Brisbane is no stranger to some seriously epic solar displays, but if you’re anything like us, you probably find that photos just don’t do them justice. Sure, shelling out for a decent camera would help, but for those of us without any cash to splash, finding a better vantage point will just have to do. Thankfully, Brisbane’s rolling hills and shimmering waterfronts are the perfect backdrop for bringing in both dawn and dusk. Check out our top picks for the best places to watch the sunrise or sunset in Brisbane (and maybe nab a pic or two for Insta, while you’re at it). Just be sure to check the forecast first—Brissy’s wild weather is sure to ruin a sunset or two.
Stretching out into the gently lapping waves of Bramble Bay, the iconic Shorncliffe Pier is one of Brisbane’s most picturesque waterfront retreats. Swing by at sunrise and watch as the golden rays of the morning sun slowly stretch across the sky. Be sure to nab some shots from the shore—the pier makes for one heck of a backdrop.
What better way to start your day than by watching the sunrise over the rippled sands of Nudgee Beach? Nestle in amongst the mangroves as you watch the water turn to gold before your very eyes. Plan your visit on a day when low tide strikes at sunrise, for some seriously stunning reflection shots guaranteed to take your breath away.
Known as the city’s go-to spot for stunning city views, Mt Coot-tha at sunrise is even more magical. Think panoramic views dotted with wispy white clouds glowing with the light of the morning sun. Save this spot for a special occasion—it’s a sight worth celebrating.
Wellington Point Jetty
Bring in the day break with a walk out to Wellington Point Jetty, which boasts breathtaking views out over Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island. The colourful skies come alive at sunrise, but storm clouds also make for moody mornings worthy of a feature on your Insta feed.
Manly Boat Harbour
If you grew up on the east side, it will come as no surprise to see the Manly Boat Harbour on this list. This beautiful boatyard will bring some magic to your morning as the sunrise sets the bay alight. Baysiders love to gaze out over the bay every day at dawn, and the resulting shots are a regular feature at the Manly Creative Markets.
If you’re ever in the city around sunset, do yourself a favour and make your way to Joey’s Cafe. Sitting at the top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs, Joey’s is the perfect place to settle down with a spritz and celebrate the end of the work week. For a different angle, treat yourself to a picnic down at the bottom of the cliffs for a spectacular sunset over the city skyline.
After knocking back a beer or two courtesy of Felons Brewing Co., make your way up to Wilson’s Outlook and take in the dazzling views of the Story Bridge set against the towering city skyline. Stick around ‘til sunset and we guarantee you’ll see a whole new side to Brisbane City.
Lace up your hiking boots and make the trek up Mount Ngungun, one of the Glasshouse Mountains’ easiest and most rewarding climbs. Start your journey just before sunset (allow about half an hour of climb time) and once you reach the top, perch yourself atop a rock as dusk settles low over the valley below.
Okay, we admit it—Lamington National Park isn’t quite within Brisbane’s city limits. But this is one sight that’s well worth the drive (and the hike). The 4km return trip to the top of Moran’s Falls is the perfect vantage point to watch as the sunset paints the park pink. Just be sure to pack a torch—once the sun goes down, it gets pretty dark outside.
Walk along the waterfront on the shores of Lake Samsonvale, one of Petrie’s worst-kept secrets. The popular picnic spot is also the perfect place to sit back and watch the sun go down. The stunning solar displays that colour the sky are reflected on the lake below, creating a magical mirror effect guaranteed to take your breath away.
Looking for more outdoor adventures? Get back to nature with six picturesque lakes near Brisbane perfect for taking a dip.
Image credit: Lochlainn Riordan