Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and the largest in Queensland. During our east coast trip of Australia, the first big city along the way we visited was Brisbane. We arrived just after Christmas so we were looking forward to enjoying the New Year celebrations.
The city is centered around The Brisbane River or the Maiwar river as it is known to the indeginous people. It snakes through the city separating the CBD from other areas such as South Bank Parklands, Westend and Kangaroo Point.
Brisbane is a pedestrian and cyclist friendly city, along each side of the river there are walkways and cycling paths that allow you to explore what the city has to offer. There is also the Cityhopper free ferry that has many stopping points along the river making it very easy to get around.
CBD and Northside
The CBD of Brisbane is located on the Northside of the river. It is easily walkable and is home to Brisbane City Hall, Roma Street Station and central shopping district.
A great attraction here is the view from the Brisbane City Hall clock tower. It is free and you can access this viewing point from the City Hall building. There is a small museum and art gallery located on the same floor which outlines the history of Brisbane.
Roma Street Parklands and Spring Hill are right next door and a great place for a stroll. Roma Street Parklands features designer gardens and beautifully maintained lawns. Spring Hill is home to many trendy cafes, restaurants with many historical sites such as the Old Windmill and the Spring Hill Baths.
If you are more interested in a night out then the Treasury Casino on the riverfront is the place to go.
South Bank Parklands is a community area on the riverfront, it hosts the Wheel of Brisbane where you can catch stunning views of the Brisbane Skyline. South Bank Parklands is also home to Streets Beach. This inner city man-made beach is an oasis in the centre of the city.
South Bank is also home to the Gallery of Modern Art which is a nice way to spend a couple of hours to escape the hot Australian sun or visit the Queensland Performing Arts Center to catch a show.
Botanic Gardens and Mt Coot-tha
On the Northside of the river is the beautiful Brisbane Botanic Garden and Mt. Coot-tha. The Botanic Gardens is home to a wide range of tropical flora and fauna and is free to enter.
From here you can hike to Mt Coot-tha lookout and JC Slaughter falls. The lookout offers a panoramic view of Brisbane from the CBD to Moreton Bay.
We spent the morning doing this hike and afterwards walked back to our accommodation along the river. You can take a bus to the botanic gardens and start your hike from there
The Westend is a laid-back residential area of the city and where we had based ourselves during our stay.
It is home to many trendy restaurants, bars, cafes and markets. Davis Park is a nice place for browsing on the weekends, grab a great brunch or some nice drinks in one of the craft beer bars. We particularly liked Brisbane Brewing Co.
Kangaroo Point hosts an amazing view of Brisbane city and is home to the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs. The Cliffs are a great place to spend an afternoon with plenty of parkland and picnic spots.
Outside the city activity
We decided to take a day trip out of Brisbane. It was Lynne’s birthday so as a birthday present we went on a hot air balloon ride with a champagne breakfast.
We had a 4.00am pick up from Kangaroo point and were driven to our launch site south of Brisbane. We arrived at the launch sight around 5am and enjoyed a spectacular morning floating through the skies over farmland and vineyards. After 2 hours we began our descent.
The experiment was amazing and the whole flight went super smoothly. The flight was followed by a short drive and a great breakfast at O’Reilly’s Vineyard. If you want to see some of the amazing views check out our Instagram below.
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