You will hear people put down Brisbane, Australia. Some say it doesn’t have the harbours of Sydney and that it can’t compare to the European glamour of Melbourne. Others think of it as just a launching pad for travel to the Gold Coast or the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t buy it, people! We’ve got nature, arts, culture, history and food… all with a relaxed attitude and way of life with which Sydney and Melbourne can’t compete.
I think it’s a real shame that most people spend very little time in Brisbane on their way up or down the coast. There are many secrets and surprises lying under the skin of Brisbane. Take the time, let go of your preconceived notions and check out some of the fun things to do in Brisbane – the fastest growing city in Australia! Here are five of my favourites to get you started.
Delve into Brisbane’s Convict Past
Brisbane was established as place to send the worst of the worst convicts from the Sydney penal colony. Today, it still has many amazing heritage-listed buildings from the earliest days of European settlement, without forgetting stories from the Aboriginal way of life to get a real feel for what this city is all about.
Explore Brisbane by Bike
There is nothing better than seeing a large slice of inner Brisbane along over 900 kilometres of cycling and walking paths. From the CBD you travel on two wheels and with the wind in your hair up or down the river and then jump on one of the local ferries at any time to get back.
Urban Nature and Wildlife
If you don’t get onto one of the Brisbane ferries, you should definitely take a river cruise at some point. Miramar has daily departures from the CBD out to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to meet some local wildlife. Having been established in 1927, it is one of the country’s oldest and most successful koala sanctuaries. In addition to some really great exhibits, there’s a live platypus webcam! Araucaria Ecotours also run some amazing day and overnight wildlife discovery tours.
Even if you don’t leave the CBD, you are still only a few minutes on foot from a nature oasis. The historic Botanic Gardens at the end of George Street have peaceful tree-lined walkways along the river. Better yet, a quick wander from Brisbane City Hall is Roma Street Parkland, the world’s largest sub-tropical urban garden, where you can meander through a mini rainforest and admire the stunning floral displays. Further afield, a 30-minute bus ride from the city, is Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens/Planetarium. At the top of Mt Coot-tha is the city’s main lookout, a focal point for many surrounding bushwalking tracks.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
If food, drink and partying are what you’re interested in, Brisbane has evolved into a cultural melting pot with a wide range of cuisine and nightlife. Head down to Park Road – a short bus ride or 15-minute walk from Southbank – where cafés and restaurants of almost every cuisine await you. Not far from Park Road, Caxton Street is also dotted with diverse restaurants and is famous for its pubs and nightlife. Finally there is Fortitude Valley, just north of the CBD, and, of course, Brisbane’s Chinatown, with plenty of restaurants and most of the city’s nightclubs. Stay tuned for our multicultural food experience tour!
Arts, Culture and Free Fun
Brisbane had a small renaissance in the late 1980s, when establishments like the Southbank Cultural Centre were set up along the river. This place is great, one where you can always count on a cool exhibit or concert. Best, almost everything is free. The Brisbane Powerhouse is also free.