9 things to do in Brisbane with kids

Brisbane, Australia, is one of my favorite cities. There are so many things for kids to do in Brisbane. I may be a little biased as it’s my local city, but we chose to move across the world to live here (from Hampshire in the UK). It is everything we hoped it would be and more. I often hear people referring to Brisbane as a ‘small’ city, as if that is a negative thing. For me, the fact the city is compact makes it easy to explore Brisbane with kids. 

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Things to do with kids in Brisbane

South Bank is the main tourist hub in Brisbane and it is always buzzing with fun things to do with your family – many of them free of charge. The area is flat, spacious and grassy with plenty of playgrounds and shady spots making it easy to walk around with a buggy or young children. It’s one of the best kids parks in Brisbane. There are lots of things to keep everyone entertained, and as Brisbane gets more than 300 days of sunshine a year it is the ideal destination for a family city trip in Australia. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your rucksack and hat, pack your sunscreen and water bottle and head out to explore these nine fun things to do with kids.

Visit Queensland Museum

No visit to Brisbane is complete without a visit to Queensland Museum, the home of the State’s natural history and cultural heritage. You can pay to go into special exhibitions but the free museum will keep you and your kids busy all day. With floors of exhibitions that include dinosaurs and fossils plus a whole exhibit dedicated to Queensland’s unique wildlife, your kids will be entertained for hours. This is one of our favorite free kids activities in Brisbane.

Go for a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane

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Get a 360-degree view of South Bank and Brisbane River from the Wheel of Brisbane, one of Brisbane’s iconic landmarks. Rising almost 60 meters above ground, you can enjoy the view from the comfort of an air-conditioned gondola. A ride on the Wheel of Brisbane lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and includes a stop at the top. You even get info about the city’s historical landmarks via the audio system in the gondola’s. The Wheel is located in the South Banks Parklands. Adult tickets cost $20, children aged 4 – 12 cost $14, and kids three years and under are free.

Visit Queensland Maritime Museum

The Queensland Maritime Museum is one of Australia’s largest maritime museums. It’s located at the far end of South Bank Parklands which makes it easy to access. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to explore as there is a lot to see and do. This museum is very popular among both Brisbane kids and tourists. The kids will love exploring the River Class frigate HMAS Diamantina in the dry dock and learning about what life was like at sea in the World War II naval vessel. Entry is $16 per adult, $7 per child.

Explore QUT The Cube

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This is another favorite our list of things for kids to do in Brisbane. If your kids love technology, they are going to love The Cube at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). It’s across the water from the other attractions but it’s worth the walk over the bridge. (Alternately, if you have time, catch the free CityHopper ferry to Eagle Street Pier and enjoy a bite to eat at one of the restaurants before walking through the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens to get to this attraction.) This free attraction is one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces. It aims to inspire and to invite exploration and participation. The huge screens of QUT the Cube depict different displays through the day and underneath are smaller interactive screens that the kids will love playing on. You can find out what’s showing on the screens for the coming week here.

Ride the steam train

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If your visit Brisbane on a Sunday, you might get lucky! Steam Train Sundays run regularly through the year departing from Roma Street Station in Brisbane. Right next to the Queensland Museum, this is a great way to enjoy the city on a nostalgic trip on an old-fashioned locomotive. It’s also a good way to build in some time to rest tired legs in between museum visits! Tickets cost $30 per adult and $18 per child aged 3 – 15. Alternatively, if you really enjoy trains and are not lucky enough to visit on a Steam Train Sunday, you can visit The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswitch, about 40 minutes from Brisbane’s city center.

Take a clock tower tour

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Another attraction across the water from South Bank is Brisbane City Hall which is home to the Museum of Brisbane and the clock tower. You can venture up the clock tower (entry is via the Museum of Brisbane) for a free fifteen-minute Clock Tower Tour. You get taken up in an ornate lift and learn about the clock tower’s history, pausing in the lift right behind the clock face. There is a chance to walk around the clock tower to get excellent views of Brisbane. You need to ascend two flights of stairs to the platform area, so a carrier is a must. Only eight people can fit into the lift, so make sure to arrive early to get your tickets.

Take a dip at Streets Beach

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Brisbane is the only destination to have a man-made beach right in the city! Enjoy the backdrop of palms and bougainvillea as you take a dip to cool off at Streets Beach on the South Bank. It really is one of the best places in Brisbane with kids. As part of the South Bank Parklands, the sparkling blue water and white sandy beaches are surrounded by skyscrapers. Street Beach is very easy to reach by train, bus or ferry. There are lockers and toilets located nearby. Entry is free.

Visit the Brisbane sign

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Following the iconic IAmsterdam sign that’s incredibly popular with tourists, Brisbane has its own colorful Brisbane sign. The temporary sign that was originally designed for the G20 Leaders Summit in 2014 was so popular with locals and tourists alike that the city decided to place a permanent version of this new iconic landmark at the end of 2015. Your kids will love climbing into the colorful letters of the 3-meter high and 25-meter wide iconic Brisbane sign for a photo. The sign is located at South Bank, right next to the river with a stunning backdrop. An easy stop on your way to your next attraction.

Check out the festivals

Check out VisitBrisbane to see if your visit coincides with an arts event or festival – there are often major events happening at South Bank and lots of the events are free too. From the Brisbane Marathon Festival early August to the Brisbane festival in September (closing with the impressive Riverfire fireworks event on the final night!) and from the Oktoberfest Brisbane to the Woodford Folk Festival end of December. Brisbane has enough to offer for culture and music lovers, young and old.

Conclusion: Brisbane with kids, yes or no?

That’s easy, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Brisbane and it’s a fantastic family-friendly city. Compact and easy to navigate, yet with a lot of kids activities, attractions and events. So, should you visit Brisbane with kids? The answer is a definite yes!


Author Description



Karen Bleakley is a travel writer and founder of SmartStepstoAustralia.com where she helps families move to Australia and explore their new home. You can follow Karen and SmartStepstoAustralia on Facebook.