The capital city of Queensland, Australia may not be as well-known or popular as its sister states Melbourne, Perth or Sydney, but it has its own distinct charm that should still be appreciated.
1. Take the City Cat Ferry transport
The City Cat Ferry, a service that goes almost anywhere along the Brisbane River, works like any other public transport. If you love cruises, you can consider this a mini one that takes you to your desired destination. The ferries are quick and comfortable, and you’ll get to enjoy many of Brisbane’s sites along the CBD.
2. Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
If it’s your first time to the city or to Australia for that matter, Lone Pine, one of the country’s leading koala sanctuaries, is a must-see. There, you’ll get to see koalas of all ages, plus other Australian mammals like the wombat, dingo, kangaroos, emus, and more. Do remember to bring a portable fan along with you if you’re visiting in summer.
3. Go cafe hopping at West End
Melbourne may be known as the state with a hipster café culture and all-day brunches, but Brisbane isn’t lacking in that department too. The city has recently upped its hip factor in the district of West End, where you’ll find many cafes, juice bars and thrift shops to satisfy your inner hipster.
4. Take a free Brisbane Greeters Tour
There’s nothing better than experience the city and its stories through the eyes of its locals, and this tour does just that. Meet passionate Brisbanites who will take you around the city, share with you their favourite hangouts and things to do, plus unearth interesting tales and histories of the city.
5. Check out its man-made beach
Located in South Bank near the CBD, Streets Beach has three large bodies of water with sand in the middle of the city. Despite its name, it’s really more like a free public pool for everyone to enjoy.
6. Pack a picnic at New Farm Park
The idyllic verdant landscape coupled with the impressive backdrop of the skyscrapers in the background will have you feeling as if you’re in Central Park. References aside, you’ll be treated to the cool shelter and magnificent sight of the enormous fig tree canopies or jacarandas if you visit in October.
7. Visit Queen Street
Brisbane’s main shopping belt isn’t huge, but it’s still worth a visit. It’s also near its main bus interchange and casino.
8. Book a wine tour
If you only have time for one state and love your vinos, this is worth a shot. Try The Vino Bus, which takes you around the wineries and one distillery in Mount Tamborine, where you’ll get to sample and purchase delicious Australian wines and spirits.
9. Swim with dolphins
Get up close and personal with the friendly marine creatures at the Tangalooma Island Resort. There are selected accommodation and day cruise packages where you’ll get to wade into the water to feed the small pod of dolphins that frequent the shores of Tangalooma in the hopes of meeting someone new.
10. Whet your appetite at its street food market
Happening every Friday, the popular Eat Street Markets along the Brisbane River is home to international cuisines, craft beers, drinks, wines, entertainment and a laidback atmosphere. Entry is A$2.50 for adults, and free for children under 12 years old.
11. Scale Story Bridge
The Story Bridge Adventure Climb lets you head all the way to the top where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Gold Coast (an hour away by train), Moreton Bay and the Scenic Rim.
12. Visit North Stradbroke Island
Sparkling azure waters, white sandy beaches and rows of palm trees dotting the island… it’s paradise on earth personified here. It’s also relatively easy to get to from Brisbane. Head to Cleveland Marina in Middle Street, where there are several companies to choose from for transport. Tickets cost about A$20 for return trips.
13. Visit the Gold Coast
Of course, you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the Surfer’s Paradise when you have the chance to. You can choose to take a day trip or book a night’s stay in one of the hotels there. There’re lots to do – from visiting the famous beach to checking the Worlds (Sea World, Movie World and Dreamworld). And it’s easy to get there, too! You can either rent a car for a day, or take a train that’ll take you about an hour.
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