Brisbane – A City Rich In Beauty, Culture And Natural Attractions Awaiting To Be Explored!
Brisbane is the state capaital of Queensland and the third largest city in Australia (behind Sydney and Melbourne). In the past Brisbane’s bigger city cousins felt the city couldn’t compete with the bigger cities for culture, dining and nightlife but that is all changing. Brisbane is now growing faster than any other capital city and with that the city is constantly adding more for entertainment, fantastic dining and a great live music scene in the inner city area of Fortitude Valley. It also has one of the best climate of any capital city in Australia. The sub-tropical climate means it is warm throughout the year with mild, dry winters. The city enjoys over three hundred days of sunshine a year and as a result the city makes good use of the outdoors and the river that wraps around the city.
From within Australia you can easily reach Brisbane by air or road. Brisbane airport is well served by all the major domestic airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Blue and Jetstar. It’s about a ninety minute flight from Sydney to Brisbane and around two hours from Melbourne. If you’re travelling by road then it’s a good ten hours on the road from Sydney so best to break it up if possible and explore some of the coast on the way up such as Byron Bay or Coffs Harbour. If you’re coming to Brisbane from overseas then the airport is well served with direct flights from Asia and connections from other parts of the world such as Europe and the US. Airlines that fly into Brisbane include Singapore airlines, Emirates, Qantas and Cathay Pacific. Once you land you can either get the Air train into the city or catch a taxi which will take around 20-25 minutes to get into the city.
Once your in Brisbane then it’s easy to get around the central areas by foot or public transport. The public transport is operated under the name of TransLink and allows the use of a single ticket for bus, rail and ferry. Make sure you explore the river using the fast and smooth City Cat catamaran ferries. If you’re staying in the CBD itself or near the river precinct of Southbank then you will be able to explore much of the centre easily by foot. The CBD area of the city is fairly compact. However, if you need to get further away from the centre then Brisbane sprawls out a long way and you may find car rental a good option. There are many Brisbane car rental companies to choose from including all the big names and a number of local low cost operators. A word of warning. If you choose a low cost car rental firm then read the small print in detail. A couple of the firms charge admin and other fees in the event you cause damage to the car and hide this in reams of small print on the contract.
What To Do
Brisbane has plenty to do but here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Explore the river via the Citycat ferries
Stand on the front or rear outside sections to get the best views of the multi-million dollar riverfront homes and apartments along the river. Places to stop include New Farm Park where you can enjoy the large park, go for a game of ‘bare foot bowls’ at the local club or visit the famous farmers markets (2nd & 4th Saturdays each month). Towards the end of the trip down river hop off at the Bretts Wharf stop and take the ten minute riverside walk to Portside Wharf the new cruise ship terminal which also has some excellent riverside restaurants and a Dendy cinema.
Visit Southbank Parklands on the other side of the river to the city
Stretching along the river for over a kilometre this area is home to great cafes and restaurants, Streets beach which is an artificial beach and lagoon which is free all year round and is home to the cultural heart of Brisbane with the performing arts centre, galleries and museums.
Visit the eat street areas of the inner city suburbs of West End, Paddington and Oxford Street in Bulimba.
Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall has long been considered the centre of fashion and retail in Queensland. This vibrant shopping and lifestyle precinct lies at the hart of Brisbane City and is arguably Australia’s most successful pedestrian mall, playing host to over 26 million visitors a year.
The Queen Street Mall offers an unrivalled mix of local, national and international labels and flagship stores. Some 700 retailers have made their homes here- many enjoy mall and street frontage, others are tucked away inside world-class centres and heritage-listed arcades.
A visit to the Queen Street Mall guarantees a complete leisure encounter. There’s free live entertainment virtually every day of the year. Restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas, salons and day spas, four and five-star hotels and a grand casino sit right on the mall, as does the Brisbane Visitor Information&Booking Centre for tour bookings, brochures and general tourist advice. A five minute stroll from the mall will see you exploring Brisbane City’s galleries and museums, parklands and vibrant riverside. Enjoy your guide to the Queens Street Mall and the experience of its exciting surrounds.
Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall is home to over 700 retail outlets. Explore, in any one visit, close to a dozen uniquely themed shopping centres and arcades, not to mention Queensland’s most sought after flagship stores.
The heritage listed Brisbane Arcade is one of Queensland’s most stunning and historically significant shopping destinations. Built in 1923 and packed with architectural features befitting traditional European shopping gallerias, it is the time-honoured home of some of Brisbane’s most successful designers and manufacturers. Brisbane Arcade is a superb destination for designer and antique jewellery , unique gifts, homewares and accessories.
Broadway on the Mall
Locating between Brisbane Arcade and Country Road’s Queensland flagships store on the Queen Street Mall, is renowned for its impressive range of contemporary fashion outlets and computer and electrical superstore Harvey Norman.
It is a modern three level shopping centre and the CBD’s only Woolworths supermarket and Big W which are complemented by convenience retailers and a high-end-fashion precinct on Edward Street which includes national and international retailers.
The Queen Street Mall’s newest shopping centre, QueensPlaza is located on the corner of Adelaide Street and Edward Street. Australia’s largest one-location David Jones outlet, which officially opened to much fanfare in February 2008.
The Myer Centre
The Myer Centre lies at the very heart of the bustling Queen Street Mall, occupying an enormous block bound by George, Elizabeth, Albert and Queen Streets, celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2008. The Myer has over 180 specialty stores.
Wintergarden offers a complete shopping experience. It incorporates the five-star Hilton Brisbane Hotel where you can rest your weary head after a day spent shopping.
Some of Australia’s favourite independent retailers enjoy exclusive frontage on the Queen Street Mall. A few of Australia’s shining stars….
Start with some fun daytime activities, like a day playing paintball or even laser skirmish. Some great fields are out at Samford or closer to the city at Keppera. Laser skirmish is on both sides of town, so you don’t have to go too far to find the fields.
If you like to try different things, but paintball sounds a bit violent, try one of Brisvegas’ experience days. You can search around to find various exciting, out of the norm things to do for a day. From hot stone therapy and wine tasting, to golf lessons, jet boating, dawn hot air ballooning, skydiving or race car driving. Check out Red Balloon Days for a complete guide, and price lists.
Hungry? Brisvegas is a coastal town, so there’s one thing you can always be guaranteed: the seafood is good. Not just a meal, seafood in tropical Queensland is more of a pastime. You can make an afternoon of lazing about the grassy knolls by Brisbane’s shores with some peeled king prawns, and take a football or cricket bat with you for some entertainment.
Picnics are great with Brisbane weather and you can find most parks packed out on a sunny weekend, decked out with bushy trees, barbeque tables and cookers. A lot of the time, you can even find a nearby dog off leash area for the pooches.
Shorncliffe, Redcliffe and Scarborough are hugely popular on the north side of town for parks, while New Farm Park is the city’s big meeting point for a game of frisbee. Cleveland and Manly on the south side will also get you a good deal of sun and fun, but don’t forget you can also get some great food and amusement at South Bank in the city, and at Kangaroo Point. Kangaroo Point is really popular for rock climbers and abseilers, so if you’re too scared to climb, you can at least watch.
Head east to Moreton Bay and take a ferry over to North Stradbroke Island, one of the largest sand islands in the world and home to some great beaches.
Finish up at one of Brisbane’s outdoor movie cinemas (not the outdated drive- in you’re thinking of). In summer, Brisbane makes use of the lovely evening temperatures with outdoor cinemas, like in The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez. Both fun and romantic if you’re up for something new. You can watch current movies under starry skies, on a picnic blanket with the summer breezes in your hair.
The Moonlight Cinema operates from the Powerhouse at New Farm and tickets are available either online or by phone. For special Australia Day celebrations, South Bank also screens movies at the Formal Gardens Green for free. Be mindful to keep an eye out for others popping up over the place, if you’re not paying attention, you won’t hear about them. Our Brisbane keeps a listing of current screenings.
Explore Nearby Attractions
Use Brisbane as a base for nearby destinations such as the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Australia Zoo which is one hour north of Brisbane by road.
Where To Stay
There is a wide range of Brisbane accommodation on offer. The good news is that much of the Brisbane accommodation on offer is of a very good standard and good value.
At the more expensive end of the spectrum are the big hotel chains in the city centre such as the Hilton, Marriot and Sofitel. These have the advantages of good location and facilities though value for money is sometimes not as good as the alternatives.
One of the best Brisbane accommodation options is the use of self contained holiday accommodation such as holiday apartments for rent. There are a good number of serviced apartments available in the city centre and nearby areas such as South bank parklands. If your a family and might need more than one hotel room then serviced apartments with 2 or 3 bedrooms tend to offer excellent value. The apartments offer bedrooms, separate living areas with a full kitchen. As well as getting much more space than a hotel room you can also save money by cooking some of your meals in the kitchen rather than having to east every meal out.
When To Go
Almost any time of the year is good for a visit to Brisbane as it has a warm sub-tropical climate and over three hundred days of sunshine per year. If you are used to colder climates then you may find the summer months of December to February a little hot. The temperatures during these months often range between 28c and 34c as well as being humid. These summer months are also the wettest. You don’t tend to get many dull and dreary days with rain though. Typically they come in the form of thunderstorms that build up during the day and are short but sharp!
Popular times of the year to go to Brisbane are the in between seasons of Spring and Autumn which are still nice and warm but not too hot or humid. Winter in Brisbane is not exactly cold either. Winter is the driest time in Brisbane so expect a good number of sunny days. Temperatures drop to single digits at night in winter but still often reach the low twenties by the middle of the day.
Brisbane is increasingly a popular destination for Australian and international travellers so make sure you make it part of your trip.
Browse our City Info category for more cities worldwide that may be of interest to your vacation preferences!