Hunting Down Free Stuff in Brisbane

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.


If you can’t be bothered to travel to the coast, then there is always the artificial beach right in the centre of town, complete with sand, water and lifeguard.


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.


View from Mount Coot-tha, the tallest ‘mountain’ in the city standing at 287 metres above sea level.  There are lots of hiking/biking trails here, plus this awesome view.  A bus goes once an hour if you don’t fancy walking up and there is a great (free) botanical garden at the bottom.


Art and culture

When you’ve had enough of beaches and parks there is always some art and culture to enjoy. The museum and art gallery are both free and worth a visit.


GOMA (modern art gallery) is pretty good, although when I went they were celebrating their tenth birthday, so very busy.


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 your quest for street art: 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, which are covered in artworks. These were commissioned for the G20 summit in 2014.




There’s a bit of a funny story to this one, in that it was at one time removed under a graffiti clean-up initiative, before being commissioned for the pillars.

Other good bets for street art is West End or Fortitude Valley areas, but like I said they are all a bit spread out.


There is also a great programme of free concerts at the City Hall




The Hopper, doing its thing…

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.

However once I was advised to identify it by the red kangaroo I was fine.  Sometimes I do forget that I can actually ask someone, rather than figuring everything out myself.


My free view of the Brisbane river


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.

4 replies »

  1. Hello Sarah Once again, what wonderful street art. I really like the look of it here but like you say, it is a shame that it is so expensive. However, the sunshine looks rather lovely, unlike London at the moment which is grey and damp. Please send me over the sunshine or if that is not possible an airline ticket. Hugs and love xxxx

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