Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
The country's external and internal borders have been closed, effective March 20th only citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. All arriving travellers are required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities. Under initial rules, public gatherings could include no more than two people from outside of the household, businesses were shut down, and strict social distancing rules were issued.
In May Australian states began to relax some of the restrictions. As isolation laws have relaxed five people may now visit one household. Ten people may now gather in businesses and public places under stage one of the restrictions being lifted. Restaurants and cafes will also be able to reopen with restrictions, along with libraries, community centres, playgrounds and exercise boot camps. Travel within states for non-essential reasons is also now allowed.
About an hour's flight north of Sydney, Brisbane is the main gateway to Australia’s famous Gold Coast resort area. Dubbed "Bris Vegas" by locals, it’s an exciting city, known around the country for cutting-edge cultural offerings and non-stop nightlife. It’s also a beautiful city, with a surprising amount of architecture dating back to the 19th century. The innovative modern structures are no less appealing.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, the “Sunshine State” that occupies the northeastern corner of Australia. It’s a great base for outdoors enthusiasts, as the beaches of the Gold Coast are nearby, as are plenty of national parks.
It’s no surprise that the gay community here is out, loud, and proud. Big Gay Day, the city’s annual charity street party takes place in March. It pulls in thousands of people for a single cause: to raise funds for youth suicide prevention. The Brisbane Pride Festival has events, including the Pride Rally, the Pride March, and the Pink Pub Prowl, throughout the month of September. The Brisbane Leather Pride Festival also takes place in September, and Brisbears have monthly parties, picnics and other social get-togethers, all year long.
Several annual festivals feature among events at the Brisbane Powerhourse contemporary culture arts center, a former 1920s power station on the Brisbane River. These include: MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture, the Brisbane Queer Film Festival, screening gay-themed features and shorts, and the Brisbane Comedy Festival all in February. The Queensland Cabaret Festival happens in June.
Brisbane International Airport is about 6 miles from the city center. Con-x-ion Airport Transfers offers one way or return 'door-to-door' coach services from the Airport to/from Brisbane city, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. The Brisbane AirTrain is a rail option to and from the airport that takes just 20 minutes to Central, with trains in operation 5am-10pm. Taxis are also available. For longer distance regional rail services, see Queensland Rail
Translink covers public transport services for the whole South East Queensland region. CityCat Ferries are a great way to see Brisbane. They dock at more than a dozen points along the Brisbane River. Departures are every hour. VisitBrisbane has useful tips on getting around the area.
Currency and Money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
Media & Resources
Local gay paper Q News, has a detailed, updated roster of what's on and where to go in Brisbane. City Pride Magazine, an insert in The Queensland Times daily newspaper, is also online. Sunshine Coast Pride Network, organizers of the eponymous February festival, also has local LGBTIQ events listings on their website.
Emen8 "Australia's biggest and boldest online sexual health and wellbeing initiative for gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men!" also has travel and events highlights and tips on fashion and design.
Queensland Pride monthly appears to be dead, along with fellow Evo Media publications such as Cult, SX (NSW), MCV (Victoria), Blaze (SA), and their Gay News Network and SameSame websites. See this OutinPerth article on the subject.
Local men's social clubs with year-round events include: Boot Co, the area leather denim and uniform club; Brisbears, the local bears' group; and White Wolf with Brisbane men-only dance parties and outdoor get-togethers.
VisitBrisbane is a good general tourist guide to the city, with things to do, where to eat, and places to stay.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Brisbane listings pages.
Bars and cafes
Much of the city's nightlife, including live music and several gay clubs, is to be found in Fortitude Valley, once the counter-culture hub of the 60's and 70's. Note that clubs can't allow new customers to enter after 3am.
The Beat (677 Anne St, at Brunswick, Fortitude Valley), young mixed crowd, after-hours partying once the other gay nightspots have called it a night, two dance floors and beer garden.
Cloudland (641 Ann St, Fortitude Valley), an urban garden oasis of 5000 plants, with retractable glass roof, spectacular bars, booth bookings, lunch, dinner, special parties.
Fluffy at Family (8 McLachlan St, Fortitude Valley), Sunday Fluffy, gayest of their nights, with weekly themes, drag divas. Other nights a devilishly bisexual crowd fills the clubs several levels and big dance floor. After a year as Ei8ht the club went back to their old name. Fluffy also does Sunday Seprmber through December afternoon socials at Cloudland.
Junk Bar (215 Waterworks Rd, Ashgrove), cozy suburban retro-style lounge, used records, snacks and chinese food from next door take-away.
Sportsman Hotel (130 Leichhardt St; Spring Hill), quiet, casual downtown gay watering hole, basic food and lodgings, shows, local crowd, cheap lunch specials. Meeting place and events venue for: Brisbears; first Satudays Boot Co; and monthly fetish events by Hellfire.
The TBC Club (388 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley), dark, loud, basement club, live music acts, indie-techno music, hip young mixed, mostly straight crowd. Was Bowler Bar.
Periodic White Wolf men-only nights take place at various venues around town.
Wickham Hotel (308 Wickham St), in Fortitude Valley, wickedly fun gay gaming nightspot, lunch Monday to Friday, nightly special parties. Queensland-style outdoor area, live music performances, shows, dancing, member benefits. Host of Big Gay Day in February.
Saunas and sex clubs
Bodyline (45 Peel St, Westend), free membership men's spa, steam and dry saunas, lounges, private rooms, suckatorium, maze, sling, glory holes, cruising areas, internet coffee shop.
The Den Men’s Club (187 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley), sex shop, cruise and sauna club cabins, slings, maze, slings and glory holes.
Number 29 Cruise Club (29 McLachlan St), gay cruising venue, hot action on three levels, free high-speed internet, solarium, coffee lounge, theme rooms, cubicles, suckatorium, sling, glory holes, cruising areas, seven screens of videos, glory holes, outdoor smoking area. The Spunk'd men's adult store is in the same building.
In Bowen Hills, Wet (22 Jeays St), biggest splash on Sundays, open daily from 11am, lockers, private cubicles, indoor and outdoor pools, steam, dry sauna, Jacuzzi, maze cruising, glory holes, sling, lounge, internet cafe.
Surfer's Paradise Bars
To the south down the coast, (outside our Brisbane map) this upmarket beach town has a small but active gay scene.
Club R (1/3 Alison St), private men's cruise club, video lounges, five screens, play areas, cubicles, big retail adult shop.
Escape Bar & Club (2 Cavill Ave), girls nights, guys's nights, gay party club, weekly Sunday Rehab DJs from 9pm.
SinCity Nightclub (22 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise), mainstream dance club with topless waiters, occasional gay nights.
Central Brunswick Apartments (455 Brunswick Street; 61-73-852-1411), choice, central, four-star accommodations, all conveniences including sauna, spa, mini-gym, maid services, roof-level barbecue and great skyline views. Restaurants, cafes, shops, and 24-hour supermarket nearby.
Limes Hotel (142 Constance St; 61-73-852-9000) boutique hotel in Fortitude Valley, roof-top cinema and bar, 21 modern rooms, kitchenettes, WiFi.
Mantra on Mary Apartment Hotel (70 Mary St; 61-73-503-8000), one and three bedroom apartments on 43 floors, services, modern boutique hotel facilities; spaciousness, privacy and convenience.
Besides being gay clubs, both the Sportsmen Hotel (130 Leichhardt St; 61-73-831-2892) in Spring Hill, with 10 rooms from AU$60, breakfast, TV lounge, sun deck, and cooking facilities; and the Wickham Hotel (308 Wickham St; 61-73-852-1301), in Fortitude Valley, offer convenient accommodations, right at the scene.
The Base Brisbane Embassy (214 Elizabeth St; 61-73-166-8000), one of Brisbane's many backpacker hotels, has clean, casual, inexpensive accommodations, self-catering kitchen, sun-decks, cinema, 24-hour access, and is a good place to meet people.
South of Brisbane off our map, near Burleigh Head and Palm Beach, Bush House (52 Nancol Dr, Tallebudgera Valley; 61-422-826-015), is a gay boutique B&B and guesthouse, with pool and spa, masseur services, satellite TV and fully-equipped kitchen.
See our map & listings section tab above for locations and links, and some local restaurant options.