Brisbane may well boast downtown skyscrapers and a population of over 2 million, but the warm climate, friendly locals and incredible natural bounty give it arguably the most easy-going atmosphere of all the cities in Australia. The way the Brisbane River, from which the city takes its name, snakes lazily through the Queensland capital mirrors the laid-back attitude of the inhabitants of “Brissie”.
The Sunshine State’s largest city has a vibrant cultural life and plenty of top-class bars and restaurants but the biggest draw for most visitors is the huge array of outdoor activities on the city’s doorstep. Whether it’s dolphin-spotting on Moreton Island National Park, climbing the Kangaroo Point cliffs or just escaping the heat and hustle of the city along the cool riverfront, you have a wealth of open-air options. Enjoying a pint of the local brew XXXX along with fish and chips is a popular way to spend a pleasant summer’s evening while the dry, cooler winters are perfect for whale watching and more active excursions. Daredevil visitors can try their hand at climbing the iconic Storey Bridge and the nearby Glass House Mountains make for a great day trip.
Another appealing aspect of the city for tourists is the number of attractions that are available free-of-charge – from nature reserves such as Roma Street Parkland and Mount Coot-tha to the government-funded Queensland Museum and Museum of Brisbane. The city also provides a number of free swimming pools, playgrounds and barbecues, as well as various cultural festivals which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The city itself is the artistic heart of Queensland and the majority of the state’s most important cultural institutions, such as the Gallery of Modern Art – the country’s biggest – are located here. You’ll always find top-quality shows at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, which is home to the state’s ballet and theatre companies as well as its symphony orchestra.
The riverside walks in the city’s South Bank area and a scenic river ride on one of the public ferries are among the city’s other tourist highlights but be sure to rent a car or book a tour to explore the exquisite surrounding landscape.