Brisbane In Winter: 19 Things To See & Do in 2024

Image of Brisbane in winter, showing the Brisbane sign against the cityscape
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Looking for the best things to do in Brisbane in Winter 2024?

Just because the temperature has dropped a few degrees, it doesn’t mean all life stands still. In fact, visiting or touring Brisbane in winter can be a fantastic time of year, and there are so many things to do.

With its near-perfect weather and abundant sunshine, this stunning capital city makes for an unforgettable destination year-round.

Whilst I have visited Brisbane in the past, I thought it would be better for my good friend, and Brisbane local, Chris from Aquarius Traveller to cover this topic. Chris has been living in Brisbane for over 20 years, travelled to over 35 countries and shares valuable information and inspiration on her website.

So, start your day with a hot cup of coffee and get ready for an adventure for winter in Brisbane. 

Is Winter A Good Time To Visit Brisbane?

Winter is an excellent time to visit Brisbane! You might not know that South East Queensland’s winter season brings warm, sunny days and very little rain.

With an average temperature of 21°C, this makes it the best time to explore those outdoor areas with hiking, viewing spots, and wandering through the city’s highlights. 

The winter season in Brisbane officially runs from June to August, opposite to the northern hemisphere. However, you’ll probably find that this time of year is often much more tolerable to visitors and that they are less likely to melt away from the scorching summer heat. 

Best Things to Do In Brisbane in Winter

If you’re trying to plan your trip to Brisbane, then start picking from some of the suggestions below. You’ll soon realise there are plenty of opportunities to explore and have fun in this vibrant city. 

1. Mount Coot-tha

Scenic view from Mount Coot-Tha lookout, featuring lush landscapes, distant hills, and a clear sky

If you could only do one thing in Brisbane, visiting the lookout at Mount Coot-Tha would have to be it. This will give you an overall view of the city’s high-rise buildings, and on a clear day, you can see the ocean, Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast. And the best part is that it’s open 24 hours a day!

Day or night, the stunning views here will amaze you and give you some perspective on how these two million people live together. But it’s especially brilliant at sunrise or sunset. In addition to the Lookout point, there is a small souvenir shop, a cafe serving lunch and snacks, and a restaurant. 

If you want to take it that one step further, then try one of the 20-odd hiking trails surrounding the mountain. One of the more popular ones is the 4-kilometre return “JC Slaughter Falls” summit track, which takes you from the bottom of the mountain to the lookout point. 

2. Ride the Wheel of Brisbane

View of the Wheel of Brisbane, a tall observation wheel, against the city backdrop

Rain, hail, or shine, Brisbane’s iconic Ferris wheel is one of South Bank’s best attractions. It’s located directly across the river from the CBD and is easy to walk to or take a ferry. This iconic 60-metre structure was built in 2008 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World Expo, and it offers 360-degree views of the city skyline. 

Not only is it a great place to enjoy stunning views of the city skyline, but the attraction also offers VIP packages for those looking to add a touch of luxury to their experience. Treat your significant other to a private capsule with your own bar and host, or plan an unforgettable champagne date night under the stars.

The hours of operation are from 10am to 10pm daily, you can just show up and pay as you enter. However, there are slightly cheaper options for buying online ahead of time. 

3. Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Story Bridge Adventure Climb, showcasing climbers ascending the iconic bridge structure with cityscape in the background.

Maybe the Wheel isn’t high enough for you, then you might like to check out the Story Bridge Climb instead. Brisbane in winter is certainly not dull when you can get strapped into a railing system and walk to the top of a heritage-listed cantilever bridge. 

This is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, an engineering feat, and one of the best lookout points in the CBD that still captivates locals and tourists. Spanning across the Brisbane River, the bridge represents a crucial connection of 97,000 vehicles per day between the northern and southern suburbs of the city. 

However, it’s not just its practical use that makes the Story Bridge so captivating. Every year, it takes centre stage in the mesmerizing Riverfire display, lighting up the night sky with an explosive show of fireworks that never fails to amaze. So, if you’re looking for a thrilling adventure in Brisbane, you should consider the Story Bridge Climb. 

➡️ Book Your Story Bridge Adventure Climb Here!

4. Moreton Island

Aerial view of Moreton Island, showcasing its stunning coastline, sandy beaches, and surrounding turquoise waters from above.

Visiting Brisbane in winter doesn’t mean the surrounding islands are off the cards. In fact, when it’s a gorgeous hot day, plenty of people will still brave the 22-degree waters. However, places like Moreton Island have a resort and plenty of land activities to keep you entertained for the day. 

One of the biggest highlights is definitely snorkelling the Tangalooma Shipwrecks or using a glass-bottom kayak instead. Meanwhile, back at the resort, you can organise quad biking around the sand Island, Segway tours down the beach, sip cocktails in the bar, or take a helicopter ride. 

However, you can’t leave without experiencing the unforgettable thrill of feeding the wild dolphins that visit every night. These dolphins are beyond cute, and you get the chance to feed them yourself. Whether you stay overnight or just pop in for the day, Moreton Island will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

➡️ Check Out This Moreton Island Day Trip Including Snorkelling, Sandboarding & Kayaking!

5. Whale Watching

Whale tail in the sea during a whale watching trip

Did you know that visiting Brisbane in winter is the absolute best time to go whale watching? There are many different operators that tour the ocean waters between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, but the more popular one from Brisbane will depart from the Redcliffe pier. 

Imagine seeing these majestic humpback whales up close while learning about their migration through the area. Not only will it be a fun day out, but it will also be an enriching experience that will leave you in awe. 

6. Winey Tours

View of a winery vineyard, featuring rows of grapevines under the sunlight, against a scenic backdrop.

This is for all those adults out there looking for a nice leisurely day out, exploring the countryside and trying some of the local delicacies. Winery tours will leave from the CBD and take you to various places in the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast hinterland. 

Each area provides an abundance of wineries to visit, and you can choose between half and full-day tours depending on your budget and time. Not only will you get a chance to tour the vineyards and learn about the wine-making process, but you’ll also get to sample some of the region’s best wines and cheeses. 

Note that while you can drive yourself and find options with cellar doors and tastings, organised tours solidify a designated driver and save you the trouble of navigating the area. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people and make new lifelong friends.

➡️ Check Out This Top Rated Mount Tamborine Wine Tasting Tour From Brisbane

7. North Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island landscape, featuring natural beauty, sandy shores, and surrounding waters.

North Stradbroke Island is the second-largest sand island in the world and is located 40 minutes off the coast of Brisbane. While it’s a beach-lovers paradise, there are plenty of reasons to visit in the wintertime. This includes hiking, soaking up the sun, and browsing the Point Lookout district. 

The headland contains a short walk that goes around the North and South Gorges. You can see the crashing waves through the gorge, whales in the distance, sea eagles nesting in the trees, and turtles or rays in the waters below. Not only that, but the early sunrise brings wild kangaroos to feed on the grass there, and it’s a lovely place to get really close to them. 

The island is rich in Indigenous culture, and you can learn more about the Quandamooka people in the visitor information centre. Apart from that, the ample sandy areas provide plenty of four-wheel-driving opportunities and fishing from the shores. 

➡️ Check Out This Full Day Tour Of North Stradbroke Island From Brisbane

8. River Farm Walk

New Farm River Walk scene with a peaceful riverside path, greenery, and scenic views along the water.

The River Farm Walk is a boardwalk built over the Brisbane River near New Farm and connects the walking paths into the city. This popular track was washed away by the 2011 floods but rebuilt due to popularity. 

Take a relaxing stroll, run, ride your bike, or rollerblade your way into the city. Either way, you’ll be blocked from most of the busy traffic and enjoy the views of the city’s high-rise buildings surrounding you. 

Walk the other way and bring a picnic lunch to sit among New Farm Park’s grassy areas and gardens. If you’re lucky, the purple jacarandas will start to bloom towards the end of the winter season, which is a beautiful time to be here. 

9. Tour the city on a city cat ferry

Brisbane CityCat ferry cruising along the river with city skyline in the background.

One of the best ways to tour Brisbane in winter is on the river and travelling by ferry on a city cat (catamaran). This is the local public transport ride from Northshore Hamilton to University Queensland at St Lucia. 

You can pick and choose your route, and costs are based on the zones travelled or the number of times you use it. The local GoCard is used to tap on and off each ride and is used like a prepaid credit card. 

By day, you can cruise under the Storey Bridge and see its construction, or at night, with the city skyline in lights. Either way, it creates a magical atmosphere that is hard to beat and one you should take advantage of. 

10. Eat Street Markets

Brisbane Eat Street Markets, featuring a vibrant night scene with various food stalls

Local street markets are held all over the city, but none are as busy as the Eat Street Markets. These are held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at Northshore and are known for their eclectic food choices and live entertainment.

This food lover’s heaven features over 60 vendors, each offering a unique and delicious twist on international cuisine. Whether you fancy some spicy Indian food or a cheesy, comforting Italian dish. Along with the complex flavours of Thai cuisine or the rich, savoury taste of Chinese food, you’ll find some delicious variety to satisfy your every craving. 

With live music and entertainment from talented buskers and local musicians, the atmosphere is just right for relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. So why not make a night of it and share some quality time with your friends or family?

11. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: A close-up of a koala, highlighting the iconic Australian marsupial

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a must-see for any animal lover, which is nestled on Fig Tree Pocket Road. This is just a hop, skip, and jump away from Brisbane City, and you’ll have the chance to see plenty of koalas and kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, and reptiles.

But this sanctuary isn’t just any old run-of-the-mill zoo. Instead, it houses daily presentations that offer visitors an unparalleled education on the local wildlife. You’ll learn everything from the koalas themselves, free-flight bird shows, and rounding sheep displays to the unique ecosystem surrounding them.

It’s a true reminder of Australia’s unique biodiversity and a rare opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitat. 

➡️ Check Out This Half Day Tour To Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Including River Cruise

12. The picture with the Brisbane Sign

Brisbane Sign: Iconic city landmark with large bright letters against a backdrop of urban skyline.

No visit to Brisbane would be complete without getting a family pic or selfie with the famous Brisbane Sign. Located at Southbank across from the city, these large letters spelling out the name “Brisbane” can be climbed on and around for that perfect Instagram Shot. 

It’s interesting that the original Brisbane sign was only a temporary structure built in 2014 for the G20 summit. Due to its popularity, the city rebuilt the sign with sturdier materials and made it a permanent fixture. 

13. Lookout at the Clock Tower

Architectural detail of the clock tower on Brisbane's historic City Hall

This grand and elegant City Hall building stands tall and proudly displays Brisbane’s History adjacent to King George Square in the CBD. With sweeping marble staircases, vaulted ceilings, and mosaic-tiled floors, it serves as an ideal setting for tours and hosting special events. 

The 15-minute Clock Tower tours are free, but you do need to book online first due to limited numbers and high demand. Ascending the top is like stepping into a time machine. The beautiful, old, hand-operated lift takes you up to the top, providing a magnificent bird’s-eye view of the city. 

As you are transported slowly and smoothly up, you can see the city opening up beneath you, revealing all its hidden nooks and crannies. Not to mention the stunning architecture that surrounds you as you rise higher and higher. 

14. Ride a Segway

Person navigating a Segway through the city streets, enjoying a modern and efficient mode of transportation.

If you don’t want to walk around the city, then join a Segway tour around South Brisbane and the Botanic Gardens. Walking in this area would take more than a couple of hours, so it’s perfect if you’re limited in time. Segways are easy to learn how to use, so even if you’ve never ridden one before, you’ll quickly feel like a pro. 

While the Segways might be intimidating, you are provided with training and go through all the safety guidelines. Once comfortable, you can glide down the promenade, race over the Goodwill Bridge, and explore the botanic gardens in style. Not only is it a quicker means of transportation, but it’s also a lot more fun.

➡️ Check Out This Segway Sightseeing Tour Of Brisbane

15. Southbank Parklands

Shaded pathway surrounded by lush greenery

The Southbank Parklands are a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors while surrounded by the hustle and bustle of city life. Covering a sprawling 17 hectares of riverfront land, these parklands offer a range of walking tracks like the Grand Arbor Walk and licensed picnic areas for visitors to explore and enjoy. 

But that’s not all – the parklands are also home to a year-round calendar of exciting events, ensuring that there is always something fresh and entertaining to discover. When it’s time to refuel, visitors can head to Little Stanley Street, where they’ll find over 30 cafes, bars, and restaurants to choose from.

After a sumptuous meal, take a leisurely stroll along the brightly lit streets, where you’ll find bustling markets and shopping outlets. Or the icing on the cake is the South Bank Cineplex – a renowned cinema offering movie lovers cheap prices. 

16. Cultural Precinct

Display of a large pottery exhibit

The Cultural Precinct is located in South Brisbane and is a highlight attraction for those seeking an immersive cultural experience. It’s bursting with museums, art galleries, and libraries, so visitors can easily engage in the area’s vast yet diverse collections. 

Best of all, the area is mostly free to visit. Every time I’ve made my way there, there’s always been something new to see, thanks to rotating displays and up-and-coming artists showcasing their talents. 

17. Peace Pagoda

View of the Nepalese Peace Pagoda in Brisbane

If you were lucky enough to be in Brisbane for the World Expo in 1988, you’ll remember the stunning Nepalese Peace Pagoda. Standing tall and proud, it’s the only structure that still remains from the event and is located next to the Wheel of Brisbane. 

With a design so intricate and detailed, it’s impossible not to marvel at the craftsmanship that went into creating it. Take some time to wander the bottom floor and appreciate the skill that went into every part of this beautiful Nepalese contribution. 

18. Walk to King Island

view of the sand bar connecting King Island

Have you ever walked to an Island? Surprisingly, this can be done from Wellington Point and taking a short 1-kilometre stroll to King Island. The interesting piece of the puzzle is you can only do it at low tide!

At high tide, you can only see the tops of the trees, and the sandy path appears only when the water subsides. It’s a small island, but locals often come here to get some exercise, hike, and walk their dogs. Mangroves surround the island and the kids will get a big kick out of the soldier crabs trying to hide in the sand. But the island itself has a small amount of vegetation and wildlife. 

It only takes 20 minutes to walk out and is just a short distance from Brisbane City. But before planning your trip, please check the tide times.

19. Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Elevated view of the cliffs along the Brisbane River

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Kangaroo Point Cliffs are a popular meeting ground or recreational spot. It’s conveniently located near the CBD and Southbank and has an amazing view of the city building.

These cliffs were formed after the site was used to quarry stone for local construction projects. Nowadays, the cliffs serve a more adventurous purpose with abseiling possibilities down the rock faces and daily kayaking tours on the river.

There is a cafe at the top and grassy areas down below for family get-togethers. There are also walking paths leading into the city or South Brisbane.

➡️ Check Out This Abseiling Experience At Kangaroo Point Cliffs

FAQs: Visiting Brisbane In Winter

To make sure that everything is fully covered, here are the answers to some FAQs about visiting Brisbane in the winter months.

What Is The Coldest Month In Brisbane?

The coldest month in Brisbane is July, with an average low of 10°C (50°F) to a maximum of 21°C (71°F)

Can You Swim In Brisbane In Winter?

Yes, you can definitely swim in Brisbane during winter, but it will come down to your tolerance level, where you come from, and what you’re used to.

Water temperatures will vary slightly, but it’s an average of around 22°C (72°F). This means that most people who actually brave the water, will probably only stay in for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What Do You Wear In Brisbane In Winter?

Unlike the cooler months in Melbourne, the warm sunny days during winter in Brisbane can be tolerable in shorts and a T-shirt, although some shaded areas could use a light jacket.

However, late afternoons and nights will cool down completely, and it helps to have longer pants, jackets, and enclosed shoes to keep the toes warm.

Is Brisbane Warmer Than Sydney?

In general, the southern areas of Australia will be lower in temperature than the northern parts. Since Brisbane is over 700 kilometres north of Sydney, it does tend to be warmer there. 

In comparison, Sydney will max at 17°C (62°F) in July, whereas Brisbane will average at 21°C (71°F). Sydney enjoys warm but mild weather all year round, while Brisbane tends to be hotter and drier. Winters in both cities will be cooler and offer plenty of sunny days without rain.

Wrapping Up – Brisbane in Winter

As you can see from this list above, Brisbane in winter is still an amazing time to visit the Queensland capital or explore as a local. From the picturesque islands nearby to shopping opportunities full of unique finds, you’ll never run out of entertainment and things to do. 

If all else fails, there is nothing like curling up in a local bar or restaurant and treating yourself to a fusion-inspired meal or just catching up for drinks with friends. Make this year a year to remember, and start planning your adventure today!

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