Brisbane’s centre (known locally as ‘the city’) is easily walkable, and is where you’ll find plenty of shopping and entertainment. This is a high-rise city, with modern apartment blocks and offices. In the midst of the centre is Queen Street Mall – a pedestrianised mall with six shopping centres and over 700 shops. There’s also a thriving restaurant, bar and cultural scene here, with some hip little gems hidden among the laneways and a year-round calendar of events from farmers markets to weekend music. Across the river, the South Bank is one of the city’s most popular spots. Here, the 40 acres of parklands have cool cafés and views of the high-rise centre. Star attractions include the inner-city Streets Beach – complete with man-made beach and lagoon – and the huge Wheel of Brisbane ferris wheel. This is also where you’ll find Brisbane’s cultural side, as the location of the Queensland Cultural Centre on Grey Street, housing the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery.
Brisbane's Suburbs and Surrounds
Brisbane’s suburbs each have their own distinct vibe. A five-minute drive from the city centre, New Farm is one of the city’s hippest inner-city suburbs. Highlights of this upmarket area include cool eateries, old Queenslander homes that have been converted into boutique hotels, and the Brisbane Powerhouse – an arts and music venue. Northeast of Brisbane, the coast is lapped by the turquoise waters of the Moreton Bay Marine Park. This wide expanse offers the chance to discover wetlands, offshore reefs and islands, and spot turtles, dugongs and whales. Just an hour from Brisbane, Spicers Hidden Vale sits secluded in 12,000 acres of Australian bush in the scenic Lockyer Valley. Brisbane’s surrounds also have their fair share of family attractions, including Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo.
The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is an iconic Australian holiday destination with its sandy beaches, top surfing spots and attractions. At its heart, Surfers Paradise is glitzy and ostentatious, with high rise blocks dominating the sky – and shore – line and a thriving restaurant, bar and entertainment scene. The main activities here are water-based, with surfing, swimming and jet boating the most popular. ‘Surfers’ is often used as a base, or starting point, to visit the Gold Coast’s theme parks, waterparks and vibrant beach towns. Inland from the surf, you’ll find the Gold Coast hinterland – a densely forested region of ancient landscapes and national parks. Designated a World Heritage Area in 1994, Lamington is a beautiful national park, with more than 500 waterfalls, towering forests, mountain views and diverse birdlife.