Best of Brisbane on a budget

Brisbane’s subtropical summer is ideal for city exploration, whether you’re cruising along the sparkling Brisbane River, wandering through bamboo groves and rainforests, or sampling riverside cuisine under that endless Brisbane sunshine.

Discovering the capital of Australia’s sunshine state just became cheaper too, with free off-peak travel for over-65s using an eligible go card on local council buses, ferries and CityCats.

To help you make the most of Brisbane summer, here are the top five things to see and do, all easily accessible with free off-peak travel for over-65s.

1. CityCat cruising day or night
Sitting back on the deck of a Brisbane CityCat is easily the most relaxing way to tour the reaches of the Brisbane River. With services running from St Lucia to Northshore Hamilton, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the gleaming CBD towers, pass under Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge, and get a real feel for this vibrant, green city.

brisbane city cat

2. Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Opened in 1855, this is a long-loved Brisbane attraction. Enjoy a shady stroll through the bamboo grove and past the weeping figs, stop for a cuppa at the Gardens Club Café, or join a free guided garden discovery tour starting from the rotunda at 11am or 1pm. 

brisbane botanic gardens 

3. Brisbane Powerhouse
Don’t miss this pre-war industrial power station converted into an iconic art centre. Hosting an ever-exciting program of events, exhibitions and live performances, you can see a show and enjoy food and drinks by the river. The Powerhouse is right next to Brisbane’s beloved New Farm Park and a ferry terminal.

brisbane powerhouse

4. City Hall Discovery
One of Brisbane’s most iconic buildings and the symbolic heart of the city since 1930, City Hall has free daily heritage tours, Clock Tower tours and a host of exhibitions at the Museum of Brisbane every day from 10am to 5pm. Highlights include riding the old, hand-operated lift to get a bird’s-eye view over the city centre, and discovering the art and stories of Brisbane’s most significant female artists over the past 100 years, in the New Woman exhibition, which is open until March 2020.

brisbane city hall 

5. South Bank Parklands
Since its glory days of Expo ’88, this riverside precinct has evolved into a modern hub of greenspaces, dining options and entertainment. Find the Nepalese Pagoda for a cool and calming retreat, and the Epicurious Garden has edible herbs, vegetables and fruits that can be tasted from the harvest cart on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

brisbane south bank

Travel tips

  • Free off-peak periods for seniors are weekdays between 8.30am-3.30pm and 7pm-6am on buses, ferries and CityCats, and all day and all night on weekend buses.
  • You’ll need a local seniors go card or go+ card to use the free off-peak travel on Brisbane City Council buses, ferries and CityCats. Australians with a valid seniors card from any state or territory are eligible, so visit the Translink website to apply in advance.
  • Once you’ve got your card, simply tap it on the readers when you get on and off your bus or boat to make sure your off-peak trip is free.

senior getting off bus in brisbane

Find out more
brisbane.qld.gov.au – Visit Brisbane City Council’s website find more to see and do, including free events at the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm Library, Museum of Brisbane and City Hall Clock Tower information

Translink.com.au – Translink is the place to go to apply for a senior go card, check fares and timetables, and to plan your journey.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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