Being a bit of a cheapskate, I’m always on the look-out for free (or failing that very cheap) things to do.
One of many things I love about Brisbane is that there is lots of free stuff.
The great outdoors
Of course it helps that the weather is hot and sunny most of the year, meaning you can enjoy the endless stretches of coastline, which normally come complete with barbecue areas and other paraphernalia to help you organise a cheap day out.
There is also an abundance of parks and bushland offering opportunities for hiking, biking or whatever you enjoy. If you enjoy sports and fitness (or like me, you enjoy the idea that one day you are going to become the kind of person who is really fit) then there are endless possibilities for free activities.
Art and culture
When you’ve had enough of beaches and parks there is always some free art and culture to enjoy. The museum and art gallery are both free and worth a visit.
There’s a lot of street art to see too, although it’s quite spread out. Brisbane doesn’t have the reputation for tolerance of street art that you find in Melbourne or in Sydney’s Newtown (in fact, quite the reverse and there have been many initiatives to clean up the ‘unsightly’ graffiti), but a few pieces have started to appear over recent years.
Here’s a good place to start: hunt down these little blue sculptures that you will find dotted around the city. This is the work of Blu Art Xinja, an anonymous artist who plants these sculptures in unusual places around the city. If you start looking you will find quite a few of these hidden away (clue: have a closer look at St George’s square).
Then you can go and look at the ten pillars; these are the seven-metre-high pillars holding up the railway, covered in artworks. The artworks were commissioned for the G20 summit in 2014.
Other good bets for street art is West End or Fortitude Valley areas, but like I said they are all a bit spread out.
Tours and Travel
Another Brisbane freebie is the free ferry. The Hopper (identified by its red colour and picture of a kangaroo on the side) spends all day (through to around 11pm) ploughing to and fro along a short central section of the Brisbane river. I didn’t use this for the first week I was here, because I wasn’t sure which one was the free ferry and didn’t want to get on the wrong one and have to (horror!) pay.
I seem to have forgotten, after my many travels over the past couple of years, that in Australia they speak (a form of) English and I could have asked. I’m so used to having to figure everything out without asking for help (because you know you’ll just get yelled at in a foreign language if you try asking) that I find I’m still doing it.
There is also a free bus that travels in a small loop around the central part (you can recognise this one because it has free written where the number should be.