While not a stunning city Brisbane still provides a beautiful landscape that combines both modern skyscrapers and natural beauty. This raises the question of where to find the best views of Brisbane and take great photos.
Brisbane seen from South Bank
This issue crops up often with friends visiting Brisbane, especially those who love to take photographs. Now that we have explored various lookout options friends who live in Brisbane are keen to visit some of the best spots.
Mt Coot-tha is a tourist attraction in itself and is the place you normally take visitors who have come to Brisbane. The summit includes the Kuta Cafe and the Summit Restaurant & Bar. Both provide excellent meals at reasonable prices along with stunning views out of Brisbane. I should also point of that the Summit Restaurant is the place in Brisbane for marriage proposals.
You also have the option of hiking up Mt Coot-tha either using Honeyeater Track or from the Botanical Gardens taking the Summit Track and Aboriginal Art Trail. So it is a place worth visiting in itself and the views take in all of Brisbane and much of Moreton Bay. However generally I find it a little disappointing as the city centre is far away.
That doesn't stop people from going up at all times of the day and night, including many people who head up at sunrise. It is also very popular night with the cafe staying open to 10 pm on most nights and 11 pm on Friday's and Saturdays.
Wilson Outlook Reserve
The most iconic photographs of Brisbane that include the Story Bridge with the city in the background are all taken from this cliff top park. Any day or evening there will be several photographers with tripods setup to take photos.
The best time to visit the park is usually in the late afternoon so that you can take photos of the Bridge and city during changing light conditions and then head to New Farm or Fortitude Valley for dinner. Both are in easy walking distance.
Don't just stay at the reserve but you can also find great shots from other places along Bowen Terrace along the cliff tops. At the time of writing this the new River Walk had yet to open but you consider viewing the Bridge and city from there as well.
Most visitors to Brisbane will walk around the South Bank Parklands. Very few continue to walk Kangaroo Point but it is well worth doing for several reasons including the river and city views.
It is also worth walking along Kangaroo point for the numerous artwork installations to enjoy as well as views of the city. However the best views come from ascending the cliffs and walking along the cliff top path.
View of the city through a Man & Matter art installation
If you are keen you can walk Kangaroo point, then cross over the Story Bridge to view the city from Wilson Outlook Reserve. An alternative is to walk in the opposite direction where you end up at South Bank which has numerous dinning and drinking options.
One of my favourite places to visit is a tiny little park at the top of Highgate Hill. Anyone going for a wander through West End should consider going the extra distance to make it to this park simply because of the views of the city.
Mt Gravatt is a nice hill located in the Suburb of Mt Gravatt. Along with neighbouring Toohey Forest it is a popular location for locals who want to exercise in and around nature. It is also a popular place to view the city of Brisbane from the south.
The main hassle is that the park at the top lacks toilet facilities and the Echidna Magic Cafe opens only select times as it is run more as a training cafe than a commercial enterprise. However it is a great location to enjoy views of Brisbane and even photograph the city with an orange sunset sky.
One of the best ways to view the city centre and surrounds is from the deck of a ferry. The free red City Hopper ferry service winds its way through the heart of the city From Sydney Street on the far side of the Story Bridge through to the casino.
The little red City Hopper Ferry making its way along Brisbane River
It is worthwhile do a City Cat trip to view both the city centre and other outlying historic suburbs, such as Teneriffe. During Jacaranda season it is also one of the most interesting ways to go Jacaranda spotting.
Another hidden gem of a place to view the city is New Farm park. Not that the park is unknown as it is well worth visiting for its own sake. What makes it is interesting for people who want city views is that you the highrise buildings visible behind the park.
While you are there you can visit the Powerhouse art gallery, use New Farm as the start of a ferry journey for more views of the city or wander up Brunswick Street to enjoy one of the restaurants or cafes along this street.
One of the great options for city views are from one of the many Bridges that crisscross Brisbane River. My favourite is Victoria Bridge though I have never actually gone there to specially view the city or take photos. Normally I just happen to walking across at the right time and snap a photo with my phone.
Because Victoria Bridge has no viewing platforms, many evenings tourists will be blocking the footpath as they take photos. However both the Goodwill and Kurilpa Bridges footbridges have little side platforms to rest and view the city. The Goodwill Bridge even has a place to buy coffee on one of these. Though I still feel the Victoria Bridge views are the best.
I put his last not because it is the worst but because I have never ridden the Brisbane Wheel. Those that have, praise the wonderful views. With tickets being $17.50 it is not cheap however you can find cheap deals online through websites such as GroupOn.