There’s an Australian city you’ve just got to visit – and it’s not Sydney. Brisbane, the capital of beachy Queensland, is a perfectly-sized metropolis that packs a real punch. Here’s why you’ll love it there.
1. The laid-back culture
While most Australians will tell you their city is a relaxed place to live, “Brissie” really is. Trust us! Maybe it’s because it’s close to the beach and to national parks, or because the weather is almost entirely sunny. Whatever the secret sauce is, Brisbane has got it. If you want to learn English in a place with a seriously unstressful lifestyle, this city is a great option.
2. The river
The winding Brisbane River stretches to many of its outer suburbs, and is especially beautiful on its way through the city centre. Here, it snakes past local landmarks – such as the recreational beach and parklands of South Bank, the City Botanic Gardens, and red Kangaroo Point cliffs. City Cats catamarans whoosh along the waters, connecting these destinations (and so many more) with inner-city university campuses and suburbs.
3. The city center
After class, wander over to West End for hipster styled coffee and café culture, chill out in Musgrave Park or South Bank, or cross the Victoria bridge to the city center. While there, shop in the Queen Street Mall, picnic at the beautiful 20 hectare City Botanic Gardens where mangroves meet manicured lawns, or follow the nearby bike tracks to the Eagle Street Pier where restaurants and bars come alive in the evening.
Like art and performance? Brisbane’s center is home to a number of galleries, museums, and performance venues, such as the Gallery of Modern Art, Performing Arts Complex, Queensland Museum, and Metro Arts Centre, each with jam-packed schedules year round.
4. New Farm Park
Located right by the river is New Farm Park: 37 hectares of picnic grounds and parklands, and Brisbane’s oldest and grandest. Filled with gardens, playgrounds, and century-old intertwined Morteon Bay fig trees, New Farm Park is perfect for whiling away the weekend or a sunny afternoon. It’s also neighbor to the Powerhouse, a premier Brisbane performance center. New Farm Park is easy to reach by public transport from the city center by City Cat or bus. You just need a few nibbles, picnic blanket, some mates – and maybe a frisbee!
5. World-class beaches to the north and south
From Brisbane head south to the Gold Coast or north to the Sunshine Coast. Their names say it all: these two coastlines have some of the most stunning beaches you’ll ever visit. And there’s one made just for you, whether your ideal beach day includes body boarding, building giant sandcastles, or eating enormous ice cream cones at sunset.
6. Short packing list
Thanks to its hot weather and clear skies you don’t have to take much to Brisbane! That’s right: no ski gear, bulky sweaters, long underwear, boots, or multiple jackets. Just togs and thongs (that’s a bathing suit and flip flops, to all of you not yet versed in Australian slang!), cotton T-shirts, shorts, jeans, a sundress, and a sunhat.
7. Theme parks
Rollercoaster lovers are in for a treat just south of Brisbane. Dreamworld, Movieworld, Seaworld, WhiteWaterWorld, and Wet n Wild Water World are a collection of theme parks located in quick succession on the way to the Gold Coast. With hair-raising thrills and some tamer options for the less daring, they’re a favorite for a weekend away.
8. National Parks galore
Think natural wonders filled with eucalyptus forests, lagoons, hiking trails, creeks, wildflowers, and camping spots. Tamborine, Lamington, Mt Barney, and D’Aguilar National Parks are popular with locals and visitors alike. Grab a car and spend a long weekend hiking, camping, going on scenic drives, and sampling the wares of quaint rural cafés on the way.
9. Aussie animals
Explore Australia Zoo – Steve Irwin’s legacy – full of both Australian and international animals. In Brisbane’s leafy suburbs you’ll also get to see the skies come alive at dawn and dusk as native cockatoos, kookaburras, galahs, and fruit bats wake up and return home.
10. The outdoors
Abseil and rockclimb the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, hike up the Glasshouse Mountains, surf, camp on Stradbroke Island, and explore the region’s many state and national parks. There is truly no end to outdoor activities when Brisbane is your base camp.