Exploring Brisbane: A Backpacker’s Guide
Brisbane is a vibrant city that offers some of the best attractions and activities for backpackers. In Brissie, Brisvegas, whatever you call it, you’re sure to find some amazing experiences here in Queensland’s capital. With its relaxed vibe, creative scene, delicious food hubs, and incredible natural beauty, Brisbane’s a great place to explore. Not to mention the city enjoys over 280 days of sunshine every year! With its stunning beaches, bustling nightlife, and abundance of cultural attractions, it’s no wonder why Brisbane is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. Whether you’re a first-time traveller or an experienced backpacker, this guide will help you explore all the best places to visit in Brisbane.
If you’re road tripping up Australia’s east coast, then it’s worth spending a few days in Brisbane. Whether you’re heading north to discover Queensland’s tropical islands and Great Barrier Reef, or just want to enjoy the sights, there’s something here for everyone.
Where on earth is Brisbane?
Brisbane’s located in the state’s south east, between the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. Locals refer to the river that winds its way through the city as the ‘Brown Snake’ – a fitting name for the beating heart of Brisbane. You’ll find lots of bars, restaurants, museums and parks along the river, so take the time to explore.
Brisbane has a subtropical climate, meaning you can expect sunny, mild weather all year round. Even in the winter, you’ll only need a sweater for a few weeks. So no matter when you visit, don’t forget to pack your swimwear and sunscreen. You’ll be glad you did!
Places to stay
If you’re looking for a place to stay without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place. Brisbane’s hostel scene is a great way to meet other like-minded travellers, as well as save your money for experiences instead of expensive accommodation. Most of the city’s backpacker hostels are just a stone’s throw away from the CBD, so getting around is a breeze.
One of the best hostels in the city is Brisbane City YHA, which offers everything from infinity pools to rooftop terraces without the hefty price tag of a 5-star resort. It’s just a short stroll away from the city centre and Suncorp Stadium, with both private rooms and shared dorms available.
Nomads, is also one of Brisbane’s most conveniently located hostels! Just a stone’s throw away from Central Station, Queen Street Mall and South Bank, this heritage-listed building is the perfect place to kick back, relax and meet fellow travellers.
At Nomads, you can take advantage of a range of free activities, from walking tours to rooftop parties and drag nights. Enjoy a free pancake breakfast every Friday and a free BBQ every Sunday. And don’t forget to take in the stunning views from the hostel’s rooftop terrace. For nightlife, the bustling Caxton Street is close by. This popular spot has hosted world leaders, sporting greats, and musicians from all over.
For accommodation, you have your pick of private single, double and twin rooms, as well as dorms (including mixed and female only dorms). So why not come stay with us and experience the best that Brisbane has to offer!
Brisbane Backpackers Resort is a rather cool option, your home away from home in the heart of West End. This hostel is the perfect place to enjoy resort-style living, with a pool, spa, and onsite tennis, basketball, and football courts. Plus, the lively bar hosts nightly games, and the travel desk can help you find even more activities. You can stay in a dorm room, private room, or even a capsule bed. Plus, you’re close to all the vintage shops, cafes, and curios of West End.
The Bunk (currently closed for renovations) is one of the the best Hostels in Australia and Brisbane. Located just steps from Brisbane’s nightlife capital, Fortitude Valley, and the riverside precinct Howard Smith Wharves, this five-level backpacker haven is the perfect place to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Head to the on-site tiki-inspired bar, Birdees, for some live music, DJs and themed evenings. Or, choose from a range of lodging options to suit your needs – from private rooms with ensuites, to shared dorm rooms, or even boutique private apartments that sleep up to six people with a self-contained kitchen, lounge area and private bathroom.
Your social calendar will get packed with exciting activities to keep you busy during your stay. Many hostels offer regular movie nights, weekly guided tours of the city, and Friday barbeques. Plus, have a games room, TV lounge, indoor and outdoor dining, an on-site cafe and bar, and a rooftop sundeck with stunning views of the city skyline.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for a day trip! With excursions to Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), Australia Zoo, and brewery tours around Brisbane.
Hop on board the CityCat and take a scenic ride along the Brisbane River to the vibrant Eat Street Markets in Hamilton. This bustling mecca of international street food, served from a variety of brightly coloured shipping containers, is the perfect spot for a night out. Enjoy a selection of bars and entertainment for a truly unforgettable experience.
There’s plenty of cheap eats to be found in the city. In Paddington, Hai Hai serves up delicious ramen, Fritzenburger and Remy’s for burgers, and Brewski for craft beer and bar food. If you’re looking for vegetarian Indian cuisine, Govinda’s is the place to go – and it caters to gluten free and vegan diets too. Bagel Boys is great for breakfast or lunch, Banh Mi Now is a local favourite, and Sendok Garpu is your go-to for Indonesian food. Don’t forget about 4 Pines beneath Nomads Backpackers for meal deals on weekdays and for local delights, head to Brisbane City Markets.
In Fortitude Valley – home to some of the best American-style burgers in town, Ben’s Burgers is a must-try. And don’t miss out on their Taco Tuesday specials at Baja for even more deliciousness. For something a little more traditional, The Prince Consort Hotel serves up all your pub grub favourites. If you’re feeling like something a bit more exotic, honto and sAmesAme are the places to go for some exquisite Asian-inspired cuisine. But if you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, Chinatown is right around the corner – Biang Biang Fresh Noodle has fresh noodles and most meals are under $20.
The West End is where you’ll find a vast array of delicious food from all over the world – from Vietnamese and Chinese dishes at Quan Thanh to poke bowls, pizza, burgers, sushi and more. There’s something for everyone down Boundary Street, and for the budget-conscious, Quan Thanh offers great value for money and is BYO. For a night out with friends, don’t miss the daily specials at Montague Hotel and Boundary Hotel.
Explore the Markets
Brisbane is known for its lively markets where locals and tourists alike can browse through stalls of fresh produce, handmade crafts, vintage clothing, and more. Start your day at the Jan Powers Farmers Market located on Brisbane’s Powerhouse Museum grounds for a unique shopping experience. Here you can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers, as well as artisanal cheeses, breads, pastries, and other goodies from independent vendors. If art and fashion are more your style, head over to the Valley Markets in Fortitude Valley on Saturday mornings to check out some of the city’s best independent fashion designers and artists.
Brisbane is home to some beautiful natural attractions that are perfect for outdoor adventurers. Take a scenic drive along Tamborine Mountain Road to explore National Parks like Mt Ngungun or Witches Falls Circuit Walk. For a closer look at wildlife in their natural habitat head over to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or take a kayak out on Moreton Bay Marine Park. There are also plenty of surfing spots near Brisbane if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush!
Visit Cultural Attractions
Brisbane has no shortage of cultural attractions for visitors to explore. Take a stroll along South Bank promenade to view iconic sculptures like the “Monumental Stairs” or go inside one of its many museums such as Queensland Art Gallery or Queensland Museum & Science Centre. Tourists can also enjoy live music performances at venues like The Triffid or Fortitude Music Hall or visit historic landmarks such as City Hall or Customs House. And don’t forget about all the great restaurants located around town!
Whether you’re visiting for just a few days or staying longer term there are endless opportunities for exploration in Brisbane! From markets to nature parks; art galleries to live music venues; there’s something here for every type of traveller looking to uncover what makes this city so special! So grab your backpack and get ready to experience everything Brisbane has to offer.