When to fly
Brisbane is Australia's third-largest city, offering visitors plenty of sights, culture and attractions to experience. If you enjoy soaking up the atmosphere at popular events then fly to Brisbane during the summer months.
For tennis fans, Brisbane is the home of the Queensland State Tennis Centre, based in Tennyson it hosts the annual International Tennis Tournament. The Tournament takes place in February over 10 days, allowing spectators to enjoy watching global stars battling it out head-to-head in their first matches of the year. Flights to Brisbane during this time may be more expensive and it is advised to double check the dates prior to your trip.
Ekka, the Royal Queensland Show is a highlight of the spring season. Held over 10 days in August it attracts thousands of visitors and exhibitors and features the best of Queensland’s produce. With a plethora of exhibitions, competitions and activities, Ekka is an unmissable event giving visitors an insight into Brisbane culture and way of life and provides entertainment for the kids big and small.
Every year on the 27th January, Australia day is celebrated throughout the nation with Brisbane being no exception. Locals will flock to the local parks, bars and restaurants making the city busier than usual.
The weather can be very hot and humid during the summer months of December, January and February, with average temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. Summer also brings storms and heavy rainfall. Spring and autumn can be more pleasant times to visit the city, with average temperatures around 20 to 24 degrees in March to May and September to November. Winter temperatures average about 16 degrees.
Whilst Brisbane was once a closed penal colony, it now scores very highly for quality of life, travellers booking flights to Brisbane will discover a dynamic city whose social life is centred on the South Bank. With its own artificial beach, restaurants and cafes, cinemas, galleries and museums, canals and fountains, this is the place to see and be seen. It is a fun city with a range of adventure activities to try, from climbing Story Bridge to taking a hot air balloon ride or taking a day cruise out to one of the nearby islands. Those wanting to experience some of Brisbane’s arts and culture could head to the Brisbane Museum or the Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA on the South Bank. The South Bank is the cultural heart of the city and also home to many great ethnic cafes, hip bars and superb restaurants.
Over in bohemian Fortitude Valley, there are markets selling vintage clothing alongside gifts and vinyl, while live entertainment can keep visitors happily browsing. The Institute of Modern Art and Jan Murphy Gallery can also be found here, along with a great range of pubs and bars. The river makes a great spot for cruising and is also one of the most convenient ways to get around the city. Take a guided tour or visit the botanic garden, with its superb mangrove walkways and fine collections of native and exotic plants.
Mt. Coot-tha Lookout provides views of Brisbane and, if it's a clear day, Moreton Bay and the mountains to the south west.
A local delicacy not to be missed is Moreton Bay bugs! Otherwise known as the Bay lobster, and for sports fans, the Gabba, centre for all of Brisbane's Cricket and Aussie-Rules games is a must-visit.
With near-perfect weather, a relaxed and laidback vibe, great restaurants and bars serving the bounty of Australia's Sunshine State, Brisbane is a fantastic destination.
Getting around Brisbane
Brisbane is a lovely city to walk in, especially with the 13-mile floating River Walk that includes paths, roads, bridges and parks along the Brisbane River. When your feet get tired, bike along the river on a track running from the City Botanic Gardens to the University of Queensland. You can also get around on the network of trains, buses and ferries operated by TransLink. Suburban rail is quick and efficient and the ferries stop at many interesting sights. Buses run regularly on weekdays, but you may have to wait a bit longer on the weekend. If you rent a car, plan your route ahead of time so you can manage Brisbane’s one-way streets better.
Getting to the city
Brisbane Airport is about 10 miles from the city centre. Airtrain is one of the best ways to reach the city centre from the airport, with peak time services departing every 15 minutes and taking approximately 30 minutes. Services stop at various destinations including Central, South Bank and Fortitude Valley. There are also shuttle bus services provided by CoachTrans, with pre-booking strongly recommended. It is possible to take a free T-bus to Eagle Junction train station and then catch a train. Taxis are available and there are several car rental companies with offices at the airport.
Brisbane insider information
The Botanic Gardens at the foot of Mount Coot-tha is a 15-minute drive from the city centre and worth a visit. The largest subtropical gardens in the state, they are laid out by themes, so you can wander through the Japanese Garden, the Fern House or the Australian Plant Community.
The world’s “first and largest” koala sanctuary is in Brisbane. The Lone Pine Sanctuary (motto: “The earth is not only for humans”) is home to 130 cuddly koalas as well as other Australian creatures such as wombats, Tasmanian devils, snakes, lizards and kookaburras. Just to prove you’ve really been there, the sanctuary also offers photos of visitors cuddling a koala or wrapping a snake about their necks.
Queen Street is the main thoroughfare in the city. The pedestrianised road has many shops and restaurants and is also the situation of the main tourist bureau.
Day trips are possible from the city to the Gold Coast. You can book with the tourist office or with many of the hotels around town, or hire a car and drive. It’s just under an hour away.
The south side of the city is known as Southbank, an area of riverside and parklands, which even contains an artificial beach. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Gallery are also in the area.