It’s a positive attitude and creative confidence that makes Brisbane a genuine new-world city. Also, even though Brisbane is rapidly developing and forward-thinking, it maintains a youthful enthusiasm and has what is arguably the most vibrant, laid back warm atmosphere of any east-coast capital city.
Gaining international exposure during the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the 1988 World Expo and the 2001 Goodwill Games, Brisbane's year-round warm climate, spectacular scenery and pleasant locals has been the draw-card for many domestic and international visitors, making Brisbane the fastest-growing city in Australia.
For many thousands of years Aboriginal people have lived in what is now known as Brisbane. In 1823, John Oxley was the first English colonist to explore Brisbane, which was then selected by the colony of New South Wales as the location for a new jail, intended to house dangerous prisoners in a remote location. The original settlement was established in what is now the suburb of Redcliffe but was later moved to a location further down the bay.
In 1837, free settlers moved to the area and pushed to close the jail and to release the land in the area.
In 1859, a gold rush led to the establishment of the colony of Queensland with Brisbane as its capital, named after Sir Thomas MakDougall Brisbane, the sixth Governor of New South Wales.
In 1925, the Queensland State Parliament created the City of Brisbane Act, and set up a single government for the city of Brisbane.
Recent strong migration to Brisbane and the whole of south-east Queensland is taking place due to cheaper house prices, a pleasant climate, and good employment opportunities. The area is currently facing the challenge of providing enough fresh water for its residents. You're not likely to find the tap dry or see any visible signs of the shortage, but keep your showers relatively brief (local water restrictions call for 4 minute showers) and expect the locals to be horrified if you walk away from a running tap.
Brisbane has a year-round living climate. When the wet season hits the northern Australian tropics, Brisbane enjoys hot and clear summer days (with afternoon thunderstorms). When winter hits the southern capitals of Sydney and Melbourne sending temperatures into the low teens (°C) the Brisbane climate stays mostly dry and sunny, with daytime temperatures usually remaining above 20°C.
Humidity is high during the summer months and temperatures can get as high as 40°C with night temps rarely dropping below 20C. In summer, a t-shirt with shorts and thongs (sandals) is appropriate attire for most casual activities, and air-conditioning will ensure you of a comfortable night’s sleep. Summer storms with hail and heavy rainfall are common in afternoons on hot humid days. They usually pass quickly and put on a good lightning show.
Limit your outdoor physical activity in the summer until you are used to the heat, and drink plenty of water. Cover up with sunscreen, loose clothing, and sunglasses to protect from sunburn.
It is possible to fly directly to all Australian capitals and numerous regional centres. Major carriers include Virgin Blue, Jetstar, and Qantas.
The international terminal is serviced by many regional airlines and it is possible to fly daily to most Asian centres (and on to Europe), the United States and New Zealand without flying via Sydney or Melbourne.
Check your terminal for your flight. There are two terminals at Brisbane Airport, International and Domestic, but confusingly some domestic flights leave from the International Terminal and some international flights (via other Australian cities) leave from the Domestic Terminal! If you turn up at domestic 30 minutes before your flight leaves from international, you will be met by a check-in agent who has heard your story many times before. On the positive side, you will get to spend more time in sunny Brisbane.
Allow sufficient time for the transfer between terminals. Trains generally only go every half an hour, and finish ridiculously early in the evening.
It is not practical to walk with luggage between the international and domestic terminals, even though it is only about two kilometres in distance, but the main road that connects them has no pedestrian walkway and it is a busy road.
AirTrain offers a connection during the day with a 30 minute frequency or 15 minutes during peak. The AirTrain fare is included by Virgin Blue and by Qantas when connecting between their flights– just present your boarding pass to the Airtrain station staff. Otherwise the train fare is $4 per person (currently children 14 and under are free). The trip only takes a minute or so. Last train leaves International for Domestic around 7:45, Domestic for International around 8PM. Even though Eagle Farm station appears to be next to the airport on a map, don't even think of using it for airport access. There is no access to the airport terminals, and it would be too far to walk, even if you could.
Taxi is be the only option outside AirTrain hours, or if you have a limited connection time (say, you have turned up at the wrong terminal).
AirTrain connects to the city from the airport every fifteen minutes during peak times and stops at Central, South Bank, Fortitude Valley and Roma Street stations. Adult fare to the city stations is $14.50. A return ticket can be purchased for $26 from the Airport stations. If you pre-purchase online, there are further discounts. Travel time between the international terminal and Roma Street Station is 23 minutes. It is also possible to take the Airtrain direct to the Gold Coast, although it is necessary to connect to a bus service at Nerang to reach Surfers Paradise or at Robina to reach Coolangatta. Trains run from 6AM, with the last train leaving the city at 7:30PM and the airport at 8PM.
CoachTrans also provides transfers via shuttle bus to Brisbane City accommodation and to the Gold Coast. Adult fare (one way) to Brisbane City is $14, and an Adult fare (one way) to the Gold Coast is $39. Fares are cheaper if you buy a return ticket. You can end up waiting up to an hour if you try to book when you arrive at the airport, so pre-booking is a must and no refunds are allowed. Travel time varies depending on the number of passengers on the bus and traffic; it could be anywhere from 20-60 minutes.
A cheaper public transport alternative is to use the Brisbane Airport Courtesy Bus to DFO/Number 1 Airport Village, and transfer to the 308 bus (direction Chermside) to Toombul Interchange, where you can catch a train to the city. This costs under $3 with a go card, off peak; and under $5 for a single ticket.
Additionally, the airport also hosts all major car rental companies.
Surfside buses regularly ply the route from Tweed Heads all the way along the Gold Coast, with connections to the train to Brisbane at Robina. You can buy a single ticket to cover the trip, costing around $17.
Gold Coast (OOL) a.k.a. Coolangatta Airport is a low-cost carrier hub, serviced by AirAsia X, Jetstar, Pacific Blue and others. There is a Surfside shuttle bus from the terminal to the Gold Coast Hwy, which has regular services to Robina station. Again, a single ticket will cover the two hour journey.
Countrylink operates two daily rail services from Sydney, with connections from Melbourne and Canberra.
Visitors from southern states can reach Brisbane by either the New England and Cunningham or Pacific Highways.
The Bruce Highway connects the northern coast of Queensland to Brisbane.
The Ipswich Motorway connects to Ipswich and surrounding Western Brisbane areas.
The Warrego Highway links Brisbane to the west through the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
Getting anywhere in Brisbane is extremely easy. The CBD is relatively flat and condensed, which makes it perfect for walking or cycling and virtually all other areas can be reached by public transport.
However, some areas can be difficult to navigate through a combination of dead ends, winding roads and steep slopes. This applies to some inner-city suburbs, but especially outer suburbs. If you find yourself lost, it's advisable to head to the nearest main road as more than likely it will be serviced by buses or trains. If you are driving, a street directory is an essential addition to your car. Locals are generally friendly and more than willing to help you out if you are lost, so don't be afraid to ask.
Brisbane is an excellent city for walking and you should have no problems getting around the CBD. Within minutes of walking in virtually any direction you will be able to find a bus, train or ferry station. Maps can be purchased from bookstores such as QBD (Queensland Books Depot) , Dymocks , Borders , any tourist information centre or viewed online.
Beyond the CBD and inner-suburbs however, sights can become very spread out, so you might want to consider other modes of getting around.
Getting around the city and the surrounding areas is easy thanks to the many cycle paths along the river. Bicycles can be rented in the centre of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens and also at Brisbane Bicycle .
Cycling on footpaths is legal in the Brisbane City Council area, however pedestrians have right of way. Keep left and take special care when riding through South Bank Parklands as the shared (and quite wide) foot and cycle path is often clogged with large groups taking up the whole path, pedestrians stopping unexpectedly for photos and playing children running heedlessly in front of you. It is often too noisy here to use your bell, so out of courtesy and safety, you're strongly urged to dismount and push your bicycle through crowded areas.
Some areas of Brisbane are very hilly. If your street map shows a tangle of winding streets close together that is a sign of steep roads. A short trip can quickly become a lot of work. Stick to the river when possible, it's where you get the best views and it is almost entirely flat.
If you leave the cycle paths, footpaths, and minor streets you should be prepared to contend with busy urban traffic. Feel free to ignore any Brisbane motorists that may have resentment toward cyclists and ignorance of the road rules applying to cyclists; cyclists are permitted to travel on just about all roads in Brisbane. Special "bicycle lanes" on Brisbane's roads are becoming increasingly common and are often denoted by a narrow green-coloured strip of road adjacent to the curb.
Wearing a safety helmet is a must in Brisbane. The police issue a $120 fine for cycling without a safety helmet which is heavily enforced.
Green Cabs are one of the latest additions to the city and growing in popularity. Essentially a rickshaw, they are a novel way of getting around the inner-city areas. Able to accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 small children (though it can vary - talk to the rider and see what you can arrange), they mostly operate between West End, South Bank, the CBD, Fortitude Valley and along the river where it's mostly flat, although you can arrange to be taken elsewhere. Prices start at $5 per adult and tours are available.
Currently Green Cabs operate on weekends and during special events. During the day operators who are ready to go are usually based at South Bank at the Wheel of Brisbane. At night, you will find Green Cabs at South Bank and throughout the CBD.
Many of the roads in Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) are one-way, making driving in this area complicated for people not familiar with the layout. Drivers used to city driving should not find Brisbane too much of a challenge, and parking is readily available in parking stations in the city, albeit it at a steep cost, around $40 to casually park for a day. $15 parking is generally available with early-bird deals (arrive before 9AM, leave after 4PM.),
CBD roads become clearways at 4PM, and any cars parked on the side of the road will be fined, towed or both. You have to pay for the towing to get your car back, and then they expect a fine to follow in the mail. Check for signs when parking, or just play it safe and find a parking station.
If you are looking to visit the areas surrounding the city, then generally a car will be as quick as any other way of getting around, with the possible exception of the height of peak hour. Brisbane is notorious for having roads that bottle-neck and what would normally be a 15 minute trip could easily turn into well over an hour during peak.
There are several toll roads in and around Brisbane, including the Gateway Bridge which crosses the river near the airport, the Clem-7 tunnel as well as the Hale Street Link bridge. Cash is not accepted, toll users must have a prepaid transponder or post-pay via a website. Check the go-via website for more details.
Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) is not the friendliest of places when it comes to finding a parking spot for your car. Leaving your car for an hour could cost you in excess of $25 or a few parking fines. The best way to get around the CBD is either by scooter or motorbike. Motorbike and scooter parking is free and there are plenty of areas designated for parking of both motorbikes and scooter.
Scooters, however, are not allowed on major highways. Even though they can be ridden by just about anyone who holds a car drivers license, it is difficult to see all of Brisbane on a scooter as most major streets are zoned as 60-80km/hr and the standard 50cc scooters ale limited to 55km/hr.
North of Brisbane you will find quite a lot of beautiful scenic drives for motorbike enthusiasts. The North side is surrounded by many windy roads and great mountain roads on which any motorbike rider can enjoy a full day out on the motorbike of just about any size.
There are services available throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast which deliver both scooters and motorbikes right to your door-step. Some will even provide all the necessary gear as well. Take a look at a few rental companies below to find a perfect motorbike/scooter for your trip.
Most reputable car hire companies have offices located at Brisbane Airport, and in the city centre. As is common with many hire car companies, you will often pay a premium to pick up or return at the airport location. While most car rental companies hire to people 25 years of age and over, some all age car rental companies do hire to younger drivers over 18 years of age (there are surcharges involved for under-age drivers).
Taxis are numerous throughout Brisbane and can take you anywhere. The major companies are Yellow Cabs and Black & White Cabs . All cabs can be hailed down no matter where you are, provided their roof light is on, though in some areas they might not be able to stop, so it might be best to book one in advance. All cabs accept cash, credit and debit cards. Despite cabs being fitted with GPS units, you'll find it wise to check with the driver about your destination before departing and make sure they are willing to go there.
In the outer-suburban areas, cabs will pull over if you hail them down from the side of the road and can be found in designated taxi ranks in shopping centres, or near bars and pubs. The same can be said for the inner-city, however taxi ranks are more common and it's usually best to catch a cab from there. At night though, especially on Friday and Saturday, taxis exclusively pick up passengers from these ranks and you'd be extremely lucky if you get one elsewhere. These ranks are usually monitored by security and have ushers at night.
Taxis are expensive in Brisbane; a trip between the airport and the city can be well in excess of $50-60 and it is not recommended to take them far beyond the central Brisbane region. It's best to use public or private transport in Brisbane and use taxis only if you are in a rush or your destination is beyond your current access to transport (for example, late at night or poor area servicing).
The three main public transport options of Brisbane, ferries, buses and trains are linked by a common ticketing system, known as TransLink. This coordination arrangement allows free transfers to be made between the three different transport modes, providing relevant time and zone restrictions are met. The TransLink website (tel. 13 12 30) is handy for researching public transport options between destinations, and is essential for Brisbane visitors planning their commute.
It is strongly advisable to check the timetables, as some of the less popular routes have limited runs or may not run at all on weekends, public holidays or late at night. Sometimes runs will be affected by events going on around the CBD and inner-suburbs and you can expect delays, though this is usually limited to September's Riverfire Festival and New Years Eve. To aid in increased passenger numbers, Translink will have regular runs in addition to extra runs on certain routes during special events.
As well as paper-based tickets for trips of various lengths of time, TransLink incorporates an integrated ticketing system called the go card . The go card is smart card technology, offering the same benefits as the integration of transport options delivered by the TransLink arrangement, except with transport users paying for trips through pre-paid credit instead of cash. go card fares are also 20-35% cheaper than the equivalent paper ticket. There are however, disadvantages, as there is no equivalent of, for example, a daily ticket which provides unlimited travel throughout the day. Also, as it costs money to obtain a go card ($10 refundable, plus an amount of credit which is used to pay for public transport fares), short-term visitors to the city would be better off buying single or daily tickets. However, within the 2010 year, the Queensland state government intends to fully phase out use of paper tickets in preference of having public transport users conduct their travel with a go card.
Travellers should ensure they have a valid ticket as ticket inspectors make frequent appearances and fines can be significant. You may also be required to display a valid student/senior card if you are travelling on a concession ticket type.
All services offered by Translink operate within "zones" which affect how much you'll pay for your fare. The 23 zones form concentric rings and propagate outwards from the CBD (zone 1) and can be very confusing for visitors who aren't familiar with them and which areas they cover. All official public transport maps clearly mark the zones and zone boundaries. To completely avoid the confusion over zoning, buying a go card will not only save you the hassle but money as well. Generally speaking, most tourist destinations within Brisbane City are within Zones 1-3.
The more zones you travel through - the larger your fare will be; which is to say that your fare will be dependant on how many zones you plan to travel in, not which zones. For example, travelling between zones 2 and 3 will cost you the same fare as travelling between zones 7 and 8, but you cannot use the same ticket for transit in both regions.
Often, major stops like shopping centres and busway stops are used as zone boundaries. Stops that form part of the zone boundary will be designated as "Zone X/Y" where X and Y are which boundary you are at (i.e. Zone 4/5). These stops are considered part of both zones, so you may travel to them on a valid ticket that covers either zone.
If buying a ticket, you'll have to say which zones you wish for it to be valid for, although all operators generally know what to give you if you tell them your destination. Ensuring your ticket is valid for your current journey is important, as it's common for bus drivers to kick you off or make you pay for another ticket, or officers on trains and ferries to fine you.
CityFerries and CityCats have become an icon of the city and are fantastic ways to tour the city along the river and most stops connect to nearby bus stations or popular tourist destinations. Traditional ferries generally operate on cross-river routes and stop at a limited number of stops at various points along the river. CityFerries are generally only used for more direct access to outer suburbs. The CityCats are high-speed catamarans that operate on longer routes and stop at all wharfs along their route.
Travellers can take advantage of Daily and Off-Peak Daily tickets which allow unlimited travel within given zones across all modes of transit. A Daily ticket for zones 1 to 3 is great for catching a bus or train into the city, taking a ferry along the river and getting back to the suburbs again, or back into the city from a ferry terminus.
Buses in Greater Brisbane mostly lead all the way to Queen Street, Adelaide Street, Elizabeth Street or Fortitude Valley. Almost all buses have a display next to the route number that tells you approximately where it's going.
Drivers do carry notes with them, however not always many or of high value and they do not appreciate giving out large sums of change. Try to limit paying with notes only when the fare is roughly around the denomination mark ($5, $10 etc). Where possible pay with the correct fare and in coins.
Some routes follow regular roads and are subject to traffic conditions, though a large number of them eventually converge into dedicate bus-only "Busways" which bypass most inner-city traffic. This makes them an effective way to get into or out of the city quickly during peak hour.
During peak hour, some routes become pre-paid fare only. You'll have to either have a go card or a valid ticket purchased elsewhere. Buses which are pre-paid only will be signed with the letter 'P' before the route number on the bus display. Most inner-city Busway stops have guards on the platforms during peak hour and you will not be permitted entry unless you show them a valid ticket or your go card. During such times, Translink officers with portable ticketing machines are present at these stops.
It is important to note that not all buses observe each and every stop. In fact, a large number of buses in Brisbane are 'Express' and don't observe minor stops. During peak hours, 'Rocket' buses omit most intermediate stops, while 'Bullets' don't stop until reaching their final destination. It is very important to know where the bus stops, as visitors and people unfamiliar with Brisbane's buses can find themselves very far from the city very quickly, or puzzled as to why multiple buses are passing their stop, despite hailing.
‘The Loop’ is a free and convenient bus service travelling in both directions around the CBD. Operating Monday to Friday 7AM – 5.50PM, every ten minutes from any red CBD bus stop.
The routes 598 and 599 form the Great Circle Line which circles the city in clockwise and counter-clockwise direction and can be a great way of getting around the different suburbs.
Trains in Greater Brisbane run along radial lines from Central and Roma Street Stations. Interurban services can also be caught to the Gold Coast (using connecting bus services at Nerang and Robina) and Sunshine Coast (using connecting bus services at Landsborough and Nambour) as well as Australia Zoo (connecting bus at Beerwah). The first trains start around 5AM and run till midnight or a little earlier. Services are usually 30mins or an hour apart, depending on the line, and more often during peak times. Times are available on TransLink's online journey planner and also at QR .
Brisbane City Hall and King George Square. Located between Adelaide and Ann Streets, this is the city's most significant historical landmark. Tours of City Hall have been suspended until 2012 due to restoration work.
Brisbane River Floating Walkway. An innovative floating walkway between the Story Bridge and Merthyr Street, New Farm, at the river's edge. The walkway rises and falls with the tide and provides residents and visitors with an easy, flat walk.
CityCat. take the CityCat river taxis up and down the river. A great couple of hours to see the city at speed. It's also very cheap, less than $5 for a daily combined transport ticket (which includes all citycat/cityferry/train/bus).
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, . 15 minutes drive from the city on Jesmond Road in Fig Tree Pocket (via the Western Freeway). Catch the hourly 445 or 430 buses from the city or the Mirimar boat cruise from South Bank at 10:20AM. Tel: +61-7-3378-1366. World's first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. Cuddle a koala any time, hand feed kangaroos and encounter a large variety of Aussie wildlife, all in beautiful, natural settings.
Manly Boat Harbour. Located 20 minutes from Brisbane's CBD, Manly Boat Harbour is the nearest access point from Brisbane city to Moreton Bay. Nestled beside the Manly Harbour Village, it is Brisbane's gateway to the Moreton Bay Marine Park with its pristine waterways and fascinating islands. Manly Harbour Village has a great range of dining and shopping options overlooking the marina.
Mt Coot-tha, . Brisbane's tallest mountain (it isn't actually a mountain). A popular make out spot with a great view and good but overpriced cafe and restaurant. Also home to one of the Botanical Gardens and a Planetarium.
New Farm Park. This historic park is famous for the long line of jacaranda trees, shady picnic areas and its large rose gardens that contain hundreds of variety of roses, and over 40,000 individual plants.
Queensland Cultural Centre - adjacent to South Bank, the site includes The Queensland Performing Arts Centre , Queensland Museum , Queensland Art Gallery , Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and State Library of Queensland - located on Grey Street in South Brisbane. The Queensland Conservatorium and the Queensland College of Art are also located on Grey Street. The recently opened GoMA regularly hosts exhibitions featuring internationally famous artists (such as Warhol and Picasso) as well as many local contemporary artists. The Cultural Centre has its own busway stop and can be accessed by a large number of different routes.
Roma Street Parklands - is the world's largest subtropical garden in a city centre and home to 1800 unique species of plants. Experience the theme gardens such as the topiary maze, rain forest walk, lake, celebration law and amphitheatre with many public artworks to admire.
South Bank - Formerly the site of World Expo '88 this relatively recent development is across the Brisbane River from the heart of the city and features an artificial beach surrounded by extensive parklands. Also in South Bank are the shops, cafés, restaurants and cinemas of the Grey Street precinct. A great place to hang out on a hot day and swim for free. Suncorp Piazza within South Bank often hosts free live events and movies.
University of Queensland - One of Australia's oldest and most prestigious institutions situated on a bend of the Brisbane River. Its majestic sandstone buildings are surrounded by ornamental lakes, Jacaranda lined boulevards and some of the finest architecture. Visitor attractions include the Great Court, the UQ Art Museum at the James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre, the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, the Schonell Theatre, the lakes and Wordsmiths Bookshops. The university can be reached by bus from George St on bus numbers 412 and 109 or via the City Cat.
Wheel of Brisbane - (Located At South Bank) is a Ferris wheel that allows you to observe the city from 60 m to give views across the Brisbane River. The trip is a 15 minute ride in an enclosed, climate controlled gondola. Open 7 days a week from 10AM - 10PM, tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 years and under, $2 for children aged between one and three.
Kangaroo Point - the walls along the Brisbane River are a popular spot for rock climbers and give an excellent view of the CBD skyline just across the river. Activities carry on after dark, when the walls are well-lit. Abseiling and rock climbing classes on the cliffs with an instructor are available from Riverlife Adventures, as well as kayak, kick-bike, rollerblade and bicycle hire. There are also barbecue and picnic spots in the area.
Story Bridge Adventure Climb - offers the opportunity to scale the top of Brisbane's iconic bridge. Enjoy 360 degree views of Brisbane, the mountain ranges and Moreton Bay Islands at dawn, afternoon or night.
Jan Powers Farmers Markets - Buy the freshest fruit, crispest vegetables and leanest cuts of meat from one of the many farmers markets across Brisbane including the Powerhouse at New Farm, Manly, Mitcheleton and the newest market at Reddacliff Place at the top of the Queen Street Mall.
Balloons over Brisbane - Gain an aerial perspective as you float over Brisbane in our hot air balloon. It's often possible to see as far off as the magnificent Glasshouse Mountains; to the fabulous Gold Coast and out to the islands of Moreton Bay.
Cruise the Brisbane River - There are many tours available that cruise the Brisbane River and will help you take in the sights of the city.
Explore Brisbane's Moreton Bay and Islands - Located only 25km from the Brisbane's CBD and stretches from Bribie Island to the Southern Bay Islands. Enjoy sand tobogganing, four-wheel driving, diving or snorkelling or go marine watching and spot turtles, dolphins, dugongs and even whales.
Explore Greater Brisbane Country - Take a day trip to the surrounding regions around an hour from Brisbane and discover wineries, national parks, lakes and country living. The Scenic Rim including Ipswich, Beaudesert and Boonah is a vast region of mountains, rainforest and valleys embracing the World Heritage wilderness of the McPherson Range. The Lockyer Valley provides a perfect blend of town and country living, with experiences ranging from guided tours and bush camping to hot air ballooning and sky-diving.
The Scenic Rim - This describes the large arc of mountains, to a height of 1375m, from the Mistake Ranges (south of Gatton) across the Main (Great Dividing) Range to the MacPherson Range that terminates at Currumbin on the Gold Coast. Apart from some well known locations on the Rim, such as Binna Burra and O'Reilleys guesthouses, Springbrook and Cunningham’s Gap, the largest proportion of these ranges are unspoilt and much of it near-wilderness. Many forest areas were previously logged, but the forest recovery has been excellent, and virtually all the logging tracks have disappeared except for those still used for foot access. At the previously mentioned sites, graded paths offer a taste, but for the more adventurous there are many hiking possibilities from day trips to sustained multi-day exercises. More information can be found on the web. Parties should be properly prepared and conversant with navigation in difficult country and the rules of National Parks.
Riverlife Adventure Centre, . Brisbane's riverside adventures. Kayaking, Abseiling the Kangaroo Cliffs, a rollerblade session and bike rentals. They also organise evening activities such as Kayak paddle and prawns.
Thanks to Brisbane's year-round wonderful climate, it's the perfect city to host outdoor events. The city often plays host to cultural and historic celebrations, music festivals and family entertainment, particularly in the Summer holiday months of December, January and February.
By far the largest and most popular event in Brisbane is the annual Brisbane Festival . This festival, which originally started as a celebration of the Brisbane River, now incorporates a number of smaller events at various places around South Bank Parklands, the Cultural Centre and the CBD as a celebration to Brisbane itself. Notably the 'Riverfire' event which is held in South Bank every September and draws the largest crowd. It offers free family entertainment all day and the city's biggest Fireworks display at night.
The annual Royal Queensland Show or The Ekka as it's almost exclusively called by the locals is a staple event in Brisbane's history and culture, held every August and dating back to 1876. It is hosted at the RNA Showgrounds in the inner-suburb of Bowen Hills and runs for a week, where the Wednesday is a public holiday (so expect large crowds on this day). Primarily marketed toward families, attractions at the Ekka include fairground rides, a Side Show Alley, animal parades, wood chopping competitions, agricultural displays, equestrian events and Showbags, usually containing food items (such as confectionery) and novelty items.
In Musgrave Park, the Greek Paniyiri Festival is another popular family entertainment event. Brisbane has a large Greek population who come out in force to celebrate Greek culture. Offers authentic Greek foods and entertainment.
The St. George Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) was held in July/August, but from 2010, early November, is in a variety of venues around Brisbane, including the Regent Cinema in Queen Street Mall and Palace Cinemas in Fortitude Valley. BIFF features new films and retrospectives by domestic and international filmmakers along with seminars and awards.
Brisbane has been named one of the world's top 5 hotspots for music by the influential US entertainment Billboard magazine. A night out in Brisbane is not complete without experiencing some of the live music on offer.
If you are looking for what's happening in Brisbane, most music and entertainment stores (like JB Hi-Fi, Rockinghorse Records) as well as some hipster restaurants and cafés offer free entertainment magazines like Rave , Time-Off , Tsunami , Scene and City News that list what's coming up within the next month or so. If you have access to the internet, then InTheMix is a great place to find out who's playing and to ask the locals what they recommend.
Though you might find most musicians playing in the numerous bars and clubs around the CBD and Valley, there are some venues which are geared specifically toward hosting bands or artists that are on official tours or other artists who are playing a few gigs. Some events allows under 18s in, but not all, so it's best to check beforehand.
The Tivoli 52 Costin St - Not a nightclub but a venue for touring artists. Has a very relaxed, noir-styled interior with sizable floor space and a mezzanine. Highly rated venue amongst locals. Check the web site for upcoming shows.
The Valley Fiesta is an annual three-day event. It was launched by Brisbane Marketing in 2002 to promote Fortitude Valley as a hub for arts and youth culture. It features free live music, market stalls, food and drink from many local restaurants and cafés, and other entertainment.
Brisbane also plays host to a number of nationwide electronic and rock music festivals, mostly geared toward the younger crowd.
Brisbane has a very good assortment of restaurants. Listed below are some notable restaurants in Brisbane city and its suburbs.
Brisbane City and Spring Hill:
Bar Merlo - located in various outlets throughout the city, their first being opened in the QUT Gardens Point campus. Regarded as one of the leaders in the Brisbane café society boom since the 90's, their coffee is served at countless cafes and restaurants throughout Brisbane.
Beach House - +61 7 3003-0017 Located on the corner of Albert and Elizabeth St, Myer Centre, 2nd level. Licensed bar, large meals and live entertainment at value for money.
Hanaichi +61 7 3221-8388- Japanese sushi bar located in the 1st floor of Wintergarden. Also has a fast food counter located in the Wintergarden food court, and has franchises in various suburbs.
Il Centro 1 Pier Ave, +61 7 3221-6090- Located in the Eagle St Pier precinct, along with other notable neighbours. Famed for its signature sand crab lasagne, it is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Brisbane and also amongst the priciest.
Pane e Vino Albert St, +61 7 3220-0044 - great Italian restaurant on Albert Street with pastas and mains between $18 and $34. Not a lot of authentic Italian ambiance as found in more typical restaurants further south in Melbourne.
Restaurant Two +61 7 3210-0600 - located at the corner of Edward and George St, across the street from the Botanic Gardens. Headed by executive chef David Pugh, it is widely regarded as one of Brisbane's best restaurants.
Urbane +61 7 3229-2271 - on Mary St, a short walk from Stamford Plaza. One of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane, serving unconventional but innovative food.
Fortitude Valley & New Farm:
Enjoy Inn 167 Wickham St, +61 7 3252-3838 - corner of Duncan St in Chinatown. One of the longest established restaurants in Brisbane, good Chinese food.
Fatboys Cafe 323 Brunswick St, +61 7 3252-3789- The cafe portion of Ric's Bar, on Brunswick St Mall. Serves some of the best value for money breakfasts in Brisbane from $4.
Freestyle Tout 1000 Ann St, +61 7 3252-0214 - a popular dessert restaurant located in the Emporium, with a sister restaurant that is first established in the Rosalie shops in Paddington.
Green Tea Restaurant 31 Duncan St, +61 7 3252-4855 - on Duncan St in Chinatown mall. Good authentic Vietnamese food at a reasonable price.
Harvey's +61 7 3852-3700 - located in the James St precinct. Very popular cafe restaurant and deli. It is located a short walk from James St market Rumours of an attached grocery section are false. What the grocery store but that is crazy
Hunan Chinese Restaurant - on Chinatown Mall. Unpretentious eatery serving exotic regional Chinese fare from the Hunan province, as well as Chinese takeaway staples at cheap and reasonable prices.
King of Kings +61 7 3852-1122 - on Wickham St in the Chinatown precinct. A Brisbane institution for yum cha, decent food and prices.
Mecca Bah 1000 Ann St, +61 7 3252-5299 - located in the Emporium precinct. Popular restaurant that serves modern Middle Eastern food, part of an Australian interstate franchise that originated in Melbourne.
Mint Indian Gourmet +61 7 3252-0300 - on Brunswick St near the Central Brunswick precinct. Indian restaurant that serves traditional curries as well as gourmet dishes at upper range prices.
Re Del Gelato +61 7 3358-2177 - Beautifully made Italian gelato, a perfect cap after a nice meal at one of the close by restaurants on Brunswick Street.
Taj Mahal 722 Brunswick St, +61 7 3254-2388 - Amazing Indian cuisine located on Brunswick St, opposite Village Twin Cinemas. Caterers to the Indian Cricket Team when in Brisbane.
Thai Wi-Rat 20 Duncan St, +61 7 3257-0884 - on Chinatown Mall. Cheap and cheerful authentic regional Thai-Laotian cuisine.
Vespa Pizza 148 Merthyr Rd, +61 7 3358-4100 - Woodfired pizza restaurant on the corner of Merthyr Rd and James St. Serves the tastiest pizzas in Brisbane and is BYO. Cosy atmosphere in the fairylight-lit courtyard outside and room to move in the booths inside. Delivers to local area on Vespa scooters.
South Bank and Woolloongabba:
Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant +61 7 3846-6699 - Located on Little Stanley St, multi award-winning Turkish restaurant including the RCQ Best Themed Restaurant in Brisbane, features belly dancers on weekends. One of the most popular and busiest restaurants in the South Bank precinct.
Brisbane German Club 416 Vulture St, +61 7 3391-2434 - Located directly opposite The Gabba stadium on Vulture St, this restaurant/bar offers a wonderful range of authentic German cuisine and beer for very reasonable prices.
Green Papaya 898 Stanley St E, +61 7 3217-3599 - located in Woolloongabba. Inspired French-influenced Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Founded by former owner Lien Yeomans, it is arguably a Brisbane institution.
Norman Hotel 102 Ipswich Rd, +61 7 3391-5022 - Along with the Breakfast Creek Hotel, possibly the best steaks in town (its slogan is "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant"). Located on Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba.
Milton and Park Road:
China Sea 60 Park Rd, +61 7 3367-0198- On the Coronation Drive end of Park Road. Excellent Chinese food at upper-range prices.
La Dolce Vita 20 Park Rd, +61 7 3368-3805- next to Rue de Paris, great Italian cafe
Rue de Paris 30 Park Rd, +61 7 3368-2600- Brisbane's Eiffel Tower, another great cafe
Royal Thai Orchid 45 Little Cribb St, +61 7 3229-2588- popular Thai restaurant on Little Cribb St off Park Road. Its sister restaurant is the first Thai restaurant in Brisbane, in the outer suburb of Springwood.
Harem 282 Given Tce, +61 7 3368-3141- Turkish restaurant complete with belly-dancing
Kookaburra Cafe 280 Given Tce, +61 7 3369-2400- good pizza in a relaxed atmosphere
Tomato Brothers 19 Nash St, +61 7 3368-1601- located at the Rosalie shops in Paddington. Renowned for their wood fired pizzas, with several franchises in several Brisbane suburbs such as Wilston and Clayfield.
Urban Grind 530 Brunswick St in LaTrobe Tce, +61 408 101 140– This small café has a BYO food policy, great coffee and free WiFi. For those who wish to indulge in a guilt free cup of coffee Urban Grind is committed to being climate neutral and use Barambah organic milk in their fantastic coffees.
Sol 20 Latrobe Tce. This vegetarian and all organic café warm in winter and cool in summer and the coffee is great.
University of Queensland:
The university and its surrounds provide many quality eateries if you happen to be in the area or on a CityCat ferry and caters to a cheaper market.
A Salt 'n Battery - excellent quality fish and chip shop-cum-seafood restaurant with a wide variety of foods and decent prices, located in Hawken Village (on Hawken Drive, approx 5-10 minutes’ walk from the University proper)
Wordsmiths Staff House Rd, +61 7 3365-2001- a touch more expensive than the other cafes on campus, but a good atmosphere (in a relatively quiet part of the campus, near the bookshop) and has a longer menu than the other options
South Brisbane and West End:
Era Bistro 102 Melbourne St, +61 7 3255-2033- located on Melbourne St in South Brisbane. Excellent bistro food, great cafe spot, extensive wine cellar. Same owners/chef as the former critically acclaimed Circa.
Huong's 83a Vulture St– Excellent Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food. BYO and Takeaway available.
Lefkas Taverna 170 Hardgrave Rd, +61 7 3844-1163- on Hardgrave Road West End. Brisbane's most famous Greek takeaway and restaurant.
Makanan Indonesia 59 Hardgrave Rd, +61 7 3846-2111- excellent authentic Indonesian fare at unbeatable value, located on Hardgrave Road
Mondo Organics 166 Hardgrave Rd, +61 7 3844-1132- on Hardgrave Road West End. Excellent Italian restaurant serving organic produce. Considered to be Brisbane's premier organic food restaurant.
The Forest Cafe on Boundary St- cheap and delicious vegan food. The indoors area can get quite warm during the summer months, however.
Restaurants in other Areas/precincts:
Efes One Turkish Restaurant 293 Sandgate Rd, +61 7 3862-4599- off Sandgate Road at Albion was Brisbane's first Turkish restaurant. Without a doubt the most popular destination for traditional Turkish cuisine and a friendly atmosphere in Brisbane. Belly dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.
Landmark Shop/101 Cnr mains Road, +61 7 3344-3288- located at the Sunnybank Plaza business precinct. One of the most renowned and popular Chinese restaurants in Brisbane, notably for its well done authentic yum cha.
Sakura - has franchises located in Coorparoo and Highgate Hill. Excellent authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices.
Garuva Hidden Tranquillity Restaurant , +61 732 160 124, 7 days, 6PM til midnight, 324 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley, In Fortitude Valley, only one train station away from Central. Specialises in Asian food, but come for the atmosphere! Low-lighting, floor seating and ambient music make this the most intimate restaurant in Brisbane, and every table is enclosed by a sheer curtain. Bar as well, cheap cocktails Fri and Sat before 7PM.
The Gunshop Cafe 53 Mollison St, +61 7 3844-2241– Possibly the best French toast in the city! Always busy so be prepared to queue and not open on Sunday. Fantastic coffee to boot.
Paladar Cnr Fish Lane & Merivale Street– Devised by connoisseur Filip Pilioras, Paladar Fumior Salon is a must for lovers of Cuban coffee, culture and cigars. Despite having a small street frontage and being tucked away off a main street (Merivale St on the corner of Fish Lane) the bright red exterior makes it easy to find once you are in the area.
Three Monkeys 58 Mollison St– Throughout the ground floor and garden of a converted house, this eclectic cafe is an enchanting maze of exotic furniture, fabrics and nooks. A Brisbane icon for over 20 years, you can enjoy meals, desserts and of course, tea and coffee, here 7 days a week. Not to be missed!
The Fox Hotel Melbourne St, +61 7 3844-2883– Featuring a number of wonderful art deco bars and a signature restaurant serving true Italian ristorante style cuisine, luxurious banquet seating, opening roof and euro-style street side dining.
Uber 100 Boundary Street– Offering sumptuous dining, tantalising cocktail creations and an assorted mix of music. Uber is the ideal starting point (or destination for that matter) for a night out.
Lychee Lounge 94 Boundary Street– Inspired by the neighbourhoods pre- and post-war housing and vibrant art sub-culture, the Lychee Lounge offers Asian-inspired bites and wicked cocktails. It’s the perfect place to refuel with a lychee-infused martini at the start of another fabulous weekend.
The JoYnT 48 Montague Road - This little coffee shop in south brisbane is the new meeting place for those wanting to escape the mainstream coffee strips.
Salon 110 Macquarie Street– Salon offers an intimate euro-chic ambience, delicious food and an extensive international wine list with over 20 available by the glass.
Blowfly 110 Macquarie Street– Blowfly is quirky and intimate and offers a modern take on the traditional Australian BBQ and has a large alfresco dining area.
London Club 38 Vernon Terrace– Blending chill beats, contemporary food and a young, casual vibe with Victorian era lushness and grandpa chic décor.
Jetty Kiosk Hidden gem of a cafe owned by the Port of Brisbane. Tucked away behind the Manly Baths swimming pool on the William Gunn Jetty, Manly Esplanade. Open 7 days, from 9AM-4PM, sit over the water enjoying a drink, dessert or meal and admire Moreton Bay. Very well-priced and so peaceful.
Cafe da Vinci 50 Cambridge Parade, Manly, +61 7 3396-2069. Sit on the wooden deck of this bayside cafe and admire the harbour. Serves drinks, meals (great breakfasts) and desserts. Open 7 days, dinner only on Thu, Fri and Sat.
Brisbane's drinking and nightlife scene is separated into some distinct areas. Anyone planning a night on the town should be aware that after 3AM no more patrons are allowed into pubs and clubs. This is a safety measure, coupled with increased security presence at taxi ranks. Additionally, smokers should beware of strict anti-smoking regulations. Smoking is now banned in 'all areas where food & drink is served', both indoors and outdoors. This means that smoking is banned in all hotels, clubs, and cafés except in designated smoking areas.
Regatta (adjacent to the Regatta CityCat terminal) - expect a wait to get in on Thur, Fri and Sat nights, but a must-go for the best sessions on Wed and Sun nights when the venue is completely taken by students
Royal Exchange (RE) Hotel 10 High St, +61 7 3371-2555 - generally a good, down-to-earth pub, more so than the Regatta, which tends to cater to a slightly trendier crowd
Both Regatta and the RE have reputations (which they more than live up) as student haunts, being located reasonably close to the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.
Catch a citycat to Bulimba for some trendy shopping on popular Oxford Street, great cafes, hip bars or for a picnic in the park.
Anise - 697 Brunswick St. Promotional price range from $5 to $10. Near the corner of Barker and Brunswick St in New Farm - this great restaurant has an extensive range of French, Spanish and Swiss absinthe available
Belgian Beer Cafe 169 Mary St – caters for a slightly more upmarket clientele, with a "gourmet" or "boutique" style to its all-Belgian-sourced beers, also serves meals, with a particular favourite being traditional Belgian mussels.
Caesars Adelaide St - new nightclub featuring R'n'B style music.
Criterion Tavern 239 George St - newly renovated bar, recommended for those who are looking for a quick beer and some country music.
Down Under Bar 308 Edward St - if you are studying in Brisbane or just backpacking, this is perfect bar for meeting people of other nationalities. Delightfully cheap and nasty.
Exchange Hotel 131 Edward St – is somewhat popular with a wide, although decidedly young, demographic, including students, young professionals and tourists, who all stream in after cheap drinks finish at the nearby Victory and Port Office hotels, usually around 11 to midnight. Newly renovated with stylish interior and 2nd floor open roof bar.
Fridays 123 Eagle Street - a very popular nightclub which also features dining (not recommended after 10PM)
O'Malley's Irish Pub - beneath the Queen Street Mall (Winter Garden centre)- this Irish Pub is the perfect place in Brisbane to dine and then enjoy a Guinness beer; open till 3AM
The Port Office Hotel 38 Edward St - Trendy bar downstairs dance floor upstairs popular spot in Brisbane. Crowed with students on Thursday.
Rosie's Live On Edward Street between Queen and Adelaide Streets - catering to the metal and alternative music scene, frequently featuring local and international live bands.
Sportsman Hotel - 130 Leichhardt St - Commonly called "Sporty's", this gay and lesbian pub has two bars upstairs and one private members bar downstairs. Lunch and dinner are served. Drag shows and karaoke on certain nights.
Union Jack's 127 Charlotte St - The most popular student spot in the city with inexpensive drink cards and mainstream alternative music.
The Fortitude Valley is a unique area of Brisbane catering to the live music scene. A large number of Brisbane's hippest clubs are located here. Through the 1960s and 70s it was seen as Brisbane's bohemian hub and has maintained a certain degree of that reputation. More recently it is sometimes thought of as being one of the more dangerous areas of the city but this attitude is changing as the area becomes more popular and hence, safer. This however has had an adverse affect on the area's creative vibe as locals turn their back on the area, forcing the creative epicentre of Brisbane to other areas of the city such as West End and Paddington. As with anywhere, simple common sense, caution and courtesy will keep you out of harm's way.
Alhambra Lounge 12 McLachlan St - Very stylish interior with a modern Arabic/Spanish theme, young professional and student crowd, good atmosphere and excellent cocktails. Various styles of house music. Located right next door to The Family.
Barsoma 22 Constance St - Trendy little bar tucked away on Constance Street (off Ann St) offers great cuisine & an array of delicious (& creative) cocktails. On some nights it plays alternative dance music parties.
The Beat 677 Ann St - Downstairs has three dance areas dedicated to hardcore/rave, electro and popular music, upstairs is gay (generally a younger crowd than the Wickham) & has two dance floors & a beer garden
Cloudland 641 Ann St - Recently opened mega club on Ann Street with a retractable roof, 10 metre waterfall, 5,000 plants and a glass bar made from 17,000 glass balls threaded by hand. Caters to a very upmarket, sophisticated crowd, so wearing your trendiest clothes is a must to get in.
Club 299 299 Brunswick St - Fantastic if you enjoy metal, emo or any kind of alternative music.
The Empire 339 Brunswick St - alternative dance club, nice long balcony overlooking busy Brunswick Street, a few levels, less pretentious but darker than other dance clubs in Brisbane although no less expensive.
The Family 8 McLachlan St – A bit pricey to get in, but it's one of the biggest club in Brisbane and has great music and atmosphere. Decor is now outdated to other clubs, but still attracts large crowds; Sunday nights (fluffy) are gay.
Mana Bar 420 Brunswick St - If you're not at the bar trying out the unique cocktails then you'll definitely be playing the video games! A first for Australia, where geek meets chic! Casual - smart casual dress code.
The Met 256 Wickham St – The biggest club in Brisbane. Host to many international DJs. Amazing decor with great attention to detail. Many different rooms to explore. Although a bit expensive, a huge variety of different types of people inside.
x&y Bar 648 Ann St - One of the least pretentious venues in The Valley. There is no strict clothing policy and you're likely to get in so long as you're wearing shoes, long pants and a shirt. Has a variety of music from live bands, DJs and special events.
Less crowded than 'the valley' or the city, this bohemian district popular with locals offers a few hip clubs, intimate restaurants and a very laid back atmosphere.
Pavillion Bar 123 Boundary St - laid back atmosphere, great for a Sunday afternoon, enjoy a game of pool or sit al fresco & people watch
Tongue & Groove 63 Hardgrave Rd - restaurant & bar offering a cosmopolitan menu catering for vegetarians. Friendly bar, live music 5 nights a week, from reggae to funk, jazz & blues & dance - check out the many local acts
City Backpackers 380 Upper Roma St, +61 7 3211-3221– clean, relaxed hostel with a pool and friendly staff.
Cloud 9 Backpackers Resort 350 Upper Roma St, +61 7 3236-2333– new, modern, industrial-space conversion.
Base Central Backpackers 308 Edward St, +61 7 3211-2433– Formerly Palace Central Backpackers, a large hostel right across the street from Central Station. It's on the older side, but has a very fun, vibrant and young atmosphere. And it's right over the Down Under Bar, so you haven't far to stumble home. Can be loud and very party-oriented, but it's a great spot to meet people.
Moreton Bay Backpackers Lodge , +61 7 3396-3824, 45 Cambridge Parade, – Lovely hostel situated next to the ocean, in the bayside suburb of Manly, only a 20 minute train ride from the Brisbane CBD. Walk along the waterfront, enjoy the cafe culture and explore the islands off the coast of Brisbane. Best place for organising activities like surfing, sailing, fishing and diving. Dorms and private rooms, internet access, airport and train transfers.
Brisbane hotels are listed in alphabetical order.
Albion Manor Apartments and Motel , 1800 247 447 or +61 7 3256-0444, 402 Sandgate Road, (Cnr Sandgate Road & Camden Street), Albion, Albion Manor offers spacious studio apartment that are designed to delivery comfort and convenience.
Central Brunswick Hotel , +61 7 3852-1411, 455 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Central Brunswick offers spacious apartments close to Chinatown, just minutes from the CBD area of downtown Brisbane.
Greenslopes Motor Inn in Brisbane (Greenslopes) , +61 7 3394-3066, 389 Cornwall Street (Cnr Dansie St) - Greenslopes, QLD 4120 | | Toll free 1 800 441 14466 - 18 rooms, easy access off the Pacific Highway, plenty of off-street parking. Nearby are - The Gabba, South Bank, The Brisbane Convention Centre, Greenslopes and Princess Alexandra Hospitals, The Casino, Carindale Shopping Centre, Suncorp Stadium and Garden City. Walk to Stone's Corner. Quality Motel accommodation at affordable prices.
Raceways Motel in Brisbane (Hamilton) , +61 7 3268-4355, 66 Kent St, - family run accommodation close to Brisbane City Centre and Brisbane International Airport; quality accommodation at affordable prices.
Hotel Grand Chancellor 23 Leichhardt St, +61 7 3831-4055- Large chain hotel with courteous staff and nice rooms.
Hotel Ibis 27-35 Turbot Street, +61 7 3237-2333
Kingsford Riverside Inn , +61 7 3862-1317, 114 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton, - Rooms from $69. Close to the airport. A few minutes’ walk from the Breakfast Creek Hotel. The accommodation can be accessed via door-to-door transport services .
Quality Hotel The Inchcolm, +61 7 3332-8888, 73 Wickham Terrace
Rydges 9 Glenelg Street, South Bank (phone 1 300 857 922) - located in the heart of Brisbane's arts and entertainment precinct, it is the closest hotel to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is immediately adjacent to the hotel and downtown Brisbane and the bohemian village of West End are a 10 minute stroll away. Rydges Hotels and Resorts is an Australian owned and operated company.
Bridgewater Terraces, Wharf Street, Kangaroo Point, . Well located, within a few minutes’ walk of Holman Street ferry terminal, Bridgewater Terraces consist of one, two and three bedroom self contained apartments. On site facilities include a large lagoon pool, spa, sauna, gym and barbeque facilities (shared with Quest Bridgewater next door).
Quest Bridgewater, 55 Baildon Street, Kangaroo Point, . Also featuring one, two and three bedroom apartments, the high rise Quest Bridgewater is a good choice, although it's more expensive than the Bridgewater Terraces. Great views of the city from some rooms. As aforementioned, Quest Bridgewater utilises the facilities on offer at Bridgewater Terraces.
The Oaks Lexicon Apartments, Ann Street, Brisbane City, . Conveniently located in the heart of the CBD, the Oaks Lexicon Apartment Hotel is one of Brisbane’s most contemporary buildings. With beautifully appointed one and two bedroom apartments, Oaks Lexicon Apartment Hotel combines the outstanding facilities and service of a modern luxury hotel with the privacy and spaciousness of a fully self-contained apartment all within minutes from the Queen Street Mall, Riverside and the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Evolution Apartments , ++61 7 3034-3700, ++61 7 3034-3700, Evolution Apartments, 18 Tank St, Brisbane, QLD 4000, close to Shinjuku Station, Evolution Apartments in Brisbane CBD are fully serviced and offer excellent facilities including a media room, swimming pool, deck with BBQs and a business centre.
Queen Adelaide Building, One of Brisbane’s oldest buildings is home to Queensland’s flagship Sportsgirl store, Adidas and Rebel Sport.
Adelaide Street, Downtown's dress circle
Albert Street, Has many adventure and sports-type retailers, lots of bookstores.
Eagle Street, The centre of law and finance in Queensland, holds the Eagle Street and Riverside markets.
Edward Street, Mostly covered by Queens Plaza and Wintergarden street fashion stores. There are also a couple of jewellery, take-away restaurants, bars and night clubs.
South Bank markets, Held at the South Bank Parklands every Sunday.
Brunswick Street Mall, Located in the heart of China Town, there are many Chinese retailers, fast food restaurants, cafes and bars. Markets are run on Sundays.
Valley Markets - A shopping must for locals and tourists. Operating every weekend, find jewellery, fabulous handmade accessories and artwork. Home to emerging fashion designers. (Sat & Sun, 8AM - 4PM)
Throughout Australia, the number for emergency services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) is 000. When using a mobile or cell phone, the numbers 000 and 112, are free of charge, and connect using any of the available networks.
Emergency numbers such as 911 and 999 do not work within Australia.
Probably the worst thing that can befall your trip to Brisbane is sunburn and other heat-related issues. The local UV Index is almost always in the extreme rating during the day (10AM-3PM) and precautions should always be taken. Do not be fooled though, even in the cooler months or when it is overcast you can still be affected by UV rays or the heat. Sunscreen, shirts, sunglasses and lots of water are essential.
Brisbane has a relatively low crime rate in comparison to other cities of such size. In most cases being aware of your environment and using common sense will keep you safe. Similar to Sydney and other large western cities, trains and train stations are usually considered a common crime zone throughout the afternoons and nights, however trains and stations are patrolled by Police, Transit Officers, railway personnel and private security guards. Cameras are also used to increase security. It is advised to exercise caution when travelling on trains and buses during these periods of the day.
Some particular areas of note are:
Outer Suburbs - Tend to have a higher crime rate than inner suburbs which should be taken into account when visiting these areas. Poorer suburbs, as well as Logan City (south of Brisbane) tend to be hotspots for crime within the region.
Daytime - Outer suburbs are very safe during the day, but using common sense goes a long way. Avoid gangs of people, especially if they seem trashy or obnoxious and be mindful if a questionable person approaches you.
Night time - Like most places, outer suburbs to get more dangerous at night time. Most suburban streets are poorly lit or have no lighting at all. It is recommended that individuals walking in these areas at night take precaution or venture within a group.
City Central/CBD - Usually very safe at all hours.
Daytime - The City is very safe during the day thanks to a good police presence and most people only being there for work. Though during school holidays groups of youths can congregate, especially around Queen St and South Bank and can get rather rowdy, but they usually mind their own business.
Night time - Still relatively safe at night. Police presence isn't as strong, except on Friday and Saturday nights, but you're still urged to travel with others. Be careful if catching a train at night, even though the train stations and trains are well patrolled and watched by CCTV. Treasury Casino patrons often gather outside and unwanted attention can be received late at night due to drunks. However, security is tight and the entire area around the Casino is monitored by CCTV. Take extra caution if you're in South Bank at night due to groups of youths congregating there.
Fortitude Valley - Police presence very strong here due to the concentration of bars.
Daytime - The Valley is just as safe as the CBD during the day.
Night time (especially Friday and Saturday) - Taxi ranks in particular can be a little dangerous due to many frustrated drunks having to wait for cabs. Ensure you only wait at ranks that have a security guard. Stay to the well-lit busy streets and never venture off alone, especially down back-streets or far away from a crowd. For females, it is recommended to travel in pairs or groups to avoid any unwanted attention from drunken revellers, especially in the early hours of the morning.
Suburban pubs - Generally less safer than inner-city pubs, bars and clubs due to less police and security. Drunks can be a hassle when in the vicinity of suburban pubs, especially around closing times. Fights in these venues are not uncommon.
All of Brisbane’s urban villages do things a little differently, from Australia’s premier live music scene in The Valley to exclusive world class exhibitions at Australia’s largest Gallery of Modern Art to the natural splendour of Moreton Bay and the Scenic Rim, Brisbane enjoys a lifestyle that the world envies.
The main tourist districts are:
The CBD, where Brisbane's major businesses are interspersed with several shopping malls, cinemas, parks and many of Brisbane's historical tourist sites. Queen Street Mall , in the heart of the CBD, is Queensland's premier shopping destination and a must see for all visitors.
South Bank, (often misspelled as 'Southbank') which has ethnic restaurants, edgy cafes, riverside boardwalks and an inner – city beach. Queensland’s Cultural Precinct includes the Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum, the State Library, Queensland Art Gallery and the spectacular Gallery of Modern Art is located at South Bank.
Fortitude Valley , for Brisbane's Chinatown and vibrant shopping and nightlife. Eclectic bars with emerging and innovative DJs and world-class super clubs have brought a larger than life feel to the Valley precinct. Also home to one of the best live music scenes in Australia.
Portside Wharf, located at Hamilton, is where the cruise ships dock on the Brisbane River. This area was formerly known as Brett’s Wharf and offers world class dining, cinemas and speciality shopping. A great place to wander and have a meal.
Paddington / Rosalie / Milton , Paddington is now becoming the place to shop with many unique little boutiques full of local designs and hard to find fashion gems. Rosalie is home to many quaint bars, markets and restaurants. Milton has two of Brisbane’s most famous icons placed side by side the XXXX Ale House and Suncorp Stadium.
Mount Coot-tha, a suburb as well as a mountain (more accurately, a large hill) approximately 6km west of the CBD, iconised by the large TV and radio antennas that line its peak. You can take a scenic drive through The Mount Coot-tha Reserve which visits the peak and has majestic 360° views of Brisbane and the surrounding region. Also features the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Planetarium and numerous walking and bicycle tracks.
Most inner-city suburbs, or those close to the CBD have their own style and offer some small, unique attractions to the city, notably cafés, restaurants, historical sites or artistic ventures. Some of the other major districts are Spring Hill, Indooroopilly, Manly Harbour, Toowong, St. Lucia and South Brisbane.
The Brisbane Visitor Information Centre and Booking Centre on the Queen Street Mall is open daily (Monday – Thursday 9AM – 5:30PM, Friday 9AM – 7PM, Saturday 9AM – 5PM, Sunday and public holidays 9:30AM – 4:30PM) with the exception of Good Friday and Christmas Day. Tel +61 7 3006-6290
There are numerous internet cafes around the CBD. Check this page for the closest one. Expect to pay around $2-3 per hour, although most places with offer you a discount if you pre-pay a certain amount of hours.
There are also alternatives to internet cafes:
Free Internet access is available at the Brisbane City Council library, although you might need to book your session in advance.
Free Internet (Wireless as well) access is available at the Queensland State Library, South Bank in selected areas.
Many cafes and hotels provide free wireless access to patrons. Keep an eye out for signage. www.brisbane.tv is an internet city guide.
Most McDonald's restaurants have free WiFi (limited to 50MB per session, no time limit).
Payphones are abundant in the downtown area. For Australia wide contact options, such a mobile phones and calling cards, see the entry in Australia
Brisbane provides a base for day trips to explore the southeast of Queensland. The North Coast of New South Wales can also be reached in an hour if traffic is light, but allow up to two hours travel if traffic is heavy or there is an accident on the Pacific Motorway. Queensland Rail also provides extensive services out of Brisbane to the north and south of the city and to the Gold Coast.
North of Brisbane:
Glass House Mountains National Park - about an hour north of Brisbane. There is a scenic drive through the mountains with a couple of lookouts, or you can go for a hike - easy or difficult, depending on the mountain. (Mt. Beerwah offers a stern but quick scramble and a good view of the area.) There are a few small roadside shops in the area that sell homemade jams and varieties of macadamia nuts.
Sunshine Coast - 90 minutes north of Brisbane, suitable for surfers without the clutter of the more famous beaches to the south. The city of Noosa and several derivatively-named cities (e.g., Noosa Heads, Noosaville) offer short and long-term accommodation, some restaurants and a few stretches of shops aimed at tourists with and without a budget.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland - 90 minutes north of Brisbane. Crafts and galleries and cafés and lots of bushwalks and scenic views in the Blackall Ranges at Maleny, Montville, Flaxton and Mapleton.
Eumundi - famous markets on Wednesday and Saturday.
North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island - amazing beaches, 4WD and fishing, accommodation, all very close to Brisbane.
Fraser Island - World Heritage listed site, offering pristine, unspoiled lakes, dunes, forests and wildlife. Camping is possible, or day-trips can be arranged from Noosa. World's largest sand island.
Redcliffe This peninsula located 45 minutes north is famous for its long stretch of beach, friendly locals and excellent food, shops and weather.
South of Brisbane:
Gold Coast - famous for being a tourist town, approximately 70km south of Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway.
Dreamworld and Whitewater World - Theme park in the western Gold Coast suburb of Coomera, on the Pacific Motorway. Many large thrill rides including the 'Tower of Terror' and the 'Giant Drop' and roller coasters. There are also child-friendly rides and Australian animal attractions and shows, as well as a Tiger exhibit. Whitewater World is a water park adjacent to Dreamworld and offers the newest technology in water rides. It costs extra to get into, but you can buy a pass that gets you into both parks for a discounted price.
Seaworld - aquatically-themed park sandwiched on a peninsula between the Gold Coast Seaway and the Pacific Ocean, located in Southport (just north of the Gold Coast.) A few rides, but popular for its impressive animal shows and exhibits.
Mt. Tamborine National Park - extensive areas of National Park plus arts, crafts, galleries and the like, near several forest hikes. There are some excellent fudge shops at the top of Mt. Tamborine that offer generous free samples and a staggering variety of flavours.
Surfers Paradise - - tourist Mecca, and arguably the most upmarket area on the Gold Coast. Located on a life-guarded beach front, host to Caville Avenue, and several shopping malls.
Lower Moreton Bay
Moreton Bay - includes places like Moreton Island (where Scooby Doo was filmed) and St. Helena Island (a former maximum security prison for convicts.)
West of Brisbane:
Ipswich - is situated 40kms west of Brisbane. 45 minutes by road from Brisbane City.
Brookwater Golf Club - An 18 hole Greg Norman championship golf course and Australia's No. 2 public access course.
Queensland Raceway - Queensland's premier race circuit. This is the only location near Brisbane where members of the public can drive on the same racetrack as professional drivers. Champions Way, Willowbank.
Bunya Mountains National Park - Three hours west of Brisbane. One of the oldest national parks in Queensland. Home of the ancient bunya pine and many other species of plants, birds and other animals. Stay at least three nights to have time to hike in the park.
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