Brisbane – A New Age City with Modern World Charm.
Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and with a population of 2.1 million it ranks as third in size in Australia. Surrounded by misty blue mountains, with a river looping thorough it’s middle. the city is known for it’s scenic beauty, balmy climate and friendly atmosphere.
We started our backpacking journey across Australia from this beautiful city and spent a good week exploring Brizzy and it’s environs.
Here are a list of free things that you can do whilst in Brisbane:
1) City Walk: What better way to experience the city than on foot at your own pace. You can do a 5 kilometer circuit starting from Central station and ending at Queen street Mall a(Recommended by Lonely Planet) in about two hours at a leisurely pace. Check out the following key places of interest:
Shrine Of Remembrance, Anzac Square, Post Office Square, GPO, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, City Botanical Gardens, Goodwill bridge, South Bank Parklands, Gallery of Modern Art, Treasure Building, Queen Street Mall and City Hall.
Alternatively, you can also do the guided introductory tours conducted by Brisbane Greeters who conduct (Free) themed walking tours. Bookings are essential. www.brisbanegreeters.com.au
2) Anzac Square and Shrine of Remembrance: Grab a coffee or a meal, kick off your shoes and relax in this little oasis of green, smack in the middle of the city. Grab one of the easy chairs provided free by the city council or just lie down on the grass and watch the city in action around you. Visit The Shrine of Memories, a cenotaph which houses the Eternal Flame in memory of those who have given their lives for their country in war.
3) Sunset Walk along Eagle Street Pier : (Visiting St. Stephen’s Cathedral) – One of our most memorable walks. Start by visiting St. Stephen’s cathedral, a lovely English Gothic style Catholic Cathedral built in 1874 and walk along the pier heading South ending at the Botanical gardens.
4) Mount Coot-tha – A twenty minute bus ride from city, this huge bush reserve is topped by 287 meter Mt. Coot-tha which boasts of the best lookout in Brizzy. On the hill side you will find a botanical garden, a planterium and of course the Mt. Coot-tha lookout. On a clear day you can see as far as the Moreton Bay Islands. To get here take the bus 471 from Adelaide street in the city.
5) City Botanical Gardens – On the river and bordering the QUT campus this is Brisbane’s favorite green space with it’s mass of lawns, tangled Moreton Bay figs, bunya pines and macadamia trees. The setting is ideal to spend a few hours meandering along the quiet pathways or just picking a secluded spot for relaxing.
TIP – Free guided tours leave the rotunda a 11.00 am and 1.00pm (except Sundays).
City Botanical Gardens
6) City Cat Ferries – Glide on the river and see Brisbane in a whole different perspective. This is a definite must-do activity. The ferry service is a part of the public transport network so your SEEQ Card or GO Card works here too. Besides there are a few routes which are provided free for public. Ferries run every 15 to 30 minutes and stops at nearly 14 stops across the city centre and surrounds. Further information : www.translink.com.au
7) Fortitude valley and Chinatown : The bohemian center of Brisbane the ‘Valley’ has some of the best restaurants, night clubs and shopping areas. The Brisbane Powerhouse (www.brisbanepowerhouse.org) which hosts a range of performances (mainly free) and has two restaurants with stunning river views is well worth a visit.
Although Chinatown occupies only one street, it is just as flamboyant as it’s Melbourne and Sydney counterparts. It is a bustling area of Asian restaurants, supermarkets, cinemas and martial arts centers.
8) South Bank Precinct – Abounding with cafes and restaurants, this area also houses the expansive Queensland Performing Arts centre (QPAC), the state library, the Queensland Museum and Science centre and the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. Many classical and pop concerts are often held out here.
The main draw for a city without a coast is the large man-made lagoon with it’s ‘real’ man-made beach which more than compensates for lack of beaches near Brisbane.
The walk along the river is quite picturesque. You could take the Goodwill Bridge, a 450 meter pedestrian and cyclist bridge that will bring you into the Botanical Gardens.
9) Wheel of Brisbane – Located in South Bank adjacent to QPAC,this Wheel takes you 60 meters above ground and gives a 360 degrees panaromic view of the city.
TIP : In the evening tickets are discounted by 50% (actual price – 17$) till 6.00pm (Mon-Thu) so plan to arrive before that time. You get an Audio guide and a map with numbered highlights around the city. The Wheel stops at intermediate spots so that you can cross reference the map with the audio guide to identify all the landmarks. At the end of the ride you will be offered customized photographs as keep-sake (Photos – 20$ / Photo Book – 35$)
10) Eat Street Mall: Located at 17 MacArthur Avenue, Hamilton,The Eat Street Markets is Brisbane’s bustling Asian-style night market with fairy-lit alleyways stacked with shipping containers converted to stalls down by Hamilton Wharf.
Eat Street is a wonderment of the senses. From aromatic international cuisines and vibrant textiles, to the enchanting sights and sounds of our live performers, Hamilton Wharf plays host to Brisbane’s newest and most interactive market experience.
Check out the amazing markets and taste the various cuisines every Friday and Saturday evening from 4pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm!
And then there are some other pricier but more comfortable options for sight-seeing Brisbane:
- City Sights : Hop on / Hop off Shuttle Bus (Adult fare- 35$). This service runs every 45 minutes, starting at Post Office Square on Queen Street and covers all major landmarks. TIP – This ticket also covers you for unlimited use of City Cat Ferry services, so do plan your route so that you can experience Brisbane from the river too. citysights.com.au
- River City Cruises : (Southbank Parklands Jetty, Adult Fare – 25$): These cruises run for 1 ½ hours with commentaryfrom South Bankto New Farm and back. Departure times – 10.30 am and 12.30 pm(plus 2.30pm in Summertime). rivercitycruises.com
- Story Bridge Climb: Built during the Great Depression of 1935, the Story Bridge Adventure climb is a spectacular (though pricey) way of discovering Brisbane. It is about a two and half hour tour and at the top climbers get a breathtaking view of Brisbane city and the river. sbac.net.au
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary: Worth mentioning here although it is covered in a separate post.The oldest Koala sanctuary in existence and one of the most popular attractions in Brisbane the Lone Pine Sanctuary is easily accessible (20 minutes by bus) and absolutely worth a visit to meet some amazing and uniquely Australian birds and animals.
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