Included here are activities from the free and easy, through to more challenging and exciting things. Many of these activities are great for families and kids, though of course, anyone can do them. I have included lots of information on how to do the activities and where to go to do them.
Based on articles that I have written for WeekendNotes, the most popular past time of our readers is walking. You can head out to lots of different places all around the Brisbane area, take a relaxing walk, while also experiencing lots of new things.
My favourite walks in Brisbane include, obviously walking along the river from New Farm Park out to Newstead, or the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the Wynnam Manly Walk, Woody Point to Redcliffe and even up to Scarborough, the lakes at North Lakes, as well as island walks such as the Gorges walk on North Stradbroke Island.
For young kids, two walks come to mind that are absolutely amazing for them, including the Boondall Wetlands walk and the stroll from Wellington Point to King Island at low tide. Both are fun, with lots of nature to see on the walk.
Walking on the Sandbar out to King Island at Wellington Point
Kayaking and canoeing is an easy sport, even for the beginner. It is a fun way to experience nature and see things you can't walk or drive to. Brisbane features great paddling options that include kayaking through the heart of the city, paddling around lakes and creeks and venturing out on the sheltered ocean of Moreton Bay.
If you don't have your kayak or canoe, there are several places where you can easily hire them. The most famous is at Riverlife under the Kangaroo point cliffs. While you can hire a kayak to paddle around yourself, normally they encourage you to first join a tour.
Kayaking through the heart of the city with a Riverlife Tour
Other places that hire kayaks are walkabout creek for kayaking on the Enoggera Reservoir, Moreton Bay Boat Hire at Manly, Redland Bay Boat Hire On Moreton Bay and Coochie Boat Hire on Coochimudlo Island. Some places hire kayaks and will drop them off to your location. Local councils often offer free or cheap canoe and kayak tours through various programs, such as Brisbane's Active Parks Program.
You can hire kayaks at Walkabout Creek and kayak on Enoggera Reservoir
For those who can bring their own or who are hiring ones that deliver, some great places to consider kayaking, include spots along Brisbane River, especially near the University of Queensland, Breakfast Creek, Nudgee Creek, Wellington Point, Tinchi Tamba on the North Pine River, and Shorncliffe, just to name a few.
Generally speaking, the creeks and lakes are the best place to start, while more experienced kayakers will kayak out to islands. If you are in tidal estuaries always check the direction of the tide before heading off. The idea is to kayak out against the stream, then go with the flow when returning. When on Moreton Bay, even though the waters are relatively protected, it is essential to check the weather before going. Strong winds and waves can turn a fun day out into something dangerous.
When it comes to beaches, Brisbane is the poor and downtrodden cousin of its sandier neighbours to the north and south. That doesn't mean that Brisbane doesn't have beaches you can visit.
Excluding the island beaches, the best beach in the greater Brisbane area is Suttons Beach at Redcliffe. This area is a great destination in itself with the beach being just one spot to enjoy. If you don't want to swim at the beach, you can also swim at Settlers Lagoon, the artificial swimming hole best for younger kids.
After this, I would say that Margate Beach, next to Redcliffe is a secret spot that people don't realise is there. This long beach only has a narrow sandy strip, but there is a great boardwalk. Locals can often be seen swimming here.
More and more people are discovering Margate Beach
What is left are the little beaches, with the best of these being the one at Wellington Point. You can only swim here at high tide, but at low tide, you can walk the sandbar out to King Island instead.
Cycling is a great way to enjoy a city like Brisbane. There are lots of places where you go to cycle in the greater Brisbane area, and many places where you can hire bicycles if you don't have one already.
For a casual bike ride, there are the coastal rides, which include Wynnum to Manly, Shorncliffe out the Brighton and Redcliffe. In particular, Redcliffe on weekends often has places on the beachfront where you can hire bicycles. There are also some bicycle shops not far from the beach.
For tourists, the best bicycle rides around are along the Brisbane Riverfront, especially because people can hire the CityCycle bicycles for as little as $2 a day for casual use. The best ride is from New Farm Park out to Newstead, or in the other direction from New Farm Park back into the city. As long as you stop off every 30 minutes, you won't be charged any extra, so you can use the bicycles to visit lots of places between Newstead and the University of Queensland.
There are lots of cycling paths through parks around Brisbane, but the best has to be the that now runs from Mitchelton to Nudgee Beach. This long 24 km bicycle path has only 1 tiny hill and crosses a single road. The ride between Mitchelton and Stafford is the most relaxing with people taking it easy and artwork along the path. From Lutwhyche the more serious Lycra-clad riders start to appear, but the path is wide and people are friendly, so feel free to ride at whatever pace suits you.
This ride also connects to the Boondall Wetlands ride, which is a fantastic cycle in itself. You can actually keep riding partly along quiet roads and partly on cycleways from Boondall out to Shorncliffe. If you are tired, then jump on the train home afterwards.
Mountain bikers also have a lot of options, including Mt Coot-tha, Daisy Hill Conservation Park, and Bunyaville Conversation Park to name a few. The main place that I know where you can ride and hire mountain bikes from is Walkabout Creek at the Enoggera reservoir.
One other place work visiting with your mountain bike is North Stradbroke Island. You can take your bike on the ferry or hire one at Dunwich. While you can cycle along the main road across the island, the best ride is along the dirt path out to Brown and Blue lakes.
As the saying goes, old fisherfolk never die, they just smell that way. Fishing is a great activity for young and old and there are plenty of places to go fishing around Brisbane. You don't need a lot of expensive equipment to catch a fish.
When it comes to equipment, you could just wrap some fishing line around a piece of wood and put a bit of chicken on the end of the hook. This works and you will catch fish, but most people will find that they will get more out of buying a fishing rod. Some tourist spots might rent out fishing gear, but often it is just easier to invest in your own. You don't need an expensive rod to catch a fish, with kids rods starting at $5 and most experienced fisherfolk suggesting that you can get a good rod for between $50 and $100 if you plan to fish regularly.
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to catch a fish
When looking for a new place to fish, the best spots are going to be the jetties, including the ones at Shorncliffe, Wynnum, Redcliffe and Wellington Point. There are also spits and other places all along the beaches where you see people casting their rods out into the water.
Creeks are petty popular and Kedron Brooke between Toombul and Nudgee attract a few people fishing, as do other places like the North Pine River, especially at Tinchi Tamba, Tingalpa Creek near the mouth of the creek, and Logan River. There are also places for lake fishing, including Lake Samsonvale and Enoggera Reservoir.
If you want to see a city and enjoy the views without too much effort, then a tour is often the best way to do this, though of course there are some active tours. Even if you are a local, don't dismiss tours. Many of them are great value for money experiences that let you see your hometown in a new light or different way.
The one tour that attracts locals is the river cruises. Now the ones that leave from South Bank are for tourists and can be interesting if you have some friends visiting from elsewhere. But for locals, the Kookaburra River Queen Cruises on the paddle boats are very popular. Every local who has done one of these felt it was worth it for the price as it will include food and entertainment. Of course, don't forget the family favourite cruise, which is the one heading out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Enjoying the view of Brisbane from a river tour boat
Another tour that attracts both visitors and locals are the kayak and canoe tours. In Brisbane, you can join the Riverlife Kayak tours on weekends (look for the Groupon specials). The Brisbane City Council also often runs kayak and canoe tours at various places around Brisbane. Look at their website for more information.
Ghost tours are a great way to learn more about the history of the city that you live in. There are tours of the city, Toowong and South Brisbane Cemeteries, as well as prison tours at Boggo Road Gaol. They are fun if you get into the spirit of the tour, and you can often learn a bit of history as well.
The are ghosts of Brisbane city, Boggo Road Gaol and various historic cemetries
One last tour that locals really enjoy is the Mt Cotton winery tour. After all, you get food, wine and a tour of the winery as part of a package.
Electric Scooters are taking over the city and are the latest must-do activity for young and old. They are easy to sign up and use, and while many people just give them a try for the fun of it, there are lots of regular riders using them as a way to get around. Tourists as well make use of them to see as much of Brisbane as they can.
You can find eScooters around the city and inner suburbs
To get started you need to download the app for the scooter you want to use. There are Lime and Neuron scooters at the moment in Brisbane and each uses its own app. You will also need a helmet to ride the scooter, and some are provided with the scooters, but if you are planning to have an eScooter day, then you may want to bring your own.
eScooters are a convenient way to get around the inner city
Basically the scooters are dockless, so they can be anywhere around. The apps will help you find them. Then you use the app to unlock and start using the scooter. You can ride them on pavement or roads, but anywhere you see signs that ban bicycles, also ban the scooters, such as around the Art Galleries and Museum in South Brisbane.
They make a lot of sense for individuals doing short trips, but for groups going a long distance, they are not that useful as a taxi would be cheaper. You will find them all around the city and inner suburbs. Sometimes people will ride them further, but it is rare to find them too far from the city.