What’s Open In Brisbane This Christmas Day 2019

  • Family
    All Ages

Remember back in the olden days (which is the early noughties, according to my children) when Christmas was a sacred holiday, and nothing was open out of religious respect or something like that? 

Well, these days there are plenty of businesses who understand that Christmas means different things to different people, and for some, it’s not a day to eat your body weight in ham at your in-laws’ house, get drunk on cheap bubbles and doze away the afternoon in the corner while the children play with all of their noisy new toys. 

If you want to get out and about on Christmas Day, we’ve put together a list of your options:

Groceries and petrol 

Lots of servos will be open on Christmas Day, so don’t worry about running out of petrol. Coles Express service stations will be open too, so not only can you get petrol but you can also grab those last minute supplies when you realise you promised you’d bring dessert to Christmas lunch (a handful of Golden Gaytimes is a totally acceptable dessert). 

Foodworks and IGA stores will also be open Christmas day, so really you could do your entire weekly shop if you were so inclined. And it would probably be delightfully quiet in store too.


If you have a straight-up medical emergency, head to your local hospital’s emergency department. We’re lucky enough to live in a society where that’s available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. But if you have something more low-key, you can also call the National Home Doctor Brisbane Service on 13 74 25. It’s a bulk-billed service and as the name suggests, the doctor will come to you at home. Your nearest 24-hour pharmacy will be open on Christmas Day as well.

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and Lookout

If you’re looking for a beautiful spot for a picnic or just to walk off that massive lunch, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens are open on Christmas Day from 8am. There are shady spots to sit, a great playground for the kids, a hide-and-seek children’s trail and loads of walking tracks. You can also walk or drive up to the summit of Mt Coot-tha for a serene view of the city. Kuta Café is open at the top of the mountain, for coffees, ice creams and snacks. If you’d like a finer dining experience, you can also book a table at The Summit restaurant's Christmas Day Lunch

Southbank Cineplex

It’s business as usual at Southbank cinemas so if you’d like to sit in the dark, in air-conditioned comfort, for a couple of hours, this is the place to be. Check Southbank Cineplex for session times.

Wheel of Brisbane

Want to see Christmas Day from a unique angle? Take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane (maybe after your movie at Southbank Cineplex). The wheel will be open from 12pm to 10pm on Christmas Day, and there is no surcharge. The gondolas are air-conditioned and offer 360-degree views of the city, suburbs and Brisbane River. 

Southbank Parklands

While you’re at the wheel and the cinema, you may as well visit Southbank Parklands. Bring the kids for a swim, a play in the massive playground, or just to lie around under a tree enjoying river breezes. And if the kids got a bike or scooter for Christmas, they can ride along the riverside paths, literally for kilometres. Bonus: everyone gets a decent night’s sleep after that!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

While most theme parks and tourist destinations are closed on Christmas Day, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is open as usual, so you can spend your super-Aussie Christmas cuddling a koala. It’s the world’s oldest and biggest koala sanctuary, but it’s also home to reptiles, wallabies, platypus, dingoes, wombats and birds of prey. You can see wildlife shows, watch animals being fed, feed the kangaroos and wallabies yourself, and pose with a koala, crocodile or snake for a photo.

More Festive Cheer

Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!