The capital of Queensland is a modern city sitting on the banks of the Brisbane River. It is Australia’s third largest city with the old mingling with the modern. It has a mild subtropical climate with lots of green spaces to enjoy.
If you are a fan of koala bears and want to get up close to them then you should head for the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This is the largest sanctuary in the world for Australia’s iconic marsupials. Other animals that have found their home here are kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils, dingoes, snakes and crocodiles. You can enjoy such things as seeing bird of prey flight demonstrations, platypus feedings, sheep dog and shearing shows, Tasmanian devil feeding and getting to meet barn animals.
On the river banks right in the heart of the city you’ll find the Cultural Center. Here you will find the Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of Queensland, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Performing Arts Center and Queensland Theater Company.
To get spectacular views of Brisbane visitors go to the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. The gardens are located seven kilometers from the city and offer different themed gardens for visitors to journey through. Altogether there are 52 hectares. Visitors can see the largest collection of Australian rainforest trees in the world and the gardens offer fragrant plants, bamboo, cactus, wetland plants, indigenous plants, ferns and bonsai.
The South Bank is the original site of the 1988 World Expo. It offers many parklands, plazas and promenades. One of the attractions is the Streets Beach where on hot days people can cool off in a man-made lagoon.
The Wheel of Brisbane opened in 2009. It was built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the state of Queensland. When you ride the wheel you can see spectacular 60-minute bird’s eye views over the city and the river.
The Customs House is an impressive 19th century building, offering a cultural and educational experience. It operates as a function center and includes lots of public spaces among them an indoor/outdoor restaurant with awesome river and Story Bridge views. On Sundays visitors can get free guided tours of the building.
The QAGOMA or The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art is located across two adjacent river-side buildings in the Cultural Precinct on Brisbane’s South Bank. At the present time it offers a collection of more than 16,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art and stages a dynamic program of Australian and international exhibitions. Here you’ll also find the Children’s Art Center, collaborating on interactive artwork with leading artists from around the world and the Australian Cinematheque, the only dedicated cinema facility in an Australian art museum. The museum also operates its own retail outlets, cafes and restaurants.
For visitors the best and most scenic way to get around Brisbane is by CityCat. Seven days a week the fleet of CityCats and City Ferries head up and down the Brisbane River with 24 hop-on and hop-off terminals highlighting the history and beauty of the city. The route goes from the impressive University of Queensland to the North Shore past industrial sites, prominent riverside mansions, bridges and parklands.
Brisbane has a most vibrant shopping precinct the Queen Street Mall with over 700 retailers offering local, national and international designs and labels. There is a centrally-located pedestrian-friendly street frontage and a labyrinth of heritage-listed arcades. At the bridge end of the mall every Wednesday there is a Farmers Market that sells local produce, flowers and artisan products.
During the Great Depression in Australia in the 1930s the attractive steel Story Bridge was built and has become a popular Brisbane landmark. It is one of only three bridge climbs in the world (after Sydney and Auckland). This bridge offers something totally unique – the choice to abseil the descent. It caters to people of all fitness levels and those older than 10 years of age. The two-hour experience takes visitors 80 meters above the Brisbane River with spectacular views of the city beneath.
With easy access by ferry Moreton Island is located 58 kilometers from Brisbane. It makes for a fantastic day trip. This is the world’s third largest sand island and offers the taste of a tropical paradise. There is rich vegetation all around and pure-white sand beaches. 98 percent of the island has been designated as a national park.
The Museum of Brisbane is housed in one of the city’s premier heritage buildings. It occupies the top level of the City Hall, offering visitors a look into the history of Brisbane through a series of state-of-the-art exhibitions. From the top you can also get fantastic views of the city and the City Hall’s marvelous clock tower and copper dome.
Get close to nature at the Brisbane Forest Park, consisting of two bush tracks which originate at the Walkabout Creek Information Center and car park. You will be skirting the shores of historic Enoggera Reservoir. Always proper walking shoes should be worn, with leg and ankle protection from tall side grasses and along the path there may be rocks and tree roots.
Corymbia Circuit is about 1.5 km long and takes around 45 minutes. You’ll be tracking through an established wet eucalypt forest of spotted gums and bloodwoods. Just be careful of snakes sunning themselves on the paths in the summer months.
Araucaria Circuit is about 5 km long taking 1.5 – 2 hours. It goes along the banks of the Enoggera Reservoir, built in 1866. Here you can spot lots of birds in the early morning and in the late afternoon turtles among the water reeds.
Whichever route you choose you can hear bird choruses all day long. There is a wonderful bush cafe at the entrance to the walks.
It is well worth a visit to Sherwood Arboretum. These lovely gardens stretching along the river were established in the early 1920s. Here you can find 300 species of practically native flora. There are sweeping curved paths, a majestic avenue of Queensland kauris, two artificial lake wetlands, a small grove of forest and a riverfront path.
For family fun there is a playground and barbecue and picnic area. Don’t miss the 1974 “flood marker” sculpture which remains as a reminder at the top of the riverside ridge.