Queensland Maritime Museum

Let the museum’s nautical artifacts, impressive naval vessel and floating exhibits take you on a discovery tour of life at sea, without ever leaving South Bank.

Climb aboard a massive naval ship, see the collections of ship models and clamber down into the dry docks at the Queensland Maritime Museum. Bring a picnic to enjoy a little downtime on the museum grounds with river views.

Volunteers of the self-funded Queensland Maritime Museum Association established the museum in a disused graving dock on the Brisbane River in 1973. It’s a fitting location, because many of the state’s naval and merchant ships were built beneath nearby Story Bridge, between 1940 and 1971.

A volunteer guide may be on hand, providing the most in-depth experience. Otherwise, pick up a complimentary audio guide from the reception. See the working scale model of a steam engine, admire the collection of precious ship models such as the Orion and admire the 18th-century octant from the East Indies Company. In the Lighthouse Gallery, follow the evolution of coastal beacons, from oil wick burners to early laser lights.

Venture outside to see some of the boats that played a role in Queensland’s maritime history. Marvel at Ella's Pink Lady, the small sailing boat made world famous by the Queensland legend Jessica Watson, who circumnavigated the world in 210 days solo, as a teenager, non-stop and unassisted.

Board the HMAS Diamantina to explore its hull, engines and mess decks. Let the displays take you back to the turbulent days of the state’s colonial navy, the Queensland Maritime Defence Force.

Admire the 1907 Japanese pearling lugger Penguin, which was built on Thursday Island, and the steam tug Forceful, which served the port of Brisbane for 45 years.

The Queensland Maritime Museum sits at the South Bank end of the Goodwill Bridge. The most fun way to get there is by public ferry. Parking is expensive, but South Bank train station is just a stroll away and city buses also stop at the nearby Mater Hospital.

Last entry is an hour before closing time. Kids receive a large discount and family passes are available. Monday mornings are half price. The museum is open daily, except December 24-26 and Good Friday. Limited opening hours apply on April 25.