Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and also the third most populous city in the country and over 2.5 million people are calling it their home. One of the oldest cities in Australia and founded upon some ancient homelands, Brisbane is rich with Aboriginal culture. It ranks high on the list of most liveable cities in the world and is a very popular tourist destination, which means that your hard-earned money will be well spent if you decide to make the trip. Brisbane is also noted for its rooftop bars and outdoor dining, which means that if you visit in the summer, you are going to get a tan while getting hammered. Win win, so let’s get busy and let me tell you about all the things to do in Brisbane.
Queensland Cultural Centre
So far in Australia, we’ve bungee jumped, swam with crocodiles, cuddled dingoes and drank lots and lots of wine, so I think that it’s time to bring a little culture into this website. Once again I found you a doozie, which means that you will need at least a couple of days at the centre and it also covers multiple activities and attractions without having to travel too far. Two birds. Built from 1976, this heritage-listed entertainment centre is part of the South Bank precinct in Grey Street. Five major components make up the centre and they are the Queensland Museum, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Art Gallery and the State Library of Queensland. I think that we can skip the library, because we are on holiday and don’t have a week to read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Where to start?
Queensland Museum – Tells you all about the state and its people’s history, past, present and future and while your missus gets educated, you can slip away and go down to the pier for a few cold ones. This museum also has a world-class research facility and offers hands-on experiences for children and grown-ups in all types of sciences that influence our lives on a daily basis.
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art – This gallery purchased its first piece of art back in the late 1800’s and sits just around the corner from the museum. It’s home to Australia’s first purpose built cinematheque and is around 270,000 sq ft in size, so don’t forget to bring your heart pills. You’ll be walking until either the ambulance or the coroner takes you away on a stretcher.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre – Consisting of five different halls, this venue played host to over 1.3 million visitors that watched 1200 performances in 2017, ranging from comedy, opera and orchestra to musicals, theatre and ballet. Nothing better than to end a long day at the centre with a snooze in the back of one of these shows….. accept comedy. The laughter will keep you awake.
Queensland Art Gallery – This gallery is all about the rich Aboriginal history of the country and complements the Gallery of Modern Art, perfectly. If you like history just a little bit then this is the place for you.
Full details and prices can be found here.
South Bank Parklands
11,000,000 people say that you can’t go wrong. This is how many people visit South Bank Parklands each year. Located on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, the Victoria Bridge connects the City to the parklands and consist of various different sections, including grassed areas, a man-made lagoon, rainforest, plazas, a 197 ft tall ferris wheel and finally the Brisbane Conservatorium.
Streets Beach – Complete with beautiful turquoise water, white sandy beaches and sub-tropical trees, you will forget that you are actually in the middle of a busy city. Boasting Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach, this iconic beach is a must do when you get to Brisbane and the best part is that it’s completely free. Free to swim and not to turn the water yellow.
Boat Pool – If the lagoon gets too crowded, you can always head down to the Boat Pool, which is not where the party is, but it does make for a cleaner experience. Concrete, and not sand surrounds the beautiful, blue water pool, which can be annoying sometimes when you are trying to dry off and put on your shoes. I always end up with sand in my shoes.
Time to go high up again
Wheel of Brisbane – If you have a fear of heights, then this is not the attraction for you. If you want to scare the hell out of your mother-in-law by dangling her by her feet from the top, then this is the attraction for you. At 197 ft high, it’s bound to get her to never talk to you again. You might also get your better half to pack her suitcase then afterwards, so only do this if you really want to get rid of both. If not, then The wheel offers an enjoyable 12-minute ride with breathtaking views of the City, parklands and river below. Adults would need to pay £17 or $21 each, children need to pay £12 or $14 each if they are between the ages of 4-11 years and the youngest ones can go for free. If you want the VIP experience, which includes two rides and a glass of sparkling wine, you would need to cough up £50 or $57 for the experience. Book your tickets here.
Take a romantic walk
The Arbour – This 1km long pedestrian walkway is something to see in person. Consisting of 443 steel columns and covered in year-long flowering bougainvilleas, this is the perfect romantic walk for you and someone you love. If you don’t have anyone, you can still do the walk and just love yourself.
The Parklands consist of various cafes and restaurants, so you can pick and choose to eat and drink whatever you want. Brisbane has really nice temperatures throughout the year, so you can dine al fresco style and enjoy a huge selection of beers from around the world, while feasting on anything from delicious sandwiches and pastas to big Aussie steaks and a seafoods. It just doesn’t get any better than this and don’t blame me if you want to move there afterwards.
Each year in September, Brisbane holds a festival and ends it with one of the biggest fire displays anywhere in Australia, called Riverfire. Various acts provide entertainment for the thousands and thousands of visitors, while restaurants, street vendors, pop-ups and food trucks provide a wide variety of food and drink to keep everyone happy. If that’s not enough, they end the three-week long festival by setting the river on fire. Not literally, but sort of. This magical event is free of charge, but it is a first come, first serve type of an event, so if you want to get a good seat, you would need to be there early.
Riverfire is so important, that not even rain will stop it from going ahead. I suppose that if Godzilla were to swim from Japan and make an appearance, they would have to cancel, but anything less than that won’t ruin your day. Most people flock to South Bank and along the river to get as close as possible to the Story Bridge, which is one of the venues where they will launch the fireworks, but those places get crowded very quickly and if you don’t get there early enough, you might not get a seat. But don’t worry, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of vantage points so that you don’t have to miss a single rocket. Just don’t get drunk and try to hitch a ride to the International Space Station. It’s not that kind of SpaceX rocket.
Where to get the best views
- Victoria Bridge
- Captain Burke Park
- Howard Smith Wharves
- Kangaroo Point Cliffs
- River Terrace
- Wilson’s Lookout
- City Riverwalk
- Dock Street
- Rail Overpass
Whoever organises this event, really has a big budget, because they launch these rockets from 16 different venues:
- 5 high rises along George Street (planes beware)
- 3 high rises along Eagle Street
- Goodwill Bridge
- Story Bridge
- 3 Barges at South Bank
- 1 barge each near Eagle Street, Story Bridge and Captain Cook Bridge.
These displays light up the Brisbane sky so much, that you can even watch it from hotel rooms and suburbs throughout the city. If you live locally or staying in a hotel, be sure to leave your pets inside with plenty food and water and under no circumstances can you take them with you. The South Bank does not permit pets and for the same reasons that blind people don’t skydive…. It scares the hell out of their guide dogs.
Story Bridge Adventures
Australia always seems to go one step further and after Sydney, Brisbane, apart from Auckland, offers the only other bridge climb in the entire world. Well I’m sure that you can climb other bridges, but it won’t be legal and you would probably end up next to Charlie Sheen in jail. Your adventure begins directly under the bridge at the base camp where they will brief you before ascending the spiral staircase that leads up to the suspended walkway directly beneath Australia’s shortest highway, the Bradfield Highway. They will then hook you up to their climb line to make sure that you don’t become a pavement pizza by accident and it’s at this stage that you then secretly unhook your mother-in-law’s harness.
On your way up, your tour guide will provide you with commentary about the 360 degree panoramic views around you while you wish that someone had rather installed a lift. I’m not a big fan of climbing; it must be because I’m lazy and would much rather skip it and just go straight to the top. Once you’ve finally reached the top and are still alive, you can then enjoy the best views in the city, which include the Glass House Mountains and Moreton Bay.
On top, you have three options:
- Walk the plank – As the name suggests, you will walk across an opening on a plank that sits 50m above the traffic below. If you don’t do it, Captain Jack Sparrow will poke you with his sword.
- Cantilever lean out – They tie you to a rope and let you lean out as far as you like, while there is no other protection in place. It’s a great way to spray the cars down below with your morning’s full English breakfast.
- Climb and abseil – Offering the only bridge climb and abseil adventure in the entire world, this is another must do. You might as well if you are already on top. The 30m abseil is bound to get the juices flowing, so be sure to pack an extra pair of underpants if you intend to do it.
They have various packages available and depending on the time of day and activity you would like to do, the prices do not range that must. Only children older than six are allowed to go and if you are under 16, prices start from £90 or $110 for the two-hour trip. Adults will need to pay £107 or $129 to do the day walk. Twilight, sunset and night time walks are available at slightly higher prices, while you can add another hour and £25 or $30 per person on top to do the abseil, lean out and plank walk. Only children of 10 years and older are allowed to do the extras and at the end, they even give you a photo for you to remember the fun-filled, exhausting day. Full details, bookings and prices can be viewed here.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Founded in 1927, this 44-acre koala sanctuary is the world’s oldest and largest, which means that you can brag about it to your friends after you’ve visited. Starting off with just two koalas called Jack and Jill, it has been named as one of the Q150 icons of Queensland and houses Tasmanian devils, wombats, koalas, kangaroos, various reptiles and a platypus. They also have many Australian birds and parrots like cockatoos, kookaburras, emus and more and lastly a small farm called Sheep Dog Shows.
Opening hours are from 09:00 – 17:00 every day, including Sundays. I’m not sure about Christmas day; they might reserve that day so that the animals can open Santa’s presents. For the privilege to cuddle the koalas, feed the kangaroos and interact with a wide variety of wildlife will cost an adult £34 or $42 and children between the ages of 3-17 need to pay £20 or $25 and as always, the youngest ones can enter for free. You can view full details and prices here.
We’ve come to the end of yet another wonderful tour. Brisbane has much more to see and unfortunately I don’t have the time to write about it all, but Google is a great place to start if you want to do more or you can simply click here.
Safe travels and if you don’t share this page with everyone you know, it will show them that you don’t care. No one wants to be that person. 🙂
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