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- Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is a large sprawling city with a population of approx. 2m people. The city is young and vibrant with an outdoor focus given its warm weather all year round. The state of Queensland is very large with a land mass more than 3 times larger than Europe with Brisbane being the commercial and political centre. Therefore the decisions and funding for the health, education and infrastructure are made in Brisbane with much of the state relying on tourism, mining and farming as the main economic drivers.
- As with most of Australia there is a multicultural thread running through Brisbane with loads of migration. There are those from the southern states chasing the warmer, less hectic lifestyle as well as the lower cost of housing. Other migration is from the UK and Ireland as well as southern Europe plus more recently a large influx from New Zealand and Asia.
- Highlights for tourists include the meandering Brisbane River, the iconic Storey Bridge made in a Victorian style mecano type construction then onto the south side of the river. Here only 2kms from the city centre is the renowned cricket ground called the “Gabba”. The name is taken from the suburb Woolloongabba which in Aboriginal means fighting place. Aboriginals are the indigenous people, the traditional owners of all the land and the first Australians arriving from parts of Asia 40000 years ago.
- Nearby to the “Gabba” is the most prestigious suburb in inner Brisbane, Kangaroo Point. Kangaroo Point is on the shores of the Brisbane River and has wonderful views of the city and there are old colonial style mansions as well as new millennium high rise luxury apartments.
Guide to Brisbane
Southbank is where the locals head to relax: 17 hectares of lush parklands, world-class restaurants, stunning views over the river and sandy white beaches. There is constantly an array of events going on, ranging from live music and film screenings to exhibitions or fitness classes. Streets Beach is Australia’s only man-made beach which surrounds the turquoise lagoon and is bordered by tropical greenery.
Another way to enjoy the river is the Brisbane riverwalk, a 870m long path which runs between from Howard Smith Wharves to the suburb of New Farm. It offers impressive views of the Brisbane skyline.
Delve into Brisbane’s eclectic arts scene with plenty of art galleries to enjoy from the Gallery of Modern Art to Queensland Art Gallery, which hosts more than 17,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art.
For the more adventurous amongst you, we would recommend climbing Brisbane’s Story Bridge for incredible views of the city and beyond, all the way to the Gold coast on the south and the Glasshouse mountains on the north side. The climb up is about 80 metres and takes about 2 hours with the option of finishing off with a 30 metre absail back down the anchor pier.
It is also worth venturing out of the city to visit the stunning Gold Coast and Sunshine coast as well as the idyllic island that are dotted along the coast. The islands are just a short ferry away from Brisbane and offer a plethora of activities, such as diving and snorkeling, whale watching, kayaking and sandboarding.
Things to do in Brisbane
Within Brisbane there is a major museum and library nicely complemented by historical walks hosted by enthusiastic volunteers which collectively provides a real insight to the makings of this northern tropical capital. Possibly the largest historical highlight of Brisbane is the Lamington. What is a Lamington? Well it’s a bit size sponge filled with slithers of raspberry jam then coated with chocolate and desiccated coconut. It’s an Australian institution and was named after an early twentieth century Governor’s wife Lady Lamington. As folk lore has it the kitchen was called upon to hastily make some afternoon tea for unexpected guests at Government House and voila. Anyhow the best place for genuine top notch “Lamis” is Jocelyns Provisions in Fortitude Valley not far from the city centre.
Enough of the excitement. There are also day trips to tourist destinations less than a two hour drive from Brisbane. Down south on the Gold Coast there are the “worlds” all within a reasonable driving distance of each other. The “worlds” consist of the main theme parks of Movie World, Dream World, Sea World and Water World plus there are a myriad of other smaller venues providing good fun times. From a wide life perspective there is a bird sanctuary and a national park with great walks. Heading north, in the other direction from the Gold Coast, to the Sunshine Coast there is the Australian Zoo which was started many year ago by the self-proclaimed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. Here there are plenty of things, crocodiles and snakes for example, that could kill however they are well managed and are exciting to get up close and personal with. Unfortunately in 2006 Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray, not within the zoo but over a 1000kms north on the Great Barrier Reef where he was filming a documentary.
Eating out in Brisbane
Hellenika at The Calile provides an exceptional Greek experience with a focus on as you would expect seafood and lamb both of which are found in abundance in Queensland.
The Treasury Casino has a wide selection of restaurants to satisfy any budget so there is one there that is sure to work.
Arc Dining is an incredible culinary explosion with loads of local produce with the feel that its from paddock to plate almost immediately as the ingredients and atmosphere exude freshness. Pork, peach and Melba cake all deliver a particular local credibility.
Brisbane Airport (code: BNE)
International flights arrive at Brisbane airport, as well as an array of domestic flights. It is an award winning airport and the third busiest in Australia, being the closest for many internation travellers. The city centre is only a 20 mins drive away or you can take the Sky rail.
Buses and Trains
Brisbane offers a selection of public transport which include ferries, trains to take you to the suburbs and buses. You can catch a train to reach attractions including the Queensland museum or the Gallery of Modern Art, as well as Southbank. It is also definitely worth taking the train down to the gold coast or the sunny coast.
Rush hour is seriously busy in Brisbane, so avoid it if possible, as a lot of workers commute between the city and the Sunshine or Gold coast and therefore the highways around the city can be especially busy.