Brisbane is a sunny river city with delicious food, a fascinating arts scene, fabulous shopping and unique adventure opportunities.
Weaving through the heart of Brisbane is a beautiful, wide river lined with walking and cycle trails. The river provides a perfect focal point for relaxed alfresco dining, peaceful green spaces, relaxing walks and easy transport options. Historic and ultra-modern bridges criss-cross the river at regular intervals, linking the galleries, museums and parks of South Bank with the glittering towers, shopping streets and botanic gardens on the north side.
About our flights to Brisbane
Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights to Brisbane from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and seasonally from Queenstown. On all flights you have a choice of Seat, Seat + Bag and The Works fare types. Works Deluxe is available on all flights from Wellington and Christchurch and Works Deluxe, Premium Economy and Business Premier are offered on flights from Auckland dependent on aircraft type. The Auckland to Brisbane flight time is three hours and 45 minutes.
Many of the best restaurants in Brisbane embrace the city's outdoor lifestyle by offering alfresco dining on decks and balconies with spectacular river views.
Where to go and what to see in Brisbane
If you simply pass through Brisbane on your way to the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast, you'll miss an Australian treasure. Small enough for easy exploration but big enough to offer an exciting range of things to do and see, Brisbane is a sophisticated city with a relaxed outdoor vibe. If you base yourself in or near the CBD, free inner city ferries, bus loops and short-term cycle hire make it very easy to explore this visitor-friendly holiday metropolis.
Enjoy delicious food with a view
Whether you're an enthusiastic foodie or simply enjoy good cooking, Brisbane has a lot to offer. The local food scene has really taken off in recent years. Encouraged by a growing population, urban renewal and spectacular riverside locations, creative cuisine has flourished at all levels, from street eats to award-winning degustation experiences. Restaurants serving authentic Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes sit comfortably alongside innovative local eateries that focus on deliciously unique cuisine using traditional Australian ingredients.
Many of the best restaurants in Brisbane embrace the city's outdoor lifestyle by offering alfresco dining on decks and balconies with spectacular river views. Rooftop bars are also popular here, making the most of sweeping vistas and evening breezes for pre-dinner drinks or nightcaps beneath the stars.
For a meal overlooking the river, head to the bars and restaurants around Eagle Street Pier in the CBD or Howard Smith Wharves nestled between Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge and the New Farm cliffs.
Explore the fascinating cultural precinct
South Bank is home to Brisbane's cultural precinct and a celebrated destination for relaxation and cultural events. At the north end, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) houses more than 17,000 historical, modern and contemporary art works. It also hosts an impressive programme of international and Australian exhibitions, so be sure to check what's on when planning a trip to Brisbane.
For world-class exhibits on natural history, heritage and science, walk a short distance south to the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. Permanent and changing exhibitions and public programmes reveal fascinating insights into Queensland's past, present and future.
Next in the cultural precinct is the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, where a concert hall, several theatres and informal spaces offer all kinds of local, national and international performances. Here you can enjoy ballet, opera, musical theatre, classical and modern music, modern dance, comedy and more. On Friday evenings, look for free live music performances on the Melbourne Street Green in front of the centre.
Shop like never before
From big name stores and high fashion to local designer boutiques, Brisbane can zhoosh up your wardrobe for the season to come and way beyond. Located in the heart of the CBD, Queen Street's pedestrianised shopping hub, Queen Street Mall features four departments stores, big name brands, high-end designer stores, international brands and Australian labels. Not to mention a large variety of open air bars, cafes and dining options.
Fortitude Valley, a nightlife hub next to the CBD, is loved for high-end fashion and talented local designers offering unique pieces from small independent boutiques. James Street has long established its reputation as Brisbane's high-end shopping district oozing European character and charm. Head to Winn Lane, California Lane and Bakery Lane, which connects Fortitude Valle's vast bar, café and live music venues, and discover boutiques offering something out of the ordinary.
Paddington, just west of the CBD, is another popular shopping neighbourhood. This upmarket residential area is known for vintage clothing and homewares with style. Along Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace, you'll find a huge selection of small stores with a relaxed and welcoming local feel. Fashion, antiques, gifts, kids' clothing and toys, eco-ware, jewellery, shoes, unique accessories and more are all available from knowledgeable independent retailers.
Get out and about
When you're looking for places to go in Brisbane, there's no shortage of outdoor adventures and day trips to enjoy. Take a Brisbane sightseeing cruise on the river, explore the easy riverside paths and Bicentennial Bikeway, or sign up to climb Story Bridge for the best views in town. You can even join a kayak or paddle board tour on the river past Kangaroo Point and the CBD, either during the day or at sunset as the city lights up.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, 12km west of the city centre, is one of many fun things to do in Brisbane with kids and a great place to friendly with Australian wildlife. Highlights include the free-flight raptor show, hand feeding kangaroos and wallabies, and the chance to hold a koala. A dedicated river cruise leaves from South Bank daily or it's easy to reach the sanctuary by public transport.
About an hour outside the city, Brisbane attractions like Somerset, The Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley provide spectacular opportunities to experience local rainforests, mountain ranges, lakes and waterfalls with wineries, farmers' markets and small town cafes to enjoy along the way.
If sand and sea life is more your thing, you can spend a day or overnight at Moreton Island, just 75 minutes by ferry from Brisbane city. It's the third largest sand island in the world and almost entirely a national park. Depending on the tour you choose, you can toboggan down sand dunes, snorkel with tropical fish over coral and ship wrecks, paddle a see-through kayak, go whale watching (June to November), scuba dive an offshore reef, join a 4WD safari or feed resident wild dolphins from the beach at sunset.
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Find the perfect place to stay
Best time to go
With 260 sunny days a year, Brisbane has perfected the comfortable outdoor lifestyle. Winters are dry and most of the rain shows up from January to March. Average highs range from 21°C in winter to 29°C in summer, with night time lows about 10° less throughout the year.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about AUD $150 to $200 a day per person for food and entertainment.