BRISBANE – SURPRISE! SURPRISE!

Brisbane is a pleasant surprise. It’s Australia’s third largest city and is located approximately an hour north of the Gold Coast. Although it’s located on the coast, it doesn’t have any surf beaches. Brisbane has mangroves. The reason there are no beaches is because it’s protected by two big islands (Moreton and Stradbroke) and the waters between are known as Moreton Bay.

ARCHITECTURE

Brisbane has some impressive heritage buildings, with the oldest being the Old Windmill in Wickham Park which was built by convict labour in 1824. Others include the Customs House, Supreme Court, General Post Office, City Hall, Treasury Building, Brisbane Gaols, and Government House to name a few. There are also a number of old churches.

The city is known for it’s Queenslanders which are pre-1950s timber homes. They often have large wrought iron wraparound verandahs and high ceilings and usually sit on stilts to allow the air to circulate underneath. Some are quite beautifully restored.

Examples of Queenslanders:

LIFE AROUND THE RIVER

The CBD is located about 20 km up river and sits on a peninsula of the Brisbane River. The skyline is quite impressive, especially at night. In September each year, it hosts a fireworks extravaganza called Riverfire with vantage points all around the river between Victoria Bridge and Story Bridge. The best spots fill up quickly so you need to be quick.

The Brisbanites use the areas around the river for their recreational pursuits. There are over 27 km of bicycle pathways, most of which are around the city centre and river. The Eagle Street Pier with views of the Story Bridge is popular and has a number of restaurants, casual eateries and bars where you can while away the hours on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. And afterwards, if you have the energy, you can take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens to walk off the added calories.

SOUTH BANK

My favourite area of Brisbane is South Bank, especially the “beach”. It’s a stunning man-made beach with an inviting lagoon. There’s also a pool for those who might not like the sand between their toes. You’ll need to get in early to secure a spot under the shade as it can get pretty crowded on a hot summer’s day.

South Bank is the cultural heart of Brisbane and is an events hub where you can experience art exhibitions, music, dance, art exhibitions and more.

You can have a picnic or barbecue in the park or eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants. Amble along the pathways under beautiful shady trees or cycle along the riverside. And If you’re feeling romantic, hop onto the giant ferris wheel for panoramic views of the city.

WEST END

To the west of South Bank you’ll find West End. It has a hipster vibe about it and at night, the cafes, restaurants and bars come alive with music and people. It’s quirky and bohemian.

On a warm summer’s evening, take a stroll from the intersection at Vulture and Boundary Streets, heading east. Follow Boundary Street down to Melbourne Street and continue on, stopping along the way for a meal at whatever establishment takes your fancy. Once you get to Grey street, turn right and you’re in the South Bank precinct where you can soak up the atmosphere. If the evening is still young, maybe stop at the Charming Squire for craft beer and cider or take a walk through South Bank.

FORTITUDE VALLEY

I love Cloudland at 641 Ann Street in Fortitude Valley. You must pop in and have a look – or a drink or two. The decor is simply amazing and your eyes are drawn everywhere. The centrepiece would have to be the ornate, winding staircase which takes you to the Crystal Palais Booths designed for intimate gatherings.

ROMA STREET PARKLAND

Brisbane has beautiful parks and in my opinion the nicest is the Roma Street Parkland which covers 16 hectares and has beautiful themed gardens bursting with colour, tropical plants and cascading waterfalls.

Brisbane may not have the sun drenched beaches of the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, however it’s a city which won’t disappoint.

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