Brisbane - Beautiful one day, perfect the next

Australia’s third biggest city, this stylish and vibrant city has evolved around the large Brisbane River which meanders through the centre and over the years bridges have been built to connect North to South with Story Bridge one of the most famous.

With hot summers and pleasant winters, exceptional weather and laid-back holiday atmosphere, the city now attracts people from all over the world to sample Brisbane’s top-class restaurants and performing arts complexes.

The Queen Street Mall is where Brisbane Tourism is located and just across the river is the South Bank visitors centre.  Many hotels are concentrated around the city centre, Spring Hill to the north, Petrie Terrace on the west, Fortitude Valley and New Farm to the north-east and the West End District in the southern suburbs.

Brisbane also has a number of top museums, providing in-depth Queensland information and artefacts.  Architecture throughout is varied, with a number of impressive historic buildings dating back to the early 19th century, combined with modern skyscrapers.  This combination of old and new makes the city’s skyline breathtaking, particularly at night when the lights of the tallest buildings are reflected in the river.

The world first began to take notice of Brisbane when it hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expo 88 - a huge effort for a city only the third largest in Australia and largely underrated when compared to Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane is still the third largest city, but in the twentyfirst century, it's fast becoming one of the most desirable cities to live in.

To appreciate the history of the city follow the golden arrows set into the footpath and take a walking tour of Brisbane's early building style. Old Government House and Parliament House, date from the 1860s, but the earliest building, the Old Windmill & Observatory on Wickham Terrace, dates from 1828.

Today recognised as one of the country's most progressive centres, Brisbane boasts a number of varied and interesting precincts, a vibrant street cafe scene, a great riverside park, a busy cultural calendar and a thriving nightlife.

The sub-tropical city may be locally know as Bris Vegas, but it's also the arts capital of Queensland (There are literally dozens of theatres, cinemas, concert halls, galleries and museums). That’s climate and culture too? It must be paradise.

Brisbane is a river city, 25km upstream from the mouth of the Brisbane River. The city centre is built around looping meanders of the river, which makes it a breeze to explore on foot. And the transit centre, servicing bus, train or airport shuttle, is about half a kilometre north-west of the city centre.

Brisbane’s inner suburbs have blossomed, supporting a thriving restaurant and cafe scene taking advantage of the balmy climate. Many provide outdoor eating areas. Further afield, you can find eateries and restaurants in Paddington, Fortitude Valley and New Farm, on the South Bank and in the West End.

Places to visit:

The Valley

Live, loud and proud. Let your hair down in eclectic bars with emerging and innovative DJs or the world-class supper clubs bringing a larger than life vibe to the precinct. Walk through Brunswick Street Mall and be connected to a irresistible energy rising from the colourful crowd.

Chinatown in the Valley attracts as many locals as visitors – the hustle and bustle of the Chinese supermarkets, exotic ingredients of Yum Cha brunches. Drink in the architecture, fabrics, colours and emotions of the Orient.

Southbank

Playful as a bike ride or cosmopolitan as any night-time metropolis.  A modern urban village that reclaims the river with casual sophistication.  Joggers and rollerbladers cruise past restaurants and cafes while the inner city beach sits like a shimmering mirage – guarded by its own lifesavers.
It’s ice-cream at the beach and romantic riverside walk all in one!
Home to the Queensland Cultural Precinct – Museum, State Library, Performing Arts Centre, Conservatorium, Art Gallery and largest Gallery of Modern Art in Australia.

West End

Is to the left of everything, just near South Bank with grocers from all over the world.  You’ll find alternative book shops, cult video stores and organic produce – a place with a bohemian heart and multi-cultural soul from the local aboriginal radio station to hippie buskers and fire twirlers – all with a twist to the left.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary -

Home to a wide variety of Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, possums, wombats, emus and lyrebirds and the star attraction - koalas.
Get your photo taken having a cuddle. Picnic with kangaroos.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a half-hour bus ride south from the city centre,
For more information visit http://www.koala.net

Markets

South Bank markets, which feature craft and clothing stalls, are open every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
Each Sunday, the Eagle St Pier markets featuring glass-blowing, weaving and other crafts.
The small Fortitude Valley market, held on Saturdays in Brunswick St Mall, has a diverse array of junk, crafts and clothes.
A popular spot every Sunday morning are the Brisbane Riverside Markets (pictured)

Mt Coot-tha

The best place to get a view of the city. Mt Coot-tha is 8km from the city centre and on a clear day, you can see the distant line of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands out to sea and the distant Glass House Mountains to the north. Enjoy walks around Mt Coot-tha and its foothills,
The Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, at the foot of the mountain, have an enclosed tropical dome, an arid zone, rainforests and a Japanese garden. You'll also find the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the largest in Australia, here.

Queensland Cultural Centre

A complex spaning two blocks either side of Melbourne Street in South Brisbane, just across Victoria Bridge and housing the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum, the State Library and the Performing Arts Complex. The museum has a dinosaur garden and a whale exhibition.
The art gallery has a permanent Australian collection as well as temporary exhibits.

South Bank

Formerly the site of Expo '88, extensively redeveloped and is now one of the city's liveliest areas. South Bank covers 16 hectares. It’s attractions include restaurants and cafes, parklands and bike paths, market stalls and even a sandy swimming beach.

Australia’s leading brewery experience -

One of Queensland’s newest tourist attractions, the XXXX Ale House Visitor Centre and Brewery Tour, celebrates the history of the iconic Queensland brewery and its world famous beers.
Only minutes from Brisbane’s city centre, this facility includes an interactive brewery tour and a bar offering a true XXXX experience.
More than just a brewery tour, the XXXX Ale House provides an insight into 125 years of Queensland brewing history.
An extensive XXXX Beer Gear Shop also offers a huge range of XXXX and XXXX Ale House merchandise.
The tour lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, passing through the brewery where an animated version of the much-loved character “Mr XXXX” unlocks the secrets of the iconic XXXX brew.
Visitors then have the opportunity to taste four popular beers at the conclusion of the tour. To know more go to www.xxxx.com.au/Alehouse/
The XXXX Ale House is located in the famous XXXX Brewery – just look for the big red XXXX’s on the Brisbane Skyline. The XXXX Ale House reception is found on the corner of Black and Paten Sts, Milton (just down from Milton Road).

Kids’ eye view of Brisbane

Education disguised as fun – every Mum and Dad’s dream. Here’s some ways to keep the kids amused and informed.

The Corner

State Library of Queensland is a creative hands-on and minds-on place for children under 8. They’ll be happily distracted by artworks, artist-led activities, great books, fun and educational toys;  online activities – a playful journey of discovery. Stanley Place, South Brisbane.

Queensland Museum

With dinosaurs, dung beetles, antique fire engines, artefacts, fascinating exhibitions and big and strange animals to keep their eyes wide open.  Try it, move it, use it, spin the planets, create a current or make waves at the Science Centre with hours of interactive, science-based fun for kids of all ages (including big kids) Cnr Grey and Melbourne Sts, South Brisbane.

St Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Will amaze the kids with a must-see recreation of Brisbane’s night sky in the Cosmic Skydome.  They’ll marvel at the interesting artefacts and displays, including fragments of asteroids and spacecraft models plus images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Talk to the animals

Alma Park Zoo is home to Australian, exotic and endangered animals.  Keeper presentations throughout the day ensure an up close and personal experience for everyone.  Free BBQ facilities and picnic lawns are set in tranquil rainforest gardens – you can even hand feed some of Australia’s favourite animals.  Alma Road, Dakibin (exit 138 off Bruce Highway) 

Don’t forget to cuddle a koala at Lone Pine Sanctuary, a favourite for many decades for locals and visitors to our State’s capital.