The Best way to see Brisbane, Australia

After spending months living in and exploring major areas of Australia, my favorite big city in the country was Brisbane. With a little bit of inside info, I’m ready to let you in on a little secret: the best way to see Brisbane, Australia. Like really see it.

Highlights of Brisbane:

Mall Street. This trendy walking street is packed with shops. It’s kind of an indoor-outdoor mall, really. You can find anything from electronics to surf attire here.

Streets Beach. Although there is a massive river flowing through the city, it is not swimmable due to its population of Bull Sharks. The city’s solution? Create a swimmable beach! It’s located near eateries and shops, a perfect place bring the fam & make a day of it!

The City Cat. “The City Cat” is the name of the ferry that takes passengers from port to port along the river, around the city. It’s typically used for commuters, but it’s completely free and is a great way to experience Brisbane!

Suburbs. Brisbane is so much more than just the downtown. It holds so many pockets of vibe-y neighborhoods with foreign and specialty foods, book shops, cafes, and boutiques. Take the time to scout some of them out.

South Bank. This area deserves it’s own recognition. It’s very near to downtown and is a popular hub for all kinds of activity. Restaurants, swimming, live music, cafes, bars, markets, events, shopping, clubs, parks…you name it.

A few of my favorite suburbs are: Hawthorne for its evening vibe, The Valley for outdoor eateries, Hamilton for cafes and West End for its weekend markets & live music scene.

Just a quick shout out to our favorite cafe in Brisbane, My Mistress.

A few good things to note:

  • Brisbane has some of the cheapest Uber rides I have ever taken. A 20-25 minute ride costs just $8 AUD ($6 USD)
  • Because of the international influence in the city, you are able to find just about any type of foreign food you might want.
  • The Brisbane Museum is free to enter and is a good way to learn about the history and culture of the city!

Not only is there a lot to do as a traveler, there is so much more to do as a local.

So, the best way to see Brisbane, Australia:

Rent a house & live like a local.

There are a few ways to do this. Of course, you can book a room in a hotel or hostel long-term and pretend (I don’t recommend this one), or rent an Airbnb for a month+ (this is a better way to do it & you might get a lower rental cost for staying longer than a week!) If you are planning on working in Brisbane, looking into renting a house or apartment might be a good idea. Flatmates is a good website & app for finding…well, a flatmate.

Housesitting is another great option. The homes are always fully furnished and you are in contact with a local for personalized tips. We were lucky enough to have this opportunity in one of the suburbs which allowed us to really get a feel for what it might be like to live there. I use and love the website Aussie House Sitters. I have found it to be the most trustworthy and easiest way to find housesitting gigs around Australia.

This city is full of fun activities for people passing through, but staying there for a while gave me an appreciation for the city as a place to stay put for a while. There is something special about experiencing a new place and I think renting a house in Brisbane truely is the best way to find this feeling. Finding a local coffee shop to return to, rather than hopping from cafe to cafe, getting to know the local butcher, hearing the employees at the marketplace call you by name when you go in for fresh produce all give you a sense of belonging that you won’t find if you are just traveling through.

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