The capital of Australian state of Queensland – Brisbane is the gateway to tropical Australia. The third most populated Australian city, Brisbane has what it takes to call it a true gap year city destination. Once you've had your cosmopolitan hit, make sure you venture outside to visit many of the famous Australian destinations. About 70 km south is The Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise the ultimate spot for big wave lovers. Only a short trip North of Brisbane you’ll find the Glass House Mountains. Also, make sure you visit the world’s larges sand island – The Fraser Island, home of the Aussie dog – Dingo. For thrill seekers, all major theme parks are just a short drive away. You can’t be bored in and around Brisbane, make sure you give yourself enough time to explore it all!
Adventure Travel and Sightseeing
Brisbane is the gateway to many of the East Coast’s attractions, from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts being just a short drive away from the city to the Glass House Mountains and Fraser Island. The world famous theme parks such as Wet ‘n’ Wild or Dreamworld are also all there for you. Whether camping, driving, or just taking a bus, Brisbane is a great place to start your Queensland adventure.
Work and Travel (Working Holidays)
Working holiday visas are available to certain nationals and allow them to legally work while travelling. There are several options available, from seasonal farming work to office support, catering and retail, for details, visit Australian Immigration.
If you've been thinking about studying abroad but are at the same time worried about language barriers, Australia and of course Brisbane may be exactly what you’re looking for, not forgetting the lovely sunny weather. There are various options available, from vocational training to higher education. Get more information on studying in Brisbane at: Study Brisbane; discover study abroad programs in Brisbane and read reviews at Go Overseas.
Brisbane and surrounding areas offer a variety of volunteering placements; depending on your qualifications and passion, you can do anything from helping elderly, working on farms, planting trees and providing specialist advice, whether legal or IT related. Find volunteer programs in Australia, and read reviews to get started!
Planning Your Trip
Cost of Living in Brisbane
- If you’re travelling to Brisbane with American Dollars, you don’t have too much to worry about conversion rate wise. The current conversion rate is $1 = 0.95 Australian Dollar so they are pretty much the same.
- If you’re caravanning, which must be the best way to see Australia’s East Coast, prepare your pocket for anything from $50 to $250 for van rental a day excluding fuel. Prices vary hugely depending on what luxuries, or lack of thereof you’re after. Make sure you also budget in for holiday parks to stay overnight. There are free overnight rest points, but they are very limited and you will be fined on the spot if you park in a ‘no camping’ zone overnight.
- Hostels, again depending on a standard are around $50-60 a night for a double private room. Dorms work out a bit cheaper.
- Food depends on whether you prefer (or more likely if you can afford, on a tight traveller’s budget) to eat out or self cater. A meal for two could be anything from $30 up. And $30 is being very modest. All hostels have communal kitchens with big fridges where travelers can prepare their meals and store food.
- Little pleasures like ice cream lollies are around $2-3.50, a coffee to go about $3-4 and a bottle of wine roughly £10.
Health and Safety in Brisbane
- Brisbane is considered one of the safest big Australian cities and has a low crime levels. All usual big city rules apply so make sure you use your common sense wisely and keep your belongings with you.
- Be wary of train stations and dark, unlit streets at night. Most of these are patrolled by the police or private security and monitored with CCTV.
- Sun protection is essential on the East Coast. Also check the jellyfish and marine stingers situation if traveling north, up the coast as most beaches will have a limited water access during the hotter months (October - May). In case of any stings or burns most life guards will have a bottle of vinegar at hand to disinfect affected areas and emergency numbers are always available on the information boards.
- Health care in Brisbane is of very high standard with both private and public hospitals available. The general emergency number is 000. Both 112 and 000 will work and are free of charge on a mobile.
Must Do's in Brisbane
- Kangaroo Point: Enjoy great views of the CBD skyline, take an abseiling or rock
climbing lesson at this popular rock climbing spot to then enjoy a barbecue or a picnic to finish your day.
- Botanic Gardens: A perfect place for that morning jog or a bike ride, in the
afternoon, grab a coffee and people watch sitting surrounded by beautiful greenery, an inner city haven for peace seekers.
- Mount Coot-tha: A prominent landmark, seen from most parts of the city, take a
trip to enjoy a near 360 views of Brisbane.
- South Bank: The home of Brisbane’s inner city beach, South Bank is the place to
go in search of funky cafes and ethnic restaurants and fantastic riverside walks to walk off all indulgence.
- Wheel of Brisbane: If you’ve ever been on the London Eye (120m) or the Singapore Flyer (165m), make sure you hop on the 15min ride on the other wheels’ little brother that takes you 60m above the city to enjoy great views across Brisbane River.
- Brisbane River cruise: Have a look into many river boat trips that Brisbane has
to offer, once again you’re sure to get beautiful views of the city.
Contributed by Marta Napierala
Gap Year Programs in Brisbane
Gap Year Volunteering in Brisbane
Volunteering is a great way to experience Brisbane on your gap year
Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grants
Ethical Global Engagement Grants support travel, living, and EdGE tuition expenses for exceptional candidates. The expectation is that recipients join...
Global Citizen Year Scholarships
Global Citizen Year hopes to offer more scholarships and funding to their students than any other gap year program in the world, and is dedicated to...
Operation Groundswell Financial Needs Grant
For those interested in an Operation Groundswell program, consider applying for financial assistance through the Operation Groundswell Financial Needs...
View the latest job postings on our job board. A great way to earn work experience during your gap year!