Brisbane is not known as an adventure destination, however there are several adventure activities right in the city. The most obvious is climbing up or abseiling down the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. In fact Riverlife, who runs the Kangaroo Point cliff climbs also has a number of other adventure activities, including Segway tours and Brisbane River kayaking and stand-up paddling.
Brisbane has a number of lovely natural attractions. Obviously there is Mt Coot-tha. Any keen hikers should definitely explore the area. Backing onto the Mt Coot-tha are several SEQWater reserves, such Lake Enoggera, Gold Creek Dam and Lake Manchester, and D'aguilar National Park. Few people go to explore this amazing area beyond a few marked tracks, yet there are lakes, bush camp areas and rough bush trails.
Lake Enoggera at the Walkabout Creek Wildlife Centre
Brisbane also features a number of wetlands reserves. The most famous is Boondall, which has a lovely little walking trail and a long 7 km trail that is designated multi-use, but where I have only ever seen cyclists.
For something a little different you can also experience this area by paddling Nudgee or Nundah Creeks in a kayak or a canoe. Don't forget the other wetlands areas around Brisbane such as Tinchi Tamba in the north or Berrinba in Logan.
Photo courtesy of Brisbane City Council
The sunrise experience
For a free experience, nothing beats watching the sunrise. Brisbane provides a range of hills and beachside locations for this. One of the best options is Mt Coot-tha's lookout. The Kuta Cafe opens on weekends at 7am on weekends, which actually perfect to enjoy a coffee or breakfast after watching the sunrise in winter. But in summer, when the sun rises at 5:30 am or earlier, it opens a little late unless you want to do some hiking prior to breakfast.
Some people also head up Mt Gravatt for sunrise, but I think it's orientation is much better for sunset views than sunrise views.
When it comes to the seaside, Brisbane has long areas of coastline. However the orientation is a little bit northerly, especially in the Northern Suburbs. This makes selecting the right location critical.
Obviously heading to one of the islands, the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast for the weekend means you can watch the sunrise on the beach. In the Brisbane area Redcliffe has to be the best option for sunrise viewing followed by a dip in the artificial lagoon or the beach.
Another great option is Wellington Point. If you time it for a low tide you can even walk out along the sandbar to King Island.
The weekend away experience
Brisbane is a nice city in the same way you have a friend you describe as nice, but you really prefer their hot friend. To continue my metaphor here, Brisbane has a lot of hot friends which makes a weekend away from the city a wonderful experience (but you know Brisbane will still be your friend afterwards).
For a beach weekend you can either head south to the Gold Coast where you can party and play all weekend, or head north to the Sunshine Coast, which is perfect for a more laid back or family experience.
Of course you can really get away from it all with an Island weekend, from lovely little Coochiemudlo Island, Adventure orientated Moreton Island or family orientated North Stradbroke or Bribie Islands.
My favourite market experiences include the Northey Street City Farm Markets on Sunday morning. This is a great experience for your inner (or outer) hippy, with all organic produce, some grown locally at Northey Street Farms and entertainment provided by buskers.
Boundary Street Markets in West End is my favourite market for a meal. With a relaxed feel, a huge range of food, options for shopping and usually music coming from the Motor Room Bar, this is great place to eat on a Friday or Saturday night.
One of my favourte markets is the Woodridge markets. Not only is this one of the cheapest place to shop for vegetables in Brisbane, it also has a great section for meals. This is the place to go for real South East Asian street food.