Here we have listed some of the main attractions for you to see in Brisbane…
In the city itself –
Story Bridge – This is one of a number of bridges that cross over the Brisbane River in the City, and it perhaps the most spectacular given its height, archways and position linking the north side Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point on the south side. This is Brisbane’s equivalent to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge – and was also designed by John Bradfield, who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge too! Bridge construction began in 1935 and the bridge was opened in 1940. It is possible to climb to the top of the arch on the southern side, 74 metres above the water and see all over the city and river areas. See www.storybridgeclimb.com.au or Tel: 1300 254 627 or (07)3514 6903 . The tours start from 170 Main Street in Kangaroo Point.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs – located on the down river side of the Story Bridge can be seen lit up at night, where they make a great backdrop to the Riverside. The sandstone cliffs mark the edge of a former stone quarry that was here. Many of the older stone buildings, as well as stone riverside walls were built using the stone quarried from here. The quarry closed in 1976, and at the base of the cliffs are electric bar-b-cue facilities, and the stone cliffs are used by rock climbers.
South Bank – Art Galleries, Museum and State Library – These are all very close to each other in South Bank. The Queensland Art Gallery and next to it the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) off Stanley Place are both worth seeing, with changing exhibitions throughout the year, while Queensland Museum off Melbourne Street, has some great collections and displays.
Treasury Casino and Hotel – is located on the corner of Queen St and George St in the city. This is the former Government Treasury building, built with a sandstone façade and constructed in 1889 in an Italianate style. It was converted into a casino and hotel complex in 1995, but still retains its classic architecture, making it very attractive to see in the daytime, and also at night when it is lit up. Inside are a number of bars, restaurants, conference rooms and of course gaming rooms.
The ‘Gabba (Wooloongabba) Cricket grounds are located about 10 minutes from the City on the South side. This is where many great cricket matches have been won and lost over the years, with the first games ever played here being in 1895.
Suncorp Stadium – originally known as Lang Park is the home of Rugby League in Brisbane, and is located at Castlemaine Street in Milton, about 15 minutes from the city. Rugby League was first played here in 1914, with the grounds and stands updated over the years, and then built into the current stadium as crowds grew.
City Botanical Gardens – is located just 5 blocks away from Queen Street, next to Parliament House, making it an easy walk along George Street to Parliament House and the Qld University of Technology and to the Alice Street entrance to the Gardens. Here you will find nice walkways, shady trees and tropical plants, making it a peaceful place to walk, sit or have a picnic. The gardens can trace their history back to 1828 making it one of the oldest gardens in Australia. A newer Botanic Gardens has also been established at Mount Coot-tha in Toowong, away from the river and the floods that have happened in Brisbane over the years.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens – is located off Mt Cooth-tha Road in Toowong, about 30 minutes from the city centre by car. Here there are over 20,000 plants and 5000 species in an area of 52 hectares. There are rainforest gardens, a Japanese style and Bonsai garden, and also a ‘hide’n seek’ graden for children to play in. Also here is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium – for viewing the stars at night, with different shows and exhibitions to make it interesting. (Tel: (07)3403 2578 for times and what’s on.)
Queen Street Mall – is the shopping hub of Brisbane, with Queen Street originally being Brisbane’s main street. Today it has been closed off the cars and made into a Mall with shade cloths overhead, and lots of food, fashion, jewellery and other stores on both sides, including the Myer Department store.
Brisbane Arcade – (located at 160 Queen Street) has been a Brisbane institution for many years, and has a great ambience, with coffee shops, small boutiques and other stores making it an arcade to put on your list of places to see.
Customs House – at 399 Queen Street (The other end) is also one of the large historic stone buildings that can be seen in the City. It is located also on the river, with a riverside terrace and a number of large classically designed rooms inside and a wide tile floored veranda balcony overlooking the river and terrace below. This is very much a living venue – with rooms used for weddings, banquets, and other events and there is also a restaurant also inside too.
Queensland State Parliament Building – is also one of the most impressive buildings in the city. It was built in sandstone over the years between 1864 and 1889, and is located next to the Botanical Gardens on Alice Street. There is a public gallery to see Parliament in session, and tours of the building are held at different times.
Brisbane City Hall – and the Museum of Brisbane. One of the focal points of the City is King George Square that lies next to Brisbane City Hall. The City Hall was built in 1930, and has a 92 metre high clock tower on top. Inside, the main auditorium is a huge circular room with a high copper dome forming the roof. Here you will find the 4300 pipe Organ, built in London in 1892 by Father Henry Willis. The Auditorium is used for concerts and other events, with the Brisbane City Council still located here with their offices. The Museum of Brisbane is also located on the third floor, with changing exhibitions happening throughout the year, and interesting displays of Brisbane’s history. Also take a look at the Anzac Square Memorial on Adelaide Street.
Commissariat Store Museum – located on Queens Wharf Rd (Tel: 07- 3221 4198) is not so well known, but has some interesting history to tell. When people think of Australia’s convict history and the first settlement – they think of Botany Bay and Sydney. Not so well known is that Brisbane also started too as a convict settlement, with convicts sent from Sydney to start building the town in 1824. It remained as a convict settlement until 1842 when the first ‘free settlers’ arrived. The Commissariat Building was built in 1828-29, as a government store, and today houses the museum which showcases the early convict history of Brisbane, which is run by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.
Coronation Drive – is the road leading to the city from the west side suburb of Toowong. It runs beside the Brisbane River, and right beside it on the River is a walkway and bike tracks that are very popular with walkers, runners and bike riders. It is a great place to have a relaxed time soaking up the ambience of the City, people watch and see what’s happening on the river.
Newstead House – is located just off Breakfast Creek Rd in Newstead – You will pass by it when you travel from the airport to the city, on your left hand side as you pass over Breakfast Creek Bridge. This home dates back to 1846, and is beautifully preserved colonial architecture from that period, with furnished Victorian rooms inside to see. The lawns, gardens, location and the house itself create a great ambience, which has made it a favourite place for weddings and other grand occasions.
Brisbane Powerhouse located at119 Lamington Street in New Farm has a mix of theatres and art spaces with an eclectic range of changing arts and cultural events happening throughout the year – see www.powerhouse.org.au Tel: 3358 8600. The building itself was originally the Brisbane City Council Powerhouse, producing the electrical power for Brisbane’s trams and inner city suburbs. A farmers market also happens here in weekends.
Brisbane Showgrounds – home of ‘The Ekka’ – This is the biggest country show in Queensland and is held in August each year, bringing the best cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, cats, dogs, poultry and other domestic animals to Brisbane from all over Queensland. It also has lots of rides, showbags, food and fun for all the family.
University of Queensland (St Lucia Campus) about 30 minutes from the city by car or CityCat ferry is one of the biggest Universities in Australia with the main buildings surrounding ‘The Great Court’ –on four sides – an open grassed area of over 6 acres (2.5 hectares) with pathways leading from one side to the other. What makes it interesting is that the buildings are all constructed using sandstone facades, and the sides facing the Great Court have a wide covered walkway behind arched columns of stone, making ‘The Great Court’ a favourite place for students to sit on the grass surrounded by the grandeur of the buildings. The University started in 1909 and was initially located in the city in the Old Parliament Building in George Street. Its first 83 students enrolled in 1911, and today it has over 45,000 students located on a number of campuses. Luckily ‘the Great Court’ was added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 2002 to protect it from development.
The University of Queensland Art Museum – located on campus in the James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre has over 3000 paintings and artworks, making it the second largest art collection in Queensland.
The University of Queensland – R.D Milns Antiquity Museum – located on the second floor of the Michie Building has a significant collection of ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities, while on first floor there is an Anthropology Museum which is also open to the public.
RIVER CRUISING – The Brisbane River stretches right through the centre of Brisbane with suburbs and the city on both sides. It is easy to see the city using one of the commuter ferries or the CityCat, or you can take a cruise on one of a number of boats – in the morning, afternoon or night, and even some days also to islands in Moreton Bay, and even from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.
Mirimar Cruises (www.mirimarcruises.com Tel: 0412 749 426 ) run cruises up river to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (see Zoos) and this a great way to see both the koalas and other animals, and also the homes and city from the river.
River City Cruises (www.rivercitycruises.com.au Tel: 0428 278 473) have a 1½ hour river cruise in mornings and afternoons with a commentary to tell the river story. This cruise also takes you to Breakfast Creek and Newstead House and it is a short walk to the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel for a pub lunch.
Brisbane Cruises (www.brisbanecruises.com.au Tel: (07)3221 1300 ) have a number of boats and cruises on offer, including on their paddle wheeler. They have both river cruises and also ones to the islands in Moreton Bay, Tangalooma, Fort Lytton National Park and sometimes from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.
St Helena Island ( www.sthelenaisland.com.au Tel: 1300 438 787. Tours of St Helena Island – a 30 minute boat ride on the Catamaran, ‘Cat-O’-Nine Tails’ from the suburb of Manly to the island to see and hear about the island’s history.
Bribie Island (an hour north of Brisbane) (www.ferryman.com.au Tel: 0408 214 980) has tours from Sylvan Beach on Bribie Island through the Pumicestone Passage Marine Park to see the pristine waters of this area, and hopefully see Dugongs and other sea life.
Gold Coast waterways – ( See www.rivers.net.au Tel: (07) 5527 6361) departs from 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach for a range of cruises and times. See also Gold Coast Cruises. www.goldcoastcruises.com.au Tel: 0416 199 935 or 0405 254 322.
Queenslander Cruises – (Cleveland based) www.queenslandercruises.com.au Tel: (07) 3821 3821 OR 0417 615 841 has tours from Brisbane, and also trips to Stradbroke and Moreton Islands from Cleveland.
XXXX Brewery Tours –
The Milton Brewery began life in 1878, and tours can be booked for most days of the week. Tel: (07) 3361 7597 www.xxxx.com.au The Tour lets you see how beer is produced, tells the history of the brewery, and ends in the bar – with a XXXX beer of course and possibly lunch too. The Brewery address is off Milton Rd, at the corner of Black and Paton Streets.
Out of Town – at Ipswich – The Workshops Rail Museum is Australia’s oldest working railway workshops has steam locomotives, engines, carriages and a large model railway set up, plus an enthusiastic staff to tell you all about working on the railways, and the history of rail in Queensland. The museum is located in North Street, Ipswich (Tel: (07) 3432 5100).
If you think flying is more to your liking – head a few kilometres further to the Amberley Airforce Base to the RAAF Amberley Heritage Museum (Tel: (07) 5361 1245 www.raafamberleyheritage.gov.au ) which is open on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Here you will be able to see a World War II Boston, a Caribou, Canberra Bomber, mirage and sabre fighter jets, a Sioux and also Iroquois Helicopters and an F-111C – the famous F one eleven. The Museum is located on Southern Amberley Rd, just off the Cunningham Highway leading to Warwick on the Darling Downs.
Southern Cross Museum – next to Brisbane Airport. Here you will see the Fokker F.VII, named the ‘Southern Cross’ – the aircraft that one of the pioneers of aviation, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (1897- 1935) flew in 1928 across the Pacific Ocean – the first trans pacific flight ever achieved. The flight started in Oakland, California, and stops were made in Hawaii and Suva, Fiji with the flight taking 83 hours and 38 minutes of flying time, an amazing achievement.
We hope you enjoy your time in Brisbane.