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Riverfire Brisbane 2023: Prepare For The Best Night Ever!

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Want to know what is happening with Riverfire in Brisbane in 2023? The great news is Brisbane’s most spectacular fireworks show and family day-out Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust, will be back in all its glory this year!

What Is Brisbane Riverfire?

Brisbane Riverfire is an epic fireworks show held to celebrate the opening night of the Brisbane Festival.

It’s been around for a while, originally to celebrate the end of the Brisbane Festival, then it was scaled back and then turned into a lights show during 2020. But no matter when it’s been held, it’s always drawn a crowd.

Brisbane Riverfire fireworks show lasts for about 20 minutes and can be seen all over the city. It’s one of our favourite things to do in Brisbane each year. We normally see Riverfire at South Bank, but keep reading… there are lots of places to see the Brisbane Festival fireworks!

Brisbane Riverfire 2023 date

If you are looking for when is Riverfire Brisbane 2023 or what date is Brisbane River? The date for Riverfire 2023 is Saturday 2 September.

For this explosive Festival event you can tune into Triple M’s live broadcast or Channel 9’s exclusive television coverage.

Riverfire 2023 schedule

The Brisbane River fireworks 2023 will be an incredible display of fireworks and will light up the Brisbane skyline from multiple city rooftops, barges and bridges. Ahead of the pyrotechnics, the Army Aviation team will demonstrate their flying prowess.

This 2023 Brisbane Festival fireworks will begin at 7.05pm but the entertainment begins much earlier, at 4pm.

Foti Fireworks’ handles the pyrotechnic show, which is choreographed to a soundtrack of music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall.

Expect the entire city to be very crowded all day, as people wait hours to get the best view point. The fenced South Bank area will open at 9am.

Best places to watch Riverfire Brisbane 2023 fireworks 

Fireworks at Riverfire
Fireworks at Riverfire

The best places to watch the Riverfire 2023 fireworks for free are:

  • South Bank
  • Kangaroo Point cliffs
  • Captain Burke Park
  • Wilson’s Lookout
  • City Riverwalk including the Eagle St Pier and Riverside Centre
  • Wilsons Outlook, Bowen Terrace, Fortitude Valley

Note that the South Bank area is fenced and they do close it off once it reaches capacity. This area opens up at 9am and will likely fill up several hours before the event.

Read our detailed article – Best places to see Brisbane Festival fireworks 2023 – see our detailed list of vantage points to see River Fireworks Brisbane here.

Best places to see Riverfire for people with limited mobility

Best access points for Riverfire if you or a family member have limited mobility are South Bank, Eagle Street Pier, Riverside Centre and Captain Burke Park.

As in previous years, Brisbane Festival will establish a dedicated accessible viewing platform at Kangaroo Point for people with disabilities and their companions. Booking for these areas is essential. You can find the booking form in the FAQ section of the Brisbane Festival website.

Food and drink at Brisbane River Festival 2023

There are plenty of places to buy food and drink during Riverfire. We usually eat in South Bank since that’s where we watch the show. You can see the best South Bank restaurants here.

However, you can always pack your own picnic to save money.

Don’t bring any glass bottles, soft drink bottles with broken seals or water bottles as these will be confiscated by security. South Bank is alcohol-free. 

Riverfire road closures and changes during the event for 2023

The following roads closures and changes apply for Riverfire 2023. 

Victoria Bridge

  • Saturday 2 September there will be alterations to public transport so check before travelling.
  • Western footpath (Museum side) closes from 5:30pm to 9:30pm (or as directed by Police)
  • Victoria Bridge Monument closes between 4pm and 9:00pm.

Goodwill Bridge

  • Closed to pedestrians and cyclists between 4:00pm and 8:00pm.

Story Bridge

  • Two City-bound traffic lanes close on Wednesday 31 August from 11pm until 5am, Thursday 1 September from 8:00pm until 5.00am Friday 1 September and again on Sunday 3 September between 5:00am and 10:00am.
  • Western footpath (City-side) closes to pedestrians on Thursday 1 September from 8pm until 10.00pm Saturday 2 September.
  • Eastern footpath (Dockside side) closes to pedestrians from 6:30pm to 8:00pm on Saturday 2 September.
  • No pedestrian access on the Story Bridge from 6:30pm until 8:00pm on Saturday 2 September.
  • All Traffic lanes close from 6:30pm until 8:00pm on Saturday 2 September.

Captain Cook Bridge – Riverside Expressway

  • The inbound lanes (North bound) of the Captain Cook Bridge may close between 7:00pm to 7:30pm on Saturday 2 September via a controlled vehicle movement, visit the Brisbane Festival website in late August for up-to-date information of this closure.
  • The outbound lanes (South bound) always remain open but operates at a reduced speed with police patrols monitoring traffic flow and responding to any incidents.

Click here for other City and Fortitude Valley road closures.

Riverfire times – Riverfire Brisbane for 2023

Fireworks at Riverfire
Fireworks at Riverfire

Below is the schedule for Brisbane Riverfire 2023.

  • South Bank area opens – 9am
  • C17A Globemaster Display – 5pm
  • EA-18G Growler Display – 5.15pm
  • Army Tiger Helicopter Display – 5.25pm
  • Fireworks from 7.05pm – 7.25pm
  • Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale drone show – 7.45pm and 9.15pm

Riverfire flypast rehearsal times 2023

If you’re keen to check out the rehearsal flybys without the crowds, here are the current scheduled rehearsal times. Please note, these times are subject to change.

  • Thursday 31 August 12:30pm Army Aviation Helicopter Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge
  • Friday 1 September 12:30pm C17A Globemaster Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge and 12:50pm EA-18G Growler Jet Display Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge

ADF Display for 2023

The event will see the return of the much-loved Australian Defence Force display as the Royal Australian Airforce marks 100 years of service to Australia. There will be a flyover from a C17A Globemaster, EA-18G Growler and Army Tiger Helicopter.

Riverfire timetable for 2023

There will be activities during the day at South Bank for kids prior to the aerial display.

Australian Defence Force activities on the night will be subject to availability. These times are subject to change at the last minute.

Best parking for Riverfire for 2023

Families Magazine has teamed up with Secure Parking and we have all the best places to park. Expect to pay between $30 and $60 for parking.

You can find all of our recommendations here but here’s a quick rundown of top options.

Brisbane Riverfire 2023 FAQs

Will Riverfire still be on if it rains?

Yes. The Riverfire firework show will continue as planned even if it rains. The show is only cancelled if there are high winds.

Can I take my dog to South Bank for Riverfire?

No. Dogs will not be permitted in the parklands for Riverfire.

Does Riverfire cost money?

No, Brisbane Riverfire is free to attend.

Where is the best place to watch Riverfire?

There are many vantage points along the Brisbane River. South Bank, Kangaroo Point, and the City Riverwalk are all great options.

Brisbane Riverfire Tips for First Timers

Fireworks at Riverfire
Fireworks at Riverfire. Image credit: Caroline Mai

If you’ve never attended Riverfire before, you’re in for a true treat. Here are some tips and things you should know in advance.

  • Get there early. Like New Year’s Eve, get there early if you want to secure the best spots to catch the Riverfire extravaganza. South Bank is fenced off for the event and access will be closed once it’s full.
  • Use public transport if possible. Plan your evening around public transport as limited parking and road closures will make taking your car difficult. Most carparks in the city predict that they’ll be full from 11am on the day. There’ll be plenty of extra trains and buses running on the night.
  • Be aware of South Bank rules. South Bank is an alcohol-free event for Riverfire. Please do not bring pets, bikes and scooters, drink bottles with broken seals (including bottles of water or soft drink), glass or alcohol to South Bank. These items will be confiscated by South Bank security staff.

Where to stay for Brisbane Riverfire 2023

Riverfire attracts people from across the country – not just within Brisbane! If you’re looking for a hotel during Riverfire, here are a few options:

  • Rydges Hotel South Bank – Rydges is one of the closest hotels to the South Bank parklands, which is perfect if that’s where you plan to view the fireworks show. The hotel is perfect for families and offers some incredible views too. You can even see the fireworks from certain rooms!
  • Novotel Brisbane South Bank – Novotel is another great option for Riverfire accommodation. It’s on the affordable side, is in a great location, and offers spacious rooms.
  • Stamford Plaza Brisbane. Stamford is an upscale option right on the riverfront. They actually host several different Riverfire events, such as a cold seafood buffet and Riverfire on the Promenade. You can see all of their Riverfire specials here.

Riverfire is fun for the whole family

Riverfire 2023 will be one of the biggest fireworks displays that Brisbane has seen and is sure to be an amazing night for the whole family.

For more information on Riverfire Brisbane, visit www.brisbanefestival.com.au. Remember to bookmark our page for all the updated Riverfire 2023 date and times!

Did you know?

Riverfire is sometimes called the Brisbane Fire Festival 2023.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

80 thoughts on “Riverfire Brisbane 2023: Prepare For The Best Night Ever!”

  1. Would appreciate confirmation of the date for Riverfire 2017 as we are trying to book accommodation in Brisbane for the weekend.

  2. My daughter celebrates her birthday around riverfire every year! She’s turning 5 and has enjoyed going to it the last 3 years and we will again. It’ll be a wonderful present for her!

  3. I really would love to spoil my two boys with the fantastic experience that is riverfire. To see the pure joy on their faces watching the fireworks would be this mums dream

  4. I would love to go to Sunsuper Riverfire as it would be the perfect night out for my 49th birthday. I have been looking for something cool to do for my birthday but haven’t found anything yet.

  5. Love to take 2 of my friend’s for their first Riverfire experience. To enjoy the fantastic fireworks, luminescent laser light show, people & places and enjoy the wonder that is Riverfire!

  6. Would love the opportunity to see Brisbane light up from Brisbane River Fire. A great way to end the festival and have a family fun night out!

  7. So need a fun night out and what better way than a night out watching magical fireworks on a lovely Brisbane evening with family.

  8. Love the RiverFire in my city Brisbane ?????? would Love to take my Boys ??? for a Fun night and plenty of Awesome Fireworks??????

  9. I’ve lived in Brisbane my entire life and have never been to the fireworks for any occasion. Would love to take my 8 and 9 year olds for their first time so they aren’t as lame as their old mum ?

  10. The Riverfire fireworks are beautiful along the Brisbane River. We enjoy this every year, it is a chance to get together with my family and do something fun! We always enjoy the atmosphere around South Bank & the helicopters that fly over too!

  11. I’d love to take my 3 year old. He loves fireworks and jets, but has never seen them together or an event as good as River fire.

  12. My daughter has never seen fireworks but has recently become obsessed with watching YouTube videos of them ? How exciting to see some in real life!!!

  13. My sister is visiting from Adelaide on that weekend and as she’s now my only family it would be very special to take her (auntie Jenny!) along with my brood to enjoy the magic together and show her what Brisbane’s all about.

  14. I would love to go because I’m sick of feeling like a paper bag, flying through the wind, cause baby I’m a Firework, I want to let my colours burst! #SunSuperRiverfire #FamiliesMagazine

  15. We never get to go to River Fire because the AFL Grand Final interferes with it. But this year, only dodgy teams have made it, so we can go. YAY! And would love to go.

  16. I would really love my 9 year old to see the fireworks very close he has autism and adhd before we never could go my wife and I would love to share this special moment with him

  17. I’d love to see the river fire fireworks at Southbank. The atmosphere, the sense of community and the stunning colours of the fireworks with the night sky as a canvas; these are all reasons to go, take your family and enjoy a night out.

  18. Would love to take my 4 boys to see it for the first time as being single Mum of 4 costs get up too much for the night
    My boys would be so excited to actually get to see real thing

  19. Would love to take my husband and stepson to Riverfire as they are from NSW and have never been. My husband tells me how good the Sydney NYE fireworks are so I’d love to show him how QLD do it better!!

  20. I would love to see the fireworks with sunsuper because it us the moments like these you remember in years to come…. the look on my child face as the first one goes of is a memory I will always keep in my heart. As she is getting older I wont have many more years to enjoy it with her as she will be too cool to go with mum .. lol

  21. I’d love to take my two boys to Riverfire again this year. We’ve had a tricky 12 months, and putting some spark in their night might just be the medicine we need to turn the next twelve months around.
    Thanks FM-B

  22. My kids have their cousins up from Melbourne,
    We want to show them Brisbane’s the best city to live in.
    Fireworks, fun and atmosphere,
    Riverfire is so much fun every year.

  23. I would love to enjoy #SunsuperRiverfire with our 2 boys. We’re working these holidays and it would be awesome to spend some quality family time celebrating in the city watching Riverfire.

  24. since having our daughter 5 years ago we stopped going.My daughter has yet to experience this amazing spectacular. She would love it#SunsuperRiverfire

  25. Have promised my kids that one day we will make it to #SunsuperRiverfire and see the magic by the river. Always enjoy watching on the TV – but this year would love to be right in on the action.

  26. We’d love to go and have a great family evening with the kids (aged 3.5yrs and 5.5yrs) to celebrate our Brissie river. Perfect weather for an arvo play at Southbank, followed by a kid friendly dinner and fireworks. Can’t get better than that ???

  27. Surely there’s been enough fires. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Brisbane Riverfire was cancelled for 2019 and the astronomical amount of money that is wasted on fireworks donated to rural communities that are struggling to survive?

    With the kick Mother Nature has dished out to regional and rural Queensland since the beginning of the year, I believe there is greater need in the state than a night of extravagant fireworks. It really serves no purpose apart from entertaining city dwellers. Given the very real struggles communities are having, such as the floods earlier this year in the north, Clifton with no fuel in town, whole towns like Stanthorpe and Warwick almost without water, and the most horrific bushfire season this state has ever seen, there are more worthy causes than an evening of fireworks.

    Just a thought.

    • The state government is currently working hard to help. And we can too! They are announcing drought and fire relief and support packages DAILY.

      The new areas that have been activated are today:

      Noosa Shire Council

      o Peregian Beach

      o Marcus Beach

      Sunshine Coast Regional Council

      o Peregian Beach

      o Peregian Springs

      o Peregian Breeze Estate

      o Weyba Downs

      This is in addition to the suburbs and towns of Applethorpe; Binna Burra; Beechmont Township; Canungra; Sarabah; and Illinbah (Tabletop road only) that were activated for Emergency Hardship Assistance grants on Sunday (8 September).

      A community recovery hub has been established and will open tomorrow (Thursday 12 September) at the Peregian Beach Community House, 255 David Low Way (Cnr Woodland Drive) Peregian Beach. It will be open from 9am – 5pm daily.

      Other grants such the Essential Household Contents Grant, Structural Assistance Grant and Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Grant are also available to eligible residents who are uninsured and have experienced certain loss or damage following this disaster.

      If you would like to offer assistance by volunteering please contact Volunteering Queensland and register your interest at emergencyvolunteering.com.au.

      To donate funds, goods or services to the ‘Queensland Fires 2019 Appeal’ visit the GIVIT website at givit.org.au/disasters.

      People who are experiencing hardship due to the bushfires can download and use the Self-recovery app, go to their website or contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 to apply for grants or for further information.

    • Hi Raquel,
      I’ve been in touch with our Sunsuper Riverfire contact and she has advised that the RAAF Super Hornets will be doing their practice flypast at 1pm on Friday September 27.

      • Hi Janine. In 2019 you replied to a Raquel saying “Hi Raquel, I’ve been in touch with our Sunsuper Riverfire contact and she has advised that the RAAF Super Hornets will be doing their practice flypast at 1pm on Friday September 27.”
        Is there any chance your contact could let us know the same information for the RAAF’s pre-Riverfire practice runs in 2023? And even, whether the C-17 Globemaster might be having a practice run as well as the Super Hornets?
        My wife and I would love to catch the daytime practices before braving Riverfire itself – much easier to see in daytime, and fewer crowds!

        • Hi Michael, We’ve reached out to our contacts and these are the rehersal times (however, please be aware they are subject to change):
          Thursday 31 August 12:30pm Army Aviation Helicopter Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge Friday 1 September 12:30pm C17A Globemaster Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge 12:50pm EA-18G Growler Jet Display Rehearsals – Victoria Bridge

          • Many thanks, Karen – fantastic work! My crew will be stoked that the C17A is also due to make an appearance as part of the practice runs on the Friday.

            One fiddly query: I note all practice runs are stated in terms of when they plan to pass Victoria Bridge, on the South Brisbane Reach of the river…

            I don’t suppose your contacts can confirm if those practice runs will include a run down the Town Reach (the part of the river from the city Botanic Gardens up to the Storey Bridge)?

            Only asking as we were planning on watching the Friday practices from the edge of the Town Reach of the Brisbane river – on what’s left of the boardwalk near the Riparian Plaza building – not over near Victoria Bridge!

          • Hi Michael, You’re very welcome. I reached out to Brisbane Festival and they’ve told me that Town Reach would not be the best place to watch the flyover practice, unfortunately. I hope you’re able to get to see them.

          • Seeing the practice runs for 2032 from behind the Riparian Plaza building was fine – all 3x fixed-wing planes flew, albeit a tad higher than in previous years and almost 20 minutes late! Should be great show for the families braving the crowds for the main event tomorrow night. Thx again for your help Karen!

    • Hi Zac,
      I’ve been in touch with our Sunsuper Riverfire contact and she has advised that the RAAF Super Hornets will be doing their practice flypast at 1pm on Friday September 27.

  28. Are there going to be Fireworks from the Story Bridge? I’ve heard that there isn’t due to a complaint from Howard Smith Warves.
    I’ve got tickets to watch from the Jazz Club and it would be quite disappointing if this is now the case.

  29. Is there fireworks on the Storey Bridge for Riverfire 2019? Does anyone know? or they just shooting off on barges instead? I don’t want to do to Southbank. Can anyone confirm?

  30. Please supply basic info for program on Saturday, 3rd Sept. NOW on front page not hidden after many searches online. Make it user friendly
    – Are helicopters flying – if so when
    – Are jets flying and when
    – is globemaster flying, if so when
    BASIC INFO FOR RIVERFIRE!!! People need to know to organise their night.

  31. 2023 Peeps,
    The Globemaster is not planned as part of Riverfire 2023 – I spoke to someone at the RAAF earlier this week.
    If you saw the Courier Mail article that mentioned (in the para that sits outside their paywall) 2x C-17 flights in the lead-up to Riverfire, turns out one was the Victory in the Pacific New Farm flyover last Saturday 12 Aug; the other is as part of the Gold Coast Air Show 18-20 Aug 2023. But not at (or in the days prior to) Riverfire. Just the Super Hornets and helicopters, I believe.


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