A Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Brisbane

A Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Brisbane

No longer just a big country town, Brisbane, Queensland’s Capital and Australia’s third largest city, is now cultured and cool, laid back yet happening, functional yet beautiful and modern but with some interesting historical buildings and just a short hop away from fabulous beaches and islands.

Daily Backpacker Budget:
AUD$60 – 80
US$ $50 – $70

Top 5 Things to do in Brisbane:

  • Brisbane life centers around the Brisbane River and the best way to see this city is on a river cruise. Take the free city hopper ferry which slowly traverses the main city stretch of the river giving plenty of time to sit up top, enjoying the sights, soak up the sun and take lots of photos.
  • Explore the wonderful South Bank, stroll through the gardens, splash around in Street’s Beach for free or visit Queensland’s Cultural Precinct, which includes many free museums and art galleries – make time for the Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery.
  • Check out Story Bridge, one of Brisbane’s most iconic landmarks. You can climb over Story Bridge and it’s a lot cheaper than the Sydney Bridge Climb.
  • Join Brisbanites and make use of the enviable climate and get active. Along the river are playgrounds, work out equipment, you can walk, jog, skate, hire a cycle, Segway or just BBQ for the less active. It’s not uncommon to see people rock climbing and abseiling or kayaking or jet skiing down the river.
  • Climb the walking trails up to Mount Coot-Tha lookout for an escape to nature with great views over the city and beyond.
The free beach on the lovely South Bank in Brisbane
Chilling out at the free beach on the lovely South Bank in Brisbane

Worth Splashing out on?

Brisbane’s Story Bridge Climb starts from $99 (so a lot cheaper than Sydney’s). Or visit the Castlemaine XXXX brewery. You can also take a trip down the river to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to cuddle a koala or hand feed a kangaroo, great if you want to get up close to these unique aussie animals.

The Best Backpacker Hostels in Brisbane:

There is a good cluster of hostels just near the main Roma Street Station, the Brisbane City YHA is modern and clean with great views over Brisbane’s river from the rooftop and even a small swimming pool.  Bunk Backpackers is near Chinatown and has its own nightclub and a hot tub. Or try Base Brisbane Uptown its right in the centre of the CBD, close to Roma Street Transit Centre, and has a lively bar and different activities every day.

Where to Eat and Drink on a Budget in Brisbane:

Brisbane has quite a relaxed dining scene, head to Fortitude Valley for the best restaurants and nightlife or check out the casino in the historic treasury building. Make sure to try a famous Aussie meat pie, grab something on the go from Queens Street Mall or search out some tucker in a pub and try a classic XXXX Gold Queensland beer. If you really want to save money pick a hostel with a kitchen so you can cook your own food.

How to get to Brisbane:

Brisbane is well served by a large international airport and is on the main routes for buses and trains plying the East Coast and the rest of Australia.

To find the best deals on international and domestic flights to Brisbane search on Skyscanner to find the best deals. I always search for whole month to find the cheapest day to fly and can save alot of money by being flexible with dates.

Visas for Australia

Expect for New Zealanders, all visitors to Australia need to obtain a visa before travelling but don’t worry, this is an easy process. Tourist visas for Australia are known as Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa cover visits of up to 90 day and are quick to process and are electronically linked to your passport so there’s no need to send your passport away. The visa costs $20, apply online through the government website  or make the process even quicker and easier by using iVisa.

If you want to stay longer and work and travel in Australia for a year or more then download my free backpacker’s guide to see if you are eligible for a working holiday visa 

Where Next?

Moreton Bay and North Stradbroke Island are just a short ferry hop away from Brisbane and the buzzing Gold Coast and more relaxed Sunshine Coast are also only about an hour away.

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Ritwik Raman July 12, 2015 at 1:22 am

Now come goa

Global Gallivanting July 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Lol. I can’t wait to come back to Goa but there is also so much to see in the rest of the world!

Gogi Virdi July 12, 2015 at 4:34 am


Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad February 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm

I love Brisbane! So many backpackers hate it but I ended up living there for 6 months! Lone Pine was actually one of my favourite things to do in Australia. 🙂

Why Everyone Is Loving and Flocking to Australia's Gold Coast (and Why You Should Too!) - Global Gallivanting Travel Blog October 27, 2022 at 3:36 pm

[…] Gold Coast is a metropolitan region located south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It’s renowned for its long beaches, surf spots, theme parks, […]


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