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Seven Other Things to Do on Christmas Day in Brisbane

Contrary to popular belief, the city keeps on turning on Christmas Day — if you're not otherwise engaged, go see a movie, inhale dumplings or picnic in a park.
By Sarah Ward
December 13, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
December 13, 2023
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If you're not attending a Christmas lunch to devour five different kinds of roast meats, Christmas Day can be a little up in the air. No, your regular coffee place won't be open, brunch will not be happening (sorry), and you can't even head into Woolies for some milk and some beers.

But don't panic: things are still on, public transport is running (to a Sunday timetable), and 7-Eleven will remain open for emergency packets of chips and gum. And, as a gift from us to you, we've put together a few things that you can do if you're in town with nothing to do, don't celebrate Christmas or are otherwise uninterested in the big day.

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Kimberley Low

INHALE SOME DUMPLINGS — OR TACOS

Sure, most of Brisbane shuts down for Christmas Day, other than eateries specifically serving a festive menu. However, one location that'll remain pumping like it's any other day of the year is Sunnybank. A top option for Christmas lunch is yum cha at the Landmark Restaurant, whose holiday dining room may be only slightly less packed than its usual state of chockers. You have two options: for lunch from 10.30am–2.30pm and for dinner from 5.30–9pm. And if that isn't your thing, something else around the southside suburb should have something for you.

Fancy tacos and OTT margaritas instead? This year, you can head to El Camino Cantina at South Bank and Surfers Paradise on the most festive day of the year. The Tex-Mex chain is serving up plenty to eat and sip amid its brightly coloured surroundings from 12–10pm. Head down the coast and you'll also score beach views.

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CUDDLE A KOALA

Christmas in Australia — and in Brisbane, in particular — means something different to the rest of the world. We have heat and storms instead of cold and sleet, seafood lunches as well as roasts, and we play cricket in the street rather than make snowmen. In that spirit, why not embrace everything our sun-drenched country has to offer by sharing the day with some of our native animals?

At Lone Pine, the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, you can see more than 100 koalas, hand feed a wild lorikeet, hold a snake and watch sheep dogs, birds of prey, platypus, and even Tasmanian Devils. It's open from 9am–3pm on Christmas Day, with the holiday lineup including raptor shows, dingo talks and snake encounters, and both touching and holding a koala.

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SEE A MOVIE

Seeing a film is never a bad idea — just think of the price of the movie ticket, large popcorn and choc top as a Christmas gift from you to you. And with Event Cinemas Chermside and Mt Gravatt screening flicks in the afternoon, you can avoid the Boxing Day release mayhem.

Options include rom-com Anyone But You and superhero flick Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, plus family-friendly animation Migration. Fancy keeping the day sweet? There's also Wonka, which means spending part of the day watching Timothée Chalamet.

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ATTEND OR HELP OUT AT A CHARITY LUNCH

There are plenty of organisations and people putting together free Christmas lunches for those that might not have anywhere else to go. If you're missing out by circumstance, not by choice, or if you want to volunteer your time to help make someone else's Christmas a little brighter, Community Friends hosts an inclusive December 25 event.

2023's get-together runs over both breakfast and lunch from 7am till around 2–3pm at Bunyapah Park, at 68 Vulture Street in West End. Bookings aren't necessary, but you can volunteer to bring a plate of food to share or presents for people of all ages.

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PEER DOWN ON THE CITY

By day and by night, Brisbane is a pretty city as seen from great heights. The serenity that comes from looking down from above only increases when the usual hustle and bustle grinds to a halt — and there's no quieter time in the CBD and surrounding areas than Christmas.

Head up to the Mt Coot-tha lookout to glance over the eerie stillness through the in-built binoculars. Or, watch the world go round as you head around on The Wheel of Brisbane — which is open from 12–10pm — followed by a stroll through South Bank and a dip in one of the riverside pools.

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Kangaroo Point via Tourism and Events Queensland - one of the best places to go for a walk or run in Brisbane.

Kangaroo Point via Tourism and Events Queensland

PICNIC SOMEWHERE SCENIC

The joy of the city's many public areas — filled with green grass, tall trees and wide-open spaces as as they are — is a lack of adherence to standard operating hours. The Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Roma Street Parklands, New Farm Park and a variety of shady urban spots: they're each open all-year round, offering a free and accessible way to spend some time in the sun.

Bring along your own rug, frisbee and basket full of scrumptious goodies, of course, and company. Here's our pick of the best picnic spots in Brisbane, plus nine waterside spots you mightn't have visited — and these are the places that allow you to BYO booze.

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SEARCH FOR TINY DOORS

Since late November, Brisbane's CBD has been a Christmas wonderland, whether you like glowing gardens, giant trees, carols or markets. Most of the festivities finish on or before Christmas Eve — but not the tiny doors that've popped up around the inner city, which will remain until Sunday, December 31.

They're all handmade and scattered around, ready for you to find and marvel at their cuteness. If you'll be in the CBD and need a walk after your meal, go searching for these doors to make it an adorable stroll.

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Top image: Brisbane City Council via Flickr.

Published on December 13, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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