From its roots as a quiet rural hideaway, Brisbane has grown up and come into the limelight as one of todays most desirable places to live in Australia. Queensland’s largest city now has almost as much urban sophistication as Sydney or Melbourne with its gleaming high-rises, ambitious restaurant scene and lively nightlife, while retaining an easygoing lifestyle cherished by its residents. Though it is often dubbed Brisneyland or Brisvegas by some, it is a more friendly and intimate city than some of its Australian counterparts. Modern highrises are interspersed with some beautiful colonial architecture and Queenslander-style houses.
Its warm climate and proximity to some of Queensland’s most beautiful beaches and rugged natural wonders draws a steadily increasing number of tourists year-round. Moreton Bay has around 365 islands, the most popular being Moreton Island, where you can go from bushwalking to off-roading to sunbathing in one day. Around the other islands (the most developed and touristed being North Stradbroke), you can board ferries, take tours or go diving and meet some of the whales, dolphins and other marine life inhabiting the area.
Brisbane itself hosts year-round festivals, theatre and art exhibitions. Its attractions include museums, brewery tours, a zoo and an excellent wildlife park. The City Botanic Gardens is a popular quiet spot for lunch on the banks of the river, and the Roma Street Parklands are a must-see. Mount Coot-ha is a popular half-day excursion with stunning panoramas of the city and islands, and if you have time, Kangaroo Point Lookout is also highly recommended for the view (or climbing and abseiling for the adventurous). Backpackers flock to the South Bank Parklands for swimming and relaxing by the artificial beach. The main shopping and sightseeing district is centred on the Queen Street Mall, and is both walkable and interesting. Chinatown is small, but is bordered by Brunswick Street and the alternative, trendy area of Fortitude Valley.
Queen Street Mall, Brisbane
Tel (07) 3229 5918
Open Mon-Thu 9am-6pm, Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 9am-4.30pm
Tel 13 12 30
Corner Brunswick & Harcourt Streets, New Farm
Train Brunswick Street Bus 190, 191, 193, 194
There is free wireless internet access at the Gloria Jeans café in the Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley, Urban Grind Café (33 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington); Queensland State Library (Stanley Place, Southbank) and Brisbane City Library (Brisbane Square, Brisbane).
If you don’t have your own computer you can access the internet on computers at most hostels in Brisbane or at these internet cafés:
290 Edward Street, Brisbane
Tel (07) 3229 4033
312 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
Tel (07) 3666 0800