Having written about Australia before, I thought it was about time I featured one of my favourite city on the East Coast of the country-continent.
Brisbane is grossly overlooked, with most people flying in and out of Melbourne or Sydney, praising the culture of one and the beaches of the other.
Not nearly as touristy as other spots, Brisbane derives its charms from being a liveable (and likeable) city with few tourists trying to decipher maps in the middle of its streets and an array of things to do and see.
Here are a few attractions you might want to check out if you find yourself in the capital of Queensland.
This inner suburb of Brisbane is where I stayed, thanks to a Kiwi friend of mine now installed in Brisbane.
You will find cool cafés (such as Bakeologists) on Merthyr Road, and the unmissable Da’ Burger on Brunswick Street (serving some of the best burgers around. Queenstown has Ferburger; New Farm has Da’Burger).
New farm also has a decent park, tree lined streets and some unique features like the Powerhouse, Gasworks Plaza, or the newly remodelled and refurbished historic cinema: New Farm Six Cinema.
A skip and a hop away from both the CBD and The Valley, it was the perfect place from which to go out and explore.
Worth mentioning is also New Farm Walkway, the water highway for pedestrians and cyclists taking you from New Farm to Brisbane CBD via Howard Street Wharves.
Getting to the Centre of Brisbane via the riverwalkway will take you under Story Bridge. At 75 years old this year, the bridge is still one of the most famous Brisbane landmarks, and for good reasons. It’s impressive, and quite pretty too, when illuminated at night.
Staying by the river, it is also worth walking the City Reach Boardwalk and checking out the mangrove by the Botanical Gardens Point.
Brisbane’s CBD is a vibrant area full of shops, restaurants, cafés… the architecture is heteroclite, to say the least, with skyscrapers providing the backdrops for old churches, bits of old stone walls cohabiting with roads and a park by the busiest train station of the area.
Roma Street Parkland is a little bit of a Haven, even if it is next to Brisbane Transit Centre and Roma St Station. It’s very calm and peaceful, with water features, overgrown vegetation, grass and benches. This is one of the best spot to sit, relax and read a good book. This is also a pretty good spot to observe dragons or spiders (what is up with all the webs over the Rainforest and Fern Gully walkways by the way?).
Fortitude Valley more commonly referred to as “The Valley” is full of bars, clubs, and late nights venues. One of the hotspot for partying in Brisbane, it is most definitely worth a look if you feel like getting a drink after a long day of exploring the rest of the city.
The Valley is also where Brisbane’s Chinatown is located, and a pretty cool area to check out during the day, with shopping and food galore. Check out Wickham Street, at the end of which you can find Chinatown Mall.
Last, but not least of areas to explore in Brisbane is Southbank.
Home to the Queensland Museum and the Maritime Museum (both of which I highly recommend), as well as South Bank Beach (don’t get too excited, but still a nice spot when the heat gets too much) and South Bank Parkland, the area has a lot to offer.
Walking around the site of World Expo 88, now transformed into Parkland, is great, with The Wheel of Brisbane, the Nepal Peace Pagoda, Grand Harbour and the Conservatorium all at your footstep.
Cross the river by Goodwill Bridge to access Gardens Point, or Victoria Bridge to the City, and you are in a good position to go look at some of the other areas mentioned in this post.
Even though Brisbane is full of things to do and see, it is a city that I enjoyed predominantly for its liveable quality. It is ridiculously easy to just sit and relax, to read a book in a park and feel miles away from civilisation.
Go north from there to Sunshine Coast and Noosa Head or south to Byron Bay (in my humble opinion, you can skip Surfers Paradise and Gold Coast).
There are regular buses around and in and out of the city, as well as trains and an international airport, so no excuses for not checking it out when visiting Australia.