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.
Australia's third-largest city is sometimes overlooked in favour of the resort towns of the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, but travellers booking cheap flights to Brisbane will discover that there is more than enough to hold their attention.
Brisbane, once a closed penal colony, scores very highly for quality of life. 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.
From Mt. Coot-tha Lookout there are 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.
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Brisbane has a sub-tropical climate and 300 sunny days a year. The city is the most pleasant in winter, especially June to August. The days are warm and sunny and the evenings cool. Daytime temperatures are around 21 degrees (Celsius) and nighttime around 10. Summers are also mild with daytime highs in the mid-20s and evenings around 20.
When to fly to Brisbane
The city is very busy in winter when the weather is mild and Australians from Sydney and Melbourne seek cheap flights to Brisbane to escape the cold. As it is also pleasant in summer, Brisbane is a popular destination for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Although less crowded in spring and autumn, Brisbane remains a year-round 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, you’ll most likely be able to park at your hotel or motel for free. Plan your route ahead of time so you can manage Brisbane’s one-way streets better. You can find taxis at stands located outside the Treasury on George Street, on Edward Street and at either end of Queen Street Mall.
Brisbane insider information
- The Botanic Gardens at the foot of Mount Cootha are a 15-minute drive from the city centre and worth a visit. Entrance to the gardens is free and they’re open from 8am-5pm. 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.