Brisbane

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For other places with the same name, see Brisbane (disambiguation).

Brisbane is the capital of the state of Queensland. It has a population of about 2 million people, making it the third-largest city in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne.

It’s a positive attitude and creative confidence that makes Brisbane a genuine new-world city. Large enough to be cosmopolitan yet small enough to be friendly and accessible, this 'garden metropolis' is famous for its leafy, open spaces and the pleasant pace of life that unfolds between the zig-zags of its iconic river. Even though Brisbane is rapidly developing and forward-thinking, it maintains a youthful enthusiasm and has what is arguably the most laid back and liveable atmosphere of any east-coast capital city.

Gaining international exposure during the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the 1988 World Expo and the 2001 Goodwill Games, Brisbane's year-round warm climate, spectacular scenery and pleasant locals have been the draw-cards for many domestic and international visitors, making Brisbane the fastest-growing city in Australia.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

For many thousands of years prior to European settlement, the Yagara Aboriginal people lived on the floodplain where the greater Brisbane region is situated. The Australian English phrase "hard yakka" - meaning "hard work" - comes from these people, and is certainly what the European settlers faced in Brisbane's humid sub-tropical climate.

In 1823, John Oxley was the first English colonist to explore Brisbane, which was then selected by the colony of New South Wales as the location for a new jail, intended to house dangerous prisoners in a remote location. The settlement was named "Brisbane" after Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales at that time. This original settlement was established in what is now the suburb of Redcliffe but was later moved to a location further down the bay.

A series of major immigration events took place in the following decades which brought with it strong industry and commercial development in the region. In 1837, free settlers moved to the area and pushed to close the jail and to release the land in the area, and in 1859 a gold rush led to the establishment of the colony of Queensland with Brisbane as its capital. Ipswich, a coal-mining centre immediately to the west of Brisbane was initially proposed as the capital city, but was ruled out for being too far upstream with no shipping access.

In 1925, the Queensland State Parliament created the City of Brisbane Act that set up a single government for the city of Brisbane, still the largest metropolitan authority in Australia, and one of the largest in the world by area.

Subsequent years to the present has seen strong immigration into Brisbane and the surrounding region, both domestically and internationally, with large communities from Asia, United Kingdom and New Zealand. This was driven by cheaper house prices than other Australian cities, a pleasant climate and good employment opportunities, especially within the mining and tourism sectors.

Recent years have seen Brisbane go from drought to flooding rains. In the mid-2000s, lower dam levels led to severe water restrictions for residents. The campaign to lower water usage was so successful that the city can boast one of the lowest average water use per resident of any developed city in the world. From 2010-onwards, a number of extremely wet summers has refilled local water supplies and you're not likely to find the tap dry or see any visible signs of the shortage. However, it is still expected you keep your showers relatively brief and expect the locals to be horrified if you walk away from a running tap.

River view from William Jolly Bridge.

Climate[edit]

Brisbane has a climate that is enjoyable year-round. When the wet season hits the northern Australian tropics, Brisbane enjoys hot and clear summer days (with afternoon thunderstorms). When winter hits the southern capitals of Sydney and Melbourne sending temperatures into the low teens (°C) Brisbane's climate stays mostly dry and sunny, with daytime temperatures usually remaining above 20°C.

  • Summer (December–February) humidity is high and daytime temperatures can reach 35°C, with night temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C. Occasional heat waves can raise the temperature in excess of 40°C, however these are not common. Just about any outdoor activity you do at the height of a regular summer day in Brisbane will leave you bathed in sweat. Loose-fitting clothing that protects you from the sun is appropriate attire for most casual activities, and air-conditioning will assure you of a comfortable night's sleep or ride on public transport. Summer storms with hail and heavy rainfall are common in afternoons on hot humid days. They usually pass quickly and often put on a good lightning show.
  • Autumn (March–May) sees a cool change in Brisbane with average daytime temperatures between 20-30°C. Most tourists not used to a humid climate will find this the best time to visit Brisbane, as the humidity lowers and the region shifts into a more comfortable, dry and sunny weather pattern, perfect for outdoor activities. Night-time temperatures usually drop to 10-20°C, with ambient heat from the day still radiating from the ground, keeping the early evening still warm and comfortable, though a light jacket and jeans might be required later at night.
  • Winter (June–August) signals the region's dry season, with Brisbane experiencing cool, sunny, cloudless days. Temperatures reach up to 25°C during the day with night-time temperatures rarely dropping below 5°C. The early-morning chill usually disappears by mid-morning and most of the daylight hours are relatively warm, however it is still recommended to have something warm to wear as this is not always the case. The eastern suburbs tend to be cooler as sea breezes blow in from the bay.
  • Spring (September–November) sees the revitalisation of the city with warmer days and fresh sea breezes coming in from the bay. Weather is similar to Autumn months, with increasing humidity as summer draws closer.

More detailed information on Brisbane Climate and Weather is available online at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology [1].

Warning[edit]

The damaging effects of the Queensland sun should not be underestimated. The state has the highest per-capita rate of skin cancer in the world and tourists often come unprepared. On a sunny day in Brisbane, it is common to be sunburnt after as few as 15 minutes under the midday sun, but sunburn can also occur on overcast days. This is not exclusive to summer, but can happen all year round, even in winter.

If you are planning a long day outdoors, always cover up with sunscreen, loose clothing, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself. Limit your outdoor physical activity in the summer until you are used to the heat. Immediately seek shade or an air-conditioned area and drink plenty of water if you are feeling the effects of heat exhaustion, including headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, confusion or fainting.

Visitor centre[edit]

The Brisbane Visitor Information Centre and Booking Centre on the Queen Street Mall is open M–Th 09:00–17:30, F 09:00–19:00, Sa 09:00–17:09, Su and public holidays 09:30–16:30 but closed Good Friday and 25 Dec. ☎ +61 7 3006-6290.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Brisbane Airport (BNE) is 20 km (12 mi) north-east of the city centre at Eagle Farm, north of the river.

There are direct flights from all Australian capitals and numerous regional centres. Major carriers include Virgin Australia [2], Jetstar, and Qantas. The airport is serviced by many regional airlines and it is possible to fly daily to most Asian centres (and on to Europe), the United States and New Zealand, without flying via Sydney or Melbourne.

There are International and Domestic terminals, but some domestic flights leave from the International Terminal and some international flights (via other Australian cities) leave from the Domestic Terminal. Check which terminal your flight uses and don't presume based on whether it is an international or domestic flight.

Transferring between terminals[edit]

Allow sufficient time for the transfer between terminals. The terminals are 3 km apart and it's not practical to walk with luggage between them; the main road that connects them has no pedestrian walkway and is very busy.

Transfers between the airport terminals can be made on the Airtrain service. It offers connections during the day with a train every 15-30min. The train fare is $5, $4.50 if you book a ticket online beforehand, and the trip is 2min long. The Airtrain fare is included by Virgin Australia and by Qantas when connecting between their flights; just present your boarding pass to the Airtrain station staff.

  • Domestic to International Transfers operate M-F 05:40–21:59, Sa Su 06:00-21:59 (last service).
  • International to Domestic Transfers operate M-F 05:30–20:56, Sa Su 05:30–20:57.

Another option is the TBus service. Services operate every 20 minutes and bus stops are located outside the Qantas and Virgin Australia arrivals hall at the Domestic Terminal, and outside the arrivals hall at the International Terminal. All trips are $5, children under 4 are free. This bus also services Airport Village, which is close to the Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) [3], a small shopping centre that specialises in clothing and homewares stores, but also contains a food court. It's expensive, but worth checking out if you've got more than a few hours between flights. Be careful though, as the last bus back to the airport terminals is at 18:20.

There is a way to transfer between the terminals for free. The TBus actually costs $5 to transfer between terminals, but non-express services offer a free drop off at Airport Village (Skygate). Thus you can take the TBus for free to Skygate, get off, wait for the next bus (20m later), and then go to domestic/int'l for free.

Outside of Airtrain hours or if you have a limited connection time, a taxi is your only option.

From the airport to the city[edit]

  • Airtrain connects to the city from the airport every fifteen minutes during peak times and stops at Central, South Bank, Fortitude Valley and Roma Street stations. An adult fare to the city stations is $16.50 and a return ticket is $29 and can be purchased at Airtrain stations. There is a 10% discount for purchasing online for one-way or return journeys, but only if you are starting at the airport. Travel time to the city stations can be up to 30min. Trains start running about 05:00. The last trains leave the city around 21:00 and the airport before 22:00. It is possible to take the Airtrain direct to the Gold Coast, although it is necessary to connect to a bus service at Nerang Station to reach Surfers Paradise, or at Robina Station to reach Coolangatta.
  • CoachTrans also provides transfers via shuttle bus to Brisbane City accommodation and to the Gold Coast. Adult fare (one way) to Brisbane City is $20, and an adult fare (one way) to the Gold Coast is $44. Fares are cheaper if you buy a return ticket. You can end up waiting up to an hour if you try to book when you arrive at the airport, so pre-booking is a must and no refunds are allowed. Travel time varies depending on the number of passengers on the bus and traffic; it could be anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.
  • Public transportation Using public transportation, you can get to town for around $4 only. From the airport, ride the free of charge T-bus to Skygate (Airport Village). Note that the T-bus stops near the terminal building and not at the bus stop for other buses and vans (very easy to find though, or ask at the information counter), and only some of the T-buses go to the Airport Village (express buses only go between domestic and int'l whereas regular ones also go to Skygate every 20 minutes). From Skygate, wait at the place you got off the bus and take Translink bus 590 to Toombul Shopping Centre (only 2 stops). From there you can catch a train to the city. This costs under $4 with a go card, off peak. You can also buy single tickets, however that will be more expensive. You can purchase a go card at the Airtran station for $30 ($10 deposit and $20 usable), but you cannot purchase the go card at the Airport Village or from a driver. Thus for the cheapest way of getting to town, first go to the Airtran terminal to buy a go card but don't go through the turnstile and instead backtrack to the T-bus stop.
  • A taxi from the airport to Brisbane central costs approximately $35. A good option for getting into the City can therefore be for two or more travellers to share the cost of a taxi to Brisbane Central. All taxis are metered, and it is possible to share a cab (either officially, where each group pays 75% of the fare), or by informal agreement with the passengers before boarding (with multiple drop-off points, and a fare paid at the final destination). From Brisbane Central or Roma Street station a traveller can get to just about anywhere else in Brisbane.

The airport hosts all major car rental companies.

From the Gold Coast[edit]

Surfside buses regularly ply the route from Tweed Heads all the way along the Gold Coast, with connections to the train to Brisbane at Robina. You can buy a single ticket to cover the trip, costing around $17.

The Gold Coast Airport (IATA: OOL) a.k.a. Coolangatta Airport is a low-cost carrier hub, serviced by AirAsia X, Jetstar, Pacific Blue and others. It is NOT a 24hr airport and closes at night, so don't plan on spending the night before an early morning flight. It is around 30 minutes drive to Surfers Paradise. There is a shuttle bus connecting the airport to the main Surfside buses route on the Gold Coast Highway between Tweed Heads and Surfers Paradise.

By train[edit]

  • NSW Trainlink operates two daily rail services from Sydney, with connections from Melbourne and Canberra.

By car[edit]

Visitors from southern states can reach Brisbane by either the New England and Cunningham or Pacific Highways.

  • The Bruce Highway (A1) connects the northern coast of Queensland to Brisbane.
  • The Pacific Motorway (M1) connects Brisbane to the Gold Coast continues south along the New South Wales coast.
  • The Ipswich Motorway (M2) connects to Ipswich and surrounding Western Brisbane areas.
  • The Warrego Highway (A2) links Brisbane to the west through the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
  • The Cunningham Highway (A15) links Brisbane to Southern Queensland and Central western New South Wales.

By bus[edit]

  • Premier Motor Service links some centres on the east coast of NSW and Queensland to Brisbane, as well as connections to Melbourne.

By ship[edit]

Brisbane has recently become the home to an international cruise terminal titled Portside Wharf

Get around[edit]

Getting anywhere in Brisbane is extremely easy. The CBD is relatively flat and condensed, which makes it perfect for walking or cycling and virtually all other areas can be reached by public transport.

However, some areas can be difficult to navigate through a combination of dead ends, winding roads and steep slopes. This applies to some inner-city suburbs, but especially outer suburbs. If you find yourself lost, it's advisable to head to the nearest main road as more than likely it will be serviced by buses or trains. If you are driving, a street directory is an essential addition to your car. Locals are generally friendly and more than willing to help you out if you are lost, so don't be afraid to ask.

By foot[edit]

Brisbane is an excellent city for walking and you should have no problems getting around the CBD. Within minutes of walking in virtually any direction you will be able to find a bus, train or ferry station. Maps can be purchased from bookstores such as QBD (Queensland Books Depot) [4], Dymocks [5], any tourist information centre or viewed online.

Beyond the CBD and inner-suburbs however, sights can become very spread out, so you might want to consider other modes of getting around.

By bicycle[edit]

Bicyclists on Clem Jones Promenade

Getting around the city and the surrounding areas is easy thanks to the many cycle paths along the river. Bicycles can be rented in the centre of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

The Brisbane City Council has recently introduced a scheme known as CityCycle, which offers bicycles for hire at different stations around the city. Tourists can register for a 24-hour period for $2 or for a week for $11 [6]. The bikes are free to use after that, as long as you return the bike to a station within 30 minutes (afterwards usage rates apply). Helmets are required by law (and this is enforced with on-the-spot fines), but some free yellow helmets can be unreliably found at the bike-hire stations.

Cycling on footpaths is legal in the Brisbane City Council area (maximum speed 10 km/h), however pedestrians have right of way. Keep left and take special care when riding through South Bank Parklands as the shared (and quite wide) foot and cycle path is often clogged with large groups taking up the whole path, pedestrians stopping unexpectedly for photos and playing children running heedlessly in front of you. It is often too noisy here to use your bell, so out of courtesy and safety, you're strongly urged to dismount and push your bicycle through crowded areas.

Maps showing bikeways in the Brisbane City Council area are available on the BCC website [7].

Some areas of Brisbane are very hilly. If your street map shows a tangle of winding streets close together that is a sign of steep roads. A short trip can quickly become a lot of work, especially if you are using the heavy CityCycle bikes. Stick to the river when possible, it's where you get the best views and it is almost entirely flat.

If you leave the cycle paths, footpaths, and minor streets you should be prepared to contend with busy urban traffic. Feel free to ignore any Brisbane motorists that may have resentment toward cyclists and ignorance of the road rules applying to cyclists; cyclists are permitted to travel on just about all roads in Brisbane. Special "bicycle lanes" on Brisbane's roads are becoming increasingly common and are often denoted by a narrow green-coloured strip of road adjacent to the curb.

Wearing a safety helmet is law in Brisbane (and the rest of Australia). The police issue a $120 fine for cycling without a safety helmet which is heavily enforced.

Green Cabs[edit]

Green Cabs [8] are one of the latest additions to the city and growing in popularity. Essentially a rickshaw, they are a novel way of getting around the inner-city areas. Able to accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 small children (though it can vary - talk to the rider and see what you can arrange), they mostly operate between West End, South Bank, the CBD, Fortitude Valley and along the river where it's mostly flat, although you can arrange to be taken elsewhere. Prices start at $5 and tours are available.

Currently Green Cabs operate on weekends and during special events. During the day operators who are ready to go are usually based at South Bank at the Wheel of Brisbane. At night, you will find Green Cabs at South Bank and throughout the CBD.

By car[edit]

Many of the roads in Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) are one-way, making driving in this area complicated for people not familiar with the layout. Drivers used to city driving should not find Brisbane too much of a challenge, and parking is readily available in parking stations in the city, albeit it at a steep cost, around $40 to casually park for a day. $15 parking is generally available with early-bird deals (arrive before 09:00, leave after 16:00.),

CBD roads become clearways at 16:00, and any cars parked on the side of the road will be fined, towed or both. You have to pay for the towing to get your car back, and then they expect a fine to follow in the mail. Check for signs when parking, or just play it safe and find a parking station.

If you are looking to visit the areas surrounding the city, then generally a car will be as quick as any other way of getting around, with the possible exception of the height of peak hour. Brisbane is notorious for having roads that bottle-neck and what would normally be a 15 minute trip could easily turn into well over an hour during peak.

There are several toll roads in and around Brisbane, including the Gateway Bridge which crosses the river near the airport, the Clem-7 tunnel as well as the Go-Between Bridge. Cash is not accepted, toll users must have a prepaid transponder or post-pay via a website. Check the go-via website for more details. [9]

By motorcycle / motorbike / scooter[edit]

Brisbane Central Business District (CBD) is not the friendliest of places when it comes to finding a parking spot for your car. Leaving your car for an hour could cost you in excess of $25 or a few parking fines. The best way to get around the CBD is either by scooter or motorbike. Motorbike and scooter parking is free and there are plenty of areas designated for parking of both motorbikes and scooters.

Scooters, however, are not allowed on major highways. Even though they can be ridden by just about anyone who holds a car drivers license, it is difficult to see all of Brisbane on a scooter as most major streets are zoned as 60–80 km/hr and the standard 50cc scooters are limited to 55 km/hr.

North of Brisbane you will find many beautiful scenic drives for motorbike enthusiasts. The North side is surrounded by many windy roads and great mountain roads on which any motorbike rider can enjoy a full day out on the motorbike of just about any size.

There are services available throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast which deliver both scooters and motorbikes right to your door-step. Some will even provide all the necessary gear as well. Take a look at a few rental companies below to find a perfect motorbike/scooter for your trip.

Rentals[edit]

Most major car hire companies have offices at Brisbane Airport and in the city centre. As is common with many hire car companies, you will often pay a premium to pick up or return at the airport location. While most car rental companies hire to people 25 years of age and over, some all age car rental companies do hire to younger drivers over 18 years of age (there are surcharges involved for under-age drivers).

Taxi[edit]

Taxis are numerous throughout Brisbane and can take you anywhere. The major companies are Yellow Cabs [10] and Black & White Cabs [11]. All cabs can be hailed down no matter where you are, provided their roof light is on, though in some areas they might not be able to stop, so it might be best to book one in advance. All cabs accept cash, credit and debit cards. Despite cabs being fitted with GPS units, you'll find it wise to check with the driver about your destination before departing and make sure they are willing to go there.

In the outer-suburban areas, cabs will pull over if you hail them down from the side of the road and can be found in designated taxi ranks in shopping centres, or near bars and pubs. The same can be said for the inner-city, however taxi ranks are more common and it's usually best to catch a cab from there. At night though, especially on Friday and Saturday, taxis exclusively pick up passengers from these ranks and you'd be extremely lucky if you get one elsewhere. These ranks are usually monitored by security and have ushers at night. From midnight-5:30AM on Friday and Saturday nights, all taxis from the CBD and Fortitude Valley become "FlatFare", meaning that there is a fixed price for any given destination and you will have to pay before entering the taxi.

Taxis can be expensive in Brisbane; a trip between the airport and the city can be in excess of $50–60 and can easily run to over $100 if you go beyond the central Brisbane region.

Public transport[edit]

The three main public transport options of Brisbane (ferries, buses and trains) are linked by a common ticketing system, known as TransLink. This coordination arrangement allows free transfers to be made between the three different transport modes, providing relevant time and zone restrictions are met. The TransLink website [12] (13 12 30) is handy for researching public transport options between destinations, and is essential for Brisbane visitors planning their commute.

Single tickets for travel in Brisbane start at over $4 for a one way trip, the most expensive of any city within Australia and the third-most expensive globally (behind Oslo and London). A paper ticket is valid for travel only in the zones you ask for and is only valid for one way trips, so make sure you buy a ticket that covers all the zones you'll need to travel in. Paper tickets are being phased out in favour of the competitively cheaper Go Card (see below).

Travellers should ensure they have a valid ticket as ticket inspectors make frequent appearances and fines can be significant. You may also be required to display a valid student/senior card if you are travelling on a concession ticket type.

Go-card[edit]

TransLink has integrated ticketing called the go card, a contactless smart card which you purchase before travelling and you top-up with funds. The fare is deducted as you touch-on and touch-off as you board and leave public transport. Buses and CityCats/Ferries are fitted with go card machines that are apparent when you board, whilst train stations have external panels located on the platform or nearby. A deposit of $5 applies when purchasing a go card. Go cards can be purchased and topped up from staff at train stations, some ticket vending machines and selected newsagents and convenience stores, which there are many of in the city centre.

Buying a go card removes the hassle of figuring out zones. Fares are discounted by 30% and once you have paid for 9 journeys within a week (Monday to Sunday), all journeys for the remainder of the week are free. Translink uses the word "journey" to mean end-to-end journey including any required transfers, and the word "trip" to mean a single point-to-point trip. A journey can be made up of one or more trips. When making a number of trips to get to your destination it is still one journey if you touch on within 60 minutes of touching off on your previous trip.

Getting a go-card will save you around 50c to $1 on the average journey. However, getting a refund for the unused money and $5 deposit can be a hassle. If you have paid by credit card you need apply and have the money returned by cheque or by transfer to an Australian bank account. If you have paid by cash you can get a refund at a train station, including the airport train station.

If you are going to be doing extensive travel or using the Airtrain, you can buy a 3-day or 5-day unlimited travel go-card for $79 and $129 respectively. You don't have to worry about topping up and refunds, but you you'll struggle to get value out of it unless you are catching the airtrain. Remember a standard go card only charges you for 9-trips in a week, so to justify $129 for 5-days, your average journey would have to cost over $14.

Fares[edit]

The fare you pay will depend on public transport "zones". The 23 zones form concentric rings and propagate outwards from the CBD (zone 1). All official public transport maps clearly mark the zones and zone boundaries. Generally speaking, most major attractions around the inner-city are within zones 1 or 2. Your fare is determined by how many zones you travel through. Travelling between zones 2 and 3 will cost you the same fare as travelling between zones 7 and 8. You must observe the time restrictions for transfers to avoid having to pay for another journey.

Often, major stops like shopping centres and busway stops are used as zone boundaries. Stops that form part of the zone boundary are considered part of both zones, so you may travel to them on a valid ticket that covers either zone.

If buying a paper ticket, say which zones you wish for it to be valid for, although all operators generally know what to give you if you tell them your destination. Ensuring your ticket is valid for your current journey is important as bus drivers may make you pay for another ticket or not allow you on at all, and officers on trains and ferries may fine you.

If you are using a Go Card, then fares are calculated automatically.

CityFerry and CityCat[edit]

Two of Brisbane's CityCats

CityFerries and CityCats have become an icon of the city and are fantastic ways to tour Brisbane along the river. The CityCats are high-speed catamarans with stops at South Bank and the city centre as well as many riverside suburbs, and are a very popular method of getting around for tourists. CityFerries are more traditional ferries which generally operate shorter routes with more frequent stops; you may end up on one if you must use one of the smaller terminals, but in practice, most riverside destinations are accessible from the faster and more modern CityCats.

Trains[edit]

Trains in greater Brisbane run along radial lines. Most train services in Brisbane are through-running, travelling from one end of the suburbs to the other, however all trains service Roma Street, Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills regardless of their ultimate destination. Interurban services can also be caught to the Gold Coast (using connecting bus services at Nerang and Robina) and Sunshine Coast (using connecting bus services at Landsborough and Nambour) as well as Australia Zoo (connecting bus at Beerwah). Trains generally run from 6AM to midnight, though there are some variations such as running later on Friday and Saturday nights, and finishing earlier on Sundays.

Buses[edit]

Brisbane has a large network of bus routes. Virtually all buses have a digital display of their route number and destination(s). The inner city areas are very well serviced by buses, with the most popular routes running from 6AM to 11PM as a minimum, and most routes ultimately terminating at Queen St Bus Station, Fortitude Valley (via Adelaide St or Elizabeth St) or on the busway. In some of Brisbane's notoriously dispersed outer suburbs, services may be much less frequent or have reduced running hours, so it is advisable to check timetables if making these trips. Due to Brisbane traffic, buses are occasionally up to 10 minutes late during peak hour.

Brisbane's dedicated busway runs from a corridor in the southern or northern suburbs, through South Bank and the central business district. Due to the large number of buses in the central business district, a number of other routes use stops scattered across the city streets, so if you are unfamiliar with the geography of Brisbane, use of the busway is recommended where possible. The busway and rail network meet at Roma Street station, and the two combined provide very good coverage of the key inner city areas.

Drivers do carry notes with them, but not always many or of high value. If you must pay cash, try to pay the correct amount and with coins where possible. Note that some services, especially in peak hour, do not sell tickets on board at all and only accept pre-purchased tickets or go cards. These are signed with the letter 'P' before the route number. As with many cities, Brisbane has a large number of express buses, so it should not be assumed that all buses observe every stop along the roads they travel. In peak hour there are even more express routes ("rockets" and "bullets") for commuters which make very few stops at all. Ask the driver if you are unsure.

Brisbane also has all-night bus services on Friday and Saturday nights on selected routes; this is branded 'NightLink'.

Noteworthy routes[edit]

  • The 'Brisbane City Loop' [13] is a free and convenient bus service travelling in both directions around the CBD. Operating M-F 07:00–17:50, every ten minutes from any distinctive red CBD bus stop.
  • The 'Spring Hill Loop' [14] free bus operates approximately every 10 minutes between 08:10 and 18:05 and stops at distinctive yellow bus stops.
  • The 'CityGlider' bus operates as a prepaid service for quick cross-city travel between West End and the Teneriffe Ferry at Newstead, just beyond Fortitude Valley. It runs every five minutes during peak hour (weekdays from 7-9AM and 4-6PM), and every 10 to 15 minutes between all other hours of operation. It operates from 5.30AM until 11.30PM Sunday to Thursday, and 24 hours Friday and Saturday from any distinctive light blue bus stop.
  • The 'CitySights' [15] bus service is a hop-on, hop-off bus service for getting around to popular sights and attractions in Brisbane. It is operated by Brisbane City Council, but is a premium service and not covered by TransLink tickets or go cards. A day pass is currently $35 and includes free CityCat travel.
  • The routes 598 and 599 [16] form the Great Circle Line which circles the city in clockwise and counter-clockwise direction and can be a great way of getting around the different suburbs.

See[edit]

  • Brisbane City Hall and King George Square, Located between Adelaide and Ann Streets, this is the city's most significant historical landmark. This area has free public Wi-Fi
  •    Museum of BrisbaneGround Floor, 157 Ann St. Daily 10:00-17:00. Features one floor of exhibits about the history of the city, and another floor for exhibitions of local artists. Free.
  •    City Botanic Gardens (10-15min walk from the city centre and Central or Roma Street railway stations). 24/7. Free 1h guided tours M-Sa 11:00 & 13:00 (No need to book ahead). Walking and cycling tracks. Exhibits. Free tours are a mix of the history of the gardens and the city whereas the garden tours at Mt Coot-tha are more focused on the wide variety of plants. Free.
Kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The view of Brisbane from the top of Mt Coot-tha at night
  • Queensland Cultural Centre, Adjacent to South Bank, the site includes The Queensland Performing Arts Centre [17], Queensland Museum [18], Queensland Art Gallery [19], Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and State Library of Queensland [20] - located on Grey St in South Brisbane. The Queensland Conservatorium [21] and the Queensland College of Art are also located on Grey St. The recently opened GoMA regularly hosts exhibitions featuring internationally famous artists (such as Warhol and Picasso) as well as many local contemporary artists. The Cultural Centre has its own busway stop and can be accessed by a large number of different routes.
  • South Bank, Formerly the site of World Expo '88 this relatively recent development is across the Brisbane River from the heart of the city and features an artificial beach surrounded by extensive parklands. Also in South Bank are the shops, cafés, restaurants and cinemas of the Grey Street precinct. A great place to hang out on a hot day and swim for free.
  • Alma Park Zoo. About thirty minutes north of the city centre. The Zoo Train can be caught from the city on the Caboolture line. Admission: adults $32, children 3-14 yrs, $22, discounts for students, seniors and families.
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary15 minutes drive. From the city on Jesmond Road in Fig Tree Pocket (via the Western Freeway). Catch the hourly 445 or 430 buses from the city or the Mirimar boat cruise from South Bank at 10:20. +61 7 3378-1366. World's first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. Cuddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos and see some other Aussie wildlife. Admission $32 adults, $21 children 3-13yr, with discounts for families and students.
  • Manly Boat Harbour, Manly Boat Harbour is the nearest access point from Brisbane city to Moreton Bay. Nestled beside the Manly Harbour Village, it is Brisbane's gateway to the Moreton Bay Marine Park with its pristine waterways and fascinating islands. Manly Harbour Village has a great range of dining and shopping options overlooking the marina.
  • Mt Coot-tha. Brisbane's tallest mountain. A popular make-out spot with a great view and good but overpriced cafe and restaurant. Also home to one of the Botanical Gardens and a Planetarium. Approximately 6 km west of the CBD. Large TV and radio antennas lining some of its broad peak. You can take a scenic drive through the heavily forested Mount Coot-tha Reserve to the peak to see the almost-360° views of Brisbane and the surrounding region. Also features the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Planetarium and numerous walking and bicycle tracks. The mountain is 287 m (941 ft) above sea level and forms the eastern extent of the Taylor Range. It is the most northern part of Australia to record snow. It is a prominent landmark approximately 6 km (4 mi) to the west of the Brisbane central business district and is visible from much of the city. Before the Moreton Bay penal settlement, Mount Coot-tha was the home of the Turrbal Aboriginal people. Early Brisbane people called it One Tree Hill when bush at the top of the mountain was cleared except for one large eucalypt tree. The Aboriginal people of the area used to come to the mountain to collect ‘ku-ta’ (honey) that was produced by the native stingless bee. Mount Coot-tha (Place of Honey), a derivative of (the indigenous term), replaced the former title ‘One Tree Hill' in 1880 when the area was declared a Public Recreation Reserve. Car is the most effective way to enjoy Mount Cootha at your own pace. There is ample parking at the peak. One can also hike the marked trail from the mountain's foot. See one of the best views of Brisbane. It is best to arrive just before dusk or dawn so you can enjoy the transition from day to night. Drive to the peak for a picnic dinner and admire the views. There are several walking tracks through the forests that surround the summit; some are difficult.
  • New Farm Park, This historic park is famous for the long line of jacaranda trees, shady picnic areas and its large rose gardens that contain hundreds of variety of roses, and over 40,000 individual plants.
  • Roma Street Parklands. Is the world's largest subtropical garden in a city centre and home to 1,800 unique species of plants. Experience the theme gardens such as the topiary maze, rain forest walk, lake, celebration law and amphitheatre with many public artworks to admire. Free admission.
  • Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Located in the beautiful subtropical Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong. Open Tu-Su with free admission to astronomy and space displays and a mini theatre. Admission fees (generally $14.10 per adult, with discounts for families) apply to the Cosmic Skydome which features a wide variety of astronomy and space programs. All shows feature a "live" segment recreating the current Brisbane night sky. On weekdays (closed M and public holidays), the doors open at 10AM with school shows at 10:30AM and noon. Members of the public are welcome to attend the earlier school shows when space permits (children must be school age). The 1:30PM and 3PM sessions (Tu-F) are public programs, although the 1:30PM program may be booked for dedicated school programs (please check with the Planetarium's Booking Office). During Queensland school holidays there are extra public shows on weekdays. On weekends, the Planetarium opens at 11AM and shows are also presented on Saturday night with "Saturday Night Live" at 6PM being a very popular show. There is a shop with a wide variety of astronomical/science merchandise and souvenirs. There is free parking, an adjacent bus stop and a separate cafe/restaurant. The Botanic Gardens has many walks.
  • Suncorp Piazza, Within South Bank often hosts free live events and movies.
  •    Wheel of Brisbane (at South Bank), Russel Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101. A ferris wheel that allows you to observe the city from 60 m with views across the Brisbane River. The trip is a 15 minute ride in an enclosed, climate controlled gondola. 10AM-10PM daily, $15, $10 children 12 years and under, $2 children aged between one and three.
  •    University Of Queensland (St Lucia), St Lucia, Brisbane QLD 4072 +61 7 3365 1111. One of Australia's oldest and most prestigious institutions situated on a bend of the Brisbane River. Its majestic sandstone buildings are surrounded by ornamental lakes, Jacaranda lined boulevards and some of the finest architecture. Visitor attractions include the Great Court, the UQ Art Museum at the James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre, the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, the Schonell Theatre, the lakes and the Co-op bookshop (and Wordsmiths cafe, attached to the bookshop). The university can be reached by bus from George St on bus numbers 411, 412 and 109 or via the City Cat.
  •    The Cube, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) (Gardens Point), 2 George St, Brisbane, e-mail: . 10:00-16:00. The Cube is one of the world's largest digital interactive learning and display spaces dedicated to providing an inspiring, explorative and participatory experience of QUT's Science and Engineering research. Here you will find one of the world's largest digital interactive and learning environments in the new $230 million Science and Engineering Centre at the QUT gardens point campus. You can view research-inspired projects across science, engineering, maths and technology displayed on more than 40 multi-touch screens and 14 high-definition projectors. The Cube is inspiring and engaging the next generation of thinkers and doers with its extensive outreach to schools, including their hands-on and interactive workshops and public programs for high school students and QUT undergraduate and postgraduate students. Free.

Do[edit]

Activities and trips[edit]

  • Kangaroo Point, the walls along the Brisbane River are a popular spot for rock climbers and give an excellent view of the CBD skyline just across the river. Activities carry on after dark, when the walls are well-lit. Abseiling and rock climbing classes on the cliffs with an instructor are available from Riverlife Adventures, as well as kayak, kick-bike, rollerblade and bicycle hire. There are also barbecue and picnic spots in the area.
  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Offers the opportunity to scale the top of Brisbane's iconic bridge. You can enjoy 360° views of Brisbane, the mountain ranges and Moreton Bay Islands at dawn, afternoon or night.
  • Jan Powers Farmers Markets. Buy fresh fruit, vegetables and cuts of meat from one of the many farmers markets across Brisbane including the Powerhouse at New Farm, Manly, Mitchelton and the newest market at Reddacliff Place at the top of the Queen Street Mall.
  • Balloons over Brisbane 07 3844 6671. You can gain an aerial perspective as you float over Brisbane in a hot air balloon. It's often possible to see as far off as the magnificent Glasshouse Mountains, to the Gold Coast and out to the islands of Moreton Bay.
  • Cruise the Brisbane River, There are many tours available that cruise the Brisbane River and will help you take in the sights of the city.
  • Explore Brisbane's Moreton Bay and Islands. 25 km (16 mi) from the Brisbane's CBD and stretches from Bribie Island to the Southern Bay Islands. Enjoy sand tobogganing, 4wheel driving, diving or snorkelling or go marine watching and spot turtles, dolphins, dugongs and even whales.
  • Day Trip to Wivenhoe Dam. Spot Koala's, swim, sail or kayak on Lake Wivenhoe. There are BBQ facilities, playgrounds and plenty of parking.
  • Visit Mt Cootha Lookout. Get an expansive view over Brisbane City day or night. There is a cafe at the top which serves food and drinks. This is a great place to watch the Riverfire fireworks from.
  • Woorim Beach. Drive across the bridge from the mainland to see a beautiful Australian national park. Hire a boat for fishing, visit the secluded Woorim Beach with views to Moreton Island or go on one of the several hikes available.
  • Explore Greater Brisbane Country. Take a day trip to the surrounding regions around an hour from Brisbane and discover wineries, national parks, lakes and country living. The Scenic Rim including Ipswich, Beaudesert and Boonah is a vast region of mountains, rainforest and valleys embracing the World Heritage wilderness of the McPherson Range. The Lockyer Valley provides a perfect blend of town and country living, with experiences ranging from guided tours and bush camping to hot air ballooning and sky-diving.
  • The Scenic Rim. This describes the large arc of mountains, to a height of 1,375 m (4,511 ft), from the Mistake Ranges (south of Gatton) across the Main (Great Dividing) Range to the MacPherson Range that terminates at Currumbin on the Gold Coast. Apart from some well known locations on the Rim, such as Binna Burra and O'Reilleys guesthouses, Springbrook and Cunningham’s Gap, the largest proportion of these ranges are unspoilt and much of it near-wilderness. Many forest areas were previously logged, but the forest recovery has been excellent, and virtually all the logging tracks have disappeared except for those still used for foot access. At the previously mentioned sites, graded paths offer a taste, but for the more adventurous there are many hiking possibilities from day trips to sustained multi-day exercises. More information can be found on the web. Parties should be properly prepared and conversant with navigation in difficult country and the rules of National Parks.
  • Riverlife Adventure Centre. Brisbane's riverside adventures. Kayaking, Abseiling the Kangaroo Cliffs, a rollerblade session and bike rentals. They also organise evening activities such as Kayak paddle and prawns.
  • Bosky Bike Hire. Explore the cities landscape on a bicycle. With each bike you also obtain a community card which entitles you to discounts at various cafes, attractions and retail stores throughout Brisbane.

Events[edit]

Thanks to Brisbane's year-round wonderful climate, it's the perfect city to host outdoor events. The city often plays host to cultural and historic celebrations, music festivals and family entertainment, particularly in the Summer holiday months of December, January and February.

Cultural and historic[edit]

By far the largest and most popular event in Brisbane is the annual Brisbane Festival. This festival, which originally started as a celebration of the Brisbane River, now incorporates a number of smaller events at various places around South Bank Parklands, the Cultural Centre and the CBD as a celebration to Brisbane itself. Notably the 'Riverfire' event which is held in South Bank every September and draws the largest crowd. It offers free family entertainment all day and the city's biggest Fireworks display at night.

The annual Royal Queensland Show or The Ekka as it's almost exclusively called by the locals is a staple event in Brisbane's history and culture, held every August and dating back to 1876. It is hosted at the RNA Showgrounds in the inner-suburb of Bowen Hills and runs for a week, where the Wednesday is a public holiday (so expect large crowds on this day). Primarily marketed toward families, attractions at the Ekka include fairground rides, a Side Show Alley, animal parades, wood chopping competitions, agricultural displays, equestrian events and Showbags, usually containing food items (such as confectionery) and novelty items. If you are in Brissy at the time, it really is not to be missed!

In Musgrave Park, the Greek Paniyiri Festival is another popular family entertainment event. Brisbane has a large Greek population who come out in force to celebrate Greek culture. Offers authentic Greek foods and entertainment.

The St. George Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) [22] was held in July/August, but from 2010, early November, is in a variety of venues around Brisbane, including the Regent Cinema in Queen Street Mall and Palace Cinemas in Fortitude Valley. BIFF features new films and retrospectives by domestic and international filmmakers along with seminars and awards.

Music[edit]

Brisbane has been named one of the world's top 5 hotspots for music by the influential US entertainment Billboard magazine. A night out in Brisbane is not complete without experiencing some of the live music on offer. The Valley has the highest concentration of bars, pubs and clubs anywhere in Australia and in 2005, was given Australia's first and only "Special Entertainment Precinct" zoning, which protects and promotes the live music scene.

If you are looking for what's happening in Brisbane, most music and entertainment stores as well as some hipster restaurants and cafés offer free entertainment magazines like Rave [23], Time-Off [24], Tsunami [25], Scene [26] and City News [27] that list what's coming up within the next month or so.

Though you might find most musicians playing in the numerous bars and clubs around the CBD, West End and The Valley, there are some venues which are geared specifically toward hosting bands or artists that are on official tours. Some events allows under 18s in, but not all, so it's best to check beforehand.

  • The Hi-Fi125 Boundary St. Funky, purpose-built live show venue located in the heart of West End.
  • The Tivoli52 Costin St. Has a very relaxed, noir-styled interior with sizable floor space and a mezzanine. Highly rated venue among locals and only a 10 minute walk from The Valley.
  • The Zoo711 Ann St. – Located in The Valley, this live music venue is almost more Brisbane than the river. Indie rock, hipsters and that alternative vibe.

The Valley Fiesta is an annual three-day event. It was launched by Brisbane Marketing in 2002 to promote Fortitude Valley as a hub for arts and youth culture. It features free live music, market stalls, food and drink from many local restaurants and cafés, and other entertainment.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast also play host to a number of nationwide electronic and rock music festivals, mostly geared toward the younger crowd.

  • Big Day Out [28] Hosted on the Gold Coast.
  • Future Music Festival [29]
  • Good Vibrations [30] Hosted on the Gold Coast.
  • Parklife [31] Hosted between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
  • Sunset Sounds [33]

Sports[edit]

Whether watching or participating, Brisbane has a great range of sporting events. Voted as one of the best stadiums in Australia, Suncorp Stadium is host to the Brisbane Broncos NRL and Queensland Reds Rugby Union teams in the winter, and Brisbane Roar Football (Soccer) Club in the summer. Other events such as the NRL State of Origin are also a very big draw-card. Most matches cost between $25–40 for an adult.

On the south side of city at Woolloongabba is the Brisbane Cricket Ground, or commonly known as the 'Gabba. Here, the Brisbane Lions AFL team plays in the winter, and all forms of cricket can be viewed in the summer.

Learn[edit]

Several universities call Brisbane home and there are opportunities for international students to enrol in their degree programs. Many of them have exchange agreements with several foreign universities.

  • The University of Queensland (UQ) is the oldest university in Queensland and arguably the most prestigious, being a member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of leading Australian universities, intensive in research and comprehensive in general and professional education. UQ has it's main campus in the Brisbane suburb of St. Lucia, with other smaller campuses at Ipswich, Gatton and Herston and satellite facilities scattered around Queensland.
  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is another major university located in Brisbane, with a strong focus on both research and practical teaching, forming as an amalgamation of a number of various technical colleges. It also ranks very highly amongst Australian universities. The main campus is located at Gardens Point, right in the heart of Brisbane CBD, with other campuses at Kelvin Grove, Carseldine and Caboolture.
  • Griffith University (simply referred to as Griffith by the locals) is the other major university in Brisbane, with a focus on more creative degrees, but it does offer many of the same degrees you can undertake at other universities. The university has a number of campuses in Brisbane suburbs including South Bank, Mount Gravatt and Nathan, with another two campuses in Logan City and the Gold Coast.

Buy[edit]

  • Queen Street Mall. Main shopping mall in Brisbane, large variety of shops, contains several shopping centres.
  • The Myer Centre. Runs the gamut from jeans shops to specialty knife stores. Internet kiosks are available.
  • The Wintergarden. A fashion centre connected to the foot of the Hilton Hotel. Also contains a licensed day or night bowling alley.
  • QueensPlaza. Brisbane's newest fashion centre, with more expensive, big brand stores.
  • Broadway on the Mall. Many formal wear, evening wear and bridal stores. Also some stores that stock well known Brisbane fashion designers such as Gail Sorronda. Features a downstairs food court and upstairs electrical and appliance retailer.
  • Brisbane Arcade. A secluded narrow shopping strip which acts as a pass way between Adelaide and Queen St. It contains many unique stores. It is one of the few remaining heritage shopping arcades in Brisbane.
  • Queen Adelaide Building. One of Brisbane’s oldest buildings is home to Queensland’s flagship Sportsgirl store, Adidas and Rebel Sport.
Treasury Casino and Hotel.
  • Adelaide Street. Downtown's dress circle
  • Elizabeth Street Arcade. Arcade that spans between Elizabeth and Charlotte streets. Lots of independent boutiques to suit various prices, and lots of cheap Asian food.
  • Albert Street. Has many adventure and sports-type retailers, lots of bookstores.
  • Eagle Street. The centre of law and finance in Queensland, holds the Eagle Street and Riverside markets.
  • Edward Street. Mostly covered by Queens Plaza, Macarthur Centre and Wintergarden street fashion stores. There are also a couple of jewellery, take-away restaurants, bars and night clubs. Edward St. has recently been transformed into a luxury brands precinct, with stores such as MaxMara, Tiffany & Co., Bally, Mont Blanc, Chanel, Gucci Hugo Boss, Oroton, Ralph Lauren, and L'Occitane. Hermes opened a store on Edward St in late 2010. Apple is reportedly set to open a flagship store on Edward St, which will be the largest in Australia, and one of the largest in the world.
  • South Bank markets. Held at the South Bank Parklands every Sunday.
  • Brunswick Street Mall. Located in the heart of China Town, there are many Chinese retailers, fast food restaurants, cafes and bars. Markets are run on Sundays.
  • Westfield Garden City. Large shopping centre with two levels. Contains a large variety of fashion retailers and book stores.
  • Westfield Chermside. Brisbane's largest shopping centre. Popular among youth culture for its Megaplex Movie Cinema.
  • Davies Park MarketMontague Rd, West End. Sa 6AM-2PM. An expansive farmers-style market with an alternative vibe that sells fruit and vegetables, as well as meats, cheese, and handicrafts. Also has food vendors, including a crêperie.
  • James StreetFortitude Valley. Small strip with high end fashion, furniture and electronics retail, plus a couple of nice bars and cafes.
  • Valley Markets - A shopping must for locals and tourists. Operating every weekend, find jewellery, fabulous handmade accessories and artwork. Home to emerging fashion designers. (Sa Su 8AM-4PM)
  • Ann St Along Ann Street in the Valley there are many independent fashion boutiques for mid-range shopping. Some of them are spread out around the corner of Brunswick Street too.

Eat[edit]

Brisbane City and Spring Hill[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Beach House +61 7 3003-0017. Located on the corner of Albert and Elizabeth St, Myer Centre, 2F. Licensed bar, large meals and live entertainment at value for money.
  • Bar Merlo. Various outlets throughout the city, their first being opened in the QUT Gardens Point campus. Regarded as one of the leaders in the Brisbane café society boom since the 90s, their coffee is served at countless cafes and restaurants throughout Brisbane.
  • Hanaichi Wintergarden, Macarthur Central. Cheap Japanese takeaway. Try the Katsu Curry. About $7
  • MOS Burger (Albert Street, just off the Queen St Mall in the direction of King George Square.). The second largest fast food chain in Japan offering interesting and tasty Japanese style burgers, including "rice burgers" that have buns made of rice and interesting filings not found in your usual western burgers. One of only 4 Mos Burger restaurants in Australia, another one is in Sunnybank, and the other two are in the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise and Southport)
  • German Sausage Hut Burnett Lane. Excellent and authentic German food. Take away available. They offer currywurst, wurst in a roll, wurst on a plate with potato salad and sauerkraut.
  • Pancake Manor Charlotte Street, just down from George Street. A Brisbane institution, open 24 hours. Tends to fill up with nightclub revellers on their way home after about 3AM on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Little Tokyo85 Bowen St +61 7 3831-7751. Spring Hill. Oldest Japanese restaurant in Brisbane, under same ownership for over 40 years. Authentic food and decor but at upper-range prices.
  • Pane e Vino +61 7 3220-0044. Albert St. Italian restaurant with pastas and mains $18–34. Not a lot of authentic Italian ambiance as found in more typical restaurants further south in Melbourne.
  • Sono +61 7 3220-1888. Queen Street Mall. Authentic Japanese food. Has a second outlet in the new Portside precinct in Hamilton.
  • Le Bon Choix379 Queen St +61 7 3229-9260. Near the golden triangle, p. Great French bakery. Sells a good variety of sandwiches, cakes, tortes, macarons, fresh bread, croquettes, quiches and coffee. Trading Hrs: Mon-Fri 7AM - 6PM, Sat-Sun 7AM - 5PM

Splurge[edit]

  • ARIA Brisbane1 Eagle St +61 7 3233-2555. The sister restaurant to the famed ARIA Sydney, ARIA Brisbane is no less impressive, with a commanding view of the River and the Story Bridge. Located in the Eagle St Pier precinct, it specialises in the freshest Australian produce.
  • Alchemy +61 7 3229-3175. Located in a little hideaway on Eagle St, this restaurant has one of the most impressive views in Brisbane, looking across the river to the Story Bridge. Well known for its "liquid nitrogen nibbles", Alchemy lives up to its name.
  • Cha Cha Char +61 7 3211-9944. Pier Ave. Famous award-winning steakhouse located at the Eagle St Pier precinct. Their steaks are considered one of Australia's best. Recently opened is Organic Char, the sister restaurant to Cha Cha Char which serves organic produce.
  • E'cco Bistro100 Boundary St +61 7 3831-8344. Founded and run by the internationally renowned and acclaimed chef Philip Johnson, it is one of the best restaurants in Brisbane and Australia-wide.
  • Esquire145 Eagle St +61 7 3220-2123. Recently opened by executive chef Ryan Squires, who trained at Noma in Copenhagen, this restaurant is famed for its degustation menu. An immediate hit in Brisbane. Don't go dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. Many an unsuspecting Brisbanite has attempted to get in, yet even in the height of summer the still have a strict dress rule.
  • Il Centro1 Pier Ave +61 7 3221-6090. Located in the Eagle St Pier precinct, along with other notable neighbours. Famed for its signature sand crab lasagne, it is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Brisbane and also among the priciest.
  • Moda12 Edward St +61 7 3221-7655. Huge selection of wines and a varied menu including seafood, duck, rabbit and pork cheeks. By no means cheap but amazing food.
  • Restaurant Two +61 7 3210-0600. Corner of Edward and George St, (across the street from the Botanic Gardens), [34]. Headed by executive chef David Pugh, it is widely regarded as one of Brisbane's best restaurants.
  • Sake. Eagle St Pier. Recently the recipient of an Australian Gourmet Traveller star, and selected as one of Australia's 100 Top Restaurants, Sake is one of the hot newcomers to the Brisbane restaurant scene. Serves Japanese Cuisine.
  • Tank +61 7 3003-1993. Tank St. Another member of the top 100 Restaurants in Australia, Tank also served Japanese-Australian cuisine in a tucked away spot in a little laneway off Tank St, in the North Quarter of the Brisbane CBD.
  • Urbane +61 7 3229-2271. Mary St, (Short walk from Stamford Plaza). One of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane, serving unconventional but innovative food.
  • Vintaged, Hilton Brisbane, Elizabeth St. Serving carefully aged meat within luxe surroundings, this is one of better hotel restaurants in Brisbane.

Fortitude Valley and New Farm[edit]

  • Continental Cafe21 Barker St +61 7 3254-0377. Good food, nice atmosphere across several rooms, surprisingly good children's menu. Open for dinner 364 days a year. Watch out for the offal specials on Tuesdays. Reliable high quality.
  • Enjoy Inn167 Wickham St (corner of Duncan St in Chinatown),  +61 7 3252-3838. One of the longest established restaurants in Brisbane, good Chinese food.
  • Fatboys Cafe323 Brunswick St +61 7 3252-3789. The cafe portion of Ric's Bar, on Brunswick St Mall. Serves some of the best value for money breakfasts in Brisbane from $4.
  • Freestyle Tout1000 Ann St +61 7 3252-0214. Popular dessert restaurant located in the Emporium, with a sister restaurant that is first established in the Rosalie shops in Paddington.
  • Green Tea Restaurant31 Duncan St (Duncan St in Chinatown mall),  +61 7 3252-4855. Good authentic Vietnamese food at a reasonable price.
  • Garuva Hidden Tranquillity Restaurant324 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley +61 732 160 124. 7 days, 6PM til midnight. Specialises in Asian food, but come for the atmosphere. Low-lighting, floor seating and ambient music make this the most intimate restaurant in Brisbane, and every table is enclosed by a sheer curtain. Bar as well, cheap cocktails Fri and Sat before 7PM. $20.
  • Harvey's (James St precinct),  +61 7 3852-3700. Very popular cafe restaurant and deli. It is located a short walk from James St market.
  • Hunan Chinese Restaurant, (Chinatown Mall). Unpretentious eatery serving exotic regional Chinese fare from the Hunan province, as well as Chinese takeaway staples at cheap and reasonable prices.
  • James Street Market. Not a restaurant, but a yuppie grocery where you will find all the food and drink you need to bring with you in the bush. Includes a small sushi bar at furthest end from James St.
  • King of Kings +61 7 3852-1122. Wickham St, (Chinatown precinct). A Brisbane institution for yum cha, decent food and prices.
  • Mecca Bah1000 Ann St (Emporium precinct),  +61 7 3252-5299. Popular restaurant that serves modern Middle Eastern food, part of an Australian interstate franchise that originated in Melbourne.
  • Mint Indian Gourmet +61 7 3252-0300. Brunswick St, (near the Central Brunswick precinct). Indian restaurant that serves traditional curries as well as gourmet dishes at upper range prices.
  • Re Del Gelato +61 7 3358-2177. Beautifully made Italian gelato, a perfect cap after a nice meal at one of the close by restaurants on Brunswick Street.
  • Taj Mahal722 Brunswick St (opposite Village Twin Cinemas),  +61 7 3254-2388. Amazing Indian cuisine. Caterers to the Indian Cricket Team when in Brisbane.
  • Thai Wi-Rat20 Duncan St (on Chinatown Mall),  +61 7 3257-0884. Cheap and cheerful authentic regional Thai-Laotian cuisine.
  • Vespa Pizza148 Merthyr Rd (corner of James St),  +61 7 3358-4100. Woodfired pizza restaurant on the. Serves the tastiest pizzas in Brisbane and is BYO. Cosy atmosphere in the fairylight-lit courtyard outside and room to move in the booths inside. Delivers to local area on Vespa scooters.
  • Wagamama (in the Emporium precinct). Part of the global noodle bar chain. Have franchises in Chermside and Wintergarden in the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane CBD.

South Bank and Woolloongabba[edit]

  • Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant +61 7 3846-6699. Little Stanley St. Turkish restaurant, features belly dancers on weekends. One of the most popular and busiest restaurants in the South Bank precinct, though the painstaking quality of the kitchen means a longer than usual wait for food. Do not expect to be in and out in less than an hour.
  • Brisbane German Club416 Vulture St (opposite The Gabba stadium),  +61 7 3391-2434. Located directly, this restaurant/bar offers a wonderful range of authentic German cuisine and beer for very reasonable prices.
  • Green Papaya898 Stanley St +61 7 3217-3599. Formerly a French-influenced Northern Vietnamese fine dining restaurant founded by renowned chef Lien Yeomans, it is now run by the Mons Ban Sabai management and serves Thai and Indonesian food.
  • Norman Hotel102 Ipswich Rd +61 7 3391-5022. Woolloongabba. Along with the Breakfast Creek Hotel, possibly the best steaks in town, it's slogan is "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant".

Milton and Park Road[edit]

  • China Sea60 Park Rd (on the Coronation Drive end of Park Road),  +61 7 3367-0198. Excellent Chinese food at upper-range prices.
  • La Dolce Vita20 Park Rd (next to Rue de Paris),  +61 7 3368-3805. Great Italian cafe
  • Rue de Paris30 Park Rd +61 7 3368-2600. Brisbane's Eiffel Tower, another great cafe
  • Royal Thai Orchid45 Little Cribb St (off Park Rd),  +61 7 3229-2588. Thai restaurant. Its sister restaurant in the outer suburb of Springwood was the first Thai restaurant in Brisbane.
  • The Lure28 McDougall St (at the Coro Hotel on Milton Rd),  +61 7 3369-9955. Good for well prepared seafood. Possibly one of Brisbanes best seafood restaurants.

Paddington[edit]

  • Gambaro's33 Caxton St +61 7 3369-9500. Has both a seafood restaurant and a long-established seafood takeaway. A Brisbane institution.
  • Harem +61 7 3368-3141. 282 Given Tce. Turkish restaurant complete with belly-dancing
  • Kookaburra Cafe +61 7 3369-2400. 280 Given Tce. Good pizza in a relaxed atmosphere
  • Montrachet. 224 Given Terrace. French bistro specializing in Lyonnaise specialties, regarded as one of Brisbane's best restaurants.
  • Sultans Kitchen +61 7 3368-2194. 163 Given Ter. Among the best Indian food in the city. Fresh and tasty and good service. Usually fills quickly and does a roaring take-away trade, so get in early.
  • Tomato Brothers19 Nash St (Rosalie shops in Paddington),  +61 7 3368-1601. Renowned for their wood fired pizzas, with several franchises in several Brisbane suburbs such as Wilston and Clayfield.
  • Urban Grind530 Brunswick St +61 408 101 140. LaTrobe Ter. Small café with a BYO food policy, great coffee and free Wi-Fi. For those who wish to indulge in a guilt free cup of coffee Urban Grind is committed to being climate neutral and use Barambah organic milk in their fantastic coffees.
  • Sol, 20 Latrobe Ter. Vegetarian and all organic café warm in winter and cool in summer and the coffee is great.

University of Queensland[edit]

The university and its surrounds provide many quality eateries if you happen to be in the area or on a CityCat ferry and caters to a cheaper market.

  • Main Refectory in the main eatery on Campus, found in building 21. This is also known as The Refec, not be confused with the Physiology Refectory. Food is usually reasonably priced, to cater to students. Apart from the main section of the refectory (Main Course), there is a sushi bar, noodle bar, Souvlaki Hut, Subway, Boost Juice, bakery and a Mr. Beans Coffee.
  • Physiology Refectory is an eatery known as The Physiology Refec, located in building 63, it is designed to allow students to eat without having to travel to the opposite side of campus.
  • A Salt 'n Battery, Hawken Drive, Hawken Village. Quality fish and chip shop-cum-seafood restaurant with a wide variety of foods and decent prices. Approx 5-10 min walk from the University.

South Brisbane and West End[edit]

  • Era Bistro102 Melbourne St +61 7 3255-2033. South Brisbane. Excellent bistro food, great cafe spot, extensive wine cellar. Same owners/chef as the former critically acclaimed Circa.
  • Huong's, 83a Vulture St. Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food. BYO and Takeaway available.
  • Lefkas Taverna170 Hardgrave Rd +61 7 3844-1163. West End. Brisbane's most famous Greek takeaway and restaurant.
  • Makanan Indonesia59 Hardgrave Rd +61 7 3846-2111. Authentic Indonesian fare at unbeatable value.
  • Mondo Organics166 Hardgrave Rd +61 7 3844-1132. West End. Considered to be Brisbane's premier organic food restaurant. Also have a cooking school.
  • Gandhi Curry House10 Little Stanley St +61 7 3844-1997. S South Brisbane. Brisbane's signature Indian restaurant, celebrating 10 years of service in South Bank.
  • The Forest Cafe, Boundary St. Vegan food. The indoors area can get quite warm during the summer months, however.
  • Tukka +61 7 3846-6333. 145b Boundary St. Unique and innovative modern native Australian cuisine. Pricing is at the upper range, but worth a visit.
  • Trang2/59 Hardgrave Road West. End. Did someone say Pho? Head here for possibly the best Pho is Brisbane. Give the Chinese menu a miss.

Restaurants in other areas/precincts[edit]

The famous steak at Breakfast Creek
  • Baguette150 Racecourse Rd (Ascot precinct),  +61 7 3268-6168. Modern-Australian restaurant that is owned and operated by the Domenech family for over 30 years.
  • Blue Lotus. Kelvin Grove Urban Village precinct. Gourmet and exotic ice-creams that change according to the seasons.
The vegetarian meze platter at Efes
  • 'The Courthouse Restaurant,' 1 Paxton St, Cleveland, ☎ +61 7 3286-1386 - [www.courthouserestaurant.com.au]. A Redlands institution, situated in an 1850's Courthouse, this restaurant offers quality food in a stunning heritage building with beautiful views of Moreton Bay.
  • Earth 'n' Sea, Oxford St, Bulimba ☎ +61 7 3899-5988 or 377 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo ☎ +61 7 3847-7780 [35]. BYO family restaurant serving up delicious pasta dishes and pizzas with unusual toppings, all with the freshest ingredients, great atmosphere and strange Aussie decor. Expensive, but you're guaranteed to leave satisfied.
  • Efes One Turkish Restaurant293 Sandgate Rd (off Sandgate Road at Albion),  +61 7 3862-4599. Brisbane's first Turkish restaurant. Without a doubt the most popular destination for traditional Turkish cuisine and a friendly atmosphere in Brisbane. Belly dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Landmark101 Cnr mains Rd +61 7 3344-3288. Shop/ (Sunnybank Plaza business precinct). One of the most renowned and popular Chinese restaurants in Brisbane, notably for its well done authentic yum cha.
  • Sakura, Franchises located in Coorparoo and Highgate Hill. Excellent authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices.
  • Sitar (next to Bespoke in the Albion area). Indian restaurant that has franchises in suburbs like West End and New Farm.

Cafés[edit]

West End[edit]

  • The Gunshop Cafe 53 Mollison St, ☎ +61 7 3844-2241. Possibly the best French toast in the city. Always busy so be prepared to queue and not open on Sunday. Fantastic coffee.
  • Paladar, Cnr Fish Lane & Merivale St. Devised by connoisseur Filip Pilioras, Paladar Fumior Salon is a must for lovers of Cuban coffee, culture and cigars. Despite having a small street frontage and being tucked away off a main street (Merivale St on the corner of Fish Lane) the bright red exterior makes it easy to find once you are in the area.
  • Three Monkeys, 58 Mollison St– Throughout the ground floor and garden of a converted house, this eclectic cafe is an enchanting maze of exotic furniture, fabrics and nooks. A Brisbane icon for over 20 years, you can enjoy meals, desserts and of course, tea and coffee, here 7 days a week.
  • The Fox Hotel, Melbourne St, ☎ +61 7 3844-2883. Has a number of wonderful art deco bars and a signature restaurant serving true Italian ristorante style cuisine, luxurious banquet seating, opening roof and euro-style street side dining.
  • Uber, 100 Boundary St.
  • Lychee Lounge, 94 Boundary St. Inspired by the neighbourhoods pre- and post-war housing and vibrant art sub-culture. Asian-inspired snacks and cocktails.
  • The JoYnT, 48 Montague Rd. Small coffee shop in South Brisbane.
  •    West End Coffee House80 Vulture St., West End (Corner Vulture St. and Boundary St.). 6AM-4PM. Organic coffee, Thai food for lunch, relaxed atmosphere and occasional exhibitions. $3 coffee.

Woolloongabba[edit]

  • Desmond and Molly Jones, 615 Stanley St, ☎ +61 7 3391-8594. Café with exposed brick walls, a hodge-podge of vintage seating, and excellent iced chocolates.

Teneriffe[edit]

  • Salon, 110 Macquarie St. Intimate Euro-chic ambience, delicious food and an extensive international wine list with over 20 available by the glass.
  • Blowfly, 110 Macquarie St. Quirky and intimate. Modern take on the traditional Australian BBQ with a large alfresco dining area.
  • London Club, 38 Vernon Terrace. Contemporary food and a young, casual vibe.

Brisbane CBD[edit]

  • Alen's Espresso, 420 George St. Small but renowned café on George St, towards Roma St. An interesting collection of white-collar government workers, lawyers, hi-vis blue-collar workers and backpackers frequent this area.
  • Brew, Lower Burnett Lane. Creative and relaxed café off the Albert St Mall. Great coffee, food and boutique beer and cider, and an intimate location.

New Farm[edit]

  • Campos11 Wandoo St +61 7 3252-3612. Sydney-based café/roastery. Located behind the popular Fresh on James Street markets. But please note that you cannot access this directly from James St Market you need to go around the complex to get there is a sign that points you the way.

Paddington[edit]

  • Anouk, 212 Given Tce, ☎ +61 7 3367-8663. Open daily 07:00-14:30. Sophisticated atmosphere and the perfect place for brunch. On weekends you may have to queue for seating.

Wynnum/Manly[edit]

  • Jetty Kiosk, William Gunn Jetty, Manly Esplanade, (behind the Manly Baths swimming pool). Cafe owned by the Port of Brisbane. Open 7 days, from 9AM-4PM, Sit over the water enjoying a drink, dessert or meal and admire Moreton Bay. Peaceful.
  • Cafe da Vinci, 50 Cambridge Parade, Manly, ☎ +61 7 3396-2069. Sit on the wooden deck of this bayside cafe and admire the harbour. Serves drinks, meals, great breakfasts, and desserts. Open 7 days, dinner only on Thu, Fri and Sat. Not the best breakfat in Manly.

Drink[edit]

Brisbane's drinking and nightlife scene is separated into some distinct areas. Anyone planning a night on the town should be aware that after 3AM no more patrons are allowed into pubs and clubs. This is a safety measure, coupled with increased security presence at taxi ranks. Additionally, smokers should beware of strict anti-smoking regulations. Smoking is now banned in 'all areas where food & drink is served', both indoors and outdoors. This means that smoking is banned in all hotels, clubs, and cafés except in designated smoking areas.

The drinking age is 18 and only an Australian license or 18+ card, or a foreign passport is accepted as proof of age. Other forms of ID such as a student card are not accepted. These regulations are strictly enforced - for nightclubs in particular your ID will always be checked at the door, and while venues serving food may let you in, most are very prudent in checking ID if you wish to purchase alcohol.

Suburban[edit]

Toowong:

  • Regatta (adjacent to the Regatta CityCat terminal). Expect a wait to get in on Thur, Fri and Sat nights, but a must-go for the best sessions on Wed and Sun nights when the venue is completely taken by students
  • Royal Exchange (RE) Hotel10 High St +61 7 3371-2555. Generally a good, down-to-earth pub, more so than the Regatta, which tends to cater to a slightly trendier crowd

Both Regatta and the RE have reputations (which they more than live up) as student haunts, being located reasonably close to the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.

Bulimba:

Catch a citycat to Bulimba for some trendy shopping on popular Oxford Street, great cafes, hip bars or for a picnic in the park.

Woolloongabba

  • Chalk Hotel735 Stanley St +61 7 3896-6565. A prominent Brisbane hotel since converted into extremely popular, multi-million dollar, modern southside bar/restaurant. Very popular on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during/after matches at the nearby Gabba Stadium or special events at South Bank.

Brisbane City[edit]

  • Belgian Beer Cafe169 Mary St. – Caters for a slightly more upmarket clientele, with a "gourmet" or "boutique" style to its all-Belgian-sourced beers, also serves meals, with a particular favourite being traditional Belgian mussels.
  • Brew Lower Burnett Lane - This alleyway joint is a relaxed, bohemian cafe by day and a trendy boutique bar by night. Brew serves some of the best coffee in Brisbane, as well as a wide range of micro-brewed beers, in a welcoming, creative environment. Down an alleyway off the Albert St Mall heading to King George Square, next to the Rocking Horse.
  • Caesars15 Adelaide St. A new nightclub featuring R'n'B style music.
  • Conrad Treasury Casino130 William St. Brisbane's casino has a number of bars, from quiet lounges to dance floors. Known for its well-priced daiquiris. Open 24 hours a day (no lockout), though the individual bars vary.
  • Criterion Tavern239 George St. A newly renovated bar, recommended for those who are looking for a quick beer and some country music.
  • Down Under Bar308 Edward St. A well known haunt for travellers, with a number of pool tables, dance floor and unashamedly little class. Messages left by visitors from all over the world adorn the walls. If you are studying in Brisbane or just backpacking, this is perfect bar for meeting people of other nationalities.
  • Exchange Hotel131 Edward St. – Somewhat popular with a wide, although decidedly young, demographic, including students, young professionals and tourists, who all stream in later in the night after cheap drinks finish at the other hotels nearby. Newly renovated with stylish interior and 2nd floor open roof bar.
  • Fridays123 Eagle St. A very popular nightclub which also features dining (not recommended after 10PM). Especially popular with the Friday after-work crowd. Smart dress code (business style shoes and shirts for the guys), always enforced.
  • Gilhooleys124 Albert St. Possibly the liveliest of Brisbane's Irish pubs, you can still get a quiet pint over a hearty lunch.
  • Irish Murphy's175 George St. Good food, a lively atmosphere and a great pint at this Irish pub on George St.
  • Mick O'Malley's Irish Pub171-209 Queen St. One of the many Irish pubs in Brisbane. Has a reasonable selection of food to enjoy with your pint of Guinness.
  • The Port Office Hotel38 Edward St. Trendy bar downstairs dance floor upstairs popular spot in Brisbane. Crowded with students on Thursday.
  • Sportsman Hotel130 Leichhardt St. Commonly called "Sporty's", this gay and lesbian pub has two bars upstairs and one private members bar downstairs. Lunch and dinner are served. Drag shows and karaoke on certain nights.

Fortitude Valley[edit]

The Fortitude Valley is a unique area of Brisbane catering to the live music scene. A large number of Brisbane's hippest clubs are located here. Through the 1960s and 70s it was seen as Brisbane's bohemian hub and has maintained a certain degree of that reputation. More recently it is sometimes thought of as being one of the more dangerous areas of the city but this attitude is changing as the area becomes more popular and hence, safer. This however has had an adverse affect on the area's creative vibe as locals turn their back on the area, forcing the creative epicentre of Brisbane to other areas of the city such as West End and Paddington. As with anywhere, simple common sense, caution and courtesy will keep you out of harm's way.

  • Alhambra Lounge12 McLachlan St. Very stylish interior with a modern Arabic/Spanish theme, young professional and student crowd, good atmosphere and excellent cocktails. Various styles of house music. Located right next door to The Family.
  • Anise697 Brunswick St. Promotional price range from $5 to $10. Near the corner of Barker and Brunswick St in New Farm - this great restaurant has an extensive range of French, Spanish and Swiss absinthe available
  • Bank - Vault Lounge. Ann St - Party Bar, OK atmosphere, recently renovated, the Vault Lounge is perfect for functions. Outdoor seating available, woodfire pizza and pasta.
  • Barsoma22 Constance St. Trendy little bar tucked away on Constance Street (off Ann St) offers great cuisine & an array of delicious (& creative) cocktails. On some nights it plays alternative dance music parties.
  • The Beat677 Ann St. Downstairs has three dance areas dedicated to hardcore/rave, electro and popular music, upstairs is gay (generally a younger crowd than the Wickham) & has two dance floors & a beer garden
  • Birdee Num Num608 Ann St. OK atmosphere, mainly student (popular with this crowd because of the lack of cover charge) and backpacker clientele. Commercial dance music.
  • Bowery Bar676 Ann St. A small & chic New York inspired bar. Formal/Smart dress code. Amazing cocktails.
  • Cloudland641 Ann St. Recently opened cocktail lounge on Ann Street with a retractable roof, 10 metre waterfall, 5,000 plants and a glass bar made from 17,000 glass balls threaded by hand. Caters to a very upmarket, sophisticated crowd. Smart dress code which is strictly enforced on busy nights.
  • Club 299299 Brunswick St. Fantastic if you enjoy metal, emo or any kind of alternative music.
  • The Empire339 Brunswick St. Alternative dance club, nice long balcony overlooking busy Brunswick Street, a few levels, less pretentious but darker than other dance clubs in Brisbane although no less expensive.
  • Elixir Rooftop Bar646-648 Ann St. A sophisticated style roof top bar situated above the hustle and bustle of Ann St. This is an atmospheric cocktail bar open to the public seven days a week and provides live entertainment Thursday through to Sunday. Great atmosphere, great drinks and great food.
  • The Family8 McLachlan St. – A bit pricey to get in, but it's one of the biggest club in Brisbane and has great music and atmosphere. Decor is now outdated to other clubs, but still attracts large crowds; Sunday nights (fluffy) are gay. Also
  • Glass Bar420 Brunswick St. Vibrant atmosphere, small restaurant & bar/lounge, really expensive drinks.
  • GPO740 Ann St. Bar and nightclub situated in a former Post Office on Ann Street; trendy spot with great tunes.
  • Limes Hotel142 Constance Street. Rooftop bar and cinema situated above a boutique hotel. Gets busy on weekends with young-professional crowd. Try the mojitos!
  • Mana Bar420 Brunswick St. Small cocktail bar, with video games to play with other patrons while working through the themed drinks menu. Very unique concept, which pulls a surprisingly diverse and sociable crowd.
  • The Met256 Wickham St. – The biggest club in Brisbane. Host to many international DJs. Amazing decor with great attention to detail. Many different rooms to explore. Although a bit expensive, a huge variety of different types of people inside.
  • Monastery621 Ann St. Top dance club in Brisbane plays house and Electro/Electronic. Small but action packed. Freshly renovated interior.
  • The Press Club339 Brunswick St. Small club with large lounges to stretch out on. Host to funky Jazz blended with dance music.
  • Rics321 Brunswick St. Live music most nights. The Valley's hipster institution. Venue also includes "Fatboys Cafe", which is a popular restaurant serving breakfast, steaks, pizza and pasta.
  • Royal George (RG) Hotel327 Brunswick St. Large Beer garden in the Brunswick St Mall, great atmosphere, great food deals most nights.
  • Spanish Tapas Bar455 Brunswick St. The only authentic Spanish Restaurant in Brisbane that embraces the Spanish food and Culture. The Sangria is excellent.
  • The Wickham308 Wickham St. A gay & lesbian dance club with outdoor seating, drag shows most nights
  • x&y Bar648 Ann St. One of the least pretentious venues in The Valley. There is no strict clothing policy and you're likely to get in so long as you're wearing shoes, long pants and a shirt. Has a variety of music from live bands, DJs and special events.
  • Zuri367 Brunswick St. Upmarket ambience, strict door entry conditions regarding clothing and shoes. Male to Female ratio strictly enforced. Quite expensive drinks.

West End[edit]

Less crowded than 'the valley' or the city, this bohemian district popular with locals offers a few hip clubs, intimate restaurants and a very laid back atmosphere.

Check out:

  • Lychee Lounge94 Boundary St. Intimate setting, sensual cocktails, beautiful crowd
  • Uber100 Boundary St. Opulent, sophisticated & funky restaurant/bar/lounge/dancefloor. nice spot, popular with working professionals. Especially popular on Wednesday nights.
  • Archive Beer Boutique100 Boundary St. Located at street level beneath Uber, Archive stocks over 200 different craft beers, primarily Australian. The food is generally excellent, although the menu is in no way as extensive as the beverage list. Prices are reasonable, particularly on Sunday "Beer O'Clock" where the price on the majority of bottled beers are reduced to $5.
  • The Boundary Hotel137 Boundary St. West Ends oldest pub has recently (2011) completed extensive renovations. This is perhaps the largest drinking establishment in West End, with two bars downstairs and a beer garden & deck on the upper floor. The food is fairly plain but well priced, and the drinks menu is about the same. Excellent live blues acts Sunday afternoon and evenings from Wednesday to Saturday are the main reason to visit.
  • Sling Lounge153 Boundary St. Extremely knowledgeable cocktail staff, with a huge range of drinks on the menu. Bigger than it appears from the outside, you'll find a garden hidden out the back with high ceilings and a great atmosphere complemented by the jazz and lounge music usually playing. It can get busy on Friday and Saturday nights, with a resulting increase in wait times for your beverage. Well worth visiting, especially during quieter times - the staff are more than happy to walk you through the process of making your drinks, including the reasoning behind each individual ingredient being included. Tapas is also available, but prices are a little high considering serving size.
  • Rumpus Room56 Russell Street. Great cocktails, and a good selection of spirits and bottled drinks. The music here is primarily funk and hip-hop, with live DJs on the weekend and during the latter half of the week. The beer garden out the front is a great spot to relax in the shade on a hot day and meet some locals. The crowd tends to be a lot thicker and drunker on Saturday nights, however.
  • Lock n Load142 Boundary St. Friendly staff, live music most evenings and a decent array of cocktails. The beer garden at the back is a nice spot to relax, but is often crowded. Excellent spot for a light meal.
  • The End73 Vulture St. Calls itself a "boutique bar for everyone". Quite small inside, so if you're not there early you will probably miss out on a seat to 'hipper than thou' types. Decent selection of beers at the average price, ever-changing seasonal cocktail menu.
  • The Joynt48 Montague Rd. A nice dingy little pub in a big beautiful old Queenslander-style building. Most nights there will be a band playing jazz or funk. Usual selection of drinks, the pizzas are nice but pricey, and the profits from the alcoholic slushies go the band. Also note the free arcade machines and the stack of board games you can play.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Tinbilly Travellers466 George St (cnr Herschel St; opposite Roma St Transit Centre),  +61 7 3238-5888. A Nomads Hostel with big ensuite rooms, and good lounge/TV facilities.
  • Base Central Backpackers (formerly Palace Central Backpackers), 308 Edward St +61 7 3211-2433. . A large hostel right across the street from Central Station. It's on the older side, but has a very fun, vibrant and young atmosphere. And it's right over the Down Under Bar, so you haven't far to stumble home. Can be loud and very party-oriented, but it's a great spot to meet people.
  • Bunk11 Gipps St, Fortitude Valley +61 7 3257-3644, e-mail: . Modern, clean, very popular, swimming pool, and one of Brisbane's popular (but more expensive) night clubs, Birdee Num Num.
  • Moreton Bay Backpackers Lodge45 Cambridge Parade, Manly +61 7 3396-3824. Situated next to the ocean, in a bayside suburb. 20 min train ride from the Brisbane CBD. Can organise activities like surfing, sailing, fishing and diving. Dorms and private rooms, internet access, airport and train transfers.

Mid-range[edit]

Brisbane hotels are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Central Brunswick Hotel455 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley +61 7 3852-1411fax: +61 7 3852-1015. Spacious apartments close to Chinatown and nearby to CBD area of downtown Brisbane.
  • Emporium Hotel1000 Ann St +61 7 3253-6999. One of Brisbane's best, but at high end prices. Part of the emporium complex, the hotel has some of the best rooms and spa and gyms in Brisbane.
  • Kingsford Riverside Inn114 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton +61 7 3862-1317. Close to the airport. A few minutes’ walk from the Breakfast Creek Hotel. The accommodation can be accessed via door-to-door transport services [37]. From $69.
  • Limes Hotel142 Constance St, Fortitude Valley +61 7 3852-9000. Contemporary designed boutique hotel in Fortitude Valley with a roof top bar and cinema. 21 balcony or courtyard (complete with hammock) rooms. Kitchenette with working bench space, freewifi or broadband access, iPod dock, 32inch LCD televisions and L’Occitane toiletries. Daily newspaper service and complimentary beverage on the roof top.
  • Rydges9 Glenelg St, South Bank, toll-free: 1 300 857 922. In the heart of Brisbane's arts and entertainment precinct, it is the closest hotel to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is immediately adjacent to the hotel and downtown Brisbane and the bohemian village of West End are a 10 min stroll away.
  • Story Apartments89 Lambert St, Kangaroo Point +61 7 3392-1300. Offers both short-stay and long-stay accommodation, and is just a few min ferry ride from the CBD. From $209.

Serviced apartments[edit]

  • Bridgewater Terraces. Wharf Street, Kangaroo Point. Within a few minutes’ walk of Holman Street ferry terminal, Bridgewater Terraces consist of one, two and three bedroom self-contained apartments. Large lagoon pool, spa, sauna, gym and barbeque facilities (shared with Quest Bridgewater next door).
  • Quest Bridgewater55 Baildon Street. Kangaroo Point. One, two and three bedroom apartments although more expensive than the Bridgewater Terraces it has great views of the city from some rooms. Quest Bridgewater utilises the facilities on offer at Bridgewater Terraces.
  • The Oaks Lexicon Apartments. Ann Street, Brisbane City. In the heart of the CBD, is in a contemporary building with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.Facilities and service of a modern hotel but providing a self-contained apartment. Minutes to the Queen Street Mall, Riverside and the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Connect[edit]

Internet[edit]

There are numerous internet cafes around the CBD. Check this webpage for the closest one. Expect to pay around $2–3 per hour, although most places will offer you a discount if you pre-pay a certain number of hours.

There are also alternatives to internet cafes:

  • Free Internet access is available at the Brisbane City Council library, although you might need to book your session in advance.
  • Free Internet (including Wi-Fi) access is available at the Queensland State Library, South Bank in selected areas. The main Infocentre area is quite large and has a number of 30 minute (no booking) and 60 minute (booking required) computers. The 60 minute computers are booked using a queuing system upon arriving at the library (no library card required). The Infocentre also has a very large lounge and desk area for those with their own laptops wishing to use the free Wi-Fi. Printing is $0.10 per page, but requires the purchase of a $2 copy card in addition to the per page cost. The library is also air-conditioned (as one might expect) so is a good place to spend some time during the scorching mid-day heat.
  • Many cafes and hotels provide free Wi-Fi access to patrons. Keep an eye out for signage and use the internet city guide.
  • Most McDonald's restaurants have free Wi-Fi (limited to 50MB per session, no time limit).
  • Queensland Rail has installed free Wi-Fi (20MB, resets after 4 hours) on 64 of its trains. They are identified by large stickers near doors, billboards or small stickers on the inside edge of doors.

Telephones[edit]

Payphones are abundant in the downtown area. For Australia wide contact options, such a mobile phones and calling cards, see the entry in Australia

Stay safe[edit]

Crime[edit]

Brisbane has a relatively low crime rate in comparison to other cities of such size. In most cases being aware of your environment and using common sense will keep you safe. Like Sydney and other large cities, trains and train stations are usually considered a common crime zone throughout the afternoons and nights, however trains and stations are patrolled by Police, Transit Officers, railway personnel and private security guards. Cameras are also used to increase security. It is advised to exercise caution when travelling on trains and buses during these periods of the day.

Here are some particular areas of note:

  • Outer Suburbs: Tend to have a higher crime rate than inner suburbs which should be taken into account when visiting these areas.
    • Days: Very safe during the day, but using common sense goes a long way. Avoid gangs of people, especially if they seem trashy or obnoxious and be mindful if a questionable person approaches you.
    • Nights: Like most other places, outer suburbs to get more dangerous. Most suburban streets are poorly lit or have no lighting at all. It is recommended that individuals walking in these areas at night take precaution or venture within a group.
  • City Central/CBD: Usually very safe at all hours.
    • Days: Very safe during the day thanks to a good police presence and most people only being there for work. Though during school holidays groups of youths can congregate, especially around Queen St and South Bank and can get rather rowdy, but they usually mind their own business.
    • Nights: Still relatively safe at night. Police presence isn't as strong, except on Friday and Saturday nights, but you're still urged to travel with others. Be careful if catching a train at night, even though the train stations and trains are well patrolled and watched by CCTV. Treasury Casino patrons often gather outside and unwanted attention can be received late at night due to drunks. However, security is tight and the entire area around the Casino is monitored by CCTV. Take extra caution if in South Bank at night due to groups of youths congregating there.
  • Fortitude Valley: Police presence very strong here due to the concentration of bars.
    • Days: Just as safe as the CBD during the day.
    • Nights (especially Friday and Saturday): Taxi ranks in particular can be a little dangerous due to many frustrated drunks having to wait for cabs. Wait only at ranks that have a security guard. Stay to the well-lit busy streets and never venture off alone, especially down back-streets or far away from a crowd. Especially for females, it is recommended to travel in pairs or groups to avoid any unwanted attention from drunken revellers, especially in the early hours of the morning.
  • Suburban pubs: generally less safe than inner-city pubs, bars and clubs due to less police and security. Drunks can be a hassle when in the vicinity of suburban pubs, especially around closing times. Fights in these venues are common.

Emergency numbers[edit]

Throughout Australia, the number for emergency services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) is 000. When using a mobile or cell phone, the numbers 000 and 112, are free of charge, and connect using any of the available networks.

Emergency numbers such as 911 and 999 do not work within Australia.

Sun safety[edit]

Probably the worst thing that can befall your trip to Brisbane is sunburn and other heat-related issues. The local UV Index is almost always in the extreme rating during the day (10AM-3PM) and precautions should always be taken. Do not be fooled though, even in the cooler months or when it is overcast you can still be affected by UV rays or the heat. Sunscreen, shirts, sunglasses and lots of water are essential

Go next[edit]

Brisbane provides a base for day trips to explore the southeast of Queensland. The North Coast of New South Wales can also be reached in an hour if traffic is light, but allow up to two hours travel if traffic is heavy or there is an accident on the Pacific Motorway. Queensland Rail also provides extensive services out of Brisbane to the north and south of the city and to the Gold Coast.

North of Brisbane:

  • Glass House Mountains National Park - about an hour north of Brisbane. There is a scenic drive through the mountains with a couple of lookouts, or you can go for a hike - easy or difficult, depending on the mountain. (Mt. Beerwah offers a stern but quick scramble and a good view of the area.) There are a few small roadside shops in the area that sell homemade jams and varieties of macadamia nuts.
  • Beerwah - home of the Australia Zoo, run by the family of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. Admission is $57 for adults.
  • Sunshine Coast - 90 minutes north of Brisbane, suitable for surfers without the clutter of the more famous beaches to the south. The city of Noosa and several derivatively-named cities (e.g., Noosa Heads, Noosaville) offer short and long-term accommodation, some restaurants and a few stretches of shops aimed at tourists with and without a budget.
  • Eumundi - famous markets on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Moreton Island - Holiday destination very close to Brisbane. Dive and snorkel Tangalooma Wrecks, go sand tobogganing, 4wd and much more.
  • Fraser Island - World Heritage listed site, offering pristine, unspoiled lakes, dunes, forests and wildlife. Camping is possible, or day-trips can be arranged from Noosa. World's largest sand island.
  • Redcliffe This peninsula located 45 minutes north is famous for its long stretch of beach, friendly locals and excellent food, shops and weather.

South of Brisbane:

  • Gold Coast - famous for being a tourist town, approximately 70 km south of Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway.
  • Dreamworld and Whitewater World - Theme park in the western Gold Coast suburb of Coomera, on the Pacific Motorway. Many large thrill rides including the 'Tower of Terror' and the 'Giant Drop' and roller coasters. There are also child-friendly rides and Australian animal attractions and shows, as well as a Tiger exhibit. Whitewater World is a water park adjacent to Dreamworld and offers the newest technology in water rides. It costs extra to get into, but you can buy a pass that gets you into both parks for a discounted price.
  • Movieworld - Another theme park near 'Dreamworld' and 'Wet 'n' Wild Water World.' Generally longer, more cinematic and atmospheric rides, shows and attractions.
  • Seaworld - aquatically-themed park sandwiched on a peninsula between the Gold Coast Seaway and the Pacific Ocean, located in Southport (just north of the Gold Coast.) A few rides, but popular for its impressive animal shows and exhibits.
  • Wet 'n' Wild Water World - Water park on the Gold Coast, with heated rides and pools for winter. Large number of thrill rides and also mellow relaxation areas.
  • Mt. Tamborine National Park - extensive areas of National Park plus arts, crafts, galleries and the like, near several forest hikes. There are some excellent fudge shops at the top of Mt. Tamborine that offer generous free samples and a staggering variety of flavours.
  • Surfers Paradise - [38] - tourist Mecca, and arguably the most upmarket area on the Gold Coast. Located on a life-guarded beach front, host to Caville Avenue, and several shopping malls.
  • Lower Moreton Bay
  • Moreton Bay - includes places like Moreton Island (where Scooby Doo was filmed) and St. Helena Island (a former maximum security prison for convicts.)

West of Brisbane:

  • Ipswich - is situated 40 km west of Brisbane. 45 minutes by road from Brisbane City.
  • Workshops Rail Museum - The whole family will enjoy the birthplace of Queensland Rail and enjoy the interactive exhibits at this award-winning museum. North Street, North Ipswich.
  • Brookwater Golf Club - An 18 hole Greg Norman championship golf course and Australia's No. 2 public access course.
  • Queensland Raceway - Queensland's premier race circuit. This is the only location near Brisbane where members of the public can drive on the same racetrack as professional drivers. Champions Way, Willowbank.
  • Bunya Mountains National Park [39] - Three hours west of Brisbane. One of the oldest national parks in Queensland. Home of the ancient bunya pine and many other species of plants, birds and other animals. Stay at least three nights to have time to hike in the park.
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