, and offers world-class exhibitions. QAGOMA encompasses two museums – The Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. Entry to the main gallery is free.

Brisbane Art Gallery
Queensland Art Gallery

QAGOMA plays host to a range of special exhibitions that you will have to pay for, but the ticket fee is usually a small price to pay to see the world-class artwork. GoMA’s Children’s Art Centre is an ideal addition if you’re traveling with family, and the free entry makes it an excellent addition when you’re exploring Brisbane on a budget.

The Storey Bridge

The Storey Bridge stretches over the Brisbane River between Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point. It’s a heritage-listed bridge that first opened in 1940 and the largest steel bridge designed and constructed in Australia by Australians. It also offers fantastic views, particularly if you climb it during your 2 days in Brisbane! 

Storey Bridge Brisbane
Brisbane’s Storey Bridge

Just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Storey Bridge is another one of the few bridges in the world that you can actually climb. And once you’re up there, you’ll enjoy incredible views over the river, Kangaroo point, and far beyond to the stately mountain ranges. Just make sure you have a strong stomach before you decide to add this to your Brisbane itinerary.

If walking past Felons makes you thirsty, then we have a list of breweries to check out here.

Cruise the River

Brisbane is also known as the River City for the river that winds its way through its heart. This is one of the best ways to see the city, so a cruise along the water must be part of any Brisbane itinerary. The Brisbane City Cat is a high-speed ferry that will take you past some of Brisbane’s best sights, buildings, and neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for an overview of the city during your 2 days in Brisbane, this is the ideal and cheapest way to start.

Brisbane River Ferry
Ride a City Ferry or City Cat

Here’s what you’ll see along the way:

  • The University of Queensland.
  • New Farm
  • South Bank
  • The heart of the city.
  • Portside Wharf.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

If you want to get out of the concrete jungle during your 2 days in Brisbane, then spend some time in the Botanic Gardens. Located in the Brisbane City Council Mt Coot-tha precinct, they were first opened in 1976 and cover 56 hectares of subtropical plants.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens
Brisbane Botanic Garden

This is one of the best cheap things to do in Brisbane. Entry is free, and you can take your time wandering through the trails and gawking at the amazing plant life. The Botanic Garden also holds exhibitions and workshops to keep the kids entertained, as well as guided walks so you can learn about what you’re looking at.

New Farm

New Farm is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Brisbane, and it’s easy to see why. It’s hip, trendy, and yet has plenty to do when you’re visiting Brisbane on a budget. Located close to the city and well connected by public transport, here are a few things to do in this area:

The Powerhouse from New Farm Park
The Powerhouse from New Farm Park
  • Hang out in the beautiful New Farm Park and watch the boats cruise up and down the river.
  • Have a picnic under a tree.
  • Grab your mates and play football or frisbee on the grass.
  • Head down to the New Farm Deli for picnic snacks.

Basically, New Farm is the perfect neighbourhood if you’re spending 2 days in Brisbane and want to get away from the high rises for a while.

Stroll the Riverwalk

The Riverwalk stretches between New Farm and the Howard Smith Wharves. It’s basically a permanent pathway from New Farm into the city, offering great views over the water the whole way along, even if you are not trying to see Brisbane on a budget.

Southbank broadwalk Brisbane
Brisbane River Walk

During your 2 days in Brisbane, make sure you stretch your legs and see the city from this unique perspective. You can walk, run, or cycle along the path and stop along the way anywhere that looks interesting.

Find more walks you can do in Brisbane here

Fortitude Valley

Fortitude Valley is an inner-city suburb where you’ll find heritage buildings next to brand new constructions. It’s a slightly gritty area that offers some of the best nightlife in the city, as well as quirky and sometimes surprising shops, restaurants, and cafes. Well connected to the city centre, it’s the ideal place to go if you’re looking for cheap things to do in Brisbane. You can just wander the streets, not spending a thing, and never get bored.

Brisbane Greeter on a street art walk
Join a Brisbane Greeter on a street art walk

Here’s what to do in Fortitude Valley:

  • Go in early for brunch at one of the many cafes.
  • Go for a swim at the Valley pool, home of Olympic swimmers.
  • Take a street art tour with a Brisbane Greeter.
  • See what’s on at the popular Judith Wright Centre for cabaret, dance, and everything else creative.
  • Go from one coffee place to the next until you find your favourite cup.

Don’t let the limitations of your bank balance stop you from enjoying your Brisbane itinerary. By choosing cheap or completely free activities, you’ll enjoy your 2 days in Brisbane without having to go into debt.

Now you have to decide where to stay while you are in Brisbane and maybe which of these day tours to spend some of the money you saved on!

Got a question? Head over to our Australia Travel Tips Facebook Group and ask a local.

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