5 Reasons to visit Brisbane For many tourists Brisbane is often the city people skip. Local and international tourists head to the Gold Coast or even to the Sunshine coast before choosing to stay in Brisbane.
Having lived in Brisbane for a while and welcomed friends from around Australia and the world here, I can say, there are reasons to come to Brisbane.
Adventure in the heart of the city
Brisbane is a great adventure destination with adventure in the heart of city or nearby. Kangaroo point not only provides beautiful views of the city, but you can climb the cliffs, abseil down them, kayak the river or if you want some a little less adventurous, cycle around this area.
A little further afield there are other adventures to have. This includes hiking up Mt Coot-tha. Most people walk the summit track, but fitter people can start at base, hike up the Honeyeater Track to the summit and then follow the summit track to go over the mountain.
If you are into art and history of you have young kids, the gallery and museum district is a god send. When the weather is too hot or wet to venture outside you can visit multiple locations in this area.
Queensland Museum and Art Precinct (Courtesy of Brisbane City Council)
The Cultural Precinct includes GoMA, Australia's most visited gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum and Science Centre as well as the State Library of Queensland which has a number of gallery rooms that focus mostly on
GoMA is the most visited art gallery in Australia, mostly because it is one of the most kid friendly galleries. Not only do they have special exhibitions for kids, they usually include kid friend explanations for exhibits. There is also plenty of more challenging works that means it is not all for kids.
The Queensland Art Gallery is nearby. I tend to find their permanent collection fairly boring and I am sometimes disappointed in their lack of Queensland focus (the Art Gallery of NSW has a permanent collection that features prominent Australian and Sydney artists and the art itself tells the history of Sydney. However the gallery usually has an interesting exhibition on and it is always a pleasure to walk through the water mall.
The Queensland Museum features a great combination of static and interactive displays suitable for all ages. Their permanent displays are free while many of their exhibitions are paid, but well worth the price.
Finally, you will also find some interesting art and history at the State Library. Check out of the gallery rooms on the 1st and 4th floors. Also there are sometimes exhibitions on the ground floor as well.
There are cafes at all these locations and a very nice restaurant at GoMA. So you can easily spend the whole day there with breaks for coffee, cake and lunch.
Another reason I like this district is the gallery and library shops. If you are looking for souvenirs that are little different, gallery shops give you unique products. Last time I had to send postcards to a friends I bought ones with paintings of Jacarandas from the Queensland art gallery.
Brisbane was recently voted as Australia's most beautiful city. To be honest the main competitor in these stakes was Sydney with its amazing harbour. Brisbane on the other hand lacks any great obvious stunning features.
My absolute favourite location to view the city is on the tops of the Kangaroo Point cliffs. I have taken friends here as their first view of the city and the reaction is always "Wow!".
The dining scene
Visitors and tourists to a city look for 3 types of dining. The first is the must-eat-at restaurant, the second is the must-eat dish and the last is dining districts to eat.
Putting the last first, Brisbane has several great eating districts. The most famous is South Bank. While I love South Bank I tend to find the food scene there a little boring and over priced. I prefer to head up to West End's boundary street where there are far more interesting options and a much greater price range.
Another great location for dining is Fortitude Valley. To be honest I would avoid eating at most Asian restaurants there. Most a little disappointing and usually don't have authentic cuisine. But there is a growing dining scene just outside the central district where entrepreneurial restaurateurs have turned the back streets into a vibrant bar, cafe and restaurant scene.
When it comes to a signature dish, Brisbane has essentially one. Brisbane is of course situated on Moreton Bay, and so it is the home of Moreton Bay bugs. While some people consider these to be poor man's lobsters, other people appreciate their special flavour. While no longer popular with locals you can find them in restaurants popular with tourists, including Jimmy's on the Mall in Queen Street Mall and several restaurants at South Bank.
Is there a must eat at restaurant in Brisbane? Probably the only ones that really stand out are the Kuta Cafe and Summit Restaurants at Mt Coot-tha. Certainly the Summit Restaurant has the best views, great cuisine and the perfect atmosphere, especially for a romantic night out.
Get out into nature
Brisbane lacks some of the spectacular natural locations of some other Australian cities, but it is still very easy to get out into nature, both in Brisbane and in the surrounding area. Mt Coot-tha is a popular hiking location and the Aboriginal Art Trail and Summit Track are work a look, and of course there are many more options for the keen hiker.
There are other great places to visit as well. Brisbane has many wetland areas and the 2 most accessible for visitors are Boondall and Wynnum, though you might also consider Nudgee Beach and Tinchi Tamba as well. These locations provide great opportunities for seeing the many migratory birds that visit Brisbane.
For other wildlife you need to travel a little further. The Koala Bushlands and Daisy Hill Wildlife Sanctuary both promise the opportunity to spot Koalas in the wild, though you need to both keen eyed and lucky to find any. Both areas also have other wildlife, in particularly wallabies.
For many visitors to Brisbane, South Bank is an absolute treasure. This multi-use and multi-functional space provides great views of Brisbane, locations to wander through, in particular the rainforest, little hidden surprises such as the Nepalese temple, the best mid-priced dining in Brisbane and on weekends, great shopping at the market.
South Bank (Courtesy of Brisbane City Council)
A combination of mid-priced dining, take away and free activities make it the destination for people from all walks of life. Making it Brisbane's social hub for locals and tourists alike.