After the success of Brisbane – 10 Things To Do For Free, I am sharing some more activities and places to visit in Brisbane that will cost you nothing. Nix. Nada! Some of these are places you would expect to see on a list but some are tucked away or not as well known. All are worth a visit.
1. Roma St Parkland
Former rail shunting yards, this parkland adds yet another green space for visitors to the heart of the city. The landscaped parkland is made up of ‘precincts’ showcasing flora that thrives in Brisbane’s subtropical climate. The horticultural calendar will tell you what’s in bloom or at its peak. It’s hard to believe the Parkland sits alongside one of Brisbane’s busiest train stations, Roma St Station. Bring a picnic, take advantage of the free BBQs or pop into the cafe to grab a coffee to enjoy as you wander around and soak up the peace before you head back into the urban jungle. For those with tired feet or mobility issues, the Parkland Explorer tourist train can be caught for a gold coin donation. www.visitbrisbane.com.au/Roma-Street-Parkland
+ Value Add: Take a guided one hour free walk with one of the volunteers departing 10am or 2pm from The Hub. Just show up.
www.visitbrisbane.com.au/guided-walks There are also free specialised walks such as the Heritage Walk and Art Walk. Bookings are essential and require 4 weeks notice. www.visitbrisbane.com.au/specialised-walks
2. Qld Police Museum
Located in Qld Police Headquarters, directly opposite the Roma St Parkland. Learn about how policing has changed in the past 150 years and see artefacts from notorious events in Qld Policing history such as the infamous Whiskey Au-Go-Go fire bombing and the eternally watchful ‘Peter the Dog’. Open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday and the last Sunday of every month (Feb – Nov 10am – 3pm). A great way to kill a few hours on a rare rainy day. www.police.qld.gov.au/aboutus/museum
+ Value Add: Attend one of the free lectures given on the last Sunday of every month, featuring topics such as historic crime and crime solving techniques and one that’s sure to be a hit with kids, ‘The Fire & Explosion Unit’.
3. Brisbane Powerhouse
The Brisbane Powerhouse in Teneriffe is a former electricity power station that has been transformed into an amazing arts and culture venue, run by the Brisbane City Council. The Powerhouse retains much or its original fit out with bare brick, exposed steel beams and graffiti from when it was derelict. So very industrial and ‘now’ there are always a range of ticketed shows and events but there are always free events in the program such as poetry slams, exhibitions such as the recent World Press Photo collection, music, cabaret and comedy. Regular events at the time of writing include:
Knockoff – free comedy every Friday night at 6pm including improv on the last Friday of every month
Livespark – free music every Sunday afternoon including a hosted discussion on the last Sunday of the month where two artists perform and talk about their music
Markets – The Farmer’s Markets have been going strong for well over 20 years and the quality remains high. Saturday mornings 6am – midday.
The CityCat Ferry will take you from the city to New Farm Park where you walk the short distance to the Powerhouse, that dominates the skyline. www.brisbanepowerhouse.org
+Value Add: Perched on the Brisbane River, there are worse ways to while away an afternoon or evening. Enjoy a drink or snack from Watt Restaurant or Bar Alto, both located in the complex, as the sun slowly sinks behind the cityscape.
4. City Botanic Gardens
The City Botanic gardens were opened in 1855 although it was a botanic reserve from 1828 when it provided food for the early penal colony. The Gardens have been through a number of redevelopments but vestiges from the past are still apparent in the form of the 1867 Walter Hill Drinking Fountain, the massive City Gardens entry gates and Weeping Fig Avenue with trees from the 1870’s. The gardens provide a quiet location to rest and relax under shady trees or to admire the Kangaroo Point Cliffs on the opposite side of the river. The gardens connect the with Old Parliament House and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/city-botanic-gardens
+ Value Add: take a one hour free guided walk of the gardens to learn more about its plants and features. Walks leave twice daily (Monday to Saturday) at 11am and 1pm from the Rotunda (no walks Sundays).
5. Queensland Museum
As you can imagine, there’s something for everyone here and it will take you quite a while to get through it all. As well as all creatures great and small, there are collections relating to Queensland’s history, indigenous culture, migrants and modern Qld icons such as Rock’n’Roll George’s old 1952 FX Holden. There are a range of free permanent and temporary exhibitions on display. The museum is currently building a permanent ANZAC Legacy Gallery, to be opened in 2018 which will also become the home of the A7V Sturnmpanzerwagen ‘Mephisto’, the last remaining WWI German tank in existence.
The Queensland Museum sits alongside the Qld Art Gallery and is readily accessible from the city and South Bank. www.qm.qld.gov.au
+Value Add: Every Wednesday in the Discovery Centre, a curator or guest will bring special objects from the collection to life through talks and stories that allow you to learn more about the object, our social history and the work of the museum.
So there you have it. Five more things to do for free in Brisbane. Now you have 15 activities that are readily accessible to you as a visitor or local that won’t make a dent in your hip pocket. If you have any questions about this list or Brisbane in general, leave a comment and I’ll respond.
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