We have you covered if you are looking for the perfect Brisbane River Cruises for your family. Winding its way through outer suburbs and looping around the CBD, the Brisbane River is an iconic focal point of our city and a fabulous vantage point from which to enjoy Brisbane’s amazing sights.
Cruising on the river, you can see natural features like the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, pass under the landmark Story Bridge, and witness our local flora and fauna, such as the colonies of fruit bats living in the riverbank mangroves.
You can glimpse Brisbane’s past and present, from historic buildings like Customs House and the Treasury Casino to the towering high rises of the ever-growing city centre. A Brisbane cruise can be the perfect way to relax and unwind, discover more about our beautiful city, see the sights or celebrate a special occasion. We take a look at some of the best Brisbane River Cruises for families.
Brisbane river cruises
River City Cruises
River City Cruises is one of the most well-known companies for Brisbane river cruises, offering several different cruising options.
With multiple cruises departing at different times of the day, you can look forward to a Brisbane river cruise with informative commentary that provides insight into the history of Brisbane and the river today. River City Cruises also offer a Seniors Cruise, and the Discover South Bank Combo Pass which includes the Morning Cruise, a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane and lunch with a drink at a local tavern. Catering to up to 80 passengers, this boat can also be hired for private events.
Contact: 0428 278 473
Website: River City Cruises
This popular Brisbane river cruise has taken locals and visitors to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for over 70 years. The cruise includes a return narrated journey to Lone Pine and entry into the park, the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary and one of the top tourist attractions in Brisbane.
At Lone Pine, Brisbane Kids will be able to cuddle a koala, hand-feed kangaroos, feed the rainbow lorikeets, watch various animal shows and see a huge variety of awesome Aussie wildlife. The cruises depart from the city (Cultural Centre Pontoon) most days of the year. Miramar also offers charter cruise options for special events or functions.
Contact: 0412 749 426
Website: Mirimar Cruises
River to Bay Cruises
River to Bay offers several cruises to local islands and attractions around Brisbane. They also have four local cruises that transport passengers past the many main attractions that line the Brisbane River, which is why they are still on the list of Brisbane river cruises.
Choose between their Cocktail Cruise, Brewery Tours, Corporate Legends Lunch, or City Night Lights Cruise – all connecting guests by boat to some of Brisbane’s favourite inner-city venues along the river.
Contact: 07 3517 4952
Website: River to Bay
There are loads of great scheduled cruises run by Brisbane Cruises. These include the Brisbane to Gold Coast Day Cruise (with return coach to Brisbane), cruises exploring the Brisbane River, and trips out to Moreton Bay, Bribie Island, St Helena Island and a Bremer Junction Day Cruise.
Many of their cruise itineraries include refreshments and/or meals, and most depart from Bretts Wharf, Hamilton.
Contact: 07 3630 2666
Website: Brisbane Cruises
Australian Day Tours
Consider one of the Australian Day Tours’ City Sights Tours for a more comprehensive commentated sightseeing tour of Brisbane. They offer a ‘Best of Brisbane’ cruise that stops off at favourite points along the river. Explore the historical sights of Brisbane and enjoy a Brisbane river cruise before strolling the arts precinct and manmade beach of Southbank Parklands. Australian Day Tours also offers cruises to Tangalooma Island.
Contact: 1300 781 362
Website: Australian Day Tours
Brisvegas cruises offer those looking to cruise up and down the Brisbane River with their friends the option of a private charter. Catering from 30 – 300 guests at once, this company allows you to book a cruise for your special event with only those you invite. They also offer regular three-hour cruises with either music or comedy entertainment onboard.
Contact: 1300 791 180
Website: Brisvegas Cruises
Brisbane Party Cruises
Brisbane Party Cruises bill themselves as the ultimate party cruise experience – and judging by what they offer, this may be the case. Think catering, a fully licenced bar, DJ music, wait staff and indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces; Brisbane Party Cruises will give you the perfect private Brisbane River cruising experience for your next event. This is a unique birthday party venue idea for 18th and 21st birthday parties!
Contact: 1800 466 622
Website: Brisbane Party Cruises
Another private charter option on the Brisbane River is Aquarius Charters. Their vessel – Condur – can carry up to 60 passengers at once and has a delicious food menu available for those looking to make a booking.
Contact: 0409 752 784
Website: Aquarius Charters
Aria Cruises offer an experience for anyone looking to get out on the water with family and friends and enjoy Brisbane river cruises.
They offer specially curated activities, including boom netting, paddle boarding, beach cricket, island visits, aqua mats, and more. Delicious food options are included and there are various sailing options to suit everyone -private charters, sunset cruises, island tours, and Moreton Bay and Brisbane River cruises.
Contact: 0487 441 618
Website: Aria Cruises
Another way to cruise the Brisbane River is via the Brisbane City Council’s CityHoppers. A free service, the ferries run every 30 minutes between 6am and 12am, seven days a week. Even better – there’s no need to book! Just head along and hop on. Ferries leave from South Bank’s Terminal 3. Head to Translink’s website for departure times.
Whale watching cruises
In addition to Brisbane river cruises, during whale season, several whale-watching cruises run from Brisbane to spot the beautiful southern humpback whales on their annual migration up the Queensland coast.
These include Tangalooma Resort Whale Watching Day Cruise departing from Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba, and Whales in Paradise, departing from the Gold Coast but with scheduled free transfers from Brisbane. Check out our article on Whale Watching from Brisbane for more information.
Our Explore Brisbane section has many ideas for beautiful things to do with your Brisbane Kids to discover more of the wonderful city and corner of the state in which we live. For more water fun, check out Fun on the Brisbane River.