Brisbane, Australia

Queensland’s capital has it all: the cultural swagger of Sydney and the tourist-beckoning beaches of Byron Bay, with an added dash of wilderness mixed in. To help you get the most out of your time in Brisbane on your Australia and New Zealand cruise, we’ve put together our insider’s guide on where the locals, eat, drink and hang out

This guide is the first in our new “Live Like a Local” series, which aims to give you the exclusive, inside scoop on the destinations you’ll explore on your Celebrity cruise. We’ll be sharing those hidden gems and “off the beaten track” spots to provide you with an authentic and unforgettable experience. Here are just some of our Brisbane highlights. 

What the Locals Do

Dodge the tourist traps and experience the real Brisbane with our top three recommendations to see the sights like a local in Brisbane.

View from Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane

Hike Mount Coot-tha

Thanks to a perpetually sunny climate and the proximity of both mountains and ocean, Brisbane locals are the outdoorsy type. Hiking is an easy way to experience nature without leaving the city.

The mighty Mount Coot-tha is Brisbane's highest peak at 287 metres above sea level, and you can see it from almost anywhere you are in the city. If you don't feel like lacing up those walking shoes, don't worry; this spot also offers bike trails, easy-to-reach waterfalls, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. 

Surfer's Paradise, Brisbane

Gold Coast Beaches

Some of the east coast’s best beaches are just 30 mins from Brisbane, along the idyllic Gold Coast. Locals head to hotspots such as Coolangatta (great for fishing), Surfer’s Paradise (try a scenic stroll along the boardwalk) and Kirra (a perfect place to learn surfing – or watch the pros do their thing).

South Bank Park Lands, Brisbane

South Bank Park Lands

Avoid the crowds and check out the hip and happening South Bank instead, on the Southern side of the Brisbane River. This inner-city spot is favoured by locals thanks to its public art, Epicurious Garden, and range of eateries (don’t miss the Eat Street market – an Asian-style night market).

Where the Locals Eat

Speaking of food, Brisbane enjoys an eclectic and exciting fusion of influences when it comes to eating out. Here are our top places to experience the authentic Brisbane culinary scene.


Café O-Mai

For Vietnamese street-style food, head to Café O-Mai in Annerley. Dishes like Claypot Baked Eggs with lemongrass tofu and Vietnamese Omelette with Jasmine Rice, prawns and pork mix provide a fresh take on breakfast.

Image courtesy of Café O-Mai

Mado Turkish Restaurant

This unique eatery is a big hit with locals thanks to its cosy interiors, belly dancing, and delicious Turkish food. Rest your legs after a day of exploring and enjoy delicacies such as marinated lamb cutlets and crumbed calamari in traditional spices. It’s also easy to find, as it’s in walking distance of South Bank and the city centre.

Image courtesy of Mado Turkish Restaurant

Reef Seafood and Sushi

Brisbane's location on the coast means that the seafood here is not to be missed – at Reef Seafood and Sushi in the Gasworks Precinct, you'll find some of the best in the city. Order the Seafood Platter to try a little bit of everything (it's enormous).

Extra Tricks & Tips

1. Getting Around

Brisbane is a well-linked city, and there are plenty of ways to get from A to B. Buses and trains are regular and well-maintained. If you plan on taking a lot of bus journeys, get a GO Card, which will save you around 30% on each ticket. CityCat ferries can take you around riverside areas.

2. Money

The currency in Brisbane is the Australian dollar (AUD). Factoring in transport and eating out, you should expect to spend upwards of 50 AUD per day.

3. Events and Festivals

Head to Brisbane in February and March for its celebrated Comedy Festival, which draws in world-class comedians from all over the world.

Now that you know how to live like a local in Brisbane, you’re all ready for your trip Down Under. Find out more about our Australia and New Zealand cruises