Although Brisbane is often overlooked as a travel destination in Australia, it is the capital of the state of Queensland, and is the third largest city in Australia. It's a very young and vibrant city with an active nightlife and a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It's a modern and economically thriving city and, if you do have time to visit, it actually has a lot to offer travelers. It has some beautiful scenery, a wonderful warm climate all year long, and is actually one of the fastest growing cities in Australia.
Brisbane's climate is humid subtropical. The summers are hot and humid while the winters are dry and warm. The city's close proximity to the Coral Sea means that it has little temperature variation throughout the year. Winter temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees Celsius. Thunderstorms are common between the months of November and March and severe storms may include hail and strong winds.
There are a handful of places to visit in Brisbane so consider how much time you have and create yourself an itinerary. Just outside of town is the Queensland Zoo. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a great place to visit as well. Also consider going by the Manly Boat Harbour, Queensland Cultural Centre, and City Botanic Gardens, all of which make for an interesting place to stop off. Other places of interest include South Bank, New Farm Park, Manly Boat Harbour, and Mt. Coot-tha among many others.
There are a good number of districts throughout Brisbane, many of which have something interesting to offer visitors. The Central Business District, in addition to having much of the city's businesses, also has some great shopping and several historic sites. South Bank has the highest concentration of ethnic restaurants as well as the Performing Arts Centre and Queensland Museum among other things. Fortitude Valley has Brisbane's interesting Chinatown area as well as some great nightlife and lively bars. West End is a bohemian district with lots of interesting cafes and shops. New Farm is a more upscale area for eating and shopping. Portside Wharf is where the cruise ships dock on the Brisbane River. It has high end dining and boutique shopping options. Paddington offers many local boutiques and some great restaurants. Mount Coot-tha, Sunnybank, and Bulimba are all suburbs outside of the central business district with some good restaurants and markets.
There is no shortage of activities in Brisbane. The walls along the Brisbane River are popular with rock climbers. The views across the river are great as well. The town has several farmers markets that are fun to explore and pick up some fresh produce. It's also fun to take a boat cruise along the river. The music scene is also excellent in Brisbane. Pick up an entertainment magazine while you're in town to find out what's going on. Popular events and festivals in town include the Brisbane Festival, the Royal Queensland Show, the Greek Paniyiri Festival, and the St George Brisbane International Film Festival.
Food and Dining
As a large, cosmopolitan city, there is no shortage of dining options for all preferences and budgets. Asian food is plentiful but you will also find Italian, German, and Middle Eastern options. Bistros, burger joints, cafes, and delis are all readily available in most neighborhoods. Fine dining options are also abundant and there are some unique dining experiences available in Brisbane if you do some research in advance.
It's easy to reach most places in Brisbane by public transportation. If you're planning to stay in the Central Business District then it's easiest to simply walk everywhere. There are almost no hills in this area and the street structure is relatively easy to understand, so it is not that challenging to find your way around.
Buses, ferries, or trains will take you almost anywhere else you need in town. There is a common ticketing system with free transfers available between modes of transport. CityFerries and CityCats are a great way to tour Brisbane along the river. They travel along the river with stops in the city center and several suburbs. CityCats are high speed catamarans and CityFerries are traditional ferries. The red CityHopper ferries provide service in the city center and are free of charge. Trains travel in the great Brisbane area as well as Roma Street, Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills. Brisbane also has a large network of buses that travel through the inner city. They are less frequent in the outer areas of town.