The Greater Brisbane is a group of five local government areas which all make up Brisbane's 2.6 million inhabitants, or about 49 per cent of Queensland's population in 2020. The primary one is the City of Brisbane, which holds over 1.1 million inhabitants, making it the largest local government area in Australia.
The first five mentioned are the five local government areas that make up Greater Brisbane, which also correspond to tourism regions. The capital of Brisbane is mentioned first, while the rest are mentioned in a clockwise order starting south.
Moreton Island is neither an LGA or a region, and is usually treated as a part of Brisbane, and the only way to access the island is via a ferry, and from a travellers point of view, it's not really a part of Brisbane, but a destination of its own. Moreton Island also has a completely different road and transport system to the rest of Brisbane, and hence, categorised under Greater Brisbane, not Brisbane.
The bustling state capital of Queensland and the largest local government area in Australia, the City of Brisbane offers fantastic shopping and dining experiences beside its winding river that characterises the city.
Just to the south of Brisbane, a rather much smaller city known for a mix of a city and rural feeling. Logan for the most part, is not on the bucket list for most travellers, but worth checking out if you're staying in Brisbane for a long period of time.
Just to the west of Brisbane nestled between the highly urbanised parts of the south-east to the vast open plains and mountains of the Darling Downs, Ipswich is known for having many heritage sites.
|Moreton Bay |
Just to the north of Brisbane and south of the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay is a popular destination to go for fishing on its long coastline. Its beaches are popular for surfing too.
|Redland City |
Colloquially called, the "Redlands", it is perhaps the most forgotten out of the five. Nestled south-east of the City of Brisbane and the Tasman Sea, it contains several cultural facilities, along with North Stradbroke Island, a large sand island.
|Moreton Island |
95% of this large sand island is contained within a national park and a popular destination for day trippers, four-wheel driving, camping, recreational angling and whale watching.
- 1 D'Aguilar National Park – home to the very scenic D'Aguilar Range just minutes northwest of Brisbane
- 2 Fort Lytton National Park – a key fort that played an important role in Brisbane's defence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- 3 Gheebulum Kunungai (Moreton Island) National Park
- 4 Naree Budjong Djara National Park (Blue Lake)
- 5 North Stradbroke Island – located to the east of Redlands City, North Stradbroke Island is the second largest sand island in the world, just after Fraser Island.
- 6 Southern Moreton Bay Islands National Park – several small islands in Redland City
- 7 St Helena Island National Park – a small island off the coast of Brisbane
- 8 Teerk Roo Ra National Park
- 9 Venman Bushland National Park – a small national park nestled between Logan and Redland Cities
Greater Brisbane is what usually most non-Queenslanders usually call "Brisbane", and before a visit to South East Queensland, it is easy to assume that Greater Brisbane is the same as Brisbane, and it's often affiliated with Brisbane. Unlike the other state capital cities of Australia, Greater Brisbane developed in a way similar to the boroughs of New York City, but instead of boroughs, with local government areas instead.
The primary way that most will come from the south will usually be via Logan City, which is the closest point of Greater Brisbane from the south. This table below shows the distance from each city. Distances are in kilometres, and to the CBD of each of the five cities mentioned.
|Sydney (via M1/A1)||910||930||889||964||908|
|Melbourne (via M31, M39, A39, A2)||1665||1653||1655||1770||1747|
|Canberra (via M23, M31, M7, M1/A1)||1185||1205||1173||1283||1182|
|Gold Coast (via M1)||79||99||50||132||74|
|Sunshine Coast (via SR 70, M1)||106||144||138||64||128|
|Toowoomba (via A2, M2)||125||89||133||173||150|
|Tamworth (via A15, M15)||572||535||580||621||597|
|Gympie (via M1)||169||207||218||129||192|
|Dubbo (via A39, A2, M2)||842||806||832||890||866|
|Cairns (via A1, M1)||1681||1719||1713||1641||1704|
Some signs in the Greater Brisbane area refer to the city or Brisbane central business district as "BNE CBD". It may be confusing if you've never heard of "CBD" before, nor if you've not heard of "BNE" commonly used, but rest assured, it's not some random place with six random letters that are unphonetic.
Most of the motorway network in SE Queensland is centred around Greater Brisbane. Getting around most suburbs in Greater Brisbane can in most cases, be done entirely on motorways, though there are some notable exceptions where using a road that isn't a motorway is quicker and easier. The motorways and major roads are as follows:
- Pacific Motorway (M1, M3) – starts at Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, and first enters at southeast Logan City, and continues to Brisbane CBD.
- Logan Motorway (M6, M2) – a short motorway starting at the M1 Pacific Motorway in Loganholme to the M2/M7 Ipswich Motorway in Gailles. The motorway is tolled, and has two separate toll points – one at Heathwood which costs $2.98 and the other at Loganlea, at a cost of $1.81 (as at April 2022).
- The M5 is not one motorway, but a series of roads, including the Centenary Highway, starting in Ipswich, which heads north-northeast and becomes the Western Freeway passing the Fig Tree Pocket Road after which it heads northeast. After Indooroopilly, the M5 becomes the Legacy Way, which is tolled and is a tunnel, bypassing Brisbane CBD. As of April 2022, the tolls cost $5.79 per car and $2.90 per motorcycle.
- The AirportLinkM7 (M7) is a short tunnelled motorway linking Fortitude Valley north of the CBD to Brisbane Airport costing $5.92 for cars (as of 2022). The route continues further south as Clem7 which has a different toll, costing $5.37.
- The Port of Brisbane Motorway and Port Drive (M4, SR 24) is a short motorway from the Gateway Motorway to the Port of Brisbane.
- Gateway Motorway (M1) – a motorway just to bypass Brisbane CBD if you're heading from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast.
- Warrego Highway and Ipswich Motorway (M2, M7) – a motorway that's the continuation of the divided Warrego Hwy to Toowoomba that heads northeast to Rocklea, continues as A7 and eventually becomes the Clem7.
- The first 14 km (8.7 mi) of the Cunningham Highway (M15 / National Highway 15) is a motorway, which later continues down southwest to Armidale and Tamworth as an undivided highway.
All cities but Redland City have at least one motorway. Brisbane by far has the most motorways both by length and number, followed by Ipswich and Logan. Moreton Bay doesn't really have a motorway of its own, its only motorway is just the Bruce Highway on its way to Cairns.
By public transport
Greater Brisbane's three main public transport modes (trains, buses and ferries) are run by a single provider known as Translink. The Translink website (Phone: 13 12 30 or download the 'MyTranslink' app) is handy for researching public transport options between destinations. Google Maps also offers full public transport navigation, with real-time updated information across all three modes.
The go card is a contactless smart card that you can top up with funds. The card can be purchased from train station ticket counters, busway fare machines, and selected newsagents and convenience stores of which there are many in the area. A deposit of $10 applies. The card can be topped up at the same locations, including fare machines at train stations.
The fare is deducted as you touch on and touch off each mode of transport. You must touch both on and off for all journeys regardless of the mode of transport. A failure to touch off will result in a fixed fare of up to $30 being charged to the card. Buses and ferries are fitted with validators as you board. Train stations have fare gates or distinctive pink validators located on the platform.
Buying a go card removes the hassle of figuring out zones. Fares are discounted by 30% and free once you have paid for eight journeys within a week (Monday to Sunday). 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 on any mode of transport. 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 refund for the unused money and $10 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.
Contactless cards (Visa/MasterCard/American Express) can be used to pay for train journeys (buses and ferries will be available after 2023). This is far more convenient than purchasing a go card, and you don't have to worry about residual amounts remaining on the card when you leave. All the same benefits apply to using a contactless card as apply to using an adult go card.
Single paper tickets are available from train station ticket counters and all train and busway fare machines. They are only valid for one way journeys and come at a premium. Buses are now pre-paid only so you will need to purchase a paper ticket beforehand or use a go card / contactless card instead.
If you are going to be doing short-term extensive travel or using the Airtrain, you can buy a 3-day or 5-day unlimited travel SEEQ Card for $79 and $129 respectively. SEEQ cards work like regular go cards however provide additional discounts at various tourist attractions around South-East Queensland. You don't have to worry about topping up and refunds, but you'll struggle to get value out of it unless you are catching the Airtrain.
You can be fined $261 for travelling without a valid ticket.
Brisbane has many museums, and many museums of state significance are located in the City of Brisbane. Outside, most are generally just local history museums.
Also, Greater Brisbane features a vast sprawl of countless suburbs that can be seen across the metropolitan region.
While many associate South-East Queensland beaches with the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast or Noosa, there are plenty of beaches in the Greater Brisbane region in the three cities that have a coastline; Brisbane, Redland City and Moreton Bay. As Brisbane's waters are the location of Brisbane's port, Port of Brisbane, the airport, and where the Brisbane River flows, it may not be the best spot to go and swim or surf, but the other two have plenty of beaches for swimming and surfing. If you're in Brisbane and are unsure on where to go, Moreton Bay is much better known than the Redlands for its beaches.
The place you could go to for food for a diverse variety of food is obviously Brisbane CBD, where you can pretty much get nearly every single type of cuisine that's available in Australia that you can think of. However, that should not be a huge surprise, as it's the CBD of Australia's third largest city.
A bit to the northeast of Brisbane CBD lies Fortitude Valley, which is Brisbane's Chinatown and there's plenty of Chinese restaurants, with both a mix of authentic Chinese cuisine and a bit of Overseas Chinese cuisine. As seafood is heavily consumed, the menus found tend to have a stronger emphasis on seafood, as opposed to the rest of Australia where pork or chicken is the main emphasis. Another place in Brisbane that has some good Chinese food owing to its large Chinese population is Sunnybank, which is Brisbane's equivalent of Melbourne's Box Hill or Sydney's Kingston. Outside Brisbane City, other places generally tend to just have what Chinese restaurants in rural areas have, and options are not the best, though the options in Logan are slightly better than the other three.