Eye on the Brisbane River

How the river is unlocking tourism and economic opportunities for south-east Queensland.

South-east Queensland’s longest river, the Brisbane River, provides an endless supply of river-based leisure, tourism and transport development opportunities which could give the city an economic injection.

The Brisbane’s Unique Window of Opportunity report revealed a need for Brisbane City Council to provide more opportunities for visitors, residents and businesses and to make better use of the Brisbane River for tourism and recreation.

From this report, the River’s Edge Strategy was born – a proposal to create a world-class River Access Network with more waterfront and on-water infrastructure along the Brisbane River, eventually connecting the mouth of the river to the Moreton Bay islands.


With projects along the river well underway, private developers have also purchased riverfront land to build entertainment and lifestyle precincts along the river’s edge. 

Redlands MP Kim Richards said the Brisbane River unlocks opportunities in growing our tourism economy, particularly with the new cruise ship terminal underway.

“Globally we know that tourism trends are changing with a particular focus on the experience economy,” Ms Richards said.

“Recent data shows that travellers are opting for culture and environmental immersive experiences – seeking destinations that deliver experience of people, culture and environment.

“The Brisbane River to the bay offers an authentic experience of our magnificent south-east Queensland region.

“On water activation needs to play a significant part in connecting tourists to the bay and islands.”  

Upcoming developments

Brisbane International Cruise Terminal

In October 2017, Port of Brisbane reached an agreement with the State Government to build the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal (BICT) at Luggage Point. The $158 million facility will be able to cater for all cruise vessels, the first cruise facility in south-east Queensland to accommodate mega cruise ships. The terminal is expected to boost tourism when it opens in 2020. Find out more.

River Hubs

On October 18, the Brisbane City Council opened the city’s first river hub in West End, giving inner-city residents direct access to kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing or paddle boarding. The 25-metre-long pontoon along Riverside Drive can accommodate up to 10 vessels at a time. In coming months, the city will become home to another two river hubs in New Farm Park and Dutton Park as the River Access Network continues to grow.

Botanical Gardens Riverwalk and proposed future river hub

Preliminary designs for a new Botanical Gardens Riverwalk have been released to upgrade a section of the Riverwalk from the City Reach Boardwalk at the corner of Edward Street and Alice Street to the Bunya Walk.

Howard Smith Wharves

Beneath the Story Bridge, World Heritage-listed wharf buildings have been restored as part of a project to offer a new riverside precinct called the Howard Smith Wharves. From November stages of this project have been opening offering event spaces, overwater bars and restaurants. Brisbane City Council has also expanded the city’s river transport network offering a new ferry terminal for Howard Smith Wharves, expected to open in 2020. Find out more.

For an experience on the Brisbane River, travel to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary aboard a narrated Brisbane River cruise. RACQ members can save 20% off general admission tickets with a return scenic cruise.