The South Bank of Brisbane in Queensland is one of the most popular destinations in the city because it is a hub for cultural, educational, and recreational activities on the southern bank of the Brisbane River. The South Bank Parklands are a section of the South Bank that is easily recognised because of the giant, 60 metre tall Wheel of Brisbane. It is the site of the World Expo from 1988. The South Bank Parklands are a popular tourist destination. The parklands are a mix of grassy areas, rainforest, plazas, the riverfront promenade, Streets Beach, the Grand Arbour, the Courier Mail Piazza, the Nepal Peace Pagoda along with many other restaurants, shops, and fountains. If you want to learn more about things to do in Brisbane, see our previous posts All about Brisbane, Free Things to Do in Brisbane, and 5 day trips from Brisbane. While you are touring the area, take a moment to remember the rich history of this region and the traditional landowners, the Turrbal and Yuggera people who used this area as a meeting place. Then, in the 1840’s the South Bank became the central focus point of early European settlements in the area.

South Bank

South Bank, Brisbane Photo Credit: Wikipedia

South Bank Map

South Bank Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

Hiring a Car for Touring the South Bank of Brisbane

Brisbane Car Hire Map

Brisbane Car Rental Map Photo Credit:

South Bank - Facebook

South Bank Photo Credit: South Bank, Brisbane Facebook Page

There are several convenient locations to rent a car in Brisbane. If you are arriving at the Brisbane airport, that would be your first option. If you are planning on renting a car from another location within or near Brisbane, you can choose from Ipswich, Rocklea, or Logan. When you rent a vehicle in Brisbane, be sure to ask your car rental agent for details on the destinations you are planning for your holiday. They will kindly provide you with safety protocols, maps, and insider details all about the best places to go on a Brisbane holiday. Click on any of the links and you can get a customised quote and will see some of the best prices and deals for hiring a car in Queensland.

Things to do in the South Bank

Fountains at Entrance to South Bank

Fountains at the Entrance of South Bank Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Aquativity Photo Credit: South Bank, Brisbane Facebook Page

There is no shortage of things to do in the South Bank. In fact, there is something for everyone and it is centrally located, easy to get to from anywhere in Brisbane. There is a mix of sights and sounds to take in including restaurants and cafes, enclosed beaches for swimming, the Arbour, the Courier Mail Piazza which is an open-air amphitheatre.

Streets Beach

Streets Beach

Streets Beach in South Bank Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Streets Beach - South Bank

Streets Beach Panoramic View Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Streets Beach is the only city beach in the world! It is patrolled by surf lifesavers and is open all year round. It is one of the major attractions of the South Bank Parklands. The beach is man-made and is 2,000 square metres of concrete that is surrounded by 4,000 cubic metres of sand brought in from the Rous Channel in Moreton Bay. They perform regular maintenance to keep the beach in tip-top shape. The lagoon in filled with chlorinated water that is regularly recirculated.

Nepal Peace Pagoda


The Nepal Pavilion was first constructed for the 1988 Expo. It was salvaged and moved to the Parklands in 1992. It is the only surviving international exhibit from the expo and is only one of three Nepal Peace Pagodas outside of Nepal.

South Bank Grand Arbour

Grand Arbour

South Bank Grand Arbour Photo Credit:

The Grand Arbour is made of curling steel columns that are covered in beautiful bouganvilleas woven with blooms of vibrant pink flowers. It is a great spot for a stroll after a bite at one of the nearby cafes. Be sure to bring your camera for some great photos.

Picnic Island

Picnic Island is one of the many free spots you can go to in the South Bank. There is a playground for children and BBQ facilities. It is a man-made tropical island built at the east end of the South Bank. Kids of all ages will especially enjoy the giant fig playground.

Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum Photo Credit:

Dinosaur Garden - Queensland Museum

Dinosaur Garden at the Queensland Museum Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Queensland Museum is located in the South Bank and part of what makes up the rich cultural attraction to this area. The museum was founded in 1862 and features many of Queensland’s historical collections. One of the most popular exhibits is the dinosaur zones both inside and outside of the museum. You can learn about Queensland history dating back to the indigenous people and islander arts and crafts as well as colonial history too.

Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art Photo Credit:

Gallery of Modern Art - Main Entrance

Gallery of Modern Art Main Entrance Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Gallery of Modern Art, also known as GOMA, is the largest gallery of modern and contemporary art in all of Australia. You can see works from Nolan, Drysdale, and Vida Lahey. Entrance to the museum is free and you can even enjoy free gallery i-tours. The Gallery of Modern Art is part of the Queensland Cultural Centre. It includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and Science Centre, the Queensland Art Gallery, and the State Library of Queensland.


The South Bank is rich in culture not only from the art galleries and museums, but also from the abundance of theatres and live music venues. Here are just a few of the live theatres you can look into while on holiday in the South Bank:

  • Opera Queensland
  • Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
  • Queensland Performing Arts Centre
  • Queensland Theatre Company
  • Brisbane Festival
  • Jazz Café
  • Seed Project