A Waikato tourist has been thrown into a Brisbane jail - because he called a Queensland policeman "useless" after seeking directions in the city.

Engineer Paul O'Reilly, 24, of Otorohanga, said he had expected Queensland police would be like those in his home town - giving public the same sort of courtesy they themselves rightly expected.

He was desperate to find his way to his brother's Sunshine Coast home after the pair became separated at a music festival on Doomben Racecourse last weekend, he told The Courier-Mail.

With no mobile phone or money to make a payphone call, O'Reilly approached a police sergeant for help. He was told to "go north," and responded with "You're the most useless police in the world."

He was promptly arrested and spent a night in jail before appearing in Brisbane Magistrate's Court charged with being a public nuisance.

The case was adjourned after magistrate John Costello told O'Reilly - who initially tried to plead guilty - he thought his behaviour did not meet the standard required to prove the charge and should get legal advice.

Today O'Reilly returned to court and his lawyer, Kate McArthur, asked the charge be struck out entirely.

Mr Costello indicated that in light of the facts he had no intention of doing anything other than admonish him and impose no other penalty, and O'Reilly pleaded guilty.

Outside court, he said the experience had ruined a much anticipated holiday and lowered his opinion of Australian police.

"In New Zealand we are taught to trust and respect police and seek them out for help when we are in trouble," he said.

- NZPA