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is the third-largest (and fastest growing) city in Australia
and the capital of the state of Queensland
. It has a population of about 1.8 million people.
River view from William Jolly Bridge.
The simplest division of Brisbane is north/south along the banks of the Brisbane river. In reality, there are more 'aspirational' suburbs, and less savoury suburbs in all areas of Brisbane, regardless of the way one divides it. This is unusual for a city in Australia, where single areas (such as the North Shore in Sydney, or Toorak in Melbourne) are typified as the classiest places to live. Essentially, Brisbane is just a big country town with a big city style all of it's own. As the locals say - "There's only two states to be in, p%%sed or Queensland!"
Brisbane is divided into 26 wards;
Acacia Ridge, Bracken Ridge, Central, Chandler, Deagon, Doboy, Dutton Park, East Brisbane, Enoggera, Grange, Hamilton, Holland Park, Jamboree, Marchant, McDowall, Moorooka, Morningside, Northgate, Pullenvale, Richlands, Runcorn, The Gap, Toowong, Walter Taylor, Wishart and Wynnum Manly.
A full list of suburbs is available at Brisbane City Council's website:
- Suburb List (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:995472174:pc=PC_703)
Brisbane can be more realistically divided into four sections (a link to suburb listings for each section is provided):
- Northern Suburbs 1 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:995472174:pc=PC_892)
- Western Suburbs 2 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:995472174:pc=PC_894)
- Eastern Suburbs 3 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:995472174:pc=PC_891)
- Southern Suburbs 4 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:995472174:pc=PC_893)
Brisbane was originally explored by John Oxley in 1832. Brisbane was then selected by the colony of New South Wales as the location for a new gaol, intended to house dangerous prisoners in a remote location.
The settlement was established originally in what is now the suburb of Redcliffe. It was later moved to a location upstream on the Brisbane river.
Then in 1837, free settlers moved to the area, who pushed for the ending of the gaol and the release of land in the Brisbane area.
A gold rush in Queensland then led to the establishment of the separate colony of Queensland in 1859 with Brisbane as its capital.
The town was named after Sir Thomas McDougall Brisbane, the sixth Governor of New South Wales.
In 1925, the Queensland State Parliament created the City of Brisbane Act, and set up a single government for the city of Brisbane.
- Brisbane City Council (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/) - The official website of the Brisbane City Council
- ourbrisbane.com (http://www.ourbrisbane.com/visitors/) - official travel information for Brisbane
Recent strong migration to Brisbane and the whole of South East Queensland due to more reasonable house prices, better weather and ample employment opportunities are making Brisbane a more cosmopolitan city.
Brisbane has what is considered to be an excellent climate by many, especially those in the colder southern states. However, those from temperate climates may find summer unbearably hot, especially on windless, or near windless days when the heat builds up in the valley.
Winters (from June to August) are warm and generally dry and sunny (day 20-25C, night 8-12C). Summer days are warm to hot, with days over 32C not uncommon. Humidity is quite high during the summer months and temperatures can get as high as 40C with night temps rarely dropping below 20C, often staying around 25C overnight. If visiting in summer (from December to February) do realise that airconditioning can be preferable for comfortable sleep and don't overestimate what can be accomplished in terms of physical activity on hot and high-humidity days.
Summer storms with hail and heavy rainfall are common in afternoons on hot humid days. These usually pass quickly and sometimes put on a good show of lightning.
The Brisbane Airport is located approximately 20 kilometres east of the city centre at Eagle Farm. It is on the north side of the river. If approaching from the south side on the Gateway Motorway it will be necessary to pay to cross the Gateway Bridge. The toll is $2.40 for cars each way (as of Jan 06).
There are both domestic and international terminals at Eagle Farm. It is possible to fly to all Australian capitals and numerous regional centres from the domestic terminal. Major carriers include Virgin Blue and Qantas.
The international terminal is serviced by all major regional airlines and it is possible to fly daily to most Asian centres, the USA and New Zealand. It is no longer necessary to travel via Sydney or Melbourne, although tickets may be routed through such airports to obtain cheaper fares.
Connections to the city from the airport are available on the AirTrain, which departs for the city every fifteen minutes during peak times. The AirTrain stops at Central, South Bank, Brunswick Street and Roma Street stations. It is also possible to take the Airtrain direct the the gold coast, although it is necessary to connect to a bus service at Helensvale to reach Surfers' Paradise or at Robina to reach Coolangatta.
- Countrylink 5 (http://www.countrylink.info) (NSW) operates rail services from Sydney direct to Brisbane.
- QR 6 (http://www.qr.com.au/) (Queensland Rail) has services from most centres in Queensland to Brisbane
- Visitors from southern states can reach Brisbane by either the New England and Cunningham or Pacific Highways.
- The Bruce Highway connects the northern coast of Queensland to Brisbane.
- Premier Motor Service links some centres on the east coast of NSW and Queensland to Brisbane, as well as connections to Melbourne.
- Greyhound Australia link to most other locations to Brisbane.
Due to the larger area of Brisbane, renting a car is a good option - it gives access to more remote locations and parking is usually easy. Rental companies can often provide deals with airline tickets if booked in advance.
Of course, like the rest of Australia, Queenslanders drive on the left.
- Public transport has recently been overhauled in South East Queensland, incorporating an integrated ticketing system across the three main modes of transport: buses, ferries and trains.
- A single network now covers from Coolangatta in the south, up to Gympie North and Noosa in the north, and west to Helidon. Most suburbs of Redcliffe, Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast are linked by rail, and where the rail link is missing, buses link the suburbs.
- Ferries are considered a sight of Brisbane in their own right. They have become an icon of the city. As well as traditional ferries which generally operate on cross-river routes, high-speed catamarans (CityCats) operate on longer routes.
- Travellers can take advantage of Daily and Off-Peak Daily tickets which allow unlimited travel within given zones across all modes of transit. A Daily ticket for zones 1 to 3 (about 20km radius) costs just AU$5.60 (AU$5.80 from July 4) and is great for catching a bus or train into the city, taking a ferry along the river and getting back to the suburbs again, or back into the city from a ferry terminus.
- A weekly zones 1 to 3 ticket costs AU$22.40 (AU$23.20 from July 4). Almost all Australian university students can travel for half-price with concession tickets.
- Smartcards are to be trialled in mid-2005 on selected routes. Paper ticketing remains on all other routes.
- Almost all buses in Greater Brisbane lead all the way to Queen Street. The routes 598 and 599 form the Great Circle Route which form circles in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions around the city and can be a great way of getting around the different suburbs.
- Rail connections to the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Ipswich are available from the three big rail stations in the CBD.
- Transinfo is a fantastic service provided by the Brisbane City Council that can give you directions on how to reach a destination using public transport. It is available through a website, Transinfo (http://www.transinfo.qld.gov.au/) and a telephone service 13 12 30 (local call from public phones).
- If you intend to use public transport frequently, pick up the Translink Directory, a complete listing (without timetables) of all bus services in South East Queensland.
- South Bank - Brisbane's artificial beach is right in the heart of the city in the cultural district, surrounded by lots of shops, cafes and restaurants as well as some of the city's museums, theatres and art gallery. A great place to hang out on a hot day and have a swim (for free). South Bank Parklands (http://www.south-bank.net.au/)
7 (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-27.478254,153.022900&spn=0.010261,0.013089&z=1&t=k&hl=en) Google Maps satellite image of the Parklands. The Maritime Museum's destroyer can be seen docked in the lower right-hand corner of the image. The large white-roofed building is the Brisbane Convention Centre.
- Suncorp Piazza found within South Bank often hosts free live events and movies.
- Queensland Cultural Centre - incorporating:
- The Queensland Performing Arts Centre 8 (http://www.qpac.com.au/home/)
- Queensland Museum 9 (http://www.qmsouthbank.museum.qld.gov.au/)
- Queensland Art Gallery 10 (http://www.qag.qld.gov.au/)
- Queensland Conservatorium of Music 11 (http://www.gu.edu.au/school/qcgu/splash.htm),
all located on Grey Street in South Bank.
- Brisbane City Hall and King George Square - located between Adelaide and Ann Streets, this is the city's most significant historical landmark. City Hall often hosts free concerts throughout the year. There is a restored lift that can be taken to the top of the clock tower for free. 12 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:LANDING::pc=PC_1579) The lift opens at 10 a.m. and stops running at 3 p.m. (2:30 p.m. on Saturdays) daily except Sundays. There is no access to the clock tower outside of these hours. 13 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:1955630567:pc=PC_1580)
- The University of Queensland
The university is Queensland's oldest and most prestigious university. Its majestic sandstone buildings are surrounded by parks and gardens, and located in the affluent western suburb of St Lucia. The campus also incorporates numerous sporting facilities that are open to the public, including gym, pool, squash courts, tennis courts, athletics track and football ovals.
The campus also boasts a cinema, numerous coffee shops and a large art gallery, which hosts various exhibitions throughout the year.
The campus can be reached by bus from Adelaide St on bus numbers 407, 412 or 411. The 407 is most direct. It can also be accessed by City Cat.
- Museum of Brisbane - also located in King George Square. 14 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/MoB/)
- Alma Park Zoo - 15 (http://www.almaparkzoo.com.au/)
- Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo - 17 (http://www.crocodilehunter.com/australia_zoo/welcome/) (outside of Brisbane proper, roughly a daytrip)
- Mt Coot-tha - Brisbane's tallest mountain. A popular makeout spot with a great view and good but overpriced cafe and restaurant. Also home to the one of the Botanical Gardens. 18 (http://www.brisbanelookout.com./)
- Manly Boat Harbour - at Manly, the second largest in the southern hemisphere. There is also a public park located at Norfolk Point. 19 (http://www.eastcoastmarina.com.au/) 20 (http://www.portbris.com.au/asp/boatharbours/manly/default.asp)
- New Farm Park - large park on the river in New Farm. 21 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/:STANDARD:pc=PC_1171)
- CityCat - Take the CityCat river taxis up and down the river. A great couple of hours to see the city at speed - secure your sunglasses and hats though. 22 (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/:STANDARD::pc=PC_1231)
- Brisbane City Council has a large list of recreation facilities available in Brisbane on their website: Recreation Facilities in Brisbane (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:STANDARD:431138085:pc=PC_928)
- Queen Street Mall 23 (http://www.queenstreetmall.com.au/) - main shopping mall in Brisbane, large variety of shops, has several shopping centres within it;
- The Myer Centre 24 (http://www.gandel.com.au/myercentre/)
- The Wintergarden 25 (http://www.wgarden.com.au/flashintro.htm) (a fashion centre)
- QueensPlaza 26 (http://www.queensplazashopping.com.au/QueensPlaza.asp?) (Brisbane's newest fashion centre)
- Broadway on the Mall 27 (http://www.broadwayonthemall.com.au/)
- Brisbane Arcade 28 (http://www.brisbanearcade.com.au/)
- Queen Adelaide Building
- The Conrad Treasury Casino 29 (http://www.conrad.com.au/treasury/default.htm) is located at the George Street end of the mall
- Adelaide Street - "Downtown's dress circle"
- Albert Street - has many adventure and sports-type retailers, lots of bookstores
- Eagle Street - the centre of law and finance in Queensland, holds the Eagle Street and Riverside markets
- Edward Street - new retail development
- South Bank markets - held at the South Bank Parklands
- Brunswick Street Mall
- Indooroopilly Shopping Centre 30 (http://www.indooroopillyshopping.com.au/)
- Westfield Garden City 31 (http://www.westfield.com/gardencity/)
- Logan Hyperdome - Loganholme
- Westfield Chermside 32 (http://www.westfield.com/chermside/)
- Westfield Carindale 33 (http://www.westfield.com/carindale/)
- Northside Flower Market 34 (http://www.flowermarket.com.au/)
Brisbane has a very good assortment of restaurants but there are two problems. One is that they can be very expensive and the other is that they can be very busy.
ourbrisbane.com has a comprehensive Brisbane restaurant and dining guide (http://www.ourbrisbane.com/dining/).
- Brisbane City
- Ecco http://www.eccobistro.com - Best restaurant in Brisbane and one of the best in Australia.
- Pane Vino - Great Italian on Albert St.
- Fasta Pasta - Lots of yummy pasta at a reasonably price, not the flashiest place around however
- Fortitude Valley & New Farm
- Continental Cafe - Good food, nice atmosphere and surprisingly good kids menu.
- Freestyle Tout - New Restaurant featuring the best deserts in Brisbane. Be prepared to line up for a table
- Southbank and Little Stanley st
- Poppy's basket - A great place to stop at for a quick lunch
- Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant - Repeated winner of best themed restaurant in Brisbane, features belly dancers every Friday
- Capsali's - Great Greek restaurant featuring live dancing
- Park Road, Milton
- Rue de Paris - Brisbane's Eiffel Tower - Great cafe
- La dolche vita - Located next to Rue de Paris, also a great cafe
- Blue Lotus - Gourmet and exotic ice-creams that change according to the seasons
- Tomato brothers - Italian - Expect to wait for your meal here!
- Freestyle - A desert restaurant
- Kookaburra Cafe - Good pizza in a relaxed atmosphere
- Harem - Turkish restaurant complete with belly-dancing
- Himawari - Japanese izakaya-style bistro
- University of Queensland - The university provides many quality cafes if you happen to be in the area or on a CityCat ferry and caters to a cheaper market
- Wordsmiths - A touch more expensive than the other cafes on campus, but a good atmosphere (in a relatively quiet part of the campus, near the bookshop) and has a longer menu than the other options
- The Pizza Cafe - Fantastic pizzas with really different ingredients
- The Red Room - The student pub - does cheap meals and cold beer
- The UQ Union Complex - With a noodle and sushi bar, lolly shop and refectory, juice and icecream shop
- Merlo's - a cafe featuring Merlo's renowned coffee
- A Salt 'n Battery - excellent quality fish and chip shop-cum-seafood restaurant with a wide variety of foods and decent prices, located in Hawken Village (on Hawken Drive, approx 5-10 minutes walk from the University proper)
Brisbane's drinking and nightlife scene is separated into some distinct areas. Anyone planning a night on the town should be aware that after 3AM, no more patrons are allowed into pubs and clubs. This is a safety measure, coupled with increased security presence at taxi ranks.
Additionally, smokers should beware of strict anti-smoking regulations.
- Royal Exchange (RE) Hotel - generally a good honest pub, more so than the Regatta which tends to cater to a slightly trendier crowd
- Regatta - Conveniently adjacent to the Regatta CityCat terminal - Expect a wait to get in on Thur, Fri and Sat nights. However, you will enjoy the best sessions every Wed and Sun nights when this venue is completly taken by students. Must-go those days of the week.
(both the RE and the Regatta have reputations as student haunts, being located reasonably close to the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland. They more than live up to these reputations.)
- Indooroopilly Hotel
- Pig and Whistle
- South Bank - The Plough Inn
- City pubs and clubs
- The Exchange Hotel is certainly THE most popular place in town. It is popular with a wide, although decidedly young, demographic, including students, young professionals and tourists. Patrons tend to stream in after cheap drinks finish at the nearby Victory and Port Office hotels, usually around 11 to midnight. Cheap drinks are rare at The Exchange.
- Jorge on George - Features live bands, great food and the only place in Brisbane to get absynth
- Mary Street-located on Mary Street - Also known as "Scary Street" and considered a bit of a dump by Brisbanites, however they do have cheap "all you can drink" on Saturday nights.
- The Victory - Very popular especially every Thursday whene it's "student night" with drinks starting from AUD1.50, although its often hard to move once you're in there as karaoke nights and covers bands are often to be found.
- Her Majesties Basement - Tucked away on Queen St, is definitely for those of you who are not into main stream music. Usually has live cover and original bands.
- Fridays - Located on Eagle Street, and is a very popular nightclub which also features dinning (not recommended after 10pm).
- Criterion Bar - The newly renovated bar is recommended for those who are looking for a quick beer and some country music.
- Ceasars - New nightclub located on Adelaide Street.
- Belgian Beer Cafe - Corner of Margaret and Edward Sts. Whatever brand beer you order gets served in a freshly washed glass of the same brand. Then they swipe the head off with a knife. Who'd have thought that it would be so interesting to see a beer being pulled.
- O'Mayley's Irish Pub - Located beneeth the Queen Street Mall (Winter Garden centre), this Irish Pub is the perfect place in Brisbane to dine and then enjoy a guiness beer. Open till 3am.
- Down Under Bar - Either you are studying in Brisbane or just backpacking, the DUB it's a place you cannot avoid. The perfect bar where to meet people from any nationalities.
The Fortitude Valley is a very unique area of Brisbane catering to the live music scene.
A large number of Brisbane's hippest clubs are located here. It has a reputation as being one of the more dangerous areas of the city but as with anywhere, simple common sense and caution will keep you out of harm's way.
- Brunswick St. Mall
- Rics - Live music most nights
- Royal George (RG) Hotel - Cheap drinks. 2 for 1 drinks on Thursdays
- The Press Club - Very popular club on Brunswick Street
- The Zoo - Venue for live music
- The Family - A must see nightclub. A bit pricey to get in, but it's probably the biggest club in Brisbane and has awesome music and atmosphere. It's at the top end of the Brunswick Street mall.
- GPO - Nightclub situated in a former Post Office on Ann Street. Trendy spot/Cool tunes.
- YHA has hostels in the Brisbane area http://www.yha.com.au/
- Cloud 9 Backpackers Resort
- City Backpackers
- Palace Central Backpackers
- Brisbane Marriott Hotel www.marriott.com
- Hilton Brisbane - overlooks Queen Street Mall
- Mercure Brisbane
- Riverside Hotel
- Sofitel Hotel Brisbane (previously Sheraton Brisbane)
- Hotel Ibis Brisbane
- Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane
- Rydges Brisbane - South Bank
Remember that for emergency services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) in Australia, the number is 000. When using a mobile or cell phone, the numbers 000, 112 and 911 all work, are free of charge and connect using any of the available networks.
- Fortitude Valley - Police presence very strong here. It is a good idea to travel in groups or pairs, especially females.
- City Central - As per Fortitude Valley, but with a little extra care to be taken.
- Suburban pubs - Drunks can be a hassle when in the vicinity of suburban pubs, especially around closing times.
The good news, though, is that Brisbane does not have any massive issues with safety. As in any other developed-world city, it's quite easy to have a good time without worrying about security.
Brisbane provides a base for day trips to explore the southeast of Queensland. The North Coast of New South Wales can be reached in an hour if traffic is light, leave up to two hours if traffic is heavy or there is an accident on the Gold Coast Highway.
- South of Brisbane:
- Gold Coast - famous for being a tourist town. Approximately 70km south of Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway.
- Dreamworld - theme park in the western Gold Coast suburb of Coomera. Also on the Pacific Motorway.
- Wet' n' Wild and Movieworld - more theme parks near Dreamworld, also located on the Pacific Motorway.
- Seaworld - aquatically-themed park sandwiched on a peninsula between the Gold Coast Seaway and the Pacific Ocean. Located in Southport (just north of the Gold Coast)
- Surfers Paradise - arguably the most upmarket area on the Gold Coast, host to Caville Avenue and several shopping malls. Tourist mecca.
- Gold Coast hinterland, Mt. Tamborine - extensive areas of National Park with arts, crafts, galleries and the like.
- Lower Moreton Bay
- Moreton Bay Islands - includes places like Tangalooma Island (where Scooby Doo 2 was filmed), St. Helena Island (a former maximum security prison island).