Every September Brisbane plays host to the Brisbane Festival and Brisbane Riverfire, a spectacular festival of the arts showcasing theatre, music, dance, opera, circus and more.
The city comes to life during the festival with a full program of exciting public events. A major highlight of the festival, loved by visitors and locals alike, is the Brisbane Fireworks. Way more than just a fireworks display, this is a huge city event featuring a coordinated multi-venue pyrotechnic show, choreographed to an exciting soundtrack.
Here’s everything you need to know about Riverfire 2023 so you can have the best time there with your family!
Brisbane Fireworks locations
Brisbane Riverfire occurs at various venues around Brisbane city, as the fireworks are launched from multiple barges, bridges and highrise rooftops. These include:
- Story Bridge
- Goodwill Bridge
- One near the Story Bridge
- One near Eagle Street
- One near the Captain Cook Bridge
- Three at South Bank
- Five along George Street
- Three around Eagle Street area
Many people head to South Bank along the Brisbane River close to the Story Bridge to watch the fireworks up close. But these areas can get crowded and reach full capacity. So to make sure you have the perfect viewing point, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best vantage points for families to see Riverfire here.
Key spots in the city include:
- South Bank
- Kangaroo Point Cliffs
- River Terrace, Kangaroo Point
- Captain Burke Park
- Wilson’s Lookout, New Farm
- City Riverwalk (including Riverside Centre and Eagle Street Pier)
- Dock Street, South Brisbane
- Howard Smith Wharves
- Rail Overpass, The Barracks, Petrie Terrace
In our guide, we also cover great viewing spots in the suburbs (great for younger kids who may be scared of loud noises) and from Brisbane hotels!
When is Riverfire?
The most spectacular night of the year, Riverfire returns in 2023 to light up Brisbane Festival opening night on Saturday 2 September.
Rehearsals and Display Schedule for 2023
The lead up to Riverfire will include the following events:
Thursday 31 August
12:30pm Army Tiger Helicopter Rehearsals
Friday 1 September
12:30pm C17A Globemaster Rehearsals
12:50pm EA-18G Growler Jet Display Rehearsals
Saturday 2 September
5:00pm C17A Globemaster Display
5:15pm EA-18G Growler Display
5.25pm Army Tiger Helicopter Display
7:05pm Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust fireworks display
*Times are subject to change
What do I need to know?
For visitors’ safety, there are various road closures and restrictions during the day and evening of Riverfire, mainly around the Story Bridge, Victoria Bridge and South Bank. You can find out about all of the road closures and view a helpful map at brisbanefestival.com.au.
Please note that sections of the Brisbane river will also be closed during certain times on Riverfire day. You can find out about all of the river restrictions at brisbanefestival.com.au. Be sure to check this out if you’re hoping to watch the event from your own boat. Please note that the CityCat and CityFerry services do experience some disruption, so be sure to check ferry times before you travel.
Despite some ferry service disruption around the time of Riverfire, Translink offers some awesome additional services to cater to the number of people heading into the city. There will be extra buses, trains and ferries in the lead-up to the event. There will even be special shuttle services from Eight Mile Plains, Carindale and Chermside. Visit jp.translink.com.au to plan your journey.
The Riverfire fireworks display is set to an awesome soundtrack that elevates the experience to new heights, with catchy tunes, synchronised elements and interesting new meaning to the spectacular sights on display. To get the most out of this experience, be sure to tune in to the Riverfire soundtrack, which is broadcast on Triple M at 104.5. Some South Bank and Brisbane areas will also have audio being played over loudspeakers for everyone to enjoy.
Sunsuper Riverfire will also be broadcast live on television on Channel 9. This is a great option if you wish to see the display and music from the comfort of your own home. It is also a great introduction to Riverfire for little kids, who may not cope so well with the crowds and noise of being at the event in person. The broadcast will begin at 6.30 pm.
Don’t worry; if it is raining, Sunsuper Riverfire will still go ahead as planned. There could be other factors that may lead to a delay or cancellation. In this event, visitors will be notified through event listing, Twitter, Facebook, and via Channel 9 and Triple M.
Food and Drink
Food is permitted at Riverfire. However, drinking alcohol in public places other than licensed venues is not permitted in Queensland, so remember not to bring alcohol to any outdoor viewing areas. In addition, in some viewing areas such as South Bank, visitors are not permitted to bring glass, metal cutlery or any liquid in a container that has already been opened, including reusable drink bottles.
No pets are permitted at South Bank parklands during Riverfire. Remember to keep your pets at home safe during fireworks by ensuring they are indoors with plenty of food and water, with someone to look after them if possible, and with curtains closed and some background music or noise to help distract them from the potentially scary sights and sounds. Please also make sure pets have up-to-date ID tags, just in case they do escape.
When attending popular events such as Riverfire, we must consider safety for our kids in advance. Our awesome resource on keeping kids safe in a crowd offers great tips and techniques, including action plans, photos, phone numbers and useful apps. Click this link for full details.
Get there early to get the best spots for watching this amazing event!
For the full Brisbane Festival program, click here.
Is there anything else you would like to know about Sunsuper Riverfire? Ask us in the comments!