Make a journey to downtown Brisbane and you’ll realise how beautiful a city can be. You will find a unique combination of the old and new – where sandstone cathedrals blend seamlessly with steel and glass skyscrapers, modern architectural design is teamed with a healthy respect for tradition.
Down at street level a network of grassy parks, drooping palm trees and a river that snakes through the heart of town reflects the sub-tropical environment in which we live. Pristine, colourful, adventurous, inviting and open; these are all accurate descriptions of the heart of the city. And another thing you’ll notice about Brisbane – the pace is just right.
As Queensland’s capital, Brisbane has it all. Spend lazy afternoons ordering creamy cappuccinos and dozing by the river, step it up a notch by throwing yourself into any number of adventures, abseiling the cliffs at Kangaroo Point, climbing the Story Bridge or all kinds of water sports.
But of course, the spectacular surroundings may well slide into your subconscious once you set your heart on some serious shopping.
Simply no better place in Queensland to indulge in retail therapy, over 650 store trading seven days a week. Start in the Queen Street Mall – almost a kilometre of shoppers’ paradise. Stroll along to the City’s chic shopping strips and arcades before heading to boho precinct Fortitude Valley (known as ‘The Valley’), you’ll find the edgiest young designs, jewellery and fashions imaginable. South Bank’s Little Stanley Street should be next on your shopping list, a little urban sophistication right by the river. Last but not least, why not dig your way through downtown’s weekend outdoor markets; you never know what you might find. Original, eclectic, or just downright fashionable – if you can’t find what you’re shopping for in downtown Brisbane, it simply doesn’t exist.
The Brisbane Region
Come to Brisbane and you’ll discover a region that’s not only filled with energy, you’ll also find it’s filled with endless things to do.
Sophisticated and progressive, dynamic and diverse, Brisbane delivers on all fronts. Visitors and locals alike delight in the very best in food, wine, arts, entertainment and major sporting events, all surrounded by a unique environment of relaxed sub-tropical flair. There’s exciting shopping, a buzzing night time scene, and no end to the range of outdoor adventures on offer, such as sailing, surfing, hot-air ballooning and Four Wheel Drive excursions.
You’ll also find this region to be a hotbed of creative free thinking, with local artists, musicians, writers, jewellers and fashion designers all making their name on the international stage.
At the same time, this is a place without pretension, a city with its feet planted firmly on the ground. And that’s exactly what so many people love about Brisbane. From the sun and sand drenched islands in the east, to its cool and crisp mountain rainforests in the west – and all the attractions of a vibrant, modern city in between – Brisbane offers the best of both worlds.
Dine by the river
Dining out in Brisbane is as culturally colourful as the city itself. The atmosphere is delightfully al fresco with an emphasis on original menus focusing on fresh, unfussy food and wines with flair.
Creative menus offer local delicacies such as Moreton Bay bugs and fresh tropical produce alongside exotic Asian delights, simple Mediterranean meals and traditional European fare. The choice of restaurant settings is unlimited. Watch boats pass by while tantalising your tastebuds at any number of the city’s stylish waterfront restaurants and brasseries. Or head for Brisbane’s inner-city precincts and peruse the menus of dozens of top outdoor eateries.
You’ll find Italian cafes, fast and fun noodle bars, all-day breakfast joints, wine bars and truly outstanding brasseries.
Fortitude Valley is home to Brisbane’s Chinatown where you can taste the cuisines of the Orient from Chinese and Korean to Vietnamese and Malaysian.
Cafe-restaurants abound in West End, on the southern side of the river. A hub for students and artists, the bohemian, multicultural centre is best known for its delicatessens, Vietnamese and Turkish restaurants, grocers, coffee and tea merchants.
Many other precincts offer fabulous dining such as the fashionable Park Road Milton with its cafe terraces. Clusters of cafes and the city’s finest dining spots can be found on Racecourse Road, Ascot. While at the foot of the Story Bridge, a new precinct is emerging with bustling new restaurants and bars.
On the banks of the river
Australia’s northernmost capital city blends the vitality of the city with the leisurely quality of a country town. It spreads over both sides of the Brisbane river, which bends its way through a gently hilly landscape before spilling into the boat-lover’s paradise of Moreton Bay.
The city is clean, safe and open, with many parks and a mixture of old sandstone and sparkling modern buildings. The inner-city suburbs are full of lovingly restored weatherboard Queenslander homes, their tin roofs and generous verandas enshrining the old casual, sun-warmed lifestyle embraced today.
Backpackers love Brisbane because it’s cheap to eat, party and get around in, with a good choice of safe, quality accommodation. Gay travellers also recognise Brisbane’s charms, enjoying a high level of acceptance, a thriving nightlife and a growing list of excellent bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
Queen Street Mall, in the city’s centre, is the most successful shopping hub in Australia, with heaps of fashion, food and specialty outlets. Across the river, South Bank Parklands offers superb waterfront dining, and is a short walk from the art gallery and museum. And you haven’t really enjoyed a pub until you’ve tried some of Brisbane’s beer gardens.
Try a river cruise, or a ferry ride to one of the delightful islands nearby: Tangalooma, where you can feed wild dolphins, or North Stradbroke where you can disappear among the dunes. Or head for the Sunshine Coast, an hour north, or the Gold Coast, an hour south of Brisbane.
Relax in sunny Brisbane
Known as the City of Sun Days, Brisbane enjoys great weather, a relaxed pace of life and all the cosmopolitan bustle of a major urban hub.
It doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is – there’s always something exciting happening in this vibrant city. You’ll find the best in arts and culture, entertainment and sports events as well as good food, wine and shopping.
For arts and culture, the serious head to South Bank, home of the Queensland Museum, with its hands-on interactive displays, and the Queensland Art Gallery, its walls adorned with a magnificent collection of artworks.
You can catch a world-class performance at the Performing Arts Centre where international theatre companies and performing artists take the stage along with Australian performing arts companies.
For exciting sports action, find a seat in the stadium to see local rugby league champions, the Brisbane Broncos, take to the field. During winter, rugby union fans head to Ballymore to watch the Wallabies take on the world. Over at the Gabba sports ground, the Brisbane Lions fight off challengers in the Aussie Rules football code. In summer, the Gabba lights up for international cricket tests and one-day matches.
If you want to shop, head for the designer boutiques and department stores of Queens Street Mall and check out the bustling markets around the city.
Music, dancing, partying, live shows, good times – there’s plenty more going on in the City of Sun Days and fun nights.
The best family attractions
The Gold Coast packs several destinations in one. This region has swimming, a cluster of theme parks featuring anything from dolphins to film-making, alfresco and waterfront dining, a busy nightlife and more shopping per square kilometre than anywhere in Australia.
The Gold Coast is bounded by historic Beenleigh to the north and Cabarita Beach – just over the New South Wales border – to the south. Between lie 70 kilometres of coastline, including spectacular South Stradbroke Island, and a string of vibrant beachside precincts. The stretch’s 35 patrolled beaches include Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, and Main Beach, known for their surfing and swimming opportunities.
A game of golf isn’t hard to find on the Gold Coast , which has 40 resort and championship golf courses. If you’re more interested in unique animals, the Gold Coast is still the best place to handfeed native birds and cuddle a koala.
Just 30 minutes’ drive from the beaches is the Hinterland, Australia’s largest reserve of subtropical rainforest, with 160 kilometres of walking tracks, and Springbrook and Tamborine national parks.
Here you’ll find stunning vistas and waterfalls, and rare flora and fauna. You can head for the camping and abseil adventures, or curl up in the mountain and rainforest hideaways.
The Gold Coast offers accommodation to suit every budget, with a collection of luxury hotels, rainforest retreats, serviced and self-contained apartments, family camp sites and motels, tourist parks and hostels, bed-and-breakfast and farmstay accommodation.
Activites and Experiences in Brisbane
- Airport Brisbane Domestic and International Airport.
- Automatic Teller Machine
- Banking Facilities
- Boat Ramp
- Bottled Gas
- Licensed Club
- Service Club
- Coach Stop
- Convention Centre Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
- Currency Exchange
- Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale
- Public Bar
- Dog Kennels/Catteries
- Mechanical Services
- Medical Facilities
- National Park
- Post Office
- Public Telephone
- Rail Terminal
- Sporting Facilities
- Swimming Pool
- Takeaway Food
- Tennis Court
- Visitor Centres Brisbane Information Centre, Queen Street Mall.
- Winery Mount Sirromet Winery.
- Places of Worship
- The Arts Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
- Aussie Lifestyle Australian Woolshed.
- Beach South Bank Beach downtown Brisbane.
- Caravan and Camping
- Rural/Country In surrounding regions – Beaudesert, Boonah, Esk, Gatton, Ipswich, Kilcoy, Laidley.
- Cruise Various Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.
- Cultural South Bank Cultural Precinct – Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum, State Library, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Judith Wright Contemporary Art Centre Fortitude Valley.
- Diving Off Stradbroke and Moreton Islands.
- Eco Tourism
- Farm/Station In surrounding regions – Beaudesert, Boonah, Esk, Gatton, Ipswich, Kilcoy, Laidley.
- Fishing Bayside suburbs – Redcliffe, Scarborough, Shorncliffe, Sandgate, Manly, Cleveland, Redland Bay, Victoria Point, Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island.
- Flora and Fauna Brisbane Forest Park, City Botanical Gardens, New Farm Park.
- Food and Wine Downtown precinct, including Fortitude Valley and South Bank, Urban Villages – Paddington, Milton, Toowong, West End, New Farm, Rosalie, Hamilton, Wilston, Bulimba.
- Gambling Conrad Treasury Casino, Gaming machines throughout pubs and clubs.
- Golf Saint Lucia Golf Links, Indooroopilly Golf Course, Victoria Park Golf Course, Royal Queensland, The Brisbane Golf Club.
- Health and Fitness Various gymnasiums and spa retreats.
- Industry/Mining, Agriculture Capital City business infrastructure.
- Island Bay Islands – Moreton, Stradbroke, Saint Helena, Coochiemudlo, Peel, McCleay, Russell.
- Mountain Mt Nebo, Mt Glorious, Mt Cootha, Mt Mee, Mt Samson, Mt Cotton, Mt French, Mt Edwards, Mt Maroon, Mt Greville, Mt Lindesay, Mt Barney, Mt Mistake, Mt Haldon, Mt Zahel, Mt Campbell, Stringybark Mountain, White Mountain.
- National Park Lamington, Tamborine, Blue Lake – Moreton Island, Saint Helena Island, Brisbane Forest Park, D’aguilar, Saddleback Mountain, Mt Chinghee, Mt Barney, Mt Maroon, Mt Edwards, Mt French, Cunninghams and Spicers Gap, Mt Mistake.
- Nature based Brisbane Forest Park, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Albert Park Zoo.
- Paranormal Brisbane Ghost Tours.
- Pub Stay
- Rail Ipswich The Workshops Rail Museum and vintage steam train tour.
- Science and Technology Queensland Science Centre.
- Shopping If you can’t find what you’re shopping for in downtown Brisbane, it simply does not exist. Riverside, China Town & Brunswick Street Mall, South Bank arts and craft markets for unique bargains.
- RTN, QH and National Distributors (TQ)
Nearest Airport: Brisbane