For backpackers and expats, Brisbane is a popular place to be at Christmas. The weather is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the city is alive with plenty to do. So if you’re away from family this Christmas, don’t fret. Brisbane has plenty on offer, even for the loneliest of hearts.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of the few places open on Christmas Day, and has been voted as one of the Top 10 Zoos in the World by AOL. With over 130 koalas, you can spend Christmas cuddling a koala, feeding a kangaroo, or observing the large variety of Australian wildlife in a beautiful, natural setting.
There’s nothing more Aussie than a BBQ lunch on the water, and www.bbqboathire.com.au has BBQ boats for up to 12 people available. There are no surcharges for Christmas, but they do book out early so book now to avoid disappointment.
The Fish Factory is an iconic Brisbane fish market that’s recently been refurbished. It’s Brisbane’s premier retail outlet, specialising in both fresh and cooked fish, and is the perfect place to pick up some fresh seafood either in advance or on Christmas Day.
The beautiful South Bank Parklands are located directly opposite the city and consist of a mix of rainforest, water, grassed areas, and a picturesque riverfront promenade. There’s also Streets Beach, a 6,000 square metre manmade beach, which is popular amongst families on a hot day. Pack up a picnic, pick up some seafood, and enjoy the incredible haven just steps outside of the city.
If you want to use your time away from the family in a good way, consider volunteering at one of the many places in need around the city. Ronald McDonald House and the Starlight Children’s Foundation are always looking for new volunteers at Christmas, and so too are the St Vincent De Paul Society and the Exodus Foundation. You can also make contact with your local Rotary Club to find your nearest soup kitchen.
When: 6 December
Christmas by Starlight is Redland City’s largest free community event on the calendar. It includes an afternoon of animal petting, jumping castles, rock climbing, face painting, food, entertainment and, of course, a visit from Santa.
When: 12 – 21 December
At 6:30pm, from the 12th to the 21st of December, the high-energy Myer Christmas Parade and Pantomime lights up Queen Street Mall and King’s Square. The event features more than 200 talented performers, including dancers from the Queensland Ballet and giant inflatable decorations.
When: 12 – 14 Dec
From Friday lunchtime until late Sunday night, some of Brisbane’s best local bands will line up to perform at The City Sounds. Artists include Yemanja, Clea, DJ CoolHand Luke, Amber Lawrence, and CC the Cat.
When: 12 – 24 Dec
See Brisbane’s famous City Hall aglow with the beauty of Christmas as spectacular 3D animations are magically projected on the building’s facade. The 7pm chimes of the clock tower will signal the start of each nightly show.
When: 13 Dec
Ring in some festive joy as you sing along to some of the world’s best-loved Christmas carols, performed by some of Australia’s leading singers, entertainers, and celebrities. It doesn’t get much more Christmas happy than this.
When: 19 & 20 December
Enjoy some of the best vocal performances you’ll hear all year when a huge range of guest soloists come together to celebrate Christmas. Backed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, this annual QPAC tradition is one not to miss.
When: 21 December
The Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre (BEMAC) is celebrating 25 years of engaging, identifying, developing, and promoting artists from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and World By Night is their signature event. Gather under the giant Christmas tree and let an amazing array of artists entertain you with songs from all over the world, learn to Bollywood dance, play an African drum, and more.
When: 22 & 23 December
As well as visiting Santa and having your photo taken with him in his new enchanted magic cave, you can also join David Jones for a weekend of classic Christmas storytelling, carollers, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. Both adults and children will enjoy the holiday fun.
When: 25th December
Whether you’re on your own, with the family, a tourist, migrant or local resident, the Newcomer’s Network Free Christmas Lunch invites everyone to come together and enjoy some Christmas food in special surroundings. Set in the beautiful Botanical Gardens (next to the Garden’s cycle hire), you can bring your bikes, footballs, frisbees, dogs, and a picnic basket full of yummy food.