The Essential Guide to Brisbane, Australia

by | 6 Jun | Attractions, Cities, Highlight, Listing, Top 100 Experiences, Wildlife | 1 comment

As the capital of the state of Queensland and one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the whole of Australia, Brisbane has an awful lot going for it.  Its reputation as a great city, as well as the sprawling parkland and clear freshwater lakes that can be found a short distance away, make it a brilliant city to visit, whether you’re just passing through or aiming to spend a lot of time there.

Brisbane River

Image Credit: Ash Kyd

Traveling to Brisbane

Brisbane Airport is Australia’s third biggest, and serves international airlines from all corners of the world. Dozens of domestic flights operate on a daily basis, too, so if you’re visiting elsewhere in Australia you can always reach Brisbane easily.

The best journey, however, if you’re in Sydney or Cairns, and are able to hire a car to drive down or up the East Coast and take in the stunning coastline during the trip.

Once you arrive in Brisbane, you are likely to be blown away by what you find.

Where to Start and What to Do

It would be impossible to sum up everything that you can do in Brisbane in a paragraph or two, so instead we’ll focus on the biggest activities that we’d consider to be ‘must do.’

What is certain is that you’ll never be short of something to see, and that there is plenty to do, whatever your tastes and interests.

  • Brisbane is filled with zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, but the best place to go for us is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. As well as koalas, this park also looks after kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, and various other species of animal and reptile, including a lone platypus.
  • The South Bank Parklands are the place to head if you’re looking for a little bit of everything during your trip.  This area combines rainforest, open park and grassy areas, river, and plaza sections to create a real cultural center for the city.  Head here for shopping, cafes and restaurants, as well as music and other street entertainment.
  • Queensland Museum actually has four separate buildings, only two of which you will find within Brisbane’s city limits.  These two, one in South Brisbane and the other in the suburb of Ipswich, are both excellent venues for discovering the heritage of Queensland and Australia as a whole.  The other sites, if you’re interested, are to the west in Toowoomba, and to the far north in Townsville.

Filling Up

Visiting such inspirational locations is certain to make you hungry. Like most modern cities, Brisbane is a diverse location with a wide range of bars and eateries where you can satisfy your appetite in whatever way you wish.  We suggest these three locations, which are all different in terms of tastes and cost.

  1. Calling an establishment Great Café & Restaurant might sound like making a rod for one’s own back, but this place delivers the goods, and then some. The menu is varied and, with specials changing daily, there’s always something fresh and exciting to try, and a three-course set menu is only A$35.
  2. C’est Bon – “It’s Good” – is another that could be accused of raising expectations before the event, but once again, it comes up trumps in all departments.  More formal and exclusive feeling than the previous restaurant, a three course special comes in at the same price.  As you might have guessed, French cuisine is the central theme.
  3. Ortiga is a Spanish restaurant offering everything from simple A$4 dishes to luxury platters for A$135.  This is a raw, authentic feeling restaurant, with everything from the slate floors to rustic décor and open kitchen making it a place you could sit and stay for hours at a time.
  4. If you happen to be heading over to the Bayside to catch some sea breezes, stop in at Chidos Mexican Grill for some fresh, delicious Mexican food (best in Brisbane I think!).

Time to Rest

Whether it is a camping site to park up your campervan and switch off for a few hours, a cheap hostel offering a free breakfast, or a 5-star hotel, Brisbane has something for everyone on the accommodation front, too.

If you’re shopping at the higher end of the market, then the Stamford Plaza, in the center of the city, offers a great combination of luxury accommodation and the feeling that you’ve earned good value for money.

Backpackers or budget travelers should consider the aptly titled Somewhere to Stay, which you’ll find in the West End close to major transport routes; the hostel even offers a free bus to take you into the city center.

Brisbane is now your oyster; whether you’re there for the wildlife, the outdoors, attending a sporting event, or just passing through, there is much for you to experience in this wonderful city.