Does Brisbane have it all?
Beautiful one day, perfect the next – the tourism slogan for Queensland is fitting. In late March, when places like Melbourne can experience chilly 15 degree weather, Brisbane blessed us with blue skies, sunshine and temperatures in the late 20C and early 30C.
A light breeze meant it was cool enough to wander amongst some of what Brisbane has to offer:
A stroll along Eagle Street and the city boardwalk takes you along the banks of the Brisbane River and into the City Botanic Gardens. Beautiful big trees give plenty of shade for an afternoon or evening picnic by the river. You’ll see lots of large ibis and quite a few joggers and other folk out for evening exercise.
On the other bank of the Brisbane River is the South Bank area. South Bank has enough to keep you busy for at least a day. Here you’ll find the Maritime Museum, loads of bars, cafes and restaurants, the Queensland Museum (exhibitions change, until October 2015 you can discover the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous era), parklands and a mini beach. There’s also a market every Saturday.
The manmade beach is nice for cooling off if you don’t have time to get out of the city but for the real thing, I like the Sunshine Coast. The sandy stretch of coast is great for swimming, surfing and fishing. You can get a train directly there from Brisbane’s Central Station, or if you have your own transport, it’s a one hour drive away, making it close enough for a day trip. I’d definitely recommend it!
Back in the city centre, you should take the time to stop by the Town Hall. The small Museum of Brisbane is on the third floor. You can go up to the clocktower for views over the city and the Museum has a range of permanent and rotating exhibitions. Costumes from the Golden Era of Hollywood was on during my visit, which I loved. The museum is free so will suit all budgets!
Close to Central Station is the Roma Parklands, which offers a hint of the Queensland hinterland in the city centre. I spent hours walking through the various areas of the park, amongst the areas featuring subtropical plant species, waterfalls and manicured gardens. The hundreds of ibis and large lizards are just a taste of Australian animals.
Tourist information can give you maps of self-guided walking tours which can take you through many of these sites. I love the juxtaposition of colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.
The active and adventurous should make their way up to Mount Coot-tha Look Out (picture at the top of the page). Here are fantastic views of the city (at least on a clear day!) and information boards about the history of Brisbane along with old photographs old views, allowing you to see just how much Brisbane has changed. Dozens of well-marked walking tracks lead off in to the bush. Some of the trails are easy, others require a lot more fitness, can be quite steep and will have you sweating.
We spent a week in Brisbane and still didn’t get to experience all the city has to offer.