Things To Do

13 Free Things To Do In Brisbane If You’re Completely Broke

By Lillian Curthoys
15th Aug 2022

Is your back pocket looking a little thin? Maybe you’ve got a big holiday coming up and you’re on a budget? Uni students, we know you’re out there too. There can come times when looking for a way to spend the day becomes shrouded by price tags, booking fees or monetary exchanges of some kind. Despite what you might think, Brisbane has a smorgasbord of free things to do that are still entertaining and exciting, as well as being a surefire way to get outside, catch up with friends or craft a new hobby.

We’ve compiled some of the best free things to do in Brisbane, ranging from indoors to outdoors, laidback to active.

Check Out Brisbane’s Street Art

Brisbane might not be as plastered in art as Melbourne, but it’s still got some epic work splashed on walls across the city. You can find the bright work of local legends from South Brisbane all the way to New Farm, it’s just a matter of keeping your eyes peeled. Whether you’re out to simply spot and snap, or you’re a street art fanatic, walls are always going to be free to stare at, so why not give your eyeballs a bit of colour to eat up? Find Brisbane’s best street art here.

Hike Up Mt Coot-Tha For City Views

Cities are a special kind of environment that, when you’re in them, let you look up the glass walls and feel small. But take a step back (and a few steps up) and you can take in Brisbane from afar, from the top of Mt Coot-Tha. Although you can just drive up to the top, no walking required, if the idea of that kind of trek is too much, you can also scoot over to Windsor’s hidden gem, Eildon Hill, and get a closer city view (best at night) without the crowds of tourists and cyclists.

Take A Dip At Enoggera Reservoir

If you want to paddle around for free, but the beach is too far away, and the neighbours won’t let you use their pool, look no further than Enoggera Reservoir. Tucked amidst the bushland behind the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre, this reservoir isn’t quite a beach, but it flourishes with lily-pads, fresh water and the occasional turtle. Take a picnic or even borrow a kayak and make a whole day of it.

Eye Up Fossils At The Queensland Museum

Whales that hang from the ceiling and a ginormous replica of a muttaburrasaurus? Yes please. The Queensland Museum, not just a destination for school excursions, always has a heap of free exhibitions on, not to mention a garden full of giant dinosaurs. There’s a prehistoric or mammalian friend for everyone, and afterwards, you can see what’s on just across the way at GOMA.

Visit The City’s Clock Tower

With clock hands that are three metres long, and a 4.3 tonne bell that rings every hour, Brisbane’s Clock Tower contains some seriously cool stats, as well as the oldest working manual elevator in Australia. Best of all, you can see it from a different angle with free guided tours every 15 minutes from 10.45am to 4.45pm daily. Get yourself a different view of Brisbane from the observation deck, with the added bonus of never losing track of time.

Go Bouldering At Kangaroo Point Cliffs

If you’re a rock climbing fan, novice or professional, Kangaroo Point has some of Brisbane’s best natural rock walls to scale, all in the easiest way possible. Simply put, don your best climbing attire, rock up (pun intended) and start climbing—only across, not up (unless you’re properly equipped with ropes and harnesses). Kangaroo Point is also a notorious city-viewing spot, perfect for watching the sun go down over the water, and waiting for the art installations to light up around you.

Spot Koalas At The Daisy Hill Koala Centre

With daily wildlife officer talks, a large outdoor koala enclosure and interactive displays, the Daisy Hill Koala Centre is a great place to learn about koalas and their conservation. Visitors can take in the koalas from multi-level viewing platforms, as well as the other native animals that call the park home. And yep, entry is totally free.

Trace The Brisbane Heritage Trail

Journey across a range of sites and uncover Brisbane’s early convict history and military presence in World War II, amongst other things, as you trace the 26 points of the Brisbane Heritage Trail. Working its way from Queen Street to City Hall, and all through the CBD, you can walk at your own pace, simultaneously learning and discovering Brisbane at the same time. A free afternoon activity AND a history lesson? That’s what we call double whammy.

Walk The Streets Of Old Petrie Town

Old Petrie Town is one of Brisbane’s historical gems, a place where you’re transported to the 1930s, even though you can still post on Instagram. Wander through the streets and take in the old-timey happiness of the ramshackle houses, traditional shopfronts and goods, and the feeling of peace. Entry is free, and you can take your dog, so what’s to lose?

Grab Your Pooch And Go Dog Park Hopping

You’ve heard of bar-hopping, and doggy play dates, so why not (sort of) merge them together? Combine the principle of bar-hopping with your furry friends, and you’ve got an afternoon of meeting all kinds of pups, all while wandering around your local neighbourhood. Pooch or no pooch, dog parks are an oasis of happiness and a great way to get outside, meet new people, and hopefully, fulfill your fantasies of being buried underneath a giant pile of four-legged pals. Personally, we love to hang out at New Farm Park, but there’s bound to be a dog park or two near you.

Become A Ping Pong Champion 

Did that one douche at the house party cannonball onto your ping pong table recently, mangling it beyond recognition? You're in luck—as a part of the Commonwealth Olympics at the GC a couple of years back, the government installed free to use table tennis tables all around the city. Just cop a bat and a ball (or pull up to the list of council offices that have them to borrow for free) and pong the day away! Here's all the locations where you can find a table. 

Battle It Out With A Game Of Disk Golf 

Bet you don't even know how good disk golf is. First and foremost, the disk is actually like a frisbee, and the go is it's basically the same as golf where your aim is to get the disk in the chain baskets in the least amount of hits possible. You have to bring your own disk (you can get a set for $30 here) but set up in the arvo when it's cooler and get some bevs and or furry friends involved and you’ve got yourself a wholesome activity for cheap. There's heaps of different courses all over, so find out which one is closest to you here

Go Chasing Waterfalls

Various Locations

Prefer to spend the day somewhere away from the city? No worries! Brisbane happens to have some of the best waterfalls hidden in the surrounding national parks. So pack the 4WD, grab some snacks and head on your next great adventure outdoors chasing waterfalls with some close mates. Sometimes all you need is a little nature fix. Hunt them down here.

If you’ve got cash to splash, check out top things to do every month here.

Image credit: Ranyhyn Laine

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