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Navigating the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal: A Complete Guide

The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal is the newest and most modern cruise terminal in Australia. It is located in Pinkenba at the mouth of the Brisbane River, making it a convenient and accessible location for cruisers from all over the world.

We are going to cover 

  • where it is
  • how you get there
  • what parking there is 
  • parking alternatives 
  • getting around once you’re there 
  • the facilities or rather lack of facilities (it’s pretty barren at this point in time)

Where Is the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal?

People in Brisbane are used to cruising out of the Hamilton Portside Wharf. Unfortunately, this is no longer in operation for any ships of any size. All cruise ships now depart from the new Brisbane International Cruise terminal down at the mouth of the Brisbane River at Pinkenba.

Here is the location marked on Google Maps.

Where is the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal

But how to get to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal?

It looks very close very close to the airport but it’s not as quick and easy to get to the cruise terminal from the airport as you might think.

Taxis are going to cost you a few dollars and it’ll take you about 15 to 20 minutes it’s out in the middle of nowhere in the heavy industrial area and those little black circles just to the left, that’s the Luggage Point sewer treatment plant. The biggest sewer treatment plant in Brisbane.

In the summer if the wind’s blowing the wrong way it will be a bit on the nose and really stink out there. But looking on the bright side at least we now have a deep water cruise terminal where all the large ships can come in.

How to get from Brisbane City to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal?

The easiest option from Brisbane City to the cruise terminal is to get the Doomden train from either Roma Street Or Central Stations and get off at the end of the line at Doomben.

This is as close as you can get on the train unless you want to go all the way to the airport. I’ve checked on both 13 Cabs & Uber and it should be cheaper from Doomben Station than the airport.

At this time there are no ferries up the river to the cruise terminal and no public buses. So it’s a train to Doomben Station and then a taxi or Uber.

You can check the time table for Doomden line trains at the Translink website here.

How to Get There From The Airport

The route from the airport to the Brisbane cruise terminal, if you’re landing in Brisbane, is about 14 and a half kilometres. It’s a 16 minute ride according to Google through some beautiful parts of industrial Brisbane.

Taxi From The Airport To The Cruise Terminal

The 13 cabs app tells us the Taxi cost from the airport is approximately a $40 to $50 dollar cab ride. One thing I need to warn you of. Make sure when you get in the cab and tell them where you want to go that they’re turning the meter on. There’s been a few scammy mongrels who are not turning the meter on and then trying to charge people $60, $80 or even $100 when they get there. Make sure your driver puts the meter on the second you jump in.

Uber Cost From Airport To The Cruise Terminal

With Uber, the airport to the cruise terminal will cost you somewhere between $27 and $33 dollars. You do need to be a little bit careful as Uber has a habit on cruise dates of putting a surge on their fares to and from the cruise terminal.

I think this surge pricing from Uber is a bit of a dirty trick to price gauge. If Uber is surging try Olo or Didi.

Offsite Parking With Shuttle Buses

There are several nearby “park and ride” businesses. The most popular and well known is Andrews Airport parking in Nudgee Road, about 15 minutes from the cruise terminal.

Their parking fees are much more reasonable than the onsite WIlsons Parking and they provide a free drop off and pick up shuttle bus.

The parking is secure and I have heard nothing but good things about them.

Find out more here – Andrews Airport & Cruise Terminal Parking

Private Car & Limousine Hire

Another option is to use a private driver or a limo service. There are plenty of these to choose from in Brisbane with a wide range of vehicles from 10 seat buses to luxury European cars such as Mercedes & BMW.

The advantage of these services is the absolute door to door service and virtually guaranteed no waiting as they will show up exactly at the time you booked.

A couple of our favourites include

Luxury Transport Group

Black Luxe Chauffeurs

The ever reliable Hughes

Shuttle Buses

If you are coming to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal from further afield and a limo is too costly there are plenty of services with shuttle buses running in and out, up and down from the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and even Toowoomba.

Here is a couple to look into

Con-X-ion

Tic Tac Tours

Hotels Near The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal

While there are numerous hotels within a 15 to 20 minute drive of the cruise terminal, there are none within walking distance.

Your options range from 5 star Hotels like the Pullman at Brisbane Airport down to pretty cheap 3 star options in Hamilton. We have stayed at the Riverview Hotel in Hamilton several times and find it a great option. You can read about here 

In the below picture, you can see how many choices you have and this isn’t even considering AirBNB.

Hotels near the Brisbane International Cruise terminalTo book your per or post cruise hotel in a great position, close to the cruise terminal and Brisbane city, use our preferred booking partner Booking.com by clicking below

Over50travelandlifestyle booking.com affiliate linl

How Long A Walk Is It From The Carparks To The Terminal

The distance is not an issue for people in their 20’s, 30’s, maybe 40’s and 50’s if your fit. If you have any sort of medical issue where exercise is a problem or you have any mobility issues the distance could be a big deal.

Here’s a video we did talking about the Brisbane International Cruis eTerminal. Skip forward to around the 7 minute 15 second mark to get a true understanding of just how far it is from the different carparks to the terminal.

15 Things You Need To Know BEFORE Visiting The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal!

I deliberately parked as far away as I could in car park 3 to give you an idea of what you’re in You can see the Carnival Luminosa there and you can barely see the cruise terminal building it’s just on the left hand side.

Carpark 2 and we are a bit closer as the cruise terminal is just that little bit more visible now but it’s still a bit of a hike, especially in Brisbane, in the summer when it’s 30 plus degrees and nice and humid.

About halfway down Carpark 2 there are some seats where you can have a break unfortunately there’s no shade but you can definitely have a break there and at least give your legs a rest.

As we keep walking we are now looking at the entrance to car park one, the premium car park. You can see the entrance and the roof area for the undercover parking.

Now we are up to the drop off zone. This is where family or friends can drop you off and the Ubers and Olas and taxis will drop you off.

Brisbane International Cruise Terminal Car Parks & Distances from the terminal This is much more convenient, much quicker and easier from here to get into the terminal undercover you’ve got shade you’ve got protection from the rain and the elements are probably the best way to go.

In summary, Carpark 1 is 50 to 220 meters from the terminal. Carpark 2 is between 250 & 390 meters and Carpark 3 is a huge 420 to 575 meters just to the entrance of the terminal.

As I said earlier, for a lot of cruisers, these distances aren’t an issue but when you consider the general demographic of cruisers, this could be problematic AND there are no shuttle buses to assist.

If you ar planning on sailing from the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal on Princess Cruise Coral Princess read our review here.

Facilities In Or Near The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal

I started by saying the cruise terminal is in the middle of nowhere and I meant it. It is located at the very end of some of Brisbane heaviest industrial areas. The roads are terrible, it’s dirty, dusty and smelly thanks to the proximity of Brisbane’s largest sewerage treatment plant right next to the terminal.

To all the first-time visitors – Welcome to Brisbane!

There is now a small gift shop open from 8am to 3pm on cruise days, selling hats, T-shirts, souvenirs and last minute supplies. We also now have The Cruise Café which is located on the ground floor of the terminal building. It is open at 7am on cruise days serving coffee, light bites, snacks and hot/cold drinks.

Other than these outlets there is nothing within walking distance. There is the Trade Coast Hotel a few kilometers back towards Brisbane that you could perhaps stop at for a cold beer if you have a late check-in time but that’s really all there is.

Wrapping It All Up

The new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal is a huge improvement for Queensland as we now have the ability to provide berthing opportunities for so many more ships now.

We loved the old Portside dock but it was very limited in the size of ships that could get that fare down the Brisbane River. Any of the larger boats had to dock in the commercial port and that is no fun in any way.

Now we can welcome any size ship to Brisbane and we love this aspect.

But there are some negatives in these early days.

  • Limited to no public transport
  • A long way from anything
  • It is a long walk from the carpark and some covered walkways at a minimum would be an improvement.
  • Small shuttle buses or large golf carts to assist the elderly or those with mobility issues both inside and outside.
  • The smell from the sewer treatment plant right next door.

Despite all that, we are still much better off with the new cruise terminal than without it.

Your next step is navigating through the check in process. Learn everything you need to know about the check in and boarding process here.

We now have a favorite new ship.  Quantum of the Seas! What a ship. Loved everything about it including our standard balcony cabin which was fantastic. Check out our cabin review here.

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