20 off-the-beaten-track things to do in Brisbane

 In Australia

If you’re looking for exciting non-touristy activities to do with your family, congratulation, you’ve come to the right page. Firstly, let me make it clear, I’m not writing a guide to What’s on in Brisbane because websites like this don’t cover off-the-beaten-track things to do. They’re stuffed with every popular touristic activity that even locals love going to in masses. Do you really want to be there? I think not.


Have lived in QLD on and off for over 10 years ( the majority of them spent in the Gold Coast and the last year in Brisbane), I can assure you there is always something new to discover, fun things to do. If you think you’ve seen all Brisbane attractions, think again. If you’re interested to know why we’ve left the Gold Coast in the first place, I wrote about it here.

To start with, I wasn’t very familiar with Brisbane attractions at all when we lived in the Gold Coast and a daunting drive on a weekend sounded like a nightmare. The second reason was I didn’t find them that attractive at all. I thought we’ve had everything we needed on the coast so why bother! But this year is different. This year proved me wrong. More I get around, more Brisbane sightseeing we discover, deeper my love becomes. In fact, we’ve managed to visit more places in the last two weeks of January ( exactly a year since moving from Sydney! ) than in the whole year. The majority of these places are easily accessible, located away from the busy city center ( I hate driving in CBD ) and FREE. If you’re local, start planning weekends exploring my 20 fun non-touristy unique things to do. If you’re a visitor to this beautiful city, you might consider hiring a car or order Uber to get to those places.

So buckle up, we are going places! Islands, beaches, museums – all things travel.

20 off-the-beaten-track things to do in Brisbane (I bet you had no idea about):


1. Stock up on the freshest purely organic goodies in Windsor

There’s no better way to spend a Sunday morning than to bring your family to Brisbane’s only purely organic produce market. This isn’t just a farmer’s market, this is a powerful community built on the principles of sustainable farming and ecosystem. Attached to an own little farm bursting with herb and veggie patches, chicken coops, and a nursery this is the place where everyone’s welcome to pick organically planted herbs seedlings and reserve a spot at the next permaculture workshop.

Eat and drink your way around before you start stocking up on fresh produce.  Enjoy smelling, testing, trying hand-made products and admiring handcrafted arts. Choose from a wide variety of farm eggs, sustainable meat, heavenly baked goodies and much more.

I must admit, this is by far my favorite market. Not only it’s 100% certified organic but also plentiful in size and product assortment. You can easily spend half a day here without noticing how fast time passed. Children enjoy coming along because the markets are FAMILY and DOG-FRIENDLY.

The first stall I head to is the Buchi Kombucha for our weekly supply of the mighty gut-healing potion. I’m also absolutely addicted to their fermented syrups! It’s like a Cordial, only testier and 100% healthier.

Location: Northey Street City Farm Organic Market in Windsor- Inner Northern suburb, 3,5 km from CBD

When: every Sunday 6-12 am

Entrance: FREE

Parking: the Market is set up in a spacious car park, so there is plenty of room for every car



2. Have a picnic at Minnippi Parklands

Interestingly, we’ve been to the park a few times but only recently I’ve learned it has quite a historical significance.  The early settlers built the suburbia around the only rare surviving lagoon left from the pre-settlement era. Besides, the park hosts Porter’s Paddock which got its name from Stan Porter, the grandson of the local pioneering family. Sadly, Stan was killed in a plane crash near Bulimba Creek. Once a rural property with its own airstrip, it’s not surprising that nowadays the Paddock represents a modern air club. You can see big hobby toys with wings do what they do best—glide through the air.

Situated on the Eastside of Brisbane, it represents a local iconic lush meadowland with a great range of recreational facilities. It’s home to native wildlife sightseeing, leisure sunbaking, Sunday barbecuing or birthday celebrations. While on the platform overseeing the lagoon, observe quietly and you will spot a curious eel or a turtle coming out to the lotus-covered surface. Besides, walking/cycling tracks connect the surrounding areas well, they make an excellent source for keeping fit while traveling. From here you can walk or cycle to Carindale Westfield in under 15 minutes if you follow the sign for Carindale.

Location: 276 Meadowlands Rd Carina QLD 4152

Getting there: turn off the Wynnum Rd into the industrial area, follow the back road turning at the signs to the Parklands

Parking: plenty of parking space

15 off-the-beaten-track things to do it Brisbane-Laskababytravel

The rare surviving lagoon is a hidden treasure and a perfect escape for soul-soothing or stargazing

3. Splash in a wading pool

Since its opening in 1932, this man-made fresh seawater pool has been the most loved chill place for the locals. Located on Wynnum bayside, it’s easily accessible, baby/toddler-friendly ( hence it’s called wading ) yet a lot less touristy compared to the popular Southbank pool.

Needless to say, Wynnum Waterfront has spectacular views on the Bay with Brisbane Port in the horizon. You can choose what you want to do on the day: have a picnic or light up a barbecue, order local seafood in one of the Fish and Chips cafes along the Esplanade or relax while kids splash in the interactive water playground.

Location: Wading pool Wynnum QLD 4178

Getting there: by car or Wynnum train station, then walk toward the bay for about 10 minutes

Entrance: FREE

Parking: off the street or in the Esplanade designated car bays

15 off-the-beaten-track things to do it Brisbane-Laskababytravel

On a warm day, the water in the pool looks brilliantly shiny and very inviting

4. Watch an RC race or ride on a steam train

Perfect afternoon escape for the whole family. Come for a play with your own RC car/truck or watch the local RC club members holding their weekly races. The outdoor track is open to the public, it offers one of the premier scale motor racing facilities in Brisbane and conveniently located next to the Steam Train track. In the majority of the time, the course is completely empty, so local folks use the opportunity for their own leisure time passing, not only kids we’re talking about, the grown-ups love it just as much if not more.

The Steam Railway is a miniature train track, about 2 km long and takes riders big and small through the native bushland in Wynnum. Because the club was formed by Live Steamers and Model Engineers, the drivers are knowledgable about model train railways and enthusiastically share the information with visitors during the rides.

Location: Unit 2/81 Network Dr, Wynnum West QLD 4178

Entrance: it’s an open-air track unless you’re a member, play your heart out. The steam train ride costs a small fee and runs on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month from 10 am-4 pm



On a weekday, the track is absolutely deserted, not a soul around but it comes alive when the club meeting is on

5. Release your inner zen in Japanese Gardens

For the nature lovers that look for great places to escape the reality, Mount Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens is more than smelling flowers and chasing wild turkeys for selfies.

To find your peace, head towards the Japanese garden, it’s by far the most tranquil place for opening your heart to the universe. One of Japan’s leading landscaping architects, Kenzo Ogata designed the gardens using the key ingredients: stone, wall, paths, and vegetation. Follow the path around the vegetation, you’ll come to the “hidden” mystery section. This is where your self-discovery journey begins as you comfortably settle yourself amongst the native greenery hidden from curious eyes. Breath deeply, release all your energies and allow your mind to take you on a journey of mindfulness and relaxation.

Location: 152 Mount Coo Tha Rd, Mount Coo-Tha QLD 4066

Entrance: FREE

Parking: a large FREE parking lot

 Off-the-beaten-track things to do in Brisbane-Laskababytravel


6. Relax at Victoria Point beach

In a search for a family swim spot, we decided to go a little further and check what Victoria Point in Redland City has to offer. What we’ve found has exceeded our expectations in many ways. A blissful shorefront with calm warm waters that aren’t deep even when the tide is high. When the tide is low, the fun begins. Local families come on weekends to shake off the busy week’s stress, kids can safely splash in the Broadwater, watch soldier crabs run in and out of their burrows, or release energy on a playground.

Pack a picnic basket, fresh air creates a good appetite and it’s always beneficial to eat outside. There are plenty of electric barbecues around for those that love their meals hot. Bring a rug to spread in a shade under a tree on the grassy area and forget the whole world for a day. Be as active or as lazy as you want. Perch on a bench watching yachts go past or walk further away from the shore to throw a fishline in.  There is plenty to do to keep everyone busy.

Location: Thompson’s Beach Victoria Point

Getting there: by car, Uber or bus

Entrance: FREE

Parking: designated parking lot or around the streets

Playing in low-tide of Victoria Point in Redlands City QLD off-the-beaten-track things to do in Brisbane-Laskababytravel

Warm calm waters are perfect either in a high or low tide, both are safe for small children to play in

7. Visit Glasshouse Mountain lookout for majestic views

Take a scenic hour drive to Sunshine Coast if mountains are your thing. It sure is mine, I’d go to every mountain if there’s any in the proximity.

Glasshouse Mountains lookout is the perfect spot for aspiring photographers with the panoramic landscape of the vertical columns and the surrounding lush green valley. The beautiful peaks that make up the mountains are the remnants of volcano activity from about 27 million years ago. Can you imagine? The best part, the volcano has been sleeping for all these years and as a result, the area was blessed with these iconic landmarks as we know them now.

For extra-active folks, different hiking tracks take you on a journey to the tops and back around. Some trails make it easy while others designed to challenge even the fittest gurus.

For coffee, views and divine home-baked cakes, pop in the cafe on the lookout.

Location: 182 Glass House Woodford Rd, Glass House Mountains QLD 4518

Getting there: an hour drive North from Brisbane

Entrance: FREE

Parking: designated parking lot or around the streets

Visiting Glasshouse Mountains in Sunshine Coast - Laskababytravel


8. Snap a shot of a battleship from a bridge

Amongst exciting Brisbane activities, visiting museums is probably on top of the list. They’re amazing, educational, historical but can be pricey for a family. In this case, we found a great solution for you. As you arrive at the Southbank station, walk up the ramp towards the river. The first bridge ( Brisbane is a city of bridges ) is called the Goodwill bridge, it’s a popular cycling/walking pathway that takes you across the Brisbane River. Fantastic views on the city and its most iconic buildings. Luckily, it begins in the footsteps of Maritime Museum entrance and offers an open panoramic view of the biggest warship in the museum’s possession—the iconic Diamantina. The vessel is the last remaining World War II River Class frigate in the world. Next to Diamantina, you will spot another smaller but not lesser in importance boat – Carpentaria.

Location: Cnr Stanley & Sidon Streets, South Brisbane, beneath the Goodwill Bridge in the South Bank Parklands

Getting there: by train to Southbank station, by car, ferry from CBD

Parking: in the nearby underground parking ( hourly fee )

Entrance: FREE ( to the bridge, the museum entry ticket is $16 per adult)

Website: https://maritimemuseum.com.au/

Read QLD Maritime Museum reviews on Trip Advisor here 

Unique activities to do in Brisbane-Laskababytravel

We enjoyed viewing the Diamantina battleship from Goodwill bridge during our relaxing morning stroll across the river

9. Get a royal treatment at a high tea parlor

If you want to get a WOW factor, experience food coma or simply take your family for special treatment, Aimee Provence Parlour offers all of the above and beyond. I wish I could explain on paper the taste and smell of freshly baked scone ( traditional British by the way, from Aimee’s grandma’s secret recipe ), it’d fit in one word: heavenly.

From the moment you step over the threshold to the minute you leave, they’ll treat you no less than royalty. I guarantee because I had the honor to experience it. This place is responsible for my addiction to French macarons but under given superb conditions, I wasn’t complaining. You won’t be either.

Moreover, the Parlour ‘s location leaves visitors speechless, then turn them into storytellers, I’m a good example. For afternoon tea, you can sit inside or out, either way, the presented sunset above the ocean on the horizon is the sure way to finish the great trip.

Location: 1/100 Burnett St, Buderim QLD 4556

Getting there: an hour drive North from Brisbane

Prices start at AU $20 per person

Parking: designated parking lot or around the streets

Website: https://www.aimeeprovence.com.au/menus

When I walked into the Parlour, I think I fainted seeing the table with my name on it boasting with mouth-watering treats and exquisite china

10. Tour Brisbane’s prime Military Exhibition

The Military Precinct in the suburb of Lytton holds extensive historic fortifications and military equipment of the WWI and WWII. Visiting the largest military museum in QLD should be on your list for the reason that it’s an educational and quite touchy affair.

Come in the morning during the week, grab a free guide at the entrance and explore the grounds at your own pace. Follow the path to the right towards the water, there you’ll find well-preserved Colonial Fort that remains mostly in its original state.

Location: 160 South St, Lytton QLD 4178

Getting there: 14 km from CBD, take the Lytton/Wynnum exit from the Port of Brisbane Motorway, then follow the brown signs to Fort Lytton National Park

Entrance: FREE ( donations are welcome)

Parking: designated parking on premises

Website: Lytton Museum 

Display of lovingly restored and well-kept artillery guns takes you right back in time. In memory of those dutifully guarding Brisbane’s riverfront, make sure to take a minute and honor them in your mind

11. Unplug from life at the lagoon practicing a “walking meditation”

For a true interlude with nature head to Underwood Park, you’ll find the place soulful and relaxing. It also has a gorgeous lagoon that’s covered with blossoming lilies. Quite a scenic view. A wooden bridge takes you across the pond offering a peaceful journey with a few sitting benches along the way. It’s a marvelous way to spend an afternoon watching baby dusky moorhens learning to swim or being fed by their parents.

On the opposite side of the park in its own secluded space, the Contemplation area is a quiet zone for meditation and mindfulness. Parted from the main playing grounds by the sandstone walls and decking, it features a large South American Rose Quartz crystal. Around the stone, there are zigzags of a maze, a labyrinth you can practice your silent walking to find a way to the crystal and enjoy the inner self-discovery.

Location: Underwood Road Priestdale, QLD 4127

Getting there: by car or Uber

Entrance: FREE

Parking: plenty around the park

The walking meditation reinforces the idea of the walking in silence to ignite the inner mind-body connection without disturbance

12. Immerse into a culture at Buddhist temple

At the very end of the Underwood park, hidden away from the public eye, is a beautiful Chung Tian Temple. Follow the path across the lake to the Temple’s entrance.

The visit to this authentic Humanistic Buddhist Temple truthfully celebrates multicultural diversity in every way. Regardless of your beliefs or religion, Buddism’s acceptance is generous and forgiving. A self-guided tour is quite fine, although if you feel that you need to learn in more detail, contact the Temple to organize a guided tour beforehand.

The Temple and Pagoda are open for visitors to freely explore, as well as the Zen Garden, the Museum and Art Gallery boasting with crafted masterpieces. Grab a cup of coffee at the Museum cafe and sit in the gardens enjoying the view of Pagoda.

Location: 1034 Underwood Road Priestdale, QLD 4127

Getting there: by car or Uber

Entrance: FREE ( donations are welcome)

Parking: designated parking on-premises and in the adjacent Underwood park



Things to do in Brisbane that are tourist-free Laskababytravel

We loved how they use such bright colors to build the Temple and Pagoda. It makes the place warm, inviting and friendly. Don’t you think?

13.  Enjoy a family session of a mini-golf ( Gold Central BNE Brisbane airport )

Golf Central is a short distance from the airport and an all-year-round place to visit due to Brisbane weather being perfect 99% of the time. So, next time you’re in town, pop over, unleash your inner child. Bring friends and family.  After all, what child doesn’t like a game of Mini Putt-Putt? (Psst ladies, a special announcement: there’s a DFO or Discount Factory Outlet across the road. YOU ARE WELCOME).

Location: 40 The Circuit, Skygate, Brisbane Airport QLD 4008

Getting there: by car or Uber

Prices start at $12. Children under 5 are free

Parking: designated FREE parking on-premises

Website: https://golfcentralbne.com.au/minigolf/

My boys had a ball in this place while I “worked” hard crossing things off my shopping list in the opposite DFO building LOL

14. Have a coffee at the highest point in Brisbane

Although you can catch glimpses of Brisbane city’s’ scrapers from different hilltop streets, there’s only one place that offers a complete panoramic view and this place is Mount Coot-Tha. In fact, the lookout is the highest point in Brisbane and Heritage-listed property. What can be better than driving up to the mountains early in the morning to settle yourself for a lovely time with a cuppa while the city is just waking up and stretching in bed?

Before you head off though, check the forecast. Sometimes clouds can hang around for quite a while, it’s good to plan earlier whether the morning will be clear. In any case, reserve a good couple of hours for the trip to be safe and not to miss the views.

Location: Mount Coot-Tha lookout

Getting there: 7 km West from CBD by car or Uber

Entrance: FREE

Parking: designated parking lot or around the streets

The view of Brisbane city from Mount Coo-Tha Lookout-Laskababytravel

As the early morning fog disappears, the Brisbane city comes into view

15. Find your zen in Southbank ( ” Flow State ” Southbank Brisbane )

In the heart of Brisbane’s cultural hub, Southbank precinct, an open-air creative place is known as Flowstate welcomes visitors daily. There’s no shame in saying, this place is exactly what you need to literally ” collapse” for a few minutes. Large seats in forms of horizontal lounges are too inviting not to throw your bones on. The meditating melody starts playing every 5 minutes changing the tone with every new sound, at the same time the lights on vertical poles of the dome lights up in different colors.

Location: The Arbour, Tribune Street, Southbank, Brisbane, QLD

Getting there: by train to Southbank station, by car or ferry from CBD

Entrance: There’s no actual entrance, it’s positioned in the middle of the Parklands. FREE for everyone to use

Parking: in the nearby underground parking ( hourly fee )

Mr. N relaxing in a Zen zone. It was hard to get him up to continue our walk. That’s what this is for, isn’t it?

16. Enjoy Wynnum to Manly foreshore walk

The best way to tackle your fitness needs and enjoy a scenic seafront is to walk, cycle or run it. Start at Wynnum Esplanade jetty and make your way towards Manly Marine, it’s about 3km along a lovely path that connects the two points. It gets pretty interesting when the tide is low because you might want to stop and spend some time watching soldiers crabs going about their business.

During the walk, there are plenty of resting options as well as lovely cafes along the seafront. Wynnum and Manly both have grassy areas with playgrounds, they both are well equipped with picnic facilities, also tables and electric barbecues. The views are magnificent especially in early mornings, so get up with the sun and spend these prior hours relishing the beauty of pure undisturbed Universe.

Location: Wynnum Esplanade Wynnum QLD 4178

Getting there: by car or Wynnum train station, then walk for about 10 minutes towards the bay

Entrance: FREE

Parking: designated parking lot or around the streets

Spectacular views from Wynnum jetty

17. Catch a ferry to Coochiemidlo Island

Although not in the Brisbane city jurisdiction, Coochie Coochie is situated in Redland City governing district. 35 km from the CBD and a short (and very pleasant) 10-min ferry ride from Victoria Point jetty, it’s accessible day or night. If you’re heading that way, consider spending enough time in the area because apart from visiting the island, there are plenty of other activities to discover. For better planning go to Trip Advisor, it covers everything. Otherwise, you will kick yourself for missing out on something you haven’t checked beforehand.

I’ve written a detailed post on Coochie Island because this little slice of heaven has a special place in my heart. Read my Local guide on visiting Coochie here

Location: Coochiemudlo Island QLD 4184

Getting there: passengers ferry or car barge from Victoria Point Jetty

Price for a passenger jetty: $5 for a child and $10 for an adult return ticket

Price for car barge: refer to their website https://amitytrader.com/

Parking: FREE car park at the jetty and on the island

Coochie is famous for its red rocks formations, that’s where its name is originated from, so when you look at the shore, the sand has a tone of red, doesn’t it? Fascinating!

18. Read your way through the bookshops

In the hearts of Manly Marina, hidden inside the little waterfront shopping center, Mad Hatters bookstore offers a wide range of the newest adult and children’s most loved readers. The name Mad Hatters comes from a character in the latest Alice in Wonderland Movie but the main theme of the book club is actually Harry Potter. In fact, they have a reading room dedicated to everything Harry Potter: the full story collection, games, puzzles, figurines, artwork, you name it. In saying that, go ahead and book a party in this place, what kid won’t like that?

Let me introduce you to the next superstar: Little Gnome bookstore is somewhat a local celebrity in Wynnum because it’s known for being the Biggest Little Bookshop in Brisbane. The biggest is because it stocks the largest range of self-publishing Australian authors, while the Little describes the actual space in the shop. Although tiny but cute, you’ll love this space for meeting friends for a cup of an Organic Montville coffee sourced locally from Sunshine Coast’s Hinterlands. Little Gnome also runs monthly book club as well as regular writing and community workshops. There you have it, total local economy support 2 minutes from the Wynnum Waterfront.

Location: Little Gnome 66 Florence St, Wynnum Q 4178 ( open 7 days a week )

Mad Hatters Shop 3, 7 Day Markets, 50 Cambridge Parade, Manly 4179

Parking: Street parking or at nearby shops



A cheerful set up of the books shelves at Little Gnome welcomes visitors into the warm homey atmosphere for a catch up with friends or coffee with a family

19. Savor your way around Manly Saturday Market 

Every second Saturday at 6 am, the famous Jan Powers Markets unfold their stall umbrellas at the Manly Marina, in front of the tranquil waters and private yachts.  I’m not sure why everyone else gets up so damn early on a weekend but I do it for the view, the food, and the coffee! While wandering around the stalls, you’ll be invited to savor freshly made falafels, vegan popcorn, raw treats so make sure to take advantage of these offers before committing to buy. I find produce is always outstanding quality and freshness, tastes great and priced well. The welcoming atmosphere will set your mood for the rest of the day. And don’t forget to bring your reusable bags. We love keeping our planet green, don’t we?

Location: Royal Esplanade, Manly QLD 4179

Getting there: 30 mins drive from CBD

Entrance: FREE

Parking: FREE street parking

Website: http://www.janpowersfarmersmarkets.com.au/manly-farmers-markets/

Colorful fruit stall displays and the smell of the fresh-picked produce tickles every sense in the markets

20. Wine shop till you drop at wineries at Mount Tamborine

If you have ever done a winery tour or a tour of any sort, you might remember how rushing they can be. Trust me, Mount Tamborine is made to keep you relaxed. Besides, they have one the best local wineries that are free for everyone to enter with no obligations to buy and offer ” try it before you buy it” attitude. Mount Tamborine Vineyard and Winery is my personal favorite because not only the staff are exceptionally knowledgable but they also have an amazing shop inside the wine cell full of local home-made goodies: conserves, skincare, kitchen utensils, honey. All made from ethically sourced components, home-made and natural.

You’ll be able to try as many wine labels and other alcoholic beverages as you please with no obligation to buy which you’ll find hard not to once you tasted their outstanding range.

Above all, the drive up the mountains takes your breath away. Just before entering the village, stop at the Eagles Heights Lookout to see a panoramic coastal view of the Gold Coast below.

Click here to read in more detail about visiting Mount Tamborine.

Location: 128 Long Rd, Tamborine QLD 4271

Getting there: located 80km south of Brisbane, the quickest way is to take M1 towards Gold Coast and exit 57 in Oxenford following GPS and route signs for Mount Tamborine-Oxenford Rd

Parking: FREE street parking

Website: http://mtvw.com.au/


Useful links:

Accommodation around Brisbane

Explore the city by bike 

City walking tour

Brisbane Heritage tour


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