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Best Lookouts in Brisbane

Best Lookouts in Brisbane

Ever found yourself wondering where in the world you can snag that perfect Instagram shot that’ll make your friends go, “Wait, you were where?!”

Well, hold onto your sun hats, because I’ve got the inside scoop on the best lookouts in Brisbane. Yep, we’re talking about those jaw-dropping spots where you can gaze out over the city’s skyline and pretend you’re starring in your very own movie montage.

From skyline shimmer to riverfront splendor, these are the best lookouts in Brisbane that’ll have you reaching for your camera faster than you can say “cheese!”

1. Mount Coot-Tha Summit Lookout

Address: 1012 Sir Samuel Griffith Dr, Mount Coot-Tha QLD 4066


Contact Details: +61 7 3403 8888

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

With its storied history and unparalleled panoramic perspectives, the Mt Coot-tha Summit Lookout firmly holds its place as one of Brisbane’s finest viewpoints, captivating visitors with a blend of history, natural beauty, and modern indulgence.

Established as a public park in 1874 after a forward-thinking government thwarted plans of its sale, the Mt Coot-tha Summit Lookout reigns as Brisbane’s crown jewel.

This historic site boasts a fascinating past, counting luminaries like Hon Charles Lilley, Sir Samuel Griffith, and Premier Arthur Hunter Palmer among its initial trustees.

A royal touch graced its grounds when the Duke and Duchess of York paid a visit in 1927, and its narrative is interwoven with tales of WWII ammunition disposal and the iconic rise of television network towers in the 1960s.

The enduring charm of the 1923-built tea house, a testament to its origins, now houses the Summit Restaurant where the aroma of scones mingles with breathtaking vistas.

Despite its popularity, the lookout’s ample space accommodates everyone from tourists on buses and cyclists to ice-cream enthusiasts and wandering garden seekers.

Telescopes and directional bollards invite exploration, while the terraced gardens provide serene strolls amidst scenery. And for those seeking more than just visual indulgence, the Summit’s licensed bar serves up views with a side of beer or wine.

Pro tips:Arrive a tad earlier or later in the day to savor the evolving charm of the landscape. The golden hues of sunrise or the city lights painting the twilight sky are a visual feast not to be missed.

2. Kangaroo Point Cliffs Lookout

Kangaroo Point Cliffs Lookout
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Address: Scout Place, 200 River Terrace, Kangaroo Point QLD 4169

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Kangaroo Point Cliffs holds its place as one of Brisbane’s premier lookouts. Beyond its reputation for abseiling thrills and riverside strolls to Southbank, it offers a cozy café haven for catch-ups and a dynamic outdoor exercise arena.

As twilight descends, the vista transforms into a dazzling display across the river, adding a touch of magic to your evenings. What sets this lookout apart is the captivating interplay between city lights and water reflections, making it a haven for shutterbugs.

Parking spaces lining the side stretch for approximately a kilometer ensures accessibility even during busier times. While weekdays with city traffic during the 9-to-5 rush and weekends usher in a different crowd makes parking a delightful challenge.

Nestled just off the Pacific Highway, around 50 kilometers from Sydney CBD, Kangaroo Point Cliffs has been a haven since Hornsby Council’s 2014 upgrade.

With panoramic views of the Hawkesbury River, it stands as an ideal stopover en route to Brooklyn, beckoning travelers with its ever-charming panorama of the river and its vibrant surroundings.

Pro tips: Extend your experience by taking a leisurely stroll along the river after enjoying the lookout. The walk to Southbank offers an additional perspective of the city’s beauty and a chance to stretch your legs.

3. Brisbane City Hall’s Clock Tower

Address: Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower, Brisbane City QLD 4000


Contact Details: +61 7 3339 0845

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Entry Fee: Free

Brisbane City Hall’s Clock Tower stands as a quintessential city landmark and an invaluable timekeeper, offering more than just a glimpse into the past. Its iconic presence is an ode to Brisbane’s history and progress.

Once a privilege reserved for a select few, the Clock Tower invites all to ascend its heights, tracing the footsteps of countless visitors over the years. To visit this spot, there’s a Clock Tower Tour which is available to the public.

The journey entails a ride in one of Brisbane’s earliest working cage lifts, a glimpse into the mechanics behind Australia’s largest analog clock faces.

It’s also an opportunity to explore the observation platform for a panoramic embrace of the ever-changing cityscape. From its vantage point, you can sense the pulse of Brisbane and perhaps even catch a fleeting sight of the tower’s melodious bells.

This timeless tradition seamlessly weaves history, innovation, and a shared experience that transcends generations, making the Clock Tower Tour a “must-do” that embodies the spirit of Brisbane itself.

Pro tips: As you ascend, take a moment to appreciate the inner workings of the clock faces – Australia’s largest analog ones. The intricate mechanisms that keep time ticking are a marvel to witness.

4. Mount Gravatt Lookout

Mount Gravatt Lookout
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Address: Mount Gravatt Outlook Dr, Mount Gravatt QLD 4122


Operating Hours: Friday-Sunday: 6 AM–8:30 PM, Monday-Thursday: 6 AM–7 PM

Mount Gravatt Lookout stands as a testament to time, a historical retreat that has lured visitors since 1893 when the colonial government set aside its sprawling 132 acres as a recreational haven.

Constructed by dedicated locals who poured their voluntary labor into the task, the hand-built roads leading to the summit emerged as a labor of love.

What began as a journey evolved into a gathering spot, with a picnic shelter gracing the mountaintop in 1914, cementing Mount Gravatt’s reputation as a go-to destination for al fresco feasts.

In its heyday, the lookout resonated with the hum of car rallies and motorbike events, showing the vibrant spirit of its community.

Today, its charm endures, inviting visitors to relish the panorama from The Lovewell Project cafe, where both views and coffee are equally invigorating.

Beyond the view, the cafe offers a playground for the young ones and an educational stroll through a native plant garden, adding a touch of natural wonder to the experience.

Pro tips: If your schedule allows, opt for a weekday visit. The lookout tends to be quieter, allowing you to relish the panorama with fewer fellow explorers around.

5. Jollys Lookout

Address: Mount Nebo Road, Jollys Lookout, Moreton Bay Area, Queensland 4520


Contact Details: [email protected]

Nestled within D’Aguilar National Park, Jolly’s Lookout stands as one of Brisbane’s most renowned picnic havens. It’s not just a lookout, but a gateway to captivating vistas that unfold against the backdrop of Mount Nebo’s lush rainforests and eucalypt woods.

It offers sweeping panoramas that stretch from Enoggera Forest Reserve to the sprawling cityscape, and even as far as the majestic Glasshouse Mountains and Moreton Bay.

Amidst the natural splendor, you’ll find a well-appointed space featuring barbeque spots, sheltered picnic tables, and even a baby change room – catering to the needs of families, friends, and couples seeking a leisurely afternoon amidst nature’s beauty.

Instigated in 1930 by the visionary mayor William Jolly, this scenic reserve has upheld its allure through the decades.

It’s a place where generations have converged to experience the magic of a 180-degree panorama, where city and nature harmoniously coexist, inviting everyone to park, sprawl, or savor a picnic feast against the backdrop of nature’s grandeur.

Pro tips:Bring along a well-stocked picnic basket with your favorite treats. As the day unfolds, you can enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the breathtaking views – a blend of taste and sight that’s hard to beat.

6. Wilson Outlook 

Address: 231 Bowen Tce, New Farm QLD 4006


Contact Details: +61 7 3403 8888

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Situated discreetly on the edge of rocky cliffs, Wilson Outlook emerges as one of Brisbane’s cherished hidden gems – a tranquil enclave often embraced by locals and those strolling from the city.

This green haven, perched above Howard Smith Wharves, offers visitors an intriguing and dramatic perspective of the cityscape, the river, and the iconic Story Bridge. The allure lies also in the historical charm that resonates from its past. 

Once a magnet for Brisbane’s elite in the 19th century, who nestled their sprawling villas nearby, today Wilson Outlook preserves a piece of that history. With the villas gone, the outlook remains as a testament to changing times.

While its size might be modest, it delivers ample serenity. Park benches, a single barbecue, and a children’s play area offer spaces to savor the changing vistas that have captivated residents for over a century and a half.

From its vantage point, Wilson Outlook paints a vivid portrait of Brisbane’s evolution, with the Story Bridge and the bustling Central Business District taking center stage.

Photographers have long revered this spot, harnessing its magic to capture the ever-changing hues and reflections.

Pro tips:Set your alarm early and venture to Wilson Outlook at sunrise. The tranquility and the gentle light embracing the city skyline offer a serene start to your day – a simple luxury that’s worth every early rise.

7. Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout

Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout
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Address: 203 Russell Terrace, Chapel Hill QLD 4069


Operating Hours: Opens 24 hours

Located within Green Hill Reservoir Park in Brisbane’s Chapel Hill area, the Sir Thomas Gaffney Lookout unveils a panoramic canvas that captures the essence of the surrounding landscape and the city’s skyline.

This hidden gem offers an ideal vantage point for those seeking the splendor of sunrise or sunset against the city’s backdrop, a serene experience that’s often embraced by locals and wanderers alike.

Beyond its captivating views, the lookout is an entryway to the peaceful retreat of Green Hill Reservoir Park. As you explore the park’s tranquility, multiple idyllic spots beckon for a leisurely picnic, providing a haven where time slows down.

The park’s dog-friendly policy also ensures that your four-legged companions can share in the experience, adding an extra layer of companionship to your visit.

While not the most prominent lookout, its allure lies in its quieter, more intimate atmosphere – an escape that might not be the first on the list, but offers a unique perspective and a chance to connect with the surrounding beauty.

Pro tips:Approach the lookout with patience. The journey to find it might not be the smoothest, but the anticipation makes the discovery all the more rewarding. Trust your GPS or maps app, and keep an eye out for subtle signs.

8. Gateway Bridge

Gateway Bridge
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Address: 240 MacArthur Ave, Hamilton QLD 4007


Gateway Bridge offers a unique perspective for both walkers and cyclists, linking the Northside and Southside of Brisbane with its expansive pathway.

Beginning at The Queensport Rocks Park, this 5 km return medium-level walk or ride takes you over the replicated Gateway Bridge (also known as Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge), rewarding you with vistas that span the river and stretch toward the ocean.

While the views are undeniably impressive, it’s the bridge’s role as a symbolic connector and the historic traces along the way that contribute to its appeal.

As you ascend the incline of the bridge, midway shelters provide respite, complete with water fountains and Perspex windows framing views of the bustling Port of Brisbane and beyond.

A similar stop awaits at the peak and halfway down the other side, adding comfort to your journey.

The path’s incline and challenge cater to those seeking a more rigorous workout, while the option to start from Colmslie Beach Reserve opens avenues for cyclists and walkers to tailor their experience.

Gateway Bridge’s allure doesn’t just lie in the scenic expanse; it’s a testament to Brisbane’s interconnectedness and history.

Beyond the busy city streets, the bridge stands as a passage to discovery and connection, inviting you to traverse its length and uncover the stories that have shaped this iconic pathway.

Pro tips: Make use of the shelters along the bridge. These mid-way havens offer more than just a break from the incline – they provide a chance to sip water, relish the view, and maybe even strike up a conversation with fellow explorers. Keep in mind the option to adjust your route. Starting from different points, like Colmslie Beach Reserve, offers variety and allows you to customize the experience to your fitness level and preferences.

9. Francis Lookout

Francis Lookout
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Address: 157 Dewar Terrace, Corinda QLD 4075

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Perched atop a Corinda hill, Francis Lookout, a modest burial ground dating back to c1863, stands as a testament to both family legacy and breathtaking vistas.

This secluded haven, created on a dedicated acre of private land by the Francis family, offers some of the district’s finest panoramic views, an elevation that invites reflection and connection with both history and the landscape.

A tribute born of grief, this spot is a poignant reminder of the Francis family’s sorrow for their departed son Clement. Over time, it evolved into a final resting place for the family and their neighbors, serving as a municipal cemetery alternative when none existed.

The intricate lychgate, constructed in 1902 by Angela Francis in memory of her husband, embellishes the landscape with carved barge boards crafted by her friends.

As you explore the grounds, you’ll discover the Francis family graves enclosed within a white fence, preserving their lineage and memories.

This quiet hilltop, a tableau of both past and panoramic beauty, offers a unique perspective of Brisbane’s history, while framing the landscape with a tranquil ambiance that remains untouched by the bustling city below.

Pro tips:As you wander through the grounds, pay attention to the varied gravesites. Each marker holds a story, contributing to the rich tapestry of this peaceful haven. Take your time and let the ambience guide your thoughts.

10. Wivenhoe Outlook

Wivenhoe Outlook
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Address: Dundas QLD 4306 


Operating Hours: Opens 24 hours

Wivenhoe Outlook stands as a distinctive lookout that offers more than just sweeping views – it provides a window into the engineering marvel that is the Wivenhoe Dam.

Located atop the dam wall or Spillway Common, this vantage point offers a unique opportunity to witness the inner workings of the dam.

If you time it right, you might even catch the awe-inspiring sight of water being released under high pressure, a display that underscores the immense power harnessed by this structure.

While the outlook might not boast traditional scenic vistas, it compensates with its educational value.

Overlooking Lake Wivenhoe, the largest lake in South-East Queensland, this spot holds the legacy of the Wivenhoe Dam, which was constructed in 1974 to serve as a vital source of drinking water for the Brisbane and Ipswich regions.

Beyond its utilitarian role, the dam has emerged as a recreational hub, inviting locals to enjoy its vast expanse.

Wivenhoe Outlook thus stands as a vantage point where engineering marvels and natural beauty intersect, inviting visitors to engage with the intricate relationship between human ingenuity and the environment.

Pro tips:Plan a dual exploration. Pair your visit to Wivenhoe Outlook with a wider exploration of the area. The nearby Lake Wivenhoe offers a host of recreational opportunities, from picnicking to water activities.

11. Bartley’s Hill Lookout

Bartley's Hill Lookout
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Address: 6 Massey St, Ascot QLD 4007


Contact Details: +61 7 3403 8888

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Bartley’s Hill, also known as Hamilton Hill or Inspiration Point, offers a quieter and less crowded alternative to some of Brisbane’s more popular viewpoints. This lookout’s understated charm lies in its simplicity and accessibility.

With around five parking spaces available, Bartley’s Hill Lookout provides a peaceful retreat where you can take in panoramic views of the city and the Brisbane River.

The lookout offers a vantage point that captures the essence of Brisbane’s urban and natural blend. Whether you visit during the day or at night, the stunning vistas from the Bartley’s Hill reservoirs in Ascot promise a captivating experience.

While perhaps not boasting the grandeur of some other lookout spots, Bartley’s Hill Lookout’s unassuming beauty and serene atmosphere make it a hidden gem that allows you to appreciate Brisbane’s skyline in a quieter, contemplative manner.

Pro tips:Before setting your heart on capturing sweeping views, check for tree overgrowth. Depending on the current state of foliage, you might want to adjust your expectations or timing to ensure you get the clearest view possible.

12. Highgate Hill Park

Highgate Hill Park
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Address: 94 Hampstead Road, Highgate Hill, Queensland 4101

Highgate Hill Park, perched on the highest ridge of the eponymous hill, presents itself as a gracious pocket park that unveils a strikingly close-up view of Brisbane’s cityscape.

Nestled 62 meters above sea level, this park offers a unique vantage point that captures the city’s allure in remarkable proximity.

Originally a wild reserve, Highgate Hill Park took on a new role when the South Brisbane Council assumed stewardship in 1902, coinciding with the installation of a tramline along Gladstone Road.

The ornate white pavilion that graces the park’s landscape was erected to provide both shelter and entertainment to the public.

The juxtaposition of this tranquil park against the backdrop of Torbreck, an iconic 1959 residential apartment that overlooks the park from the east, creates a dynamic interplay between history and modernity.

Preceding its designation as a park by the South Brisbane City Council in 1903, Highgate Hill Park had already garnered popularity as a lookout and recreational haven.

During the catastrophic floods of 1890 and 1893, the park served as a vantage point for locals to survey the impacts of the floods and operate a flood relief center.

Pro tips:Pack a picnic basket and embrace a leisurely afternoon. Find a cozy spot within the park to savor a meal against the backdrop of the city. The tranquil ambiance and scenic vista make for an unforgettable dining setting.


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