OVERVIEW

Brisbane is well connected to the rest of Australia. Taking the train, coach or driving are all viable options too.

There are plenty of accommodation options and, due to the relatively small nature of the city centre, it should be easy for you find a location that allows you to walk to all the major city centre attractions.

Take a look below for all the details on how to get to Brisbane and where to stay.

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How To Get To Brisbane

 

Flights To Brisbane

 

Every major city in Australia has a flight to Brisbane with many regional flights from around Queensland also available.

 

There is one airport, simply named 'Brisbane Airport', which is serviced by the Airtrain, giving easy access to the city in just 20 minutes. If you plan on making a trip to wider South East Queensland, you have additional route options in the form of flying into Gold Coast Airport and the Sunshine Coast Airport.

Domestic Airlines flying into Brisbane include Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Alliance, Link and Rex.

Note: The following is an indication of flights at the time of writing. Due to snap border restrictions, this information may be incorrect. Similarly, if restrictions are eased, expect the number of flights to increase.

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport © Tourism and Events Queensland

From Sydney

Jetstar and Virgin have around 6 direct flights per day scheduled whilst Qantas have over 20.

1hr30min flight time.

From Melbourne

Over 20 flights per day arrive from Brisbane through Qantas and Virgin. Jetstar have up to 8 flights per day and Link provide one further flight.

2hr30min flight time.

From Adelaide

Virgin and Qantas have four or five flights each. Jetstar have another two. 2hr20min flight time.

From Perth

One direct flight per day arrives from Jetstar. Around 10 flights per day are offered between Virgin and Qantas. 4hr 40min flight time.

From Hobart

Virgin and Qantas have 3 flights each per day whilst Jetstar have 2.

2hr40min flight time.

From Darwin

Five direct flights per day go through Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar.

3hr45min flight time.

From Canberra

Two flights from Virgin, one from Jetstar and Six from Qantas fly direct each day. 1hr40min flight time.

From Regional Towns

Flights are often scheduled from the following regional centres through Alliance, Link, Qantas and Virgin : -

Alice Springs, Armidale, Biloela (Thangool), Broome, Bundaberg, Cairns, Cloncurry, Coffs Harbour, Cooma, Dubbo, Emerald, Fraser Coast (Hervey bay) Gladstone, Hamilton Island, Inverell, Launceston, Longreach, Mackay, Moranbah, Mt Isa, Narrabri, Newcastle, Norfolk Island, Orange, Port Macquarie, Prosperine (Whitsundays), Rockhampton, Roma, Tamworth, Townsville, Weipa, Wollongong (Shellharbour).

Brisbane Airport train

Brisbane Airport train © Nicholas Weldingh

Getting from the Airport to the city

The simplest way to get to the city from the airport is to use the Airtrain, which is a direct train link that stops at five stations before reaching Central Station. It then continues to Roma Street Station and South Brisbane. The journey takes 20 minutes and trains depart every 15minutes at peak times and every 30minutes off peak. Tickets can be bought for a discounted rate online starting at $15 each way per adult, but there are often deals available, so check their website - here - when you book. Kids travel free.

Taxi's and Uber's take around 20 minutes to make the drive to the city centre in off peak times, but they cost more than the train, at around $40 to $50.

Skybus operate a service from the airport to the city, with several stops across the CBD that may be more convenient than the train. Tickets from $15 one way and $2 for children. More information on their website here.

The only public transport option beside the Airtrain is a nearby bus route (number 590), but this is an hour walk from the domestic terminal and the route doesn't even go to the CBD, so it's best to stick to the above options.

More information at: -

https://www.bne.com.au/passenger/to-and-from/transport-options

Sustainability Tip

Avoid flying at all costs and take the train or a coach instead. If there is more than one of you, driving is lower in carbon emissions too.

If you have no choice but to fly, at least offset your carbon emissions.

Read our 'How to travel sustainably' guide for more tips and information.

Train at Central Station, Sydney

Train at Central Station, Sydney © Luke White

Trains To Brisbane

 

You can avoid flying and take the train to Brisbane from Sydney or northern Queensland.

From Sydney

There are two "trains" arriving daily from Sydney, each taking around 15 hours total to get there. The trains is in inverted commas because unfortunately the train currently only reaches Casino Station, in northern NSW, and then connects with Brisbane via a connected coach service.

Seats cost around $120.

More info and booking available here.

From Northern Queensland

Queensland Rail operates a service to Brisbane from Cairns and Rockhampton and various other coastal towns all along the route. There are also two inland routes from outback Queensland - Longreach and Charleville - with a third route connecting at Townsville from Mt Isa.

The modern Tilt Train runs the route from Rockhampton in a time of 7hr45min.

The route from Cairns is called the Spirit of Queensland and takes around 25 hours with sleeper beds available.

From Other Cities

Brisbane can be reached by traveling via Sydney from Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne. Brisbane can also be reached from Perth or Darwin via Adelaide.

For information on train travel throughout Australia, try Seat61.

Coach To Brisbane

 

Regular coach services are run by several companies to Brisbane from Sydney and the rest of Queensland.

Greyhound

From Sydney. Fares start at $65 and it takes around 12.5 hours, running overnight to arrive conveniently at 9.25am.

They also have routes from Cairns, Longreach and Miles.

Premier Motor Service

From Sydney, running overnight in around 15.5hr.

 

Bus Queensland

Have a route from Mt Isa and another from Charleville, each with stops along the way.

Drive To Brisbane

 

There is a direct and scenic drive from Sydney to Brisbane with several worthwhile stops along the way. Brisbane is also well connected with the rest of Queensland. Other states are connected via less direct outback routes.

From Sydney

It takes at least 9hr30min of pure driving time, so you will likely want an overnight stop. On the way you will pass through popular tourist centres like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, so it's easy to make a trip of it.

From Melbourne or Adelaide

Two or three days of driving will get you there via country and outback NSW. From Melbourne, you can go inland via Dubbo or via Sydney and the coast in the same time, so you can take each route there and back to make a loop.

Adelaide offers a loop too, going via Dubbo one way and back via Broken Hill.

Toll Roads

There are several toll roads in Brisbane but none of them are required in order for you to reach the CBD. The main one you will notice is likely to be the Gateway Motorway, which allows you to reach the airport and bypass the CBD if heading around Brisi. The others mainly just duplicate other routes for slightly faster travel times and can be avoided.

Parking

Brisbane apparently has the most expensive off-street CBD parking in Australia with fees upwards of $90 for the day.

 

Thankfully the on-street parking is more reasonable and capped at $10 per day on weekdays and $6 per day on weekends. There is of course usually a cap of 2 hours for on-street parking in the city though, so it's not that useful for a full day of exploring. Try looking just outside the CBD for a 4hr spot and walk in, or the Southbank Cultural Centre has parking for a reasonable $17 per day.

 

It's probably most convenient of course just to leave the car at home, or your outer city accommodation, and use public transport to get into the centre.

Cruise ship in Brisbane

Cruise ship in Brisbane © Tourism and Events Queensland

Cruise Ship

 

Cruise ships usually dock at the Portside Wharf Cruise Terminal, which is located in Hamilton near the Eat Street Northshore attraction. It is a short walk away from a bus stop or river ferry terminal so you can easily reach the CBD.

Destinations/arrivals include New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, the Australian east coast, or even longer cruises that go to/from Asia or around the world.

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Where To Stay In Brisbane

Hotels In Brisbane

 

Most of the attractions and best areas for eating out are in and around the CBD, so it's best to pick a hotel that's within walking distance. This can include the CBD itself, which has the highest concentration of hotels. West of the river in Southbank, which has lots of dining options and Fish lane, there are a few hotels and plenty of apartment style options. If you don't mind a slightly longer walk (20min), there is Fortitude Valley, which stands on it's own two feet in terms of shopping, dining and drinking options, so can be a good option if you want some flexibility and variety.

If you're looking for a view, try looking at hotels on the other side of the river to the CBD, which may have a view looking over the water. Just be sure that there is a convenient bridge nearby to walk over.

The most sustainable hotels we could find at the time of writing were; The Calile, in Fortitude Valley, which has a range of measures that go roughly half way to ticking off the list of actions in our sustainable travel guide; The Emporium in Southbank, which is certified Gold by Earth Check and; Crystalbrook Vincent, in the Howard Smiths Wharves area, which has a decent range of initiatives to limit waste.

Crystalbrook Vincent Hotel in Brisbane

Crystalbrook Vincent Hotel in Brisbane © Tourism and Events Queensland

Air BnB

 

A few dozen options for accommodation can be found on Air BnB and they are located across Southbank, the CBD and Fortitude Valley. This can be a particularly good option if you are looking for a self contained apartment.

Backpackers

 

There are over a dozen backpacker and hostel options in Brisbane, all of them in and around the CBD, so really convenient for exploring and using public transport.

Camping In Brisbane

 

There are only a few good camping options that give good access to the Brisbane city centre unfortunately. Check out the following options: -

Brisbane Holiday Village - This park has lots of accommodation options and is located around 15km south of the CBD. There is a bus stop close by which can get you to the CBD in around 30min. Driving will take 15-20min. It's a well kept leafy park with a good pool and playground. More info here.

Brisbane Gateway Resort - Located just south of Brisbane Holiday Village, both of which are on the Pacific Highway, this park also has cabins and powered sites available. It's clean, simple and tidy and has a pool, tennis court and small playground. They have a bus stop nearby for easy access to the CBD in around 30min. More info here.

Bells Caravan Park - This council run park is on simple but on the beach, about a 40min drive to the CBD and with public transport needing you to take a bus and a train, it's not ideal for accessing the city. More info here.

Need the detailed information? Go to the third page of our guide for all the 'Essential info' like getting around, food, shopping, and much more.

Or go back to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.

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AUTHORED BY

Christopher Jubb, Founder of Travel Unpacked

More information available on our About page

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