28 ways to spend your uni break in Brisbane

Another semester done and dusted and three whole months without deadlines, group assignments and lectures ahead of you. #heaven

If you’re staying in Brisbane for the summer break, we’ve got you more than covered with everything from climbing mountains and kayaking to bar hopping and binge eating. Uh huh honey, we’re going to make this summer one to remember. Only question is, how much can you fit into the three months?

1. Jingle all the way

Lighting of the Christmas tree in Brisbane City

Ho ho ho! Tis the season and nobody does Christmas quite like Brisbane. Get amongst the live music, parades and Christmas sales. Christmas officially turns on with the Lighting of the Brisbane City Christmas Tree on 25 November in King George Square, followed by the Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular, Christmas movies, the popular Enchanted Garden at Roma Street Parkland and the Christmas Parade through Brisbane City. Check out all the #ChristmasinBrisbane events here.

2. Workin’ 9 til 5

If you’re like most students, you’ll probably want to spend your summer break raking in the most cash you can in the limited time off you have. Keep in mind the maximum hours you can work on a student visa and check out our tips for applying for jobs in Brisbane

If you just want to rack up as much work experience as you can, look into volunteering - the Brisbane Student Hub Facebook page and the Volunteering Queensland website are good places to start. Your institution's careers office may also have opportunities listed.

Read: The ultimate student job seeker guide: Finding a job and nailing the interview

3. Be the cheer squad

Brisbane Roar Crowd

Mad about sports? You know who you are. Get into the spirit and cheer on Australia at the Magellan Ashes and the Rugby League World Cup. The Big Bash League is set to smash it out of the stadium yet again from 15 December, while the Brisbane Bullets and Brisbane Bandits vie for top spots on their respective ladders. Head courtside and see tennis superstars Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in action at the Brisbane International or cheer on the Brisbane Roar during their home games at Suncorp Stadium.

4. Get your culture fix

Escape the summer heat for free at Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow exhibition at GOMA. If you don’t know her work yet, you’ll be a huge fan by the time you’ve wandered through the halls of GOMA and obliterated the Obliteration Room.

History buffs should check out Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum before it leaves the Queensland Museum on 7 January. This Australian exclusive exhibition features more than 120 artefacts, interactive games and displays to reveal who gladiators were, where they lived and how they trained. 

5. Exploring the bay

Coffee by the jetty at Workshop Co. Espresso

If the year has passed and you’re yet to make it past Bowen Hills on the Shorncliffe line, it’s time to extend your branches. From Sandgate to Redcliffe there’s a heap of gorgeous coastal beaches, markets, events, cafes and picnic spots to explore. Find something to do in the Moreton Bay region here.

6. Ice skating, because it's hot

Learn how to walk (on ice) again and embrace the free air-conditioning at Iceworld’s Olympic Ice Rinks at Acacia Ridge and Boondall.

7. Binge watching $6.50 movies

Be first in line for the Boxing Day new releases and other summer releases at Cineplex Cinemas across Brisbane. 

8. Eating frozen everything

Tutti Frutti

Yes, everything – we won’t judge. But if you have to pick something, let it be the top-notch gelato Brisbane has to offer or some of the city’s best frozen yoghurt. That’s right – treat yo’self.

9. Being a fairy at Woodford Folk Festival

If you’re a wanderer at heart, you’ll feel right at home among the tents and trees at Woodford Folk Festival. Pack your comfiest clothes and get set for laid-back tunes and friendly vibes.

10. Streets Beach errryday

Streets Beach

Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach goes off on the summer holidays and it’s easy to see why. Join the swarms of locals and tourists on the beach and take a dip in the lagoon to cool down.

11. Reading for leisure

Embrace the rare occasion of having no textbook readings and take in a novel. Brisbane Square Library’s got all the latest releases or check out the book shops in the city.  

12. Hosting mates

Get your family and friends over for a holiday and show them what you’ve been bragging about. Start with these 30 things to do with visitors in Brisbane.

13. At Moreton Island

Moreton Island
Image: @SueWhit

Only 75 minutes from Brisbane and you get allllll of this. Pack your tent and swimmers and you’ve got days of summer fun sorted. 

14. Getting wet with Riverlife

Riverlife Adventure Centre Kayaking

Again, hot, so water is where you want to be. In it, on it, next to it, you name it. Get in a kayak for some of the best views of Brisbane or test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard.

15. At different bars

The Stock Exchange Rooftop

No more morning lectures means you can spend the evenings with friends and drinks in hand at some of Brisbane’s best bars. Check out rooftop bars for the perfect afternoon session.

16. Find Brisbane's most photogenic views

Mount Tamborine

Catch a sunrise, see the sun set or simply take in some incredible scenery. Charge your phone, grab your walking shoes, jump in the car and head to one of Brisbane's lookouts. Visit Brisbane has put together a guide of Brisbane's best lookouts, complete with a map to help you find these vantage points.

17. Hangin’ at Eat Street

Eat Street Markets

Follow your nose all the way to Portside’s Eat Street markets and eat your way through the culinary delights on offer. You’ll leave feeling satisfied and potentially in a food coma for days to follow.

18. Exploring North Straddie  

North Stradbroke Island Surf School

Perfect for a day trip, North Stradbroke Island has activities overload, incredible swimming beaches and nature-everything. Plan your trip here.

19. Climbing things

Have fun while working out by climbing anything and everything around Brisbane. Check out some of the mountains to climb in and around Brisbane, or head indoors to an Urban Climb or Rocksports centre.

20. Just chilling out

Summer in Brisbane is, well, anything but cold. The time will come when you need to escape the endless sunshine, which can be done any number of ways Visit Brisbane has outlined here.

21. Wandering through the Christmas markets at South Bank

Christmas markets

If your halls are yet to be decked, you’ll find all the holly and decorations you need at the South Bank Christmas Markets from 16-23 December. There’s also great Christmas treats, hand-made goodies and roving entertainment.

22. Eating multicultural food

Have a break from the campus food you’ve eaten all year and check out some of Brisbane’s best multicultural restaurants.

23. Watching something at Powerhouse

Whether you chase comedy, cabaret, inspiring speakers or art, you’ll be sure to find something you like on show at Brisbane Powerhouse this summer. Check out the line-up here.

24. Sinking balls and drinks at Holey Moley Golf Club


Holey Moley has mastered puns, golf and cocktails alike. That’s right, it’s a cocktail bar and mini-golf course rolled into one amazing experience. What more do you need in life?

25. Watching fireworks

Check out the visual spectacle that is the South Bank Christmas fireworks and the New Year's Eve fireworks. You’ll also find a heap of great New Year's Eve events across the city on 31 December.

26. On rollercoasters at the Gold Coast

Who says rides are for kids? Not us. Spend your summer screaming with joy at Movie World and Wet'n'Wild just outside of the Gold Coast.

27. Camp with mates

There’s something truly Australian about pitching a tent, propping up a fold-out chair and putting your feet up to a spectacular sunset. Visit Brisbane’s done the leg work and rounded up the best camping spots nearby.

28. Go chasing waterfalls

Rocky Hole at D'Aguilar National Park

And waterholes and lakes for that matter. If fresh water swimming is your thing, you’ll find what you’re looking for less than 40 minutes out of Brisbane.

Still looking for ideas? Visit Brisbane have rounded up 30 things to do this summer in Brisbane.

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