Whether you’re looking for adventure, romance, or perhaps a touch of both, Australia’s capital is an ideal starting point that gives visitors an enormous slate of opportunities to dive into at any point of the calendar. More than just a beautiful waterfront city, Brisbane is filled with romantic escapes, unique experiences, and unforgettable sights that tend to leave travelers planning a return trip before even boarding a flight. While it’s hard to do Brisbane wrong given all that it offers, consider these can’t-miss activities and day trips if you’re headed to Brisbane in search of romance.
A getaway to breathtaking Moreton Island
Feeding wild dolphins, scuba diving alongside shipwrecks, and walking the shores of one of the largest sand islands in the world are just a few of the possibilities waiting at Moreton Island, a beloved oasis just a 75-minute skip across the bay from downtown Brisbane. Moreton’s picturesque turquoise waters, secluded lagoons, and wide beaches have made the island a haven for honeymooners for years, as it’s an ideal place to unplug from the world and soak up the tranquility.
But even though Moreton has all of the features you would expect from a world-class beach destination, there’s plenty more to Brissie’s popular escape hatch. For wildlife lovers, Moreton is a particularly great place for bird-spotting and for hand-feeding bottlenose dolphins that swim almost all the way up to the shore. Between June and November, a massive humpback-whale migration brings plenty of whale watchers to Moreton’s shores, and loggerhead turtles can be found nesting between November and February.
Meanwhile, climbing up to the top of Mt. Tempest in the center of the island can be on the challenging side, but the couples who go for it will end up with sprawling views all the way from the Sunshine Coast in the north to the Gold Coast south of the city.
For couples that want to get the adrenaline pumping, a day of sand tobogganing or boarding down some of the island’s massive dunes can be an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. The scuba diving and snorkeling are also renowned thanks to the colorful coral and fish beneath the famously clear water’s surface.
Those dipping beneath the water at the Tangalooma Wrecks site will get a chance to see the flurry of marine life that has spawned around the row of sunken ships off the west coast of the island. While there is an upscale resort, Moreton is also a popular place for camping as well as “glamping” for those who like a little more modern comfort with their adventures.
Thanks to regular ferries and barges that take patrons from Brisbane to the island, Moreton can be the perfect day trip or an extended stay. Those hoping to travel by car can also easily bring one across for a modest fee, making it exceptionally easy to get around the sights of Moreton Island National Park, which encompasses most of the island.
A climb to remember up Story Bridge
The Brisbane cityscape tends to crystallize in your long-term memory as you scale the city’s famous Story Bridge, a marriage-proposal hot spot that offers an exhilarating urban adventure complete with arguably the best views anywhere in Australia’s capital. While those nervous about high places can simply enjoy a beautiful stroll or bike ride across the iconic cantilever bridge, more adventurous visitors can book a climbing tour up that goes about 80 meters (roughly 260 feet) above the Brisbane River. Along the way, the ingenious design of the bridge is hard to miss, but so are the stunning 360-degree views of the city that continually improve the higher you go (don’t worry, climbers are strapped to the bridge).
Connecting Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley, Story Bridge is an essential lynchpin for many Australians in their daily lives, but it also tends to be filled with city-gazers who simply come for the sights. But instead of fighting the traffic you’ll see during the day, particularly during commuting hours, heading to Story Bridge just in advance of twilight will lead to a sensational place to watch the city lights spring to life – along with a little more room to maneuver than the peak of the day. The longest cantilever bridge in Australia and an essential staple of the city, Story Bridge is particularly beautiful while decorated for the very popular Brisbane Festival held annually in mid-to-late September.
A picnic dinner and stargazing at Mount Coot-tha Lookout
No trip to Brisbane is complete without a jaunt out to Mount Coot-tha, a terrific spot for great views, fine dining, and exploring the countryside just outside the city. The main attraction of Mount Coot-tha is the Brisbane Lookout, providing a panoramic view of the city and plenty of green space well-suited for lounging on a picnic blanket with a loved one. At the central observation deck, first-timers to Brisbane can get their bearings with an interactive map that highlight the icons of the city, making it an excellent spot to inspect early on during a Brisbane excursion.
More than just another great view of the city, however, the neighboring area is packed with bushwalks that let you follow the footsteps of the aborigines who walked the trails many years ago. The Mount Coot-tha Aboriginal Art Trail is even filled with original artwork in its natural setting, offering unique insight into the cultural roots of the area in addition to the lush scenery along the way. Pulled back from much of the city’s lights, Mount Coot-tha is also a great setting for stargazing and many bring their own telescopes to enhance the experience, although one Saturday a month there is free telescope viewing courtesy of the Brisbane Astronomical Society.
Other great spots and travel considerations
The city of Brisbane itself is a wonderland of romantic getaways, with countless waterfront restaurants, exciting shows, and urban hikes that will help you fall in love with the gem on the eastern coast of Australia. A walk or bike ride through the city’s riverwalk is a must, as it cuts right through the heart of Brisbane and can be great either for leisure or for getting from point A to point B.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are also immaculately maintained and a sight to see, as is Roma Street Parkland, a wonderful urban park with sprawling green space, plenty of shade, and infinite possibilities for couples looking for a few hours pulled away from the hustle and bustle.
Although Brisbane can get a little toasty during the main summer months from December through February, its proximity to the sea also tends to keep temperatures moderate, making it a great option at any point of the year. At the peak of winter in June, average highs are still close to 70°F (about 20°C) without about seven full hours of sun on average, which tells you why Brisbane is very much an outdoors-oriented city. The winter months also have the least amount of rainfall. While both summer and winter tend to have plenty of visitors due to typical holiday schedules, both fall and spring are still very good travel windows despite an uptick in the possibility of rain in the forecast.