Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, Australia, is a city built for walking. Blessed with beautiful weather and a casual vibe, the walking paths and cycling paths of this river city are always bustling with activity.
As the sun rises on Brisbane, and usually well before, the inner city comes alive. Locals head out to their favourite walking tracks, often with a pet in tow, to set themselves up for the day ahead.
In the evening, city workers trade their corporate attire for something a little more comfortable and blow their stress away on one of the many walking tracks that run in and around the Brisbane CBD.
In the suburbs, the mood is no different, although the early mornings are usually favoured more by those who get their exercise by walking.
There are many fabulous walking paths and hiking tracks in Brisbane. These are some of our favourite walking routes in Brisbane.
Walks from Kangaroo Point
Kangaroo Point Cliffs – South Bank – Brisbane City (City River Loop)
The Kangaroo Point Cliffs offer a variety of walking tracks in several directions. Several bridges cross the Brisbane River in the inner city area, meaning you can shorten or extend your walk whenever you like.
Starting at the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, follow the path along the river until you reach South Bank. The South Bank Promenade joins the path and goes right through to the Victoria Bridge.
Tip: If you’ve got some time, take a few moments to watch the rock climbers scramble up the magnificent sandstone cliff face.
Continue walking through to the pedestrian/cycle only Kurilpa Bridge and weave your way through the city streets until you reach the Alice Street entry of the Botanic Gardens. Stroll through the gardens before arriving at the path that follows the river once more.
The path ends at the Queensland University of Technology Gardens Point campus. A little further on is the northern entry to the pedestrian/cycle only Goodwill Bridge. Cross the bridge to return to the Kangaroo Point starting location.
There is also a great new walkway on the northern side of the river, running in front of the new Queen’s Wharf development. Aptly named the Mangrove Walk, the dedicated pedestrian walkway built over the river runs alongside the mangroves, an important part of the river’s ecosystem.
Starting near the Goodwill Bridge it runs through to the new precinct, showcasing local artwork, bird sounds and indigenous artwork along the way.
At the end of the walk, there is a rest area, children’s playground and some really cool artwork on the pylons of the Riverside Expressway that loom large overhead.
Looking for a high intensity boost? Try running up the famous Kangaroo Point steps to get your heart pumping. There are several staircases located along the cliffs that take you to the top.
This route is made for mixing it up. Walk through South Bank instead of along the river, head across the Goodwill Bridge first and go in the reverse direction, or take different paths to experience more of the Botanic Gardens.
Local tip: Need a morning coffee? Stop at the coffee shop on the Goodwill Bridge. It’s a well-known coffee institution, the only one on a bridge in the city, and it has a great view along the river. You’ll be met with a warm welcome and they’ll call you by your name when your coffee is ready.
South Bank is no stranger to food and drinks venues, especially along Little Stanley Street and Grey St. But, if you’re on a mission to reach your exercise target and only have time to pick up a coffee, Lost Bean is also one of the go-to locations in the area.
Located on the promenade in front of the Epicurious Garden, the Lost Bean is a blue VW Kombi and is usually surrounded, once again, by a bunch of cyclists.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs to Howard Smith Wharves
With a similar distance to the Brisbane City Loop, this walk takes in another part of the Brisbane River. Starting at the Kangaroo Cliffs Boardwalk, the walk takes you over the Goodwill Bridge, through the Botanic Gardens, along the Eagle Street Pier and Riverside. The tall buildings of the Brisbane CBD will follow your every move.
Cross under the Story Bridge and walk through one of Brisbane’s most popular precincts, the Howard Smith Wharves.
There is a small cafe at the eastern end of the Howard Smith Wharves (at the start of the New Farm Riverwalk) that does a roaring trade in the morning for coffee and bacon and egg rolls. It’s very hard not to stop and enjoy a roll once the smell of bacon permeates the air.
If you’re after a sweet treat, the Goodtimes Gelateria is also a worthwhile place to stop.
The walking paths from the Goodwill Bridge right through to Howard Smith Wharves are co-share with cycles and scooters. Some of the pathway can get quite narrow and there are some blind corners as well. Add speeding bikes and scooters to the mix and there can be some interesting moments. It’s also a commuter zone in the morning, so expect traffic to be heavy.
Always remember where you are and pay attention to which side of the path you should be walking on, as it does swap around a bit (especially on the new part of the walkway that starts at the end of the Botanic Gardens and finishes just before the Stamford Hotel)
Kangaroo Point Cliffs to Toowong
So many of the walking paths in the Brisbane city area allow you to walk along the river for most of the way.
This walk is approximately 13.25 kilometres and starts at the lower ground of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and has a turning point at Toowong in the western suburbs.
From the cliffs, there are a variety of ways to walk. This time instead of walking along South Bank, get onto Grey Street and over the Go Between Bridge. From here go down onto the Bicentennial Bikeway adjacent to Coronation Drive and follow them all the way through to Toowong.
Tip: Getting down from the Go Between Bridge onto Coronation Drive can be dangerous if you don’t use the correct access point. If you are coming from South Bank, it is usual to walk across the bridge on the left-hand side. If you stay here once you reach the other side, it is very difficult and dangerous to get down onto Coronation Drive and the Bicentennial Bikeway. The best access directly onto the path is on the other side of the bridge where there is a dedicated ramp and stairs.
Stop for a rest at Kayes Rocks (found just off Brisbane Rd at Toowong) and take in the view across the river to Orleigh Park West End.
For now, we had to retrace our steps back along the river, but instead of returning via the Go Between Bridge, we continued through the city and back across the Goodwill Bridge.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs and Kangaroo Point peninsula
Starting and ending at the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, this walk takes in Captain Burke Park, the large green space underneath the Story Bridge.
On the way past Dockside make a mental note to return for a fresh seafood meal at The Prawnster, a floating restaurant on an old fishing trawler.
If you are in the area around the famous Story Bridge Hotel early in the morning, you’ll also find it hard to avoid the delicious smells coming from the ovens of French artisan boulanger, Christian Jacques. Pop in and buy a croissant or two and some wonderful French bread.
You can read more about Christian’s French specialities here.
Parking at Kangaroo Point Cliffs
If you are arriving here by car, parking is at a premium in this location. There are a handful of free, unlimited carparks along the Kangaroo Point Boardwalk. Access to this area is via Lower River Terrace. There are carparks at the start of the boardwalk on the right hand side.
Keep driving along a little further for some more car parks immediately in front of where the main rock climbing area is.
Tip: To be sure of getting a carpark here, early mornings are best. Note this is a very narrow, dead end road so getting in and out can be tricky especially if another car is heading towards you.
There are also some car parks along Lower River Terrace (above the boardwalk). There are also many metered car parks along Lower River Terrace on the western side of the Captain Cook Bridge (closer to South Bank).
Further into South Bank there is more street parking to be found along Grey Street and Little Stanley Street. There is also an underground carpark in the centre of South Bank. Access is via Little Stanley Street. Further towards the Victoria Bridge, the Qld Performing Arts Centre, the Qld Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art all have underground paid parking.
Tip: We use and recommend the Cellopark app available on the App Store. It allows you to pay for parking via a smartphone. We have an account with our vehicles linked to it. Use the app to scan the QR code and commence the parking time. Cellopark issue a monthly invoice showing all parking used during the month and directly charges our credit card.
Walks from New Farm and Newstead
New Farm to Teneriffe
Continuing the walks along the river, the western reach of the Brisbane River from New Farm to Teneriffe is easy to access and easy to walk.
Start by walking through New Farm Park and make your way to the Powerhouse, from here you can join the paths that run up to Teneriffe.
This stretch of the river gives a good opportunity to watch the Brisbane City Cat ferries in full flight.
Don’t miss the Jan Powers Farmers Markets that are held every Saturday from 6 am until 12 noon. Although you have been warned. There are so many beautiful things to eat and drink here along with farm-fresh produce. If you really are walking for exercise, I recommend putting your head down and scooting through as fast as you can for fear of never taking another step.
New Farm Park -New Farm -Teneriffe
This walk starts in New Farm Park and follows the river up to Teneriffe and then takes a turn in through all of the cafes and restaurants of this beautiful suburb and heads towards the Story Bridge. From here you can go from the heights of Bowen Terrace down to the water level at Howard Smith Wharves.
Do take the time though to walk through and around the park. It’s such a delightful part of Brisbane. When the roses are blooming you won’t be able to walk by without wanting to smell them.
Don’t miss the opportunity to stop at Wilson Outlook Reserve for a spectacular closeup view of the Brisbane City and the Story Bridge.
Tip: If walking down the stairs isn’t something you are keen on doing, there is a lift at the city end of Bowen Terrace, right above the Howard Smith Wharves. There is also one further along Bowen Terrace.
To continue the loop, walk along the New Farm Riverwalk that is built over the river. The Riverwalk officially ends at the bottom of Merthyr Road. Whilst it is possible to return to New Farm Park via the streets, it’s much nicer to follow the river as much as possible.
For street access, the most direct is to follow Merthyr Rd at the end of the Riverwalk until you reach Brunswick St. Turn right towards the river and New Farm Park will appear on your left.
Alternatively, turn into Merthyr Rd and almost immediately turn right into Griffith St. After a few hundred metres, turn right into Sydney Street and a walking path will come into view on the river. Walk through Merthyr Park, alongside the river until the Merthyr Bowls Club where the path ends. A small driveway leads up to Oxlade Drive. Follow this to arrive once again at New Farm Park.
Newstead to Hamilton
This walking path takes in yet another part of the Brisbane River, starting at Newstead and running through to Hamilton at Portside.
There is pathway all the way through to Newstead Park. Once here you can meander through the park itself, admiring beautiful Newstead House along the way.
The pathway gets a bit tricky from Newstead Park until you reach the new walkway along Kingsford-Smith Drive. Be especially careful as you walk across the bridge as there is little clearance for pedestrians and bicycles.
Once on the new Lores Bonney Riverwalk, pedestrians and cycles are kept separate and it becomes a hassle free walk along the river.
There are drinking fountains and a number of covered seating areas along this route.
Walks from Yeronga to St Lucia
Start this walk anywhere along the Brisbane Corso in the suburb of Yeronga and walk towards the Eleanor Schonell Bridge (known as the Green Bridge). It is a bus, cycle and pedestrian bridge only.
Once you cross the bridge you enter the grounds of the University of Queensland. It’s a beautiful area to walk through and around.
Tip: The Eleanor Schonell Bridge has dedicated lanes for pedestrians and cycles. It is very easy to miss the signs on the approach to the bridge and end up on the cycle way.
The walk on the St Lucia side starts on Sir William McGregor Drive. Known as the John Oxley Walk, you can walk in either direction. There is a dirt track that follows the road around, but you will usually share this with hordes of runners.
Along the way you’ll pass many of the sporting fields, usually busy in the mornings and evenings in particular. Many of the student residential colleges are here and whilst some might not be the most spectacular from an architectural point of view, they are quite historical. Imagine the stories they could tell.
Once you clear the colleges and arrive at Upland Rd, turn right. From here you can meander through the university grounds some more, as you make your way back to the river.
Alternatively, turn left into Carmody Rd at the main bus drop off area at the front of the university, and into Coldridge St. This will bring you to the formal edge of the University of Queensland at Sir Fred Schonell Drive. Follow it as it winds back towards the River.
However you do it, don’t miss getting up into the cloisters and area of the Great Court and pop into the back of the residential colleges for some peace and quiet around the lake (on College Rd)
There’s also a fabulous community garden at the end of Blair Drive where you can visit, harvest the fresh produce and even have a BBQ.
Walks from West End to Brisbane City
This is a walking route that takes in the river, a beautiful riverside parkland, the cityscape and the fun, eclectic, historical streets of inner city West End.
It’s a route that can be done in any order, and deviations can be made through the suburb itself. The walk highlighted below starts in Orleigh Park and follows the pathway along the river.
The official path disappears once you reach the rowing sheds and Davies Park. If you come early in the morning, you can often sneak through the back of the rowing club. Alternatively, just follow the road up and around to reconnect with the path once more.
Once you reach the city, head over the Kurilpa Bridge and then back across the Victoria Bridge (now pedestrian, cycle and bus only), and through the streets of South Brisbane and West End.
For the easiest route, stay on Melbourne Street, which runs into Boundary St and head towards the river. Take any streets or turns along here to explore the neighbourhood in more depth.
Tip: For an extra burst of exercise, look out for the gym equipment that pops up in different locations along the river pathways.
General walking tips in Brisbane
Unless you are walking at night, the sun will usually always be out and always hot. Remember to take a hat and sunglasses and if you aren’t covered up, some good sunscreen. Taking water is always a good idea, especially in the summer months.
If you are an early morning riser, many of the locations mentioned here have metered parking, but the meters don’t start until 7 am in many locations. However, most of them will run through to at least 7 pm. On weekends, many of them are not in operation.
If you are using Cellopark for parking, also remember to take your smartphone. It’s a good idea for safety too.
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Plus more great Brisbane walking routes coming soon.