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What’s Open Christmas Day in Brisbane in 2023?

This article will guide you through the details of what attractions, shops, restaurants, cafes and parks are open on Christmas Day in Brisbane.

Chances are, if you’re reading this page you’re here for one of two reasons. Either a) because you don’t celebrate Christmas or keep your Christmas celebrations low-key, or b) there’s a minor emergency. Maybe you need a pharmacist, or—even worse!—you forgot to get Great Aunt Mabel a present and she’ll be over in 30 minutes. Whatever the reason, our guide to What’s Open Christmas Day should help you out. Read on for activities and entertainment, and those emergency supplies!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is open Christmas Day from 9am – 3pm.

Yes! You CAN cuddle a koala on Christmas Day! Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, located in Fig Tree Pocket, opens every day all through the year. The oldest and biggest koala sanctuary in the world is also home to wombats, dingoes, platypus, birds of prey, wallabies, and reptiles. Plus it offers a wealth of daily shows and experiences including sheep herding demonstrations and birds in free flight. Purchase a bag of special food and wander through the “Free-Range Feeding” zone to hand-feed the wallabies, kangaroos and emus. Don’t forget to pose with a koala or snake for your souvenir photo – you can share it instantly on social media via the zoo’s free wi-fi! There really is so much to see and do at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You might need to do a return trip on Boxing Day!

Find out how to get discounted entry every day to Lone Pineclick here.

South Bank Parklands

South Bank Playground Riverside Green Playground - is open Christmas Day Brisbane

The 17 hectares of Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands are a perfect place to relax and play on Christmas Day. The kids will go wild for the three state-of-the-art playgrounds. Kids will love Aquativity, South Banks free water-play park – ideal for a hot summer’s day! There’s a safe artificial beach for the whole family to swim and cool down with plenty of sand to build an ‘Australian snowman’. Throw a shrimp on the barbie at one of the public barbecues and picnic areas for lunch. Then head off for a stroll through a variety of gardens, and tour the fascinating Nepalese Pagoda. All this is set on the banks of the Brisbane River with pathways perfect for bikes and scooters. You really can spend the whole day here! 

South Bank Cineplex

To top off your day at South Bank you can take in a movie at South Bank Cineplex (located on the corner of Grey Street and East Terrance), which is open on Christmas Day afternoon and evening. 

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and Lookout

open Christmas Day Brisbane Mount coot-tha

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, are open from 8am-6pm to pedestrians daily throughout summer, including Christmas Day. If you’ve never been before it’s well worth a visit with plentiful picnic areas, a playground, a specially designed hide and seek children’s trail. Plus lots of walking tracks taking you through the beautifully themed gardens and around the lake. Please note: no dogs are allowed in the gardens.

The Brisbane Lookout at Mount Coot-tha is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike and is renowned for its outstanding panoramic views and walking trails. Please note: The Visitor Information Centre is closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

Restaurants open for Christmas Day lunch

We’ve found the best places to let someone else cook Christmas lunch Brisbane style for you and your family. Whether you are looking for a Christmas buffet lunch in Brisbane or al la carte, we have a list of delicious options! Apart from the bonus of not having to cook, a lot of these venues provide family-friendly entertainment to reduce your mental load at this busy time of year! Read more here.

What is open to help with minor family emergencies?

chemists that are open Christmas Day Brisbane

Sometimes it’s not all fun and games on Christmas Day and you might find yourself in need of medical help or first aid. Your local hospital’s emergency department will always be open for bigger emergencies, but for minor ailments, you can find your nearest open pharmacy by clicking this page for a list of after-hours doctors.

Emergency shopping

We’ve all forgotten some key ingredient to Christmas Day lunch or needed a quick gift for an unexpected guest. Don’t worry, many IGA and FoodWorks stores are independently owned and choose to Open Christmas Day. To find out if your local store is open, see our links below.

And if you’re traveling on Christmas Day Coles Express have confirmed that most of their service stations will be operating normal hours, so not only can you get fuel, but you can also stock up on last minute boxes of chocolates, CDs and other goodies as gifts! If you don’t have a Coles Express near you, take heart; many suburban and city service stations will be open too!

Have we missed anything? Be sure to let us know your suggestions for what’s open Christmas Day in the comments below!

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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.

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