Tourism in Brisbane

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The Brisbane skyline and Brisbane River

Tourism in Brisbane is an important industry for the Queensland economy with approximately 4.6 million domestic visitors[1] and 0.9 million international visitors in year-end March 2008.[2]

Brisbane was named as "Australia's hippest city" by Lonely Planet in 2014.[3]

City landmarks[edit]

The Story Bridge

Story Bridge[edit]

The Story Bridge is a Brisbane icon, designed by Dr. John Bradfield, designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.[4] It spans Petrie Bight from Kangaroo Point to Fortitude Valley and totals 1,072 metres (3,517 ft) meters in length.[5]

Tourist groups run the Story Bridge Adventure Climb as well as the Abseil Climb, which provides daylight, twilight, and night tours.[6]

Brisbane City Hall[edit]

Brisbane's most famous landmark is Australia's largest and grandest city hall. It is home to the Museum of Brisbane and features the circular Concert Hall and a world-famous grand piano organ. Free tours are available of the city hall and its clock tower.[7][8]

The Brisbane City Hall contains the re-established historic Tudor-style Shingle Inn restaurant, with its original 1936 Tudor furnishing and fittings restored.[9]

Kangaroo Point Cliffs[edit]

The Kangaroo Point Cliffs extend south from just north of the former Naval Bridge Depot to the former South Brisbane Dry Dock, west of the Captain Cook Bridge. The rock comprising the cliffs was formed about 230 million years ago, but the cliffs as they are today were created by convicts quarrying the stone for the early colony.[10] The cliff are popular with rock climbers, and the gardens below are available for BBQs and picnics.[11]

Chinatown, Brisbane is one of the many destinations in Fortitude Valley

Fortitude Valley[edit]

The Valley experienced an urban renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s, when young people flocked to new nightclubs, some in place of the brothels and illegal gambling joints of an earlier era.[12] As more people lived in the suburb, social and religious developmental trends explain the present diverse nature of The Valley, characterised by commercial buildings, hotels and churches side by side with residential buildings.[13]

Treasury Casino

Treasury Casino[edit]

The Conrad Treasury Casino, formerly the State Government of Queensland Treasury Building, is situated at 1-27 Queen St, right up at the top of the city near the Victoria Bridge. It was built on a site that had been earmarked for Government use since around 1825. Three stages of construction went into the completed building, starting with the William Street frontage.[14] Completed, occupied and opened officially in 1928 at a final cost of £137,817, it provided expansive space for its Treasury Building tenants. As State Government Departments moved into the nearby Executive Building in the 1980s, the Treasury Building and adjacent Land Administration Building were sold, and consequently redeveloped as the Conrad Treasury Casino and Hotel precinct.[15]

The Gabba[edit]

One of Australia's most famous sports stadiums, the Gabba was established in 1895 and hosts a number of sports including AFL, cricket, rugby league, rugby union, and baseball, as well as athletics and concerts. Its current seating capacity is 42,000.

Lang Park[edit]

Lang Park, also known as Suncorp Stadium, is a major sports stadium and is considered the best rectangular stadium in Australia. It was established in 1914 on the site of a former cemetery. The stadium hosts mainly rugby league and football, and is a venue of the State of Origin. Its current seating capacity is 52,500.

St John's Cathedral[edit]

St John's Cathedral is a Medieval gothic revival cathedral, and an international centre of pilgrimage attracting over 20,000 visitors annually from around the world. The cathedral is the centre for big diocesan events, and is a major centre for the arts and music with its own orchestra. St John's also has the largest cathedral organ in Australia, which hosts many concerts throughout the year.

Customs House[edit]

The Customs House is a Brisbane landmark known for its distinctive copper dome.[16] Originally constructed for the government, there is now a restaurant and function centre within the building, and regular concerts and art exhibitions are also held here.

Cultural attractions[edit]

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art[edit]

The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art has a total floor area of 25,000 square metres (269,098 sq ft). The Gallery holds mostly Queensland arts as well as a variety of artworks from around the world.

Queensland Museum[edit]

The Queensland Museum has various human and natural historical artefacts. It is located within the Queensland Cultural Centre at South Bank and has various cafes and restaurants within and surrounding its location across the Brisbane River from the Brisbane CBD.

View of the western face of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre[edit]

Also located within the Entertainment District of South Bank, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre has a number of theatres and auditoriums showcasing various famous shows and operas annually. Some of the most recognized shows featured at the centre include Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Jersey Boys, and International Gala.

Museum of Brisbane[edit]

The Museum of Brisbane is the City of Brisbane's official museum and is located in Brisbane City Hall. It features a changing exhibition program that celebrates Brisbane through social history, visual arts, craft and design.

Parks and outdoor attractions[edit]

South Bank Parklands[edit]

South Bank Parklands attractions include the Wheel of Brisbane, a swimming lagoon with sandy beaches, the South Bank Arbour,[17][18][19] rainforest walks, picnic areas and a picturesque riverfront promenade. Entertainment venues at South Bank Parklands include the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Suncorp Piazza. South Bank Parklands are also home to the Lifestyle Markets on Fridays (5pm-10pm), Saturdays (11am-5pm) and Sundays (9am-5pm).

Roma Street Parkland[edit]

Roma Street Parkland is the world's largest subtropical garden in a city centre.[20] The parkland features a variety of themed gardens and recreational areas, with a web of pathways and boardwalks traversing cascading waterways and rocky outcrops, and in situ artworks by 16 local artists. Roma Street Parkland also has an open air amphitheatre (which was previously called the Albert Park Amphitheatre).

City Botanic Gardens[edit]

The City Botanic Gardens include Brisbane's most mature gardens, with many rare and unusual botanic species. In particular the Gardens feature a special collection of cycads, palms, figs and bamboo. The Gardens are located at Gardens Point, to the south-east of the CBD, within walking distance of the city centre.

Brisbane Forest Park[edit]

Brisbane Forest Park is a large nature reserve on the western boundary of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, bordering on the Mount Coot-tha Reserve. The park supports plants and animals and is essential to their survival.


Queen Street Mall[edit]

Located in the centre of the city, the Queen Street Mall and its nearby surrounds is Queensland’s premier shopping destination. The mall is open plan, stretching half a kilometre along Queen Street Mall.[21] There are five major shopping centres, two department stores and four shopping arcades located within the mall.


The Direct Factory Outlets, also known as DFO, is an indoor mall featuring various clothing and entertainment stores. As of 2008, there are two operating malls throughout Brisbane, one north-east of the CBD, approximately 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the International Terminal of Brisbane Airport, and one south-west of the CBD within the suburb of Jindalee.

Entertainment precincts[edit]

South Bank Parklands[edit]

South Bank Parklands, once the site of the Expo '88, is now an entertainment precinct boasting entertainment, cafes, restaurants, man-made beaches, lagoons, playgrounds and views of the city along its boardwalk. It is also the location for the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the temporary, relocatable Ferris wheel, the 60 metre Wheel of Brisbane.

A panorama view of Streets Beach, South Bank Parklands

Portside Wharf[edit]

Portside Wharf, located approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Brisbane CBD on the Brisbane River, is a residential, retail precinct with numerous cafes, restaurants, shops and cinemas.

Throughout Brisbane[edit]

Brisbane Riverwalk throughout Newstead, east of the CBD


There are continual tracks along the Brisbane River, from Hamilton on the eastern side, past the CBD, to the western side as far as Yeerongpilly.

CityCat Ferries[edit]

CityCat Ferries are catamarans, and are a pleasant way to travel past such Brisbane icons as the Story Bridge and South Bank Parklands.[22]

City tours[edit]

Brisbane Greeters provide free walking tours around Brisbane, aiming to provide a customised, flexible, intimate and authentic experiences through a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local volunteer.[23]

Kangaroo Segway Tours offer tours of the city's major attractions using segways.[24]

Brisbane By Bicycle conduct daily tours of Brisbane city and surrounding areas in small groups. The tours are fully guided by a Brisbane local with extensive knowledge of the city including local bars, restaurants, events and attractions.[25]

Brisbane's Food Scene[edit]

Brisbane’s food scene has come a long way in recent years. There are many Good Food Guide-awarded restaurants, cafes and bars in the region.[26]

Brisbane has a number of food markets to sample the local cuisine and street eats. Eat Street Markets at Hamilton and Boundary Street Markets at West End are popular weekend markets, especially with locals and offer a variety of cuisines from local restaurants and food trucks.[27][28]

Food Tours[edit]

Food tours provide great insight into a city’s local food scene, and Brisbane’s local food culture can be experienced on a tour with Delectable Tours.[29]

Nearby attractions[edit]

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary[edit]

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary opened in 1927 and was the world's first koala sanctuary.[30] Wildlife in the sanctuary includes koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, wombats, echidnas, various species of reptiles, as well as many types of Australian birds. The sanctuary is located in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket.

Mount Coot-tha[edit]

The suburb of Mount Coot-tha is home to a popular state forest, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens which houses the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and the "Tsuki-yama-chisen" Japanese Garden (formerly of the Japanese Government Pavilion of Brisbane's World Expo '88).

Brisbane Tramway Museum[edit]

Brisbane Tramway Museum is a transport museum which preserves and displays trams and trolley-buses, most of which operated in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The museum also has a collection of vehicles and other equipment used in maintaining Brisbane's electric street transport system which operated from 1897 to 1969. The museum is located at Ferny Grove, a north-west suburb of Brisbane.

Newstead House[edit]

Newstead House, in Newstead Park, is the oldest house in Brisbane. Built in 1846, it is now a museum and heritage listed site. It is open to the public, and concerts are sometimes held at the house and grounds.

Beachside suburbs[edit]


Beachside suburbs that offer swimming and watersports include Wynnum, Manly, Shorncliffe and Sandgate.

Redcliffe Jetty at sunset

Nudgee Beach is a suburb about 18 kilometres (11 mi) outside of Brisbane. The beach is surrounded by numerous mangroves, and has a bike track that heads down to Boondall Wetlands.

Day trips[edit]

Moreton Bay[edit]

Safe diving spots at Tangalooma are provided by several shipwrecks, placed as a breakwater

Moreton Bay is on the east side of Brisbane, sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by two sand islands - Moreton Island to the north and North Stradbroke Island to the south. Activities here include sailing, boating, diving, windsurfing and fishing. Tangalooma, at the site of an old whaling station on the bay-side of Moreton Island, offers diving, whale-watching and dolphin tours. The two larger islands, and many of the smaller islands, for example, Coochiemudlo Island, Lamb Island and Russell Island, can be accessed by ferry. St Helena Island is near the mouth of the Brisbane River and is significant for its history as a penal colony, and its migratory birds.

The historic butcher's shop and bakery on St Helena Island

The Gold Coast and Hinterland[edit]

Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a strip of urban areas and beaches located about 78 kilometres (48 mi) south of Brisbane, about an hour's travel by car or train.[31] Major centres with shopping, restaurants and sandy beaches include Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach, Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta. There are several theme parks in the region, including Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild Water World and Dreamworld, and wildlife parks such as David Fleay Wildlife Park and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Gold Coast hinterland features rainforests and wet sclerophyll forest with walking tracks and picnic areas. Some areas also offer camping sites, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, cafes and markets. Popular areas for tourism include Springbrook National Park, Lamington National Park and Tamborine Mountain. The Hinterland is promoted as "The Green Behind The Gold".

Bribie Island[edit]

Bribie Island is a sand island north of Brisbane, accessible by a road bridge over Pumicestone Passage. The area features a surf beach on the east side at Woorim, and quiet estuaries for boating and fishing on the west side, in the Passage. Accommodation is available in caravan parks. There are 4WD-accessible camping sites on the northern end of the island, which require permits. Attractions include the recently opened Bribie Island Seaside Museum, Passage cruises, and birdwatching at Buckley's Hole Environmental Park.

The Sunshine Coast and Hinterland[edit]

The Sunshine Coast, about an hour drive north of Brisbane, offers a wide range of beaches, national parks, theme parks and golf courses. Urban centres that cater for tourism along the coastline include Caloundra, Maroochydore, Noosa, and Coolum. To the west, the iconic Glasshouse Mountains offer scenic drives, lookouts, walking tracks and picnic areas. There is a ginger factory at Yandina, and Maleny and Montville offer art galleries, wineries, shops and cafes. The Woodford Folk Festival, an annual music festival, is held near the semi-rural town of Woodford, 72 kilometres (45 mi) north of Brisbane.

Mount Beerwah, part of the Glasshouse Mountains, viewed from Mary Cairncross Reserve

Rainbow Beach[edit]

Rainbow Beach is a coastal town in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, near Gympie, famed for its rainbow-coloured sand dunes, sand cliffs and pleasant beaches. The beach is located approximately 265 kilometres (165 mi) north of Brisbane, 76 kilometres (47 mi) east of Gympie and 700 metres west of Fraser Island on the Cooloola Coast.[32]

Kondalilla Falls National Park[edit]

Named after the spectacular Kondalilla Falls, where Skene Creek drops 90m into a rainforest valley, this park is a cool mountain retreat and an important refuge for many native animals and plants.[33] From Brisbane, the drive to the falls takes roughly 2 hours.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Slide 1
  3. ^ Freya Peterson (7 January 2014). "Brisbane named the country's hippest city".
  4. ^ Gregory, Helen (2007). Then and Now. 174 Cormack Road, Wingfield, South Australia 5013: Cameron house. p. 92. 9781741730111.
  5. ^ "Story Bridge (entry 600240)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "City Hall Tours". Museum of Brisbane. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Clock Tour tours". Museum of Brisbane. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Our History". Shingle Inn. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Kangaroo Point Cliffs (entry 602400)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Kangaroo Point Information". Kangaroo Point. 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  12. ^ The University of Queensland (2013). "Fortitude Valley". Centre for the Government of Queensland. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  13. ^ "A Brief History of Fortitude Valley". Valley community groups. 2001. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Treasury Building". The Foto Fanatic. 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  15. ^ "The Iconic Treasury Building - Heart of Government to Casino". Brisbane History. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  16. ^ Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-1-74173-011-1.
  17. ^ Things to Do - South Bank Corporation official website Archived 16 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Master Plan Development - South Bank Corporation official website Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ South Bank Arbour (fact sheet) — South Bank Corporation official website Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Roma Street Parkland
  21. ^ Brisbane Shopping Brisbane Tourism Guide. Retrieved on 2013-11-07.
  22. ^ "Brisbane CityCat Ferry". Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Greeter FAQs | Brisbane Greeters - Visit Brisbane". Visit Brisbane. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Brisbane Segway Tours". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Brisbane Bike Tours | Brisbane By Bicycle". Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Eat & Drink - Visit Brisbane". Visit Brisbane. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Eat Street Markets". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Boundary Street Markets". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  29. ^ Planet, Lonely. "Brisbane Food Tour: A Taste of Queensland - Lonely Planet". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  30. ^ Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-74173-011-1.
  31. ^ "Surfers Paradise Beach". Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  32. ^ "Discover Rainbow Beach". Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  33. ^ "Kondalilla National Park". Retrieved 4 November 2009.

External links[edit]