CISABROAD BLOG · November 5, 2019 · 3 Min Read
Budgeting Weekend Trips to Brisbane | Student Blog from the Gold Coast

Here’s my advice for how to budget weekend trips to Brisbane:

Expenses (in Australian Dollar)

budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane


An hour train ride north using your student-discounted GoCard will land you in the heart of the city for only $5.00 AUD (if you’re travelling from the Gold Coast as I was). All buses, trains, and water taxis in Brisbane take the GoCard, so be sure to bring it along! If coming from Sydney, Melbourne, or another Australian city outside of Queensland, be sure to snag a GoCard for public transportation!

budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane


If you want to make the most out of a weekend in Brissy, I’d highly recommend finding a hostel to stay in for a night or two. Staying longer gives you more flexibility to do some neat things that Brisbane has to offer. I stayed at the Brisbane City YHA for $20 AUD a night. Hostels are some of the cheapest accommodations around. They offer bunk beds for rent in a dormitory style room, typically in 4-person, 6-person, or 8-person “mixed gender” (or female and male only) rooms. You meet people from ALL over the world…literally.


budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane

Hostels also hold the absolute KEY to a weekend trip: a kitchen. Kitchens give you the ultimate flexibility to choose WHEN you want to eat, WHAT you want to eat, and HOW MUCH you want to eat, all for the price of the groceries you want to buy at the grocery store. Take advantage of these kitchens. It’s not financially possible to eat out every single meal of every single day. However, DO EAT OUT! There are some absolute food gems in every major city.


Unsurprisingly, I spent $0 AUD on what I would consider “activities” in Brisbane. Brisbane is a city where there are a lot of things to do for free.

Here are some great free things to do in Brisbane:

1. Check out the local museums with free entry

2. Head to South Bank to  swim by the river

3. Shop at the outdoor Queen Street Mall

budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane

Here are some things that aren’t quite free, but still imperative to a successful trip to Brissy:

1. Mt. Coot-Tha

Mt. Coot-Tha is accessible via a few different city buses (use MyTransLink)! At Mt. Coot-Tha, you can enjoy some great day hiking, followed by some ice cream at its upscale dining area on its highest point. End the day on Mt. Coot-Tha with an all-time personal favorite memory from Brisbane…watching the sunset over the city.

2. Hop on a river ferry

budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane

Enjoy a scenic boat ride through the river for less than $2.00 AUD. Ride the river ferry, get off at a random stop, and explore the area. Then at night, take a river ferry down to the Eat Street Northshore, and pay the $5.00 AUD entry (counted under the food expense) for a night of live music, yummy food, insane desserts, and fun vibes. Afterwards, take the river ferry back, and get treated to the dazzling city in all of its nighttime glory as the moon illuminates the river overhead. Feel free to go full Titanic mode on this one, and situate yourself towards the front of the ferry.

Follow my tips and you will make the most of budgeting weekend trips to Brisbane with minimum expenses!

Interested in spending more time in Brisbane? Think about doing an internship in Brisbane!

Read Alex’s blog posts about budgeting for weekend trips to Sydney and Melbourne.

Read other blog posts from Gold Coast or about Budgeting abroad!
Read more about Alex’s program in Australia!

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