For thriving restaurant and bar scenes, forward-thinking development, friendly locals, and magnificent scenery, the cutting-edge metropolis and jewel in Queensland’s crown, Brisbane is hard to look beyond.
When the events calendar is always jam-packed with things to do, the year-round weather is pleasant, you can choose riverside gardens, cultural and artistic hubs and contemporary restaurants, it’s little wonder that this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
For low amounts of rainfall, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, visiting during April and May is advised. This will also mean you avoid the local school holiday crowds.
If the weather takes second priority to a bit of whale watching, early May through to October offers the opportunity to catch a glimpse of these wonderful animals as the migrate along the coast.
Like a one-stop-shop for all of Brisbane’s cultural offerings, the Queensland Cultural Centre, with its world-class galleries, interesting architecture and the subtropical gardens in which it is enveloped is a genuine must-see/must-do.
For truly panoramic views that let you take in the Glasshouse Mountains, Gold Coast and the whole city, a climb up Story Bridge is well worth the burned calories. Impatient to return to sea level? No worries, you can also abseil your way back down.
And, dotted around the coastline are several tranquil islands that are a mere ferry ride away. Perfect for a relaxing day before things pick up in the night-time.
Brisbane is he culinary hotspot of the region, with celeb chefs, cheap eats and everything in between. And, the year-round pleasant temperatures bring with it the luxury of al fresco dining.
For riverside views OTTO combines excellent food, service and vistas to make it an all-round winner, while the terrace beneath Customs House is quite outstanding. Or to watch the skyscrapers turn a wonderful array of pinks and purples from up on high, food, drink and sunset at Brisbane Jazz Club is a real delight.
From pubs to bars to clubs to live-music venues, Brisbane caters to all. Fortitude Valley and West End in particular offer the perfect chance to enjoy some rocking live bands, while the numerous urban villages provide a range of sleek chill-out beats, DJ sets and innovative jazz.
If it’s the jazz that piques your interest – or maybe some funk, soul, blues and swing – Brooklyn Standard’s live music and free-flowing beer should be right up your street.
For a little more sophistication and even a dash of history, you can dine in underground old cellar and choose from a wide-range of rare and unique wines at 1889 Enoteca.
The largest and most popular event in Brisbane, by some distance, is the Brisbane Festival. It is actually one of the major international arts festivals in the whole country, taking over many parts of the city each September. It attracts over 1 million people and covers a multitude of genres, including dance, circus, film and theatre, music, food, comedy and a whole host of delights.
Dating all the way back to 1876, the Royal Queensland Show (or The Ekka, as it is called by the locals) is held every August and features attractions that largely appeal to families, such as animal parades, fairground rides, agricultural displays and equestrian events.
To get a new perspective on the fantastic views available, and pump some serious adrenaline at the same time, why not have a crack at climbing the Kangaroo Point Cliffs? To add a bit of spice to the mix, this is not just a day-time activity, with the walls well-lit and the CBD skyline across the river providing gorgeous scenery.
Or if you’ve ever fancied feeding wild dolphins – and let’s be honest, that’s an idea that will appeal to practically everybody – you simply need to cruise on over to Moreton Island to participate in this magical experience.
It is extremely easy to get around from place to place in Brisbane. The CBD is perfect for walking or cycling, as it is relatively compact and quite flat. Or for something a bit more novel, the recently added Green Cabs (more-or-less rickshaws) can hold two adults and two children.
Taxis are, of course, available everywhere you turn, and if you’re having difficulty locating one, simply heading to the nearest main road should resolve that issue. And in addition to the usual buses and trains offered by most as public transport, Brisbane also has ferries (CityFerries and CityCats) which is a great way to tour the city along the river.